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The Wire (2002)
The Wire means more to democracy than it intended
The first season of The Wire finished yesterday on BBC2. It has been hailed as the best cop series ever. I had seen it in the listings but never bothered to watch because there are so many American cop shows and rarely any impress me. When the Beeb took it up and I had read how well it had been received I watched. From episode one I was grabbed. Of the 13 episodes I forgot to record only two. It deserves all the accolades.
I checked out the show on the Internet Movie Data Base and was surprised to learn that the series started in 2002 and ran for six seasons until 2008. Why did it take so long for one of our mainstream TV channels to broadcast it? And why, once bought, was it programmed after 11pm? It beats the pants off our cop shows like The Bill. One reason could be because it shows the cops and the robbers as both corrupt and devout. And we can't have the good old British public considering the thought that the police can be as corrupt as the bad guys, and for heaven sake, our governmental establishment! The Wire successfully portrays both as human and therefore as likely to be bad as well as good. Notwithstanding the fact that our police force has been caught with their fingers in the till, as well as our establishment figures such as MP's and Royals, many times, our mainstream media are bent attempting to keep the public in a fog of illusion. The reasons are complex, yet come to one thing - stability.
The theory is that if a country is stable it able to be civilized. The problem is a stable country affords those in power to remain in power. The UK has a well established social hierarchy. From the Monarch, who owns vast tracks of UK land and lives in palaces, down to the homeless. Who are nothing more than modern day surfs. As well as our government, all of our armed services are run by Eton boys, mostly. So, to daily have a TV series that shows the establishment as it is, a goodly bunch of them privileged thieves, is to undermine stability.
However, the concept of Monarchy is today inherently corrupting. Not so much money, but what it does to the psych of the UK people. We have a House of Lords. The very concept of a Lord is inherently demeaning to those who are not. A congenital corruption of equality. Monarchy gives the notion that they and all the gongs below are intrinsically superior to you and me. This is false. And a nation that persists in that illusion is eventually doomed to fail.
I do not advocate revolution. Just awareness and a speedier evolution.
So, keep your ear close to the wire.
In the Valley of Elah (2007)
Excellent anti-war picture with a difference
This is a great little film. More a story about detection than about war, although the dehumanizing affect of war is an important aspect, though stretched. Both leading characters are well acted, though it is hard to accept the leading actress as a backwater cop, she is too beautiful, but that's Hollywood. The used of staggered video clips to gradually unravel what happened to the son is good. I wonder what Bush and Blair feel when they watch a film like this? Do they feel remorse? Probably not. And this is where the film fails a little, because it totally shies away from any political context and that it why it is a little film. But nevertheless an anti-war film with a difference and well worth watching.
The Man from Earth (2007)
Well thought out
As a film this is not very exciting, but as an interesting proposition it is well thought out. I 'watched' much of it with my eyes closed as one does an audio tape. Made me think and not a lot of films do that. Chewing gum for the eyes as someone said. How could he prove his age: An old photograph? Yes, he packed them away, but nevertheless. A person he knew, a lover, from 50 years ago. He must have had children. A mark he made on stone, something he wrote on old material. I wouldn't call this an Atheist film because it doesn't refute any religious arguments for the existence of a God, but I'd put it in that general category, because it postulates human existence with the need for a God.
Boo! or Boo Hoo?
For me it is Boo Hoo. Had the director, Nimrod Antal, never seen a Motel/Horror before. Did he think he was being original whilst making this film? Same goes for the writer, Mark L. Smith. Did they say, 'Let's make a film about a young married couple who get stranded at an isolated motel and finds hidden video cameras in their room. They realize that unless they escape, they'll be the next victims of a snuff film? Won't that shock people?' Well, no you couple of unimaginative lucky people: how did you get the money? It never ceases to surprise me how so many crap films get made. All that wasted money. As usual in horror films of this type the young couple are stupid. They have to be stupid I suppose to not easily get away. Luke Wilson imitates Jack Nickleson's voice. So many clichés. Vacancy all right.
