Oscar Injustice Pt 1 – Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk
Feb 2012 17

As 26th Feb and the 84th Oscar ceremony approaches, I will be posting a series of movie scenes highlighting awesome performances that should have been recognised by the Academy.

Two of the greatest acting perfomances in one movie Woman Under the Influence 1974(Directed by John Cassavetes): Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk who should have been awarded Best Actress (nominated but won by Ellen Burstyn for Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore) and Best Supporting Actor (not nominated and won by Robert de Niro for The Godfather Pt. II).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOaiBZNcyY0

NP

Oscar Injustice Pt.2 Harrison Ford
Feb 2012 18

 

Continuing our reflection on what should have been as we head towards the 84th Academy Awards on 26th Feb.

Although nominated in 1985 for Best Actor for his portrayal of John Book in Peter Weir’s Witness, Harrison Ford’s finest acting moments on screen are as the obsessive inventor Allie Fox in Weir’s The Mosquito Coast the following year. Ford has never been a dynamic character actor, but his work with Weir was the closest he came. Criminal he wasn’t on the shortlist of nominations in 1985.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbieKj2m4pU

NP

Oscar Injustice Pt. 3 Burt Reynolds
Feb 2012 19

Continuing our reflection on what should have been as we head towards the 84th Academy Awards on 26th Feb.

Burt Reynolds’ performance in Deliverance 1972 signalled a potential major acting talent.The fact that this was wasted on Smokey and the Bandit and The Canonball Run and a further slide into a mire of mediocrity takes nothing away from a raw and energised turn as adventurer Lewis. The twist that sees him catapulted from Alpha male leader to whimpering tagalong is all the more shocking because of Reynolds’ performance in the first half of the film. Perhaps scenes of male-rape were too much for the Academy in ’72. And perhaps the fact the Academy looked over him pushed Reynolds’ to decide to make sh*t for the rest of his career.

NP

Oscar Injustice Pt. 4 Morgan Freeman
Feb 2012 20

Continuing our reflection on what should have been as we head towards the 84th Academy Awards on 26th Feb.

As an Oscar winner for his role as Eddie Dupris in Million Dollar Baby, many would say that to argue a case for Morgan Freeman would be diluted. I disagree. When Se7en hit our screens in 1995 there was an outcry at how far serial killer movies could push the boundaries of taste. However in the years since, David Fincher’s brooding thriller has garnered a reputation for its restraint, and for all its implied obscenity, Se7en is an understated and thoughtful film. At the heart of this darkness is Freeman’s quiet, reflective performance, which perfectly depicts an honourable man surrounded by a world in decline and his determination to fight for good despite his growing despair. Such is his sense of calm at the film’s core as Detective Somerset that, as a viewer, when he becomes genuinely rattled in the film’s final moments, you are left with the certainty that, in the long run, humanity is screwed.

Freeman has never been better. A turn worthy of a nomination at least.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8WIiHbyxIQ

NP

Mar 2012 03

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The first in a series of reviews highlighting movies that have been unfairly panned and worth re-visiting for any semblance of merit. First up K C Bascombe’s ‘Fear of the Dark’ (2003).

Brian Billings is a boy with a phobia of the dark. He is convinced he sees and hears sinister things in his own house. To combat it all, he keeps his lights on, and obsessively carries a torch with him, just in case. The film sets things up nicely when his parents go out on a stormy night, leaving elder brother Dale (begrudgingly) in charge. Dale’s girlfriend soon joins them. And then the storm knocks out the power leaving the three without light….

The film is horror ‘lite’, striking a similar tone to Joe Dante’s ‘The Hole’, and therefore struggles to find a comfortable audience. However, imagine something of the Goonies in tone crossed with Darkness Falls and you are partway there. It has some decent moments and while far from a classic, is better than its imdb rating of 5.4 and passes a rainy (or stormy) Sunday afternoon or evening.

Watch Trailer

NP

‘Against the Grain’ Pt 2 – Solaris (2002)
Mar 2012 08

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The second in a series of reviews highlighting movies that have been unfairly panned and worth re-visiting for any semblance of merit:

I love Steven Soderbergh’s Solaris (2002). I love it more than Tarkovsky’s original (1972). Simple as that.

The mean, moody opening is magnificent and rain-soaked. Clooney is as far from the bad memories of Batman and Robin as he could possibly be and clearly wanted to make a statement to Hollywood that he didn’t always want to play. A bold step.

And this is where Solaris failed. People wanted a blaster wielding ‘Clooney in Space’ saga. This film wasn’t it. A thinking-person’s sci-fi, with one of my favourite soundtracks, this is puzzling, challenging, sad and tender.

Clooney is brilliant and the staging onboard the ship is beautifully designed and realised. The cinematography throughout is a dream.

For this film to get a paltry 6.2 on imdb is a mark of how underrated it is. If Hollywood only backed more of this stuff, the average cinema-goer’s value system would be overhauled we would all to want to engage with something more meaningful.

An elusive, beguiling and woefully undervalued flick. See it.

Solaris Clip – “I remembered her wrong”

NP

Mar 2012 13

Am I the only one that is sick and tired of peoples variations on the Keep Calm posters?  Will this ever die?  At first I liked the typography and simplicity of the original piece but who out there is demanding these massively not clever or funny variations on a theme.  Maybe because it is so simple that it has widened the barrier to entry and allowed any idiot with computer to create their own hilarious version.  If you were thinking of doing your own version please don’t.

Mar 2012 16

Great talk on creativity and the way modern society looks after its creative people.

Misogyny in Bladerunner?
Mar 2012 17

Bladerunner is my favourite film. By a mile.

But there is something that I’ve always found a little disturbing, and that’s its portrayal of women and their deaths.

The two female replicants, one a ‘pleasure model’, the other an erotic snake dancer, are hunted by Deckard throughout the film, as are their male counterparts Roy Batty and Leon Kowalski. However, where Leon’s death is quick and simple, and Roy’s is a glorious and dignified ‘fade out’, Zhora and Pris are both seen as excuses for a highly elaborate slowmo, ‘romantic’ death, lingered over, with neither wearing much in the way of clothing.

Undeniably, Zhora’s desperate lunge through plate glass shop window displays, surrounded by primary colour neon and fake snow is a beautifully constructed (and re-constructed for the Final Cut version) and shot scene. But is the bikini clad slow mo necessary? What does it add?

Zhora’s Death Scene

When Deckard tracks down Pris in the ruined building in which she’s been hiding out, there is a brief physical tussle before again, Deckard dispatches her with a couple of shots from his gun. Her thrashing and screaming is ended only by the second gunshot, which sends her body flying into the air, again in slowmo:

Pris’ Death Scene

I would change nothing about Bladerunner. But I do wonder on its comment about the worth of women, or the perception of them in the future. Heck, even the ‘love scene’ between Deckard and Rachel is a male-dominant scene in which Rachel ‘obeys’ Deckard’s commands to adore him.

Perhaps it’s got something to do with the era in which the film was made, a sign of the 80s more than anything else. But then Ridley has never chosen to change the elaborate images of his female replicants demises in the numerous updates of the movie.

Just saying, that’s all.

NP

Great Star Wars Art
Mar 2012 18

 

Okay so we like a poster on this site and these Olly Moss designed Star Wars trilogy images are three of the best I’ve seen (the Empire one being my favourite).

 

NP

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