Scott Pilgrim and the passive Princess?

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

On Saturday we got around to watching Scott Pilgrim vrs the World. Towards the end, my enjoyment started to be tempered with uncertainty.

Spoilers follow, so here’s a cut…
(more…)

shouting lava lava lava (RotS spoilers)

Friday, 20 May 2005

Star Wars seems to be a series of films which provokes either fanatic devotion or fanatical hatred. Reviewers line up to award Revenge of the Sith one star and cry “thank god that’s over!” or fans refuse to hear a bad word said about The Phantom Menace despite it being quitely clearly an imperfect film.

I love Star Wars but I at least know that to bring balance to the Force you need both the Light and the Dark. So, having seen it yesterday at Odeon Leicester Square here are some spoilery but detailed things that struck me about it…

The Light Side

  • I love Obi-Wan’s new “show me your gung fu” fighting stance. It’s clearly there so we see he’s developed new fighting skills since AotC, but it just made me smile every time. I must stop watching wire-fu films.
  • General Grevious. I admit when I read the scroll-by a few months back, I assumed this was just taking the piss. And it is in some ways – he’s such a delightfully pantomime villain.
  • Padme’s final line.
  • “It’s a volcanic planet.” Yes! Bring on the lava! I’ve been waiting years for that fight.
  • Real use of filmic language. I do not think Lucas is a great director. I think he makes very enjoyable spectacles with lots of whizz-bang lights and stirring Williams music to carry the emotion. But RotS actually uses cinematography to create meaning for once. The twilight scenes on Corusant are literally the sun setting on the Republic. Gradually the colours drain until we’re hit with stark monochromes inside Organa’s ship. The lava fight uses the same colour palette as the end of The Empire Strikes Back. Visually, we’re slammed into the less civilised age of the Empire.
  • Despite Hayden Christianson and the script failing to sell me Obi-Wan and Anakin’s friendship, Ewan McGregor does manage to sell Obi-Wan’s sense of both betrayal and of knowing his duty is to betray someone.

The Dark Side

  • Child actors. There should be laws.
  • There should also be laws against using a crap word when better ones exist. “They killed the Younglings.”? How the hell did Ewan say that straight-faced?
  • Just because you can do a grand sweeping starship battle with every damn thing in focus and in minute detail doesn’t mean you should. I admit the big space battles aren’t a key bit for me, but the beginning was just too “look what we can do!”. Especially when a series like Firefly is doing smudgy, handheld CGI work and letting the edges fall out of focus.
  • Emperor battles are boring. Yoda arriving was very cool, but Windu’s scenes really fell flat. You’ve got Samuel bloody Jackson and a fight scene falls flat? What?
  • OK, so I have to concede that my “Luke and Leia are secretly Obi-Wan’s” theory is well and truly shot down now.
  • Only now does it occur to the Jedi that prophesies can be misread?
  • Technology and hairstyles appear not to change for the next seventeen years.

The Balance
The bits which will very in effect depending on if you imagine watching all six in story order instead of release order. e.g.

  • the shot of Tattooine.
  • Obi-Wan’s shocked “babies?!?” after the first two hours of the film have only ever said “baby”.
  • Leia’s theme music.
  • Wookies.

Overall, I enjoyed it immensely but then I’m a fan and would say that.

At the BBC’s Test your knowledge of the Force, I got 14/14.

Excellent. A true Jedi master. You’re probably already camping outside a cinema.

It’s a bit obvious, Robert

Monday, 16 May 2005

Curse you, Law.

I’ve been tagged on a meme. In the sulky spirit which causes me to tear up round robin letters and risk the hell and damnation they promise anyone who breaks the chain, I’m not going to tag anyone at the end of this. But I will do the answers:

1. Total number of films I own on DVD/video:
DVD:7. VHS: 200+

2. The last film I bought:
Hero.
Although I am meaning to get House of Flying Daggers this week.

3. The last film I watched:

  • On TV: Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade. There’s no good reason because I was working at a cinema when it came out and have therefore seen it well over forty times. But it is responsible for one of my favourites lines (“I wrote it down so I wouldn’t have to remember!”) and I wanted to vegetate.
  • On DVD/VHS: been watching a lot of TV stuff. Oh, I did watch Kill Bill (both volumes) recently.
  • At the cinema: don’t recall, but I do have a ticket for Revenge of the Sith at the Odeon Leicester Square on Thursday.

4. Five films that I watch a lot:

  • Brazil : Gilliam’s done bigger and better films since but this film literally changed my life. It’s also one of the finest retro-dystopias ever filmed.
  • A Life Less Ordinary : My curl-up-with-ice-cream feelgood romance movie. About a wannbe writer’s attempted kidnap of a spoilt heiress and their resultant crime-spree. With Holly Hunter as a pyschotic angel trying to make them fall in love. And a dance number to ‘Beyond the Sea’. Admittedly the final animated bit is rubbish, but the rest is fantastic.
  • Once Upon a Time in China (1, 2 and 3) : playful without ever losing a consistant tone, OUaTiC isn’t as sense-numbingly beautiful as the modern wuxia stuff like Crouching Tiget, Hidden Dragon, Hero or HoFD. But it has Jet Li as folk hero Wong Fei Hung and some very very lovely fight sequences. Avoid Once Upon a Time in China and America though (a kind of Wong Fei Hung Dances With Wolves thing).
  • The Philidelphia Story : Katy Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant in the b&w non-musical original of High Society. There’s a horde of old b&w movies I taped off-air which I dip into regularly (The Ladykillers, A Matter of Life & Death, Some Like It Hot, The Man in the White Suit) but I think the Philidelphia Story typifies that little niche.
  • Hero : Having cried at the cinema, I expected to be more blasé when I got the DVD. I’m not. It borrows from Ran and Rashamon in terms of colour coding and narrative devices but it also knocks rubbish like the Matrix into a cocked hat with its fight sequences and emotional overplaying (or maybe I’m just a fool for Zhang Ziyi’s trembling pouty lip). Jet Li came out of ‘retirement’ to make this and you can see why.

Meanwhile, A is getting all existential. And I’m post-modernist. Possibly not a shock to anyone there:

You scored as Postmodernist. Postmodernism is the belief in complete open interpretation. You see the universe as a collection of information with varying ways of putting it together. There is no absolute truth for you; even the most hardened facts are open to interpretation. Meaning relies on context and even the language you use to describe things should be subject to analysis.

Postmodernist
94%
Existentialist
69%
Cultural Creative
69%
Materialist
69%
Modernist
63%
Idealist
38%
Romanticist
19%
Fundamentalist
0%

What is Your World View? (corrected…hopefully)
created with QuizFarm.com

Star Wars Marathon – spare golden ticket

Sunday, 15 May 2005

Is there anyone reading this who is a massive Star Wars fan but missed out on getting tickets to the marathon tomorrow in Leicester Square? You know, the 14 hour thing which starts at 7am and ends with Revenge of the Sith in the evening?

If so, are you based in London?

If so, wanna ticket?

My friend – and editor – Lawrence Miles has an unexpected spare after his companion had to drop out. But his web access is all kerbluey. So he’s asked me to find a new home for this thing. Pairs are going for £300+ on ebay. This is a single ticket for Stalls Row O and will not be going for more than the original ticket price of £50.

Anyone?

The ticket now has a home.

Argh. No, it hasn’t. Anyone? Hello?

No, this time it really does.

I hope. Now I can vegetate in front of Indiana Jones in peace.


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