Twitter

‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’ DVD 17/01/2009

Note – This is a slightly edited reposting of a May 27th 2008 review. I have just watched the film on DVD for the first time and largely my feelings remain the same.

I love Raiders of the Lost Ark. I’m borderline obsessed with it. I likely love it more then anyone has ever loved anything in the history of love. I love it more then anyone reading these words has ever loved any album, movie, book, person or food type. Despite living in the same house for twenty years, I’ve probably seen the movie more times then I’ve seen my own mother. Those first few months, in which my mouth was clenched around her nipple, I’m fairly sure my eyes were primarily focused on the nearest TV set pumping out a grainy VHS copy.

Now I’m going to avoid going on some epic, sprawling quest into the heart of fandom mania, as I lack in restraint. When it comes to this series, I’m the consummate fanboy, and the ranting, boyish enthusiasm of all those similarly minded should negate the need for most of us to bother writing reviews. A level-headed critique is impossible anyway when you’re this far from objectivity. It’s too nostalgic, too tied in with my childhood for me to even dream of sticking a number/5 at the end of this text. For that reason, this might be the ‘impossible’ review, as any attempt to rack the film up next to the original trilogy is destined to fail…but I’ll try.

I liked it a lot. Loved parts. Had reservations about other parts. I’m going to try not to be a nitpicker as I enjoyed the movie greatly and (as stated) I prefer to avoid ranting, but there are things that need to be discussed.

The effects were superb. I found myself strangely at ease with the abundance of CG, Kaminski’s tendency to over light everything proving far more irritating. The opening scene is the worst offender, the silly bastard saturating every frame with more light then any casual retina can handle. Thankfully, purely by accident, the change in visual style kinda fits the 50s timeframe. On the related subject, I liked the 50s cultural references and all the ‘cold war’ paranoia stuff was interesting, but could have been explored in more depth.

The big set pieces were superb. Special mention to the jungle chase, which is glorious. The ‘silly’ stuff worked fine. It’s all in line with the other Raiders sequels. The vine swinging, the waterfalls etc all fine and good. Conceptually, the whole ‘aliens’ angle works nicely too, and I had no real issues with the core plot.

Certain sequences were poorly executed. Not necessarily flawed conceptually, but poorly filmed/edited. Everything between Mutt/Indy leaving America and the return of Marion is some of the worst material Steven Spielberg has ever shot. The asylum, the graveyard, the discovery of the skull, the interrogation of Indy by Blanchett; It’s not great. I’m sure it read fine, but these scenes lack any intrigue or tension. They’re flat, insipid, confusing, and feel like the work of a lesser talent or even a second unit.

Thankfully the return of Karen Allen saves the day. Every scene she is on screen is a joy. The bickering and revelations; it’s solid gold. Everything relating to Marion was the equivalent of a great extended universe fan fiction. I’m not entirely sure if it’s good drama, but there’s a heart beating under the surface, something entirely absent from the attempts to prequelise Star Wars. The final scene of the movie is sublime, and probably my favourite of the film.

The John Williams score, though basically a Raiders re-hash, is of course wonderful.

A tagged on ‘happy ending’ to the original trilogy, it doesn’t really feel like a proper entry in the series simply due to the elapsed time period, but KOTCS is by no means an unwelcome addition. As a third sequel, flaws are to be expected, and on the whole it made me happy enough to justify its existence and the prior excitement. The true miracle is that it even exists after so much time and speculation. Thank God it’s great, silly, spectacular summer nonsense of the highest order.

It isn’t Raiders, but it is Indiana Jones.

4/5

PS – And yes, I like the magic fridge….

‘The Wrestler’ 17/01/2009

Off the back of the ‘The Fountain’ (a film so astonishingly good it should probably be made illegal), Darren Aronofsky manages to slip back to the planet Earth with ease. He imbues the world of Randy ‘The Ram’ with every bit the realism of ‘Requiem for a Dream’, helped in no small part by an excellent cast, script and Bruce Springsteen’s best song in years. There’s been a lot said about Mickey Rourke’s performance in the media. All of it is true.

