All 10 entries tagged Film And TV

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October 09, 2005

The long wait is over – Serenity has landed

Movie image
4 out of 5 stars

"People don't appreciate the substance of things" is a line from the final episode of the TV series Firefly, one that was never aired. I can't help feeling that it was director Joss Whedon's way of telling Fox how stupid they were for cancelling the show. But with the release of the follow-up film Serenity this week, all would seem to be right again, and Fox's presence banished. The question that must be asked however, is can one appreciate the substance of Serenity in the wake of Firefly, or for that matter, without its influence?

I cannot answer the latter part. I first watched Firefly back in April, and fell immediately in love with its rich universe, deep characters and snappy dialogue. Obviously the film cannot achieve anywhere near this amount of detail as it lasts little longer than a couple of episodes, so anyone who didn't watch Firefly won't attain the same level of understanding. More to the point, two characters – Inara and Book – appear only in small doses, and their roles are not explained at all. As well as this, Simon's portrayal has changed completely, and the film intro will cause Firefly fans much confusion. Who is this master of disguise indeed?

So maybe I can answer after all. Yes, you can appreciate it if you haven't seen Firefly, but you can't appreciate it as much. If you have watched the series, I fear you will be left feeling a bit disappointed. Serenity was never going to be as good as Firefly, for the reason stated above, but knowing this doesn't stop me thinking that it could still have been a bit better. While there is much in the way of wise-cracking, the banter which drew us into Firefly is a bit on the sparse side. The first 40 minutes were more about action sequences than storytelling - forgivable as a means of attracting a wider audience, but out of place in the context of the series. Equally there is the issue of sound in space. The series had none, as is physically correct, but it appeared (erratically) in Serenity. Once again this was included to make the film more exciting, so I see the reason even if I'd have preferred the silence. Finally, the delivery of the plot point around which the film revolved - the completion of the River storyline - seemed to me to be a bit bland. My thought process at the time was simply "oh", rather than "wow, I never expected that!"

The final worry is that this might be the end. As the film came to a close I was left with a feeling of emptiness, wondering where it can go from here. I only hope that Joss is up to the task of creating new stories as excellent as the old ones (which I'm sure he is), and that he gets that chance. I may have been overly harsh here, but only because I do appreciate the substance of things, and the substance of Firefly is more impressive than that of Serenity. But that is in no way saying that Serenity is bad. It is, in fact, the best sci-fi film I've seen in years.

September 09, 2005

This household is in no way addicted to Scrubs

I rest my case.

June 13, 2005


Writing about web page

I didn't go to bed till 3:30 last night. I also nearly died laughing on numerous occasions, and this site was the reason. I particularly recommend Revenge of the Sith (yes, I'm at it again, sorry), all the other Star Wars films, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Being John Malkovich and the Matrix trilogy. Oh what the hell, and every other film you have seen on the site.

Just remember to breathe occasionally ;-)

June 02, 2005

Revenge of the Sith is crap #3

Ok, so this is going to be the last one. I am challenge all fans of the film – Please tell me why it was good. I can tell you why it was bad, and have done so a bit already in the comments to the previous thread on this theme, but so far no one can give me adequate reasons for why they liked it.

Here are the responses so far:

Rachel: I watched revenge of the sith today. omfg it is ace. edge-of-seat hide-behind-hands-squealing awesome. It's beautiful. The acting is nonsense, but the ideas behind it are fantastic. Submission to the dark side in the name of love. I didn't see that coming at all.
Me: What? How? Were you the only person on earth not to know that ahead of time?
Rachel: The intertwining of fear and love, conceptually, is really masterful. Too bad it was Hayden Christensen. Oh I knew it was like that but it's really exposed very well.
I didn't see it coming. As in, how well it was done. It's very emotive. Surprisingly so, for a Star Wars film.

Now normally I respect her opinion, but this time she's just plain wrong. "The intertwining of fear and love" is completely unbelievable because the writing, directing and acting are so bad (this will be a repeating theme in my responses). Also, the way that Anakin goes over to the dark side in the space of about 10 seconds in order to save Padme without considering that he would become something she wanted nothing to do with seems to rather go against the point being made here – is it possible to be in love with someone and then do something so radical, with out considering their feelings at all? Seems unlikely to me.
Oh, and for a film to be emotive does one not have to be able to engage with the characters on some level? Because I didn't.

