Monday, 12 January 2015

other films

Only God Forgives
Post-colonial butchery, the new opium wars are fought on screen. The apparent antagonist Chang invites no sympathy as a character, and yet ambiguously embodies the justified and uncontainable resentment Bangkok feels in being nominated child sex industry destination of choice. The camera crawls, excruciating, slow along corridors, present palpably on corners of streets heavy with a tropical urban density of breathing a dirty humidity, the film sounds and smells like south east Asia, interspersed with the equally familiar lux of lacquered spaces, gleaming interiors. The film is a night market of photographic MSG, and the very oversaturated palette of neons rings as the retinal hangover from too much food colouring. Punishingly violent with lashings of Tarantinic ketchup, but I would agree with Peter Bradshaw that the 'pornographic' ascription is a misdirection in the film's publicity. The film allowed one to feel as angry as one should on these issues. There is a lot going on.

Worth the recommendation given by Claire. This somewhat hammy acted piece of parochial interest captures in theme, tone and atmosphere something preciously and specifically Kelantanese.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Sean Penn is God. Walter Mitty goes in search of God, and does not find him in the storm (Erkigsnek sailing out of Nuuk), and does not find him in the fire (Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull eruption), but rather in the still small voice, on the top of a mountain.

Now You See Me
Nolan's Inception has apparently given license to screenwriters everywhere to attempt fiendishly ambitious plot devices. Cropped of continuity and coherence, the plot twist(s?) serve as a mangled appendage to an utterly unsatisfying kit-of-parts picture.

Kite Runner
'Children are not colouring books' Many the insights and varied textures going on in a complex and beautiful film. Yet, the home moments of American dreamy sappy sentimentality shot with a soap opera's pedestrian approach to domestic fluff undermined this otherwise moving and triumphantly believeable piece of story-telling about story-telling. Also, much like Sarah's Key using Nazis as a prepackaged bogie, the beardy Taliban play a transparently generic role accessory to a private set piece about self-loathing and self-discovery in a bland and emotionally pornographic way. Guilt, childhood trauma and helpless complicity in stereotyped evil emerge as push button parts of a self-pitious tearjerker, and I think they would have gotten away with it if it were not so over-tidily resolved, blurring abrasively the real-life tragedy of Afghanistan's ruination with the convenience of airline connections and the snugness of a softly lit duvet. Afghanistan (/North West China) is photographed vastly, layered, coloured and bewondered ~ mythical realism entrenching simplistic orientalism. The period pieces, particularly the 70s birthday are worth the film on their own, lingering as a memory of glorious human flourishing, similar in age and vitality to Cambodia, now erased without trace.

Portraiture of a medical condition that addles perception and finds analogy in the melee of London. Nothing sufficiently propels the narrative, we can't really be bothered to go looking for this brother, and so the hurdles en route seem barely worth the run up. LGBT cinema, like 'Christian' films and other issue-driven movies are apt to congratulate themselves too soon, and the ambiguous wealth of all involved makes it harder still to empathise with motley collection of stock characters. But as a painterly conjuring of the internal experience of epileptic moments I felt it peerlessly immersive, engulfing and utter - the mind is mystery all and I was brought to the edge of the deep to peer in, fearing the fragility of my own grasp of myself within the often ineffable urban experience of London.

Mr Turner
Sumptuous visually and verbally, if indulgently long. Ruskin played as a comic character, was among the many interests in Leigh's very-many-layered-and-textured caricatures. I'm not sure what the film was 'saying' amongst its exquisite props nor how far a grumpy bleak Turner is being rendered in Leigh's own image.

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