25 Nov 2013
It’s been a while since we sat down and watched a proper fillum. We’ve cancelled our LoveFilm account (cue lots of calls from them desperate to get us back) as we never had the time to sit and watch. Anyway R’s folks gave us a fillum they insisted we watch. It’s a Japanese one called “Departures“. It is currently sitting on an IMDb score of 8.1/10 which is pretty high. Hmm.
It’s a tale of a man who plays a cello professionally but soon after he gets a job in an orchestra the company folds and he’s left unemployed. There’s a bit about him having bought a cello for too much money (18million yen – or a touch over £100k) and not really being talented enough to deserve it. But this is a minor issue as he just sells the thing again, in the very next scene, it’s hardly a surprise that an instrument worth that much would probably retain its value. So no jeopardy there then.
We see him discuss things with his wife. She’s young and attractive and has an unspecified job but there are clearly communication issues between them. The wife’s character is very poorly developed – she’s just insipid and wet. There is a point later in the fillum where she grows a back bone but it’s over the most ludicrous issue. Namely:
They move away from Tokyo to the place he grew up in with his mum. She’s died and left him the house/bar she ran. He has no job. Rather than start the bar up again he looks for a job and sees an ad in the paper for someone to work in “Departures” – hmm? Travel agency? Maybe. Anyway he goes to the interview and gets immediately hired by the grumpy old guy. Turns out “Departures” was a misprint and it really should have been “with the departed”. Anyway the job is dealing with the dead, doing a parting cleansing and farewell ceremony. Think your basic beautiful Japanese ritual, only for dead people.
The ceremonies shown were actually the best bit, they were very movingly done. It seemed a very good way to say “bye”.
Anyway the problems. Firstly the wife – oh my word – so insipid. The backbone she grew was when she found out her husband worked with the dead. She wanted nothing to do with him from that point (or did she?); a friend of his also suggested darkly that he should think again.
I feel I might be missing out on some cultural taboo here. Do the Japanese really have an aversion not only to the dead but also to anyone who happens to work with them? Really? I felt this was all too unbelievable.
Then his relationship with his wife was so strained and uncommunicative.
And then the acting, oh no. The nearest thing I can relate it to would be Japanese cartoons where the faces gurn mightily and there are squeaks galore when something is horrible. Very poor. Apparently the main bloke won the Japanese equivalent of the Oscar for best actor. Hmm again. Mind you he could do the quiet moving stuff ok. The wife was either a poor actress or, more likely, just had nothing to work with. The only stand out for me was the grumpy old bloke who hired him but his character wasn’t that interesting either.
More misses than hits for me.
26 Nov 2011
Saw “Attack the Block” innit. It was well ….. erm I can’t do the youth speak nonsense that these tedious neets witter on with all through the thing.
I love my Adam and Joe whenever they’re on radio or telly and this fillum was written and directed by Joe so I was looking forward to it. I listen to Radio 5′s fillum reviews with Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo and heard reviews and discussion about the thing when it came out. As far as I remember it was very much “not as funny or scary as it should be”.
I don’t recall much at all in the way of comedy from it if I’m honest. Not much laughter from me. I did enjoy the fillum but only as a bit of popcorn fodder.
There were some startlingly obvious scene setting points. At one stage a kid wants to do some parkour style move where he jumps from a bridge to a stairwell but it’s too far and the other kids laugh at him so he doesn’t try. DING! He’ll manage that jump at some later point in the fillum then possibly whilst running away from the aliens. DING! Correct one point to me.
The main kid will realise through the peril he’s brought to himself and his block that he has to grow up a bit and take reponsibility for the effects of his actions. DING! Second point to me.
This second point was rammed home unrelentingly towards the end of the thing. First the girls in the fillum more or less tell him this. Then you’ve got the nurse who they mugged at the beginning more or less telling him this. And finally you’ve got scenes of him wrestling with it himself. All a bit linear and obvious really.
SPOILER ALERT (But remember that spoilers ENHANCE your pleasure of a story)
He may well save the planet at the end but he’s a horrible character. Drug running, mugging, violent piece of dirt. There may be a fillum out there that tells the story of why these kids turn out like this but this wasn’t it. One scene had one kid complaining that the cops just nick them “for nothing”. Oh “nothing” seems to include having the proceeds of muggings on them, knife carrying, drug carrying, carrying fireworks as offensive weapons etc etc… Not sure I want to root for such a lowlife.
And the sheer lack of ambition of these kids was very disheartening. R’s worked with neets and she said that the fillum depicted them very well, so point to Joe there. Makes me quite depressed thinking how we can dig these folk out of the holes they, to a large extent, dig for themselves. Talk about screwing yourself up. Ah but then it’s everyone else’s fault innit?
Nice aliens though.
19 Oct 2011
Interesting! Just sent this to the Kermode and Mayo fillum review show on 5Live since they’re always discussing what to do about potential spoilers in their reviews.
