Quick post – stream of consciousness ramblings on some of the films I have seen at home and in the cinema in the last couple of weeks, that until now I could not get motivated to write about.

Modern Times – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0027977/

The last of the essential Chaplin films I had to see. Hilarious, with some great set-pieces, and a great demonstration of Chaplin’s ability to weave a strong political message within the laughs. A pro-socialism, anti-greed sermon that is still as relevant today as it ever was, if not more so. Despite this genius, it lacks the emotional clout of “The Kid“, “City Lights” and “The Great Dictator” and due to this is my least favourite of the “big four”, but that’s a bit like saying <singular awesome thing> is my least favourite <of all awesome things> it’s still an <awesome thing>. The new bluray transfer is beautiful. Hope to see Gold Rush and The Circus soon.

In the Heat of the Nighthttp://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061811/

Sidney Poitier in a racially motivated thriller. Who’d have thunk it? Seriously though a great film. Terrific soundtrack, Poitier is excellent as ever. Works on its own as a standalone crime mystery, and the gimmick of a black police officer in the deep south against his will, heaps on the tension. Manages to balance the prejudice of both white people and black people to a certain extent, without becoming preachy. A buddy movie with dark overtones (pun sort of intended).

The Expendableshttp://www.imdb.com/title/tt1320253/

Utter toilet. I wanted to like it so much – being brought up on 80s action flicks – and all the ingredients seemed there. Despite a couple of laughs though, it took itself way too seriously for such a cheesy plot and payoff. It says something about a film when Jason Statham is the best actor (I would say Rourke but he gets about 10 minutes screentime). Needed more over-the-top action, less awful dialogue, and more in-jokes (the Arnie “he wants to be President” line was great). Special effects were also surprisingly bad. Might have pulled it off, if its tongue was dragged from its gormless, saliva covered chin, and pushed way into its cheek. Sly Stallone is basically a walking vein.

Piranha 3Dhttp://www.imdb.com/title/tt0464154/

A little embarrassed to admit it but I loved it. Basically a modern day exploitation gore-fest, which is just a huge homage to trashy horror schlock. Unlike “The Expendables” it knew it was trash, and pushed it to the limit, all while nudging you in the arm, winking, and saying “bet you didn’t think I would sink THAT low!”. The centerpiece of the film is a piranha buffet of scantily-clad women, and seems to have more boobs and dismembered limbs than the sum of the film’s lines of dialogue. Opens with an inspired Richard Dreyfuss cameo (one of the many references to Jaws). If the idea of a giant 3d dismembered penis and 3d vomit doesn’t instantly turn you off, then you are the intended audience. Terrible, trashy, but great fun if you take it for what it is. Cinephiles need not apply.

Scott Pilgrim vs the Worldhttp://www.imdb.com/title/tt0446029/

Geek nirvana! A video-game movie that isn’t based on a video-game. 8-bit music, boss-fights, enemies which explode into coins when defeated and assorted videogame soundbites. Essentially a 2 hour episode of the awesome “Spaced. Highlights – the vegan police, the bass-off, the stuntman stand-in battle, and the dazzling pyrotechnics of the twin battle (reminded me of my favourite moment in Kung-Fu Hustle). The video-game motif starts to wear a little thin by the end – could have perhaps done with losing a few filler scenes. Really great though, and a bit sad to see it underperform at the box-office. Sincerely hope the figures don’t turn Hollywood off Edgar Wright – this man has so much more to say.


Enjoyed it in the cinema, not so much the second time round on bluray. Not a film that stands up to repeat viewings. The score and soundtrack was as good as I remembered though, and it’s still Nic Cage’s best role and performance in many years (am yet to see Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant though).  Still got chills in Hit Girl’s strobe battle.

Looking forward to :

Over the next week or so, Lebanon, Rio Bravo, Stagecoach, and The Man who Shot Liberty Valance.

Powell & Pressburger – Received the P&P 11 disc collection today (hence the “Matter of Life and Death” giveaway and other upcoming contests). Looking forward to many of the films, particularly “Colonel Blimp” and “The Tales of Hoffman” which seems to share a common ground with The Red Shoes.

David Lean – also received the 10 disc David Lean Centenary collection. Most looking forward to Brief Encounter, a film which has somehow eluded me over the years.

Over and out.