David: point 1) we get to see Anakin and Obi wan fight along side each other, we also get to see Anakin be a the best pilot in the galaxy.
We get to see Mace take on a sith lord and lose, (and Anakin's betrayal).
We've got the heartbreaking montage of Order 66
Anakin killing children?
Me: HEARTBREAKING? What we ACTUALLY get, is to totally not care about the characters at all because the writing, directing and acting is SO HORRIBLE.
David: And if nothing else we get OBI WAN VS ANAKIN, which is worth the price of admission alone

He went offline shortly after that, with the promise to deliver more after a good night's sleep.
I would argue that firstly, the children almost DESERVED to be killed, if out of about 20 of them, the one who got a speaking part was the best. I've heard boiled cabbage deliver better lines than that.
Also, Obi Wan vs Anakin. Well, after the 10232498 light sabre battles we sat through before that…/yawn…oh sorry, I forgot what I was going to say. (Note for Americans – that was irony)

Gil: Cos it was!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Force is weak in you.
Me: No. That is not an argument
Gil: Not saying any more
Me: I want proper reasons
Gil: I can't hear you

Thank you Gil – you've totally made my point for me.

Any other takers?

May 19, 2005

Defending Kingdom of Heaven

There have been many claims and accusations made about this film – it is historically inaccurate, it is dull, lumbering and too long, Orlando Bloom is miscast, and even that it “panders to Osama bin Laden”. It is certainly no Gladiator, but that is far from saying it is poor. Yes, the first hour is a bit slow, but the threads begun there are woven together nicely by the end, so it is necessary. Orlando Bloom is a man with “Supporting Actor” stamped all over his face, but does a much better job here than I’d hoped for, to the point of being believable enough not to detract from the film.

Anyway, onto the heart of the matter. Personally I don’t really care about the historical accuracy on this occasion. For me, the message of the film is much more important. The whole Bin Laden issue has arisen because the Muslims are not portrayed as the bad guys, instead they are on the whole more moral and decent than their Christian counterparts. This may not have been the case historically, but the Crusaders certainly did their fair share of horrible deeds too, and this is the message of the film. It is spelt out explicitly by Hospitaler (David Thewlis) in precise agreement with my own feelings on the matter:

I put no stock in religion. By the word religion I’ve seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called the will of God. Holiness is in right action, and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves, and goodness.

The phrase “God wills it” is used many times in the film, by both Christians and Muslims, often to justify an act of inhumanity by the speaker. I have not seen a better advert for atheism for a very long time, and for that I am very grateful to the film. The fact that, while the subject matter is obviously a religious one, the main character is the least religious in the film, and at the same time the most moral and good emphasises this point strongly.

On a side note, the battle scenes are particularly impressive for their lack of sanitization – war is a brutal, terrible, and confused event and should be depicted as such. One scene stood out for me – Orlando fighting desperately in the centre of a writhing crush of bodies, the action going to slow motion to show the seemingly never-ending struggle for the fighters, then speeding back up to capture the madness of it all.

So to those people claiming this film is support of Osama bin Laden’s view of the world I say this: you are missing the point. The message is that all religions and all peoples should try to live together in peace, and probably could if it weren’t for the Fundamentalists. If there is a better argument against organised religion I would dearly like to know it.

May 17, 2005

I can't resist this

Writing about an entry you don't have permission to view

Last film I saw at the cinema
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy – No where near the genius of the radio series or the books (and yes, the radio series is better). Funny in places and Martin Freedman did a good job, but Mos Def (or is it Deaf?) was horribly miscast ("I'm not from Guilford" – ya THINK?) and not even Stephen Fry can replace the great Peter Jones. The dolphin song has hideous. Oh yeh, and it missed the mayor point – that is all the great lines from The Book – about the Babelfish and the non-existence of God, the origins of the universe…etc. Some of the buildups were there but most of the punchlines were missing. It could have been half an hour longer to include some of these and be greatly improved

Last film I watched on DVD/Computer/TV etc
It's been a while, what with revision and all…possibly Heat.

Film I am most looking forward to seeing
Sin City – looks jaw-droppingly fantastic. Also Revenge of the Sith for want of closure and to prove that I was right to be skeptical of all the drooling fanboys. That means you David.

Total Number of films I own
Lots. I can't be bothered to count.

Five films that mean something to me

Shawshank Redemption – The greatest film of all time. Grueling for 2.5 hours, but then the biggest emotional lift any film has ever delivered. The opera seen is truly beautiful, and I could listen to Morgan Freeman talk for ever.

