A movie length review of why The Phantom Menace sucks so hard. Seriously nit-picky, and I’m not sure about the self-indulgent character of the reviewer as a serial killer. However, this is brilliantly edited, extremely funny in places, and when you get to parts 6 & 7, you realise this is an awesome film critic using the godawful naffness of Episode I to sharply underline the timeless wonder of the original trilogy.
“Surreal” is one of the most popular and misunderstood words at work in Britain today, often mis-used by footballers and reality TV show stars when grasping for adjectives to describe their experience.
X Factor winner James Arthur described his experience as surreal, while returning West Ham hero Joe Cole also felt his return to the club of his youth matched the description. Assuming Cole’s contract signing wasn’t overseen by a dwarf talking backwards, or Nicole Scherzinger’s head didn’t turn into a lightbulb while singing him a lullaby, what they actually meant was the events were a bit surprising or unusual.
One thing genuinely surreal in 2012 was Leo Carax’s Holy Motors, a wilfully bizarre, gross, funny and melancholy headfuck that is likely to drive some regular cinema-goers to experiment with other examples of arthouse and avant garde cinema.
“Begin at the beginning then go on till you come to the end: then stop.” – Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
What is it about the biopic that induces screenwriters to start somewhere near the end, then find some contrived way to kick the story back in time to all the interesting stuff, the events the viewer wants to find out about in the first place?
In many senses, any biographical film of an important historical figure is a kind of greatest hits compilation, and two of the finest British examples of the genre, Lawrence of Arabia and Gandhi, begin with such a device. Both those films have plenty of time at their disposal, clocking in at over three hours each, and focus on a relatively narrow time in their subject’s lives.
The Iron Lady, by Mamma Mia! auteur Phyllida Lloyd, tries to jam in former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s whole career into a paltry 105 minute run time, and makes the unfortunate decision to spend most of the movie stuck in the modern-day bookends. So if Lawrence of Arabia and Gandhi are like double LP’s, The Iron Lady is like a 45 single.
A joke: Today, a bomb went off in central Ipswich, England [delete and apply any shitty town/district/neighbourhood of your choice], causing millions of pounds worth of structural improvements.
I’ll come back to that joke in a minute. Christmas is over and I’m not feeling charitable, and as much as I admire the independent, amateur, can-do ethos behind Benh Zeitlin’s first feature film, Beasts of the Southern Wild, I can’t pretend I appreciated it as much as many celebrated critics seemed to.
The film tells the story of a little girl, Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis), who lives in squalor with her ailing father, Wink (Dwight Henry) in a ramshackle pre-post-apocalyptic community known as the Bathtub, separated from the modern world by a levee.
In the year of our Lord, 2012, most screwed-on Westerners are aware that the Catholic Church is the most institutionalized hive of nonces and kiddy fiddlers in the history of mankind.
This is interesting from a British perspective, because as a nation who forcibly battled and rejected Catholicism in its middle-past, our national conscience has found other ways of repenting. Most notably is cinema – our flicks must rank amongst the most confessional and penitent movies in the world.
As an Englishman living abroad, I socialise with many nationalities, and some of my best friends are American. One thing you will never hear an American expat say is; “America’s a fucking dump, and I couldn’t wait to get out of that shithole.”
Horror has been in a dark place for the last decade. When Scream 4 crawled out of the gate last year, with the tagline promise of “New Rules”, I hoped the writer-director team of Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven would apply the intelligence so freshly applied to the cliched stalk n’ slash sub-genre in the original movie to the depressing, sadistic trend of torture porn prevalent in the 2000′s.
While Scream 4 acknowledged the presence of grungy, industrial strength reboots of classic horror franchises and video nasties, and incorporated streaming live blogs and iPhones, the movie bottled out & played safe. Instead, it came across as deeply anachronistic and twee – in the era of Hostel, Human Centipede and The Devil’s Rejects, there was something nostalgic and almost comforting about seeing good-looking, middle class kids disemboweled by a nutter in a mask.
Video Krypt is now on the LAMB (Large Association of Movie Blogs)! If you haven’t checked it out, here’s the link -
It’s a great resource for film buffs who love reading movie blogs. This inclusion has made me feel pretty loved up, so here’s the final scene of Cinema Paradiso to celebrate -
Last week, the families of the 96 Liverpool fans crushed to death at Hillsborough stadium finally found out the truth, after 23 years of tireless campaigning.
Aside from the fans directly affected, the Hillsborough disaster touched most people in the UK’s lives. I didn’t even watch football at the time, but for some reason I was watching the 1989 semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. I remember feeling more shocked by the Bradford stadium fire four years earlier, when a decrepit wooden stand caught fire and turned into an inferno in a matter of minutes.
I suppose the fire had a more visceral impact on a seven-year-old boy, as there’s not many things more horrific than seeing a football supporter stumbling across the pitch on fire. I didn’t truly appreciate the horror of Hillsborough until a few years later, when I was on the terraces as a fan, and felt my first crowd surge.
Casablanca, shit. It’s always a daunting prospect reviewing an established classic, a movie so globally loved and revered. Written about countless times before, do you attempt to approach it from a fresh angle, or just soldier on and attempt to do it justice?
The British Film Institute (BFI) recently made headlines with the announcement that Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo had finally usurped Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane as the number one film of all time. Casablanca didn’t make the top Fifty.
The key word here is Film. Film suggests something set in celluloid, an art form to examine and revere from a scholarly distance, whereas the term Movie suggests a cinematic experience we get up close and personal to, something that Moves us.
The Day the Earth Stood Still? Read an SMS review a few years ago. The Night My Arse Couldn’t Sit Still. As a one sentence review, it was almost as brilliantly pithy and concise as the two-word review for a Spinal Tap album: Shark Sandwich? Shit Sandwich.
The review came from my best friend and former flatmate, one of the most naturally gifted orators I’ve met. I asked him if he would be interested in writing capsule reviews for Video Krypt, because I believe if he can transfer his gift of the gab into text, we could be looking at blogging gold!
Dave is new to this game, and I think he’s doing a fantastic job – I asked him to chip in with some capsule reviews, because I know not everyone is up for reading my big, long, wordy analysis of movies.
The two reviews I’ve posted so far on his behalf are his first attempts at film criticism, working closely with another friend, Liam Connolly…I respectfully request anyone reading Video Krypt to leave comments and constructive criticism, because I think he/they will be a valuable asset!