03 Oct 2011
We watched “Of Gods and Men” the other night. Well what a lovelily made fillum. It’s a slow paced one though so if Transformers is your sort of thing then I wouldn’t bother.
It’s a case in what happens when the outside world intrudes into a cloistered life. We have a bunch of monks (I think that’s the correct collective noun) living in Algeria doing their helping the community stuff and living in complete harmony with the locals. The difference in religions mean little to either party and they all mingle happily. At one point the monks are invited to someone’s son’s party (sort of a religious coming of age thing) and are welcomed warmly and they, in turn, are happy to be there. In other words the monks are locals just like anyone else.
But then the civil war kicks off and foreigners are being killed and girls without veils are stabbed on buses etc. All very unpleasant.
The monks themselves are a mixed bunch and very well drawn characters. Some are old and fatalistic but happy with whatever happens, the youngest monk is terrified more than any. The trials of the group form the second half of the fillum. Tis lovely.
A wonderfully warm and poignant study of faith, brotherhood, neighbourliness and duty. I shan’t divulge the ending though.
Yesterday we went to a monkey place. We were expecting a bunch of different monkeys but instead there were lots of 1 particular type. In fact they were from North Africa, indeed the same place as the fillum was set. Barbary Macaques they were.
J wasn’t too impressed but everyone else was. Nice place.
29 Mar 2011
I watched District 9 for the first time last night. It’s a fillum that was much talked about at the time of its release but I managed to miss.
So what to say about it?
I rather liked it. Mainly in a “that was well done” way rather than a visceral “that moved me” way tho.
Your main actor (Sharlto Copley) was excellent. His portayal of a bloke that we all know (if you’ve worked in an office) doing his job was very good as was his descent into the meat of the plot.
The story was nothing desperately new, nor were the morals: “humans are the nasty ones”, “aliens may not be all they seem”, “money trumps everything”, “alien weapons are waaaaay cooool” and of course “Nigerians are evil money-grubbing bullies and psychopaths” (err maybe not that last there). But I thought it handled them well.
The last section. It moved the fillum from quite a thoughtful one into a Transformers movie of all things. I guess it was only to be expected; after all what’s a sci-fi fillum without exploding heads and fizzy weapons? I reckon they had to sell the thing to distributors and without the fizz-bang of the ending it wouldn’t have been bought.
Stil there’s ample scope for a sequel (I’d guess that was in the deal as well) to address these short-comings. As we know sequels often improve upon the original…
09 Jan 2011
I’ll implant a bloody idea into your subconsciousness shall I? How about this fillum is massively over-rated?
If you haven’t gathered I’m talking about the top rated (by Mark Kermode among many others) fillum of last year, Inception.
The basic theme of a thriller taking place in dreams etc yes fair enough. But what on earth has the fuss been about?
Apparently it’s a tricky fillum to follow. Really? Seemed pretty straight-forward to me. “ah yes which dream are they in and what’s real?” Erm haven’t you been watching? That bit is dream 1, that is dream 2 etc. Very very easy if you ask me.
“Ah but it all fitted together so well”, well duuh, that’s called using parintheses. Any beginner computer programmer or mathematician can do nested parintheses. Why’s that so special?
Ah there we have the nub of the problem. This is a fillum with logic instead of a soul.
The story is fairly ludicrous but let’s go with it otherwise I’d be dismissing all sci-fi everywhere and I’m quite a fan of good sci-fi (5th Element still rates as the best proper sci-fi fillum ever).
We have a damaged and disturbed lead character trying to get home to his kids (torn between a yawn and a retch here), doing “one last job” (more yawning) but one that’s never been done before (chain yawning). Don’t care for him, don’t care for the other characters, don’t care that he gets home or what. There’s so little character building going on that it seems they’re only there as pegs to hang the script on.
So then we get to the business end of the plot. Nested dreams. Ok so we’re going to get wild roller-coaster dreams of fabulous imaginings. Well no. What we actually get are various video game levels (the city one, the one set in a hotel, the one in a snowy landscape) full of men running and shooting. Ooh imaginative then.
Where were the everlasting stairs they mention early in the fillum? Where is the bit where someone’s running but getting nowhere? Where was the waking up naked on a tube train (oh that was prolly best left in my head)?
It does seem that the writer and director has very poor dreams.
They also have a rather poor sense of using music in their fillums. There were plenty of opportunities for a bit of silence and reflection but pretty much all conversation was covered by music of varying degrees of intrusivity ranging from totally obfuscating to merely very distracting.
Oh yes and the character stuff was between main character and his wife who’s died. They were in a dream world for 50 years apparently and they built a wonderful life down there. Apparently. What they did seem to build was a horrific concrete metropolis with no aesthetic joy nor extravagance nor imagination. A pair of tedious dullards.