The Way of the Cartoon. (contains spoilers)
The annoying thing about 'Hit man' films is that the hit men seem to live in a world totally devoid of happenstance, chance and chaos. This guy pulls up and exchanges number plates from his car to another with the owner and his children 25feet away. The kids are facing the two cars. The is no obstruction to view. There is no one else near. This act is not impossible. The hit man gets within 400 yards of the house of a top Mafioso boss. He shoots 7 mobsters without getting hit himself. His sole friend is a man who speaks a language he does not understand. He has a gadget that opens and starts cars and opens security gates. Need I go on? Oh, and the mobsters seem to watch cartoons. Well, they should watch this film, it is one long cartoon. But, what is worse, we are supposed to accept the 'deep' motivation of this stupid character is evidenced by a book called the 'Way of the Samuri' Why do people think a book because it was written hundreds of years ago it therefore follows it is full of wisdom? 'Emptiness is Form' What rubbish! Anyone who things this film is 'deep' is shallow.
Bet this is a let down
Lost was a total let down and this is by the same bloke. He hit on the idea of making it up as you go along. It doesn't matter if you can't explain. He has no respect for viewers He is entertaining, But in the end vacuous. A package with no gift All show and no substance. Therefore I predict there will be no satisfying conclusion. In all, like Lost - a con.
Since my last post, today 27th Feb. 2008, this video so called film is as I predicted. Irritating and vacuous. The 'writer' Drew (should draw, not write) Goddard is the only scriptwriter to have written 'Oh My God' into a script more than any other scriptwriter on earth. Well done. Great claim to fame.
JJ Abrams has again pulled a fast one on the public. Must be the Bush era that dishonesty abounds. Sure, he is laughing all the way into a flash hotel, but he is of the worst sort of film maker. A trick and con man. A man with no artistic value, which okay, not every film has, or is of principle, but this guy takes the urine.
Roll over every talent, JJ Abrams is in the room!
two things made this film fail. One, the casting of Billy Con. He is a very funny man and in Mrs. Brown, he was suited to the role. But here it is laughable. Two: very quick getting to back in time, sorry, us sci-fi fans, serious ones, like a slow build up. And mirrors - cheap.
The great surprise of this film was Anna Friel. She out acted every other actor in this film. So much so, I did not recognise her. I thought she was 'Bob' in Black Adder.
Look when she loves him. When she is in love. Anna - you are in love. Anna, yet young, an Oscar. After that I could not take my eyes off her.
The phone rang half way through. So I'll watch it again.
This Has No Passion
This film is just about one mans jealousy. One man. Sparticus was all.
Men and women. This film has no vision. Just another action film, good for football fans, not for philosophers.
What good does the film do except fulfill an expectation of murder?
Whereas Sparitius fulfilled every man and woman's longing for freedom. Freedom! This picture is no more than a large B film. No emotional longing, no trace of true struggle, and no element of love.
Just men bashing up men - again.
Whereas Sparticus had a reason other then mere jealousy, other than mere spiteful self interest, and other than mens measure of each other.
IT HAD LOVE.
The Contender (2000)
Who would believe this film now?
Wonderful cast, well directed and a film worth watching. However, after Bush, who could make a movie where the president of the USA is a hard, yet honest man? Now this movie would be laughed off the screen. Yet, a movie that is worth watching for it's values. With sentiments and truth that have now been devalued and thrown into the dust by Bush and his gang of immoral outlaws.
Watch this film and remind yourself how the USA was. Let us all hope that it returns, by confession and time that it can once more give hope that democracy is worth fighting for.
A just USA President and UK Prime Minster?
Jeff Bridges played the president in the style we know Jeff for. Gary Oldman is, once again, real. And a great central performance by what's her name.
Inland Empire (2006)
Viewer is viewed
You look. You experience time. You dream. Reality is a combination of all three. The Inland Empire is not Hollywood, the town of make believe, but you and your inner empire of thought and delusion.
Movies are imaginary concepts, yet we all get caught in the net,like lost fish. Our knowledge of the real is not our five senses alone, but a mix of memory and wish.
Intertwined with loss and hope. Loss of the past and hope for the future neither of which exist, except in mind.