4.5/5

‘Slumdog Millionaire’ 12/01/2009

Danny Boyle might be about as versatile a filmmaker as exists on the planet. He jumps genre with such effortless ease as to make even the biggest cynic turn their head. His projects don’t always work, but such an unabashed risk taker is worthy of respect even when his films aren’t particularly deserving of praise.

Though I’m hesitant when any film starts’ picking up absurd levels of hype in the run-up to awards season, the colourful and energetic ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ is mostly deserving of the adoration being thrown in its direction.

This is Boyle’s best film since ‘Trainspotting’.

4/5

‘Batman Returns’ DVD 11/01/2009

‘Batman Returns’ is a film of great personal significance to me, so I have no shame in admitting I’m insufferably biased.

This might be my favourite comic-book film; a blackly comic journey of schizophrenic man-animals set in a snowy, gothic fantasyland. It has more in common with ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ than the other franchise instalments, Tim Burton using the clout earned by the first films commercial success to pilot a head-trip into his most depraved and disturbing fantasies.

I love it.

5/5

‘Blade Runner: Final Cut’ DVD 10/01/2009

I’ve had a tempestuous relationship with ‘Blade Runner’ over the last ten years, but for the first time here I feel as though I’m making progress with the film. Ridley Scott creates such a beautiful world that my (significant) problems with the Deckard character and his journey are rendered almost irrelevant. Every time I’m given a chance to linger on how frustratingly little screentime it uses to explore its most interesting theme (specifically; the preciousness and importance of life), my concerns are quickly swept away by another gorgeous image.

I feel I’m slowly working towards cracking it. Maybe next time.

4/5

‘Role Models’ 08/01/2009

I took some Co-Codamol this evening to alleviate my back pain. At some point, I think around 9’o clock, I started to get high and decided to go and see ‘Role Models’.

I liked it.

4/5

‘Twilight’ 04/01/2009

I have been reliably informed that the ‘Twilight’ series is best avoided. Its reputation precedes it as the worst sort of romantic teenage chick-lit pap. This film, against all the odds, transcends its (allegedly) unreadable literary twin to be *gasp* actually pretty good.

Catherine Hardwicke is probably a better director then the material deserves. The screenplay is poor, the characters are lazy templates fit only for teen girl wish fulfilment and the dialogue is often risible. Luckily, Hardwicke squeezes good performances out of her youthful cast and the film is well shot, well edited and likeable. It’s not worthy of the phenomenon, but it’s by no means a bad picture and probably better then the material deserves.

3.5/5

Radiohead’s 15 Step over the end credits helped.

‘Australia’ 03/01/2009

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find a lot to like about ‘Australia’.

Despite an iffy opening, once it hits its stride the middle section paces along nicely. The problem arrives when the film fails to fade to black as Nicole Kidman and the tuxedoed Hugh Jackman embrace, instead struggling along for a further hour. Luhrmann’s a good enough filmmaker to get away with such a self-indulgent move as playing through the Darwin bombings, but better screenwriting would never have allowed it to make its way into the final film.

I found more to enjoy in this clichéd throwback then I expected. I’m extremely aware of its shortcomings, but this time Luhrmann gets a reprieve. Just.

3.5/5

Ps – At one point the slightly annoying mixed race boy is smeared with charcoal so he is able to see a screening of ‘The Wizard of Oz’. This actually happens.

‘The Reader’ 03/01/2009

I can’t believe that only a couple of years after her piece on ‘Extras’, Kate Winslet is playing the awards circuit with a Holocaust movie. Unfortunately for her (though she is, as always, excellent), it’s just not a terribly interesting film.

The later scenes with Ralph Fiennes as an older Michael (the weakest of the novel), are easily the most interesting of this adaptation. The rest is a by-the-numbers retread of the book, lacking its power and eroticism.

3.5/5

‘The Spirit’ 01/01/2009

I’m not exactly sure what just happened. Frank Miller is out of his fucking mind.

Samuel L Jackson might give the most glorious, bizarre and awful performance I have ever seen. It’s almost worth seeing the movie just to behold whatever the hell it is he’s doing.

People laughed. People left the cinema.

1/5

 Page 45 of 49  « First  ... « 43  44  45  46  47 » ...  Last » 

Pages

Archives