Garden State – An journey of emotional growth which spoke to me a great deal on first watching. It has only got better with repetitions. And to quote Tom "And Natalie Portman is in it".

Schindler's List – The reasons for this should be obvious. I don't ever want to sit through it again though – too emotionally traumatising.

Léon – Another fantastic and unlikely emotional journey. If someone told me "it's about a hitman and a little girl" I probably wouldn't even bother – I think it has to be seen to be appreciated for the wonderful acting from, yes, Natalie Portman, if nothing else. That was her first film? Unbelievable.

Memento – Probably the cleverest (if there is such a word) construction of a film ever. When it finished I sat with my mouth open for about 5 minutes, and realisation and understanding dawned. I challenge anyone to come up with a film with a better twist, if it can truly be called that, and yes, I'm including Usual Suspects, Fight Club and LA Confidential. (If anyone mentions Sixth Sense they obviously weren't paying attention during the film – the ending is obvious.)

March 15, 2005

Don't Panic

Writing about web page

This is going to be excellent. I am convinced. The books, of course, are legendary, and the radio series that preceded them even better. It's a pity about the TV series, but I feel this film will put all that to right. Except Marvin, who looks waaay too cute.
The snippets of speach during the trailer are enough to convince me that I can get over the characters not sounding like they did on the radio, once again with the exception of Marvin. Sorry Alan Rickman, but you just aren't quite depressed enough. And no one can ever quite replace the marvelous voice of Peter Jones as The Book, but Stephen Fry, smug-sounding toff though he is, comes very close.

Incidentally, Simon Jones, the who played Arthur Dent in both the radio and TV series, makes a cameo appearance as a Magrathean Announcer. Thank you imdb for that little gem.
Long live The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy, and role on April 29th!

At the completely opposite end of the spectrum we find the trailer for Star Wars Episode III: Unnecessary Subtitle. While it looks fantastic, so did the trailers for I and II, so it's blatantly going to suck. A couple of my more naive friends doubt this of course, to which I say this: If I am right, I am vindicated. If I am wrong, I am happy and entertained. Either way, I win.

December 22, 2004

The Jack Bauer Interrogation Method

Does repeatedly shouting the same question (in a slightly louder voice each time) actually work for getting answers out of people?
A reality check is needed methinks.

You know you're watching a great film when…

I'm currently (ie as I type) watching Gladiator for what is probably the 7th time. And it still gives me tingles. If this is not a sign of true greatness, I don't know what is.

On a different note, sitting here in the dark I have noticed that the finish on my mouse has worn away so much that I can see the red light shining through the top of it. I want a logitech MX 510, but I can't bring myself to spend £25 on a mouse, particluarly not when it would be replacing something that is fully functional.

December 01, 2004

Films films films! (Winning the award for Saddest Things You Ever Saw)

[Last updated on 23/12/05]

So I got bored one day and decided to compile a list of my top fifty (yes, FIFTY) films. It is obviously rather changeable, but here it is regardless. Come one, come all, come take the piss!

[Note: I wanted to do this in 2 columns, but it seems that tabs and even double spaces are unsupported by this system. Awesome. Now everyone will have to scroll. Don't blame me for your RSI.]

  1. Shawshank Redemption
  2. Pulp Fiction
  3. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
  4. Leon
  5. Memento
  6. The Matrix
  7. Gladiator
  8. The Usual Suspects
  9. LA Confidential
  10. Fight Club
  11. Garden State
  12. Amélie
  13. Fifth Element
  14. Enemy at the Gates
  15. American Beauty
  16. Schindler's List
  17. Shrek
  18. Shakespeare in Love
  19. Ocean's 11
  20. The Butterfly Effect
  21. High Fidelity
  22. Clerks
  23. Desperado
  24. Mallrats
  25. A Beautiful Mind
  26. True Romance
  27. Dogma
  28. Serenity
  29. The Negotiator
  30. House of Flying Daggers
  31. Star Wars Trilogy
  32. Minority Report
  33. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  34. Lost in Translation
  35. Equilibrium
  36. Shrek 2
  37. Million Dollar Baby
  38. Blade Runner
  39. 12 Monkeys
  40. Donnie Darko
  41. Seven
  42. Good Will Hunting
  43. Batman Begins
  44. eXistenZ
  45. Lord of the Rings Trilogy
  46. Reservoir Dogs
  47. Kingdom of Heaven
  48. The Rock
  49. Face/Off
  50. Finding Nemo

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