This is an expanded sit-com.
A movie within a movie within a nightmare. Do spiders have nightmares? Do you have to be big or small to have emotions? A snail or an ape?
Jazz Boat (1960)
Ah, the past
I remember this film with lots of love. Yet I never see it on TV. Is it lost forever? I gotta find me someone to love sang Tone on the shore of the Thames. Spider played by actor James Booth, (under rated?) Whom I associate with as a London lad and the ever lovable Bernie Winters.
There is a spiteful regress within British entertainment establishment that Tony Newley has never been fully appreciated. He hit the heights in Vagas, wrote some of the classic popular songs and had a long lived and loved life, yet always the depressed clown. Only John Ross has done anything for him in this last 20 years by a radio show on BBC2.
Last time I saw him, Newley, was at the Hackney Theatre, or was it Highbury, well, somewhere, and he was in great voice. 1990?
If anyone knows how I can get Jazz Boat on tape or DVD please write.
Hid in my mates shoulder.
I went to see this movie with Paul. It was at the Granada cinema in Woolwitch, south east London.
It scared me so much I could not look at the screen and hid my face in Paul's shoulder. I asked him what was going on. He told me.
Later, in 1979 I saw Alien. Again I could not look. It took me 3 times to watch the film before I could watch it all the way through. Now I have seen it 15 times and it still has the power to move my heart, not for horror any more, but for the majesty of vision. A seminal film with all the imagination of true artists.
Fear loses it's power seen too many times. Fear then is but an illusion of the unknown. There is no one in the dark. The fellows who come to kill you are at most sociopaths. If not lovers. Great movie. Deep and beloved.
The Aristocrats (2005)
The Marguess De Sade talked about eating excrement as a sexual experiment, at least he had genuine philosophical curiosity. This film is utterly pretentious excess. It is about two tricksters fooling egoistical comics into believing the movie about a inane joke has merit. It is the worst of all films because it does not justify the money it cost to make. It is akin to the Kings New Clothes, if you can convince people that they might seem foolish if they disagree with a stupid proposition, then they are likely to accept it. The real joke of this piece of trash is that the comedians agreed to take part. No doubt to there later regret. You time is better spent reading TV listings.
The Opposite Sex (1956)
I saw this movie only a few days ago on TCM. I thought the women were wonderful. I'm an especially fond of Dalores Gray, did I say fond, I'm in love; she is fantastic looking and what a voice, although it is not used in this picture, except over the titles. Agnes Moorehead is also a looker. I seem to go for the hard faced type. June Allyson as the lead is not very good, compared to the other women including Ann Miller she is dull. The outfits the women wear are are great yet so implausible. In every scene, a different dress, this film is more a fashion parade of the 50's, than a true musical. Jeff Richards plays the cowboy flirt well and has a song of his own although I not sure if his own voice is used. But for me this movies main delight is Dalores Gray. I am surprised how few films she made, yet in each she made an outstanding impact. I didn't realize just how long Jone Collins has been around. I thought she played the gold digger perfectly. www.basildoneye.com
Gena is as wonderful as my former wife was, perhaps still is. The difference between Gloria and my ex. is that Gloria has at heart, some decency. She never wanted the kid, nor as a viewer did I. A stupid kid with no charm, nor brain, just a pile of unlucky junk. Junk, is Gloria junk too? She knows she is not. Treated like junk, yes, but she tries to get out of it, the low down gangsters that make life wretched, a swamp of lazy violence, that if I had my way, the military could get rid of, but need, indeed they do. This movie is about power. Gloria has no power, she is a victim of circumstance, like most of us, but instead of putting up with it, she wants out. She can and she will. But all her plans go airy because of some kid! This is where morality kicks in. Should she look after herself, or risk everything for this dumb little kid? Would you, would I? Gena Rowlands is excellent. I have a picture on my kitchen wall of Gloria. Standing spread with gun in hand. My ex, is a whore, she has no guts. She stood behind a man who had a razor to my throat and did nothing. Gloria is a fiction, a Cassavites fantasy. Tough? Gena tough? Sure, to make a fictitious woman real, you must understand her, the woman, Gena does. She is tough. She is durable. I love her. Who? Gloria of course.
Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005)
A Subject Lesson for George W. Bush
'If you are not with us, your against us.' The phrase of the ignorant. I am so glad that movies like this exist. Along with 'the Grapes of Wrath.' They do not dissuade the powerful from trying to control our thoughts and behaviour, but they sure are a thorn in the side. Cloony takes a supportive role to David Strathairn as Ed Murrow, (A man I should be thankful to as a kid born in Woolwich, London 1945. That I was not, is because I did not know about his broadcasts) That we have such men as Murrow is a cause to be thankful. It is unfortunate that I have to say that David has not the gravity, although certainly the voice, but not special presence that this role demanded. This is not to take away from the man - he is good, but not good enough for this particular role. Who is? Orson Wells, perhaps even James Mason? I say worse about Georgy boy, I've never believed him in a role. Good man though he is. Certainly gets my support is he ever ran for the Big Pres. The guy in this movie for me is Frank Langella as William Paley. I believed him, his responsibility, his doubt and his act of loyalty. And to think O'Brian had that good Irish name and was such a evil writer. My 92 Irish mother would bash him.
A History of Violence (2005)
Viggo Mortensen changes from geeky type nice guy into a vicious killer with utter conviction in this well directed (sex scenes notwithstanding) and intense movie. He proves here one and for all that he is not just a male model type. Andhe totally underplays it. When he walks towards his son after a killing, the deft snarl says it all. And his face in the last shot is compelling. As for Ed Harris. If there ever was a Wiseguy this guy is it. What a screen presence. He is the personification of the X factor. His character deserves to be seen again. Sure, you have to suspend your belief because the story is a little far fetched and derivative , but so what?
Good to see William Hurt in a tough guy role for a change. Maria Bello and Ashton Holmes well support.
Definataly a 'guy' film. Definataly a 'guy' film. Haunting music too.
Casino Royale (2006)
Made Bond His Own
I went expecting, but not wanting Daniel Craig to fail in the role of James Bond. He worked hard. He worked so hard he became Bond. We talk of actors inhabiting a role. This guy took fiction by the balls and invented himself into reality. Very impressive.
What is not impressive is the Bond girl. Eva Green made herself drown. Great scene, good actress. Otherwise forgettable. Now, Judi Dench is supreme as M. She has more to do in this Bond than before, I'm glad to say.
This is not a spoiler. Just so the movie makers know. I do not like subliminal messages. We all know who Virgin Airlines' boss is. You don't have to cause thought other than appropriate.
Hard Candy (2005)
Two Handed Jaw Drop
The reason I did not give this 'bad' little film 10 is because it is real, but unbelievable. The quest comes from a mature dream, Brain Nelson the writer and David Slade the director, not from a 14 year old. Now, they may have met a teenager of this sophistication, but methinks not. Ellen Page even at her age of - what - 19 when she made this movie? Is not as mature as Hayley Stark. No one is Hayley Stark. She is a device used to make a point. The message: Interage sex is wrong. Big deal! The value of this film is contained in the acting of Page. Not since Hilary Swank in 'Boys Don't Cry' have I witnessed and been swooned by such a complete work of art.
Never heard, nor seen Ellen Page before. I will not seek her out again. Like Swank, Page will be forever the character. A dream, a wish and a perfect masturbation.
Seen it in the 60's, but can't remember lots of it.
There is one scene where Newley lines up lots of girls, but one is a boy, and he didn't care. That was the first time I'd had ever seen such honesty on screen. I love women, the bane and the bare of mens lives, but occasionally - a boy? Yes, no complications.
I'd like to see this film again, if only for Newley himself, but also to see Brusey boy back then. And to remind myself that I HAVE TO LIVE IN A WORLD FULL OF FOOLS!
Fools, dumb people, the people you meet every day. Take my girlfriend, I gave her 1984 to read. The most important book in political history. The first week she read the first page. The second week she read the first page again. The next day she moved the book from the living room into her bed room. That's progress!
