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Still Mine (2012)
Not just for the oldies
Agree with other reviews here, there must be a ratings error. I see a lot of films for work and for pleasure and Still Mine is one of the best I've seen in the last couple of years.
No, you won't get CGI, explosions and budding romance from this film. It's from an emerging genre - films for oldies - think Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (which I loved), Quartet (which I didn't) and Amour, to which it has been compared.
Except to say, it's a compelling story, tightly written, with exceptional performances, which should interest most people, of any age, as long as you don't solely crave superhero sequels.
On one hand, this is a tale, based on a true story, of the short-sightedness of bureaucracy. Who hasn't fought red tape, at some point in their lives? On another, it's about trusting each other and allowing those with fading powers to live the life they want to live for as long as possible.
The Long Day Closes (1992)
London's NFT recently showed this again for its Terence Davies season. The cinema was packed. It's simply one of the most beautiful films ever made. It uses so many devices to full effect. One scene blends into another; a school room darkens and as the camera pans across, the desks become rows of cinema seats.
On a budget, Davies employs so many creative tricks to recreate the 50s, sewn together by memories, through fading light and vignettes, choral music and period songs, and snatches of movie dialogue from the past.
The film is a paean to cinema and makes you feel nostalgic for a time and place you weren't even in.
Vanilla Sky (2001)
Truly one of the worst films of all time. How did it happen? Too many egos at work and too many yes men. Cruise's love of twists goes into over-drive as does Crowe's over-indulgent use of music. Just when I thought the end was finally coming, there was another twist. And another. But I was beyond caring. In the end, I was wishing for Cameron Diaz (the only good thing in it) to drive the entire cast and crew over the bridge. I only hope I was the one asleep because that would have been a more productive way to spend 2 hours.
The Sum of All Fears (2002)
An hilarious comedy that wasn't supposed to be one
Expectations were high after seeing Harrison Ford put his stamp on two very watchable Jack Ryan films. But Ben Affleck is no Harrison Ford. And that is the least of the criticisms this movie deserves. Poor Affleck struggles with a plot that becomes more far-fetched by the minute whereas other Jack Ryan films kept the intensity at a believable level of execution.
It is hard to believe the writer and director of Field of Dreams made this movie. These two films are worlds apart. Having Sum of All Fears on your CV is something you'd want to keep quiet.
At the beginning there were tell-tale signs of absurdity when a trained fighter pilot carrying a nuclear bomb bends down to pick up a picture of his wife and child that had blown off the dashboard (he was racing over desert terrain at the time), momentarily taking his hand off the steering wheel and his eyes off the landscape. Naturally, the plane crashes and you can almost hear Homer Simpson shout 'Doh!'. If this scene was not lifted off Airplane 2 or somesuch movie then I'm a nuclear scientist.
After many such ridiculous twists and turns, by the time it came to the bomb potentially going off, about an hour and ten minutes into the film, you were actually preying for the blast and perhaps a fast exit from the cinema.
At the end, when the crazed arms dealer is waving his hands to classical music (actually Nessun Dorma but known in Europe as the World Cup music from Italy 1990 - another badly researched hilarious touch from the Hollywood team) - the scene is lifted from Silence of the Lambs.
There is very little originality in the movie except to say that it's almost in a class of its own, an extremely lowly class - the Hollywood blockbuster has sunk to a new level.