9/10 on IMDb? Best fillum of 2010? If so then what a poor reflection of how bad people’s experience with movies has become in recent years.
04 Jan 2011
It’s a tired start to the new year this time. Not through over-indulgence nor nothing like it. Just a bit tired.
Life’s proper busy at present with family stuff, work stuff and very little time for much else. A pain as I’m supposed to be doing an OU course in my spare time. Ah well it’ll get there.
I do still insist on an occasional fillum though and a couple of them stick out from recent days.
Both score highly on IMDb, not convinced I agree with the relative scores tho.
The better of the two goes by the rather impressive title “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford“. A true story told very well by a cast doing extremely well. Apparently they didn’t over-dub at all which was a shame as their speech is often very mumbled. I was annoyed by this at first but eventually stopped worrying and decided to treat it like Shakespeare dialogue – IE loads of it goes past me but I generally get what they’re on about.
The main actors are fantastic, the cinematography is gorgeous and the tension builds well.
Considering it’s a long fillum (160mins) and we watched it over 2 nights I was surprisingly enthralled. The title tells you what happens but if you don’t know the story, you don’t know when things happen and what kicks off at what point.
It’s a very good telling of a tale where few of the characters are likeable, and of what happens when bad people start turning on each other.
There’s also a strong note regarding Jesse James’ fame and reputation. He’s a viscious git of a man responsible for murder and armed robbery, quick to use torture and violence for his own benefit but somehow he got into the state of being seen as a bit of a hero for sticking it to the man etc. Weird.
Highly recommended if you don’t mind long fillums that take their time.
It scores 7.7/10 on IMDb (at time of writing).
The next was supposedly a family fillum we got for N. Now R tells her stories about a character called Penelope. In these stories Penelope is a very thinly veiled N taking part in big adventures.
We found a fillum called “Penelope” so it was watched n’all. N was excited.
I’d not heard of it before, had no clue what it was about but hey it’s “u” rated so should be good for N eh?
It was apparently a family fillum but the moral compass was all over the shop.
The titular Penelope was the unlucky recipient of a family curse from years past and was born with the face of a pig. Well that’s what the narration said. Actually it was Christina Ricci with a minor amount of make-up.
She was supposed to be repellent to all suitors so had hidden away whilst her mother tried to marry her off (which would break the curse).
There’s a man blah blah blah, a reporter tryiing to get pics of pig faced girl blah blah.
Eventually she realises that she has to be happy in her own skin and the curse is lifted (meaning the nose turns into a normal nose). She then gets the guy. Fin!
So ugliness is a curse, men will run screaming from ugliness and you’re only acceptable guy fodder when you look good. Nice moral there!
N didn’t understand most of this fillum. There were no adventures, the script was confusing and why are those men running away from the pretty girl with the weird nose? Bless her for sticking with it but we wouldn’t have blamed her if she’d got bored and wanted to do something else.
Somehow this dross scores 7/10 on IMDb. There’s no way the two fillums can be considered in the same league. The second isn’t cinematic, the acting is over-done (think standard US comedy acting) and the moral remains dubious at best. Shocking failure in taste by IMDb readers there!
15 May 2010
Well looky here scary fillum fans.
26 Mar 2010
Saw “In Bruges” last night. I’d heard lots about it and was looking forward to it.
Turned out to be a bit slow and dull.
Very few of the characters were worth caring for, R was concerned that something horrible would happen to the sweet and lovely, pregnant hotel owner. Apart from her though everyone was either a git or worse. I had no care whatsoever if any of them got shot or maimed or whatever.
Brugge looked rather nice though. Probably the prettiest town I’ve even been to.
18 Mar 2010
Hi all. I am around and about but v busy.
Stuff wot’s happened:
- Bunch of fillums seen, rented via Lovefilm.com which seems to be pretty good but there have been a couple of issues of discs not quite working properly. Nothing that stopped the things working completely but sticking on occasion and being a pain.
- Best was probably “Eastern Promises” by David Cronenberg. It’s about Russian mafia in London and is quite gruesome and unpleasant. Same director and star of “A History of Violence” (which is better, it did at least seem to have a complete story arc). If I didn’t expect there’ll never be an “Eastern Promises 2″ I’d say that the scene was set for that to happen.
- Currently have “In Bruges” to see.
- Spending a lot of time in Derby (for obvious reasons).
- Chocfest been to. Lovely to see so many friends again. Sorry no full review as I missed the show again. Hopefully I’ll get to stay for Lestival’s show.
- Worrying stories about Chocfest maybe not being carried on as most if the orgs won’t be around. Fingers crossed that younger Yorkies will take over. Hopefully things aren’t so negative and I just caught people tattling.
- Bad news re a friendly chap in York having had a heart attack. Good luck and best wishes to him. Get well soon Yo-Yo Monster.
- Work being a pain.
- Getting better after Labyrinthitis.
There’s prolly more to mention but that’ll do for now.
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