Newley was bright. As a new born pin!
King Kong (2005)
Out of the seat!
I watched this on DVD. I wish I'd seen it at the cinema. It is great! All of the actors are good, let down only by the dialog written by Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyaens, however if they thought up the inventive action scenes then I withdraw bowing. Naomi Watts especially stands out, the scene in which she trying to entertain Kong is enchanting. The special effects are the best I have seen so far, and I doubt if they can be bettered until we get 3 dimensional. Jack Black deserves his fame and it was a pleasant surprise to see Jamie Bell continuing his career. Evan Parke, although a good actor, did not fit in. The role was not believable, just another example of PC casting. Wonderful direction from Peter Jackson. Applaud, applaud.
The Jacket (2005)
A well intentioned mess.
I would only recommend this film to someone who was bored. It is neither a horror, nor a thriller, nor a science fiction film. It fully falls into that category one might call 'have another go, mate.' The people who inhabit this world are actors, not real people. I have never met anyone who behaves like Keira Knightly's character Jackie Price when stressed. The only time I have is in movies. Actors ought to watch real people and not other actors.
Adrien Brody is affable. I did not believe the supposed horror that he was going through. In fact it was slightly laughable, because, like Knightly, one saw he was acting! Everyone in this film is acting. I simply could not suspend my belief.
As a time travel tale The Butterfly Effect knocks this out of the ring. As a horror, well, it is not even a distant relation to Alien, and as a thriller, forget it.
This film could have been so much better if the director John Maybury had more guts. A childish film for childish people.
The Omen (2006)
This Omen should have seen the Omens
20th Century Fox have got more money than sense with regard to this dire re-make. There is only one original scene in the whole movie and that is just a variation really. The acting is okay, but the whole film is just a clone of the original, with no surprises at all. Sure, if you have not seen the first film, then you will enjoy this, but if you have, don't bother to watch this. I am astonished at how easily it seems to get the millions to produce such a unoriginal script, and as for the director John Moore, the man completely lacks imagination. At no point does he say to himself, 'How can I improve on the original film?' A waste of five pounds entrance fee.
Prime Cut (1972)
The black mobster car in thunder
Of mobster films this is one of the best. Three main reasons: great introduction shot of Lee Marvin, the long shot of black mobster car with thunder and lighting in the background (no movie music like nature), and the wonderful Sissy Spacek in all her youthful glory. Gean Hackman plays a very dark 'entreprenur' with a fist full of his great acting skills. But in this movie Marvin KO's him. Mavin knows the gangster mind. Brutal, but, on occasion kind. A caveman survivor with unconscious integrity shown in his treatment of Poppy. The undercurrent of ethical and uncivilized behavior is shown in the raw. The video version has been mucked about with by some bright spark, but nevertheless watch it.
I recorded this film because the RAdio Times here in the Uk had given it a 4 star rating. Although I like movies I had never heard of this picture before. The opening scene with the two people on a first date was excellent. The two actors played it to perfection. I laughed out loud. I don't want to spoil it for any who have not seen it. But it was so human and so funny. But human first. We have, or at least I, have come to expect now, nothing but Superhero movies from Hollywood. (I use that word as a catchall, sorry).
I like superhero's, loved Batman Begins, but such rather removes one from the human condition. The last film that brought our condition back to me was 'The Hours.', but that by comparison to this sinks like an old Disney feel good. All the actors are billiento. The talks between father and son are the most honest that I have seen - never experienced - but also I have never seen on film either. Unfortunately my tape run out so I only got up to the point where the kid was being interviewed by the cops about his forgotten rape. Then the bloody tape ran out. But I had got Donny Darko before that. Also a good movie, but also again nothing compared to this piece of fine work.
Yet, I have to admit that the best moment for me was when the hysterical woman walked in and spat at the skinny girl. Who the 'f**k' was she!!! I know because I have looked at the cast listing. Her name is Hope Pomerance. Is that some name or is it some name! This is a great film, a rare one that should be shown to everyone.
But, Hope - what a woman! You know when you first see someone - BANG! And the movie? BANG! too.