Monday, January 12, 2009

More Films, Seen Recently

  • The Fall (Tarsem, 2006): "This movie's stupid. And it's "visually astonishing" only in the tiresome, superficial way that perfume ads are "visually astonishing."" (MDA) ... ""The Fall" is a genuine labor of love — and a real bore." (NL, NYT)

  • Elegy (Isabel Coixet, 2008): A standout performance by Ben Kingsley enabled me to enjoy the film immensely. It is said that Roth's novel is more scathing of the protagonist's misogyny. I look forward to watching The Human Stain (Robert Benton, 2003), though critics panned it, and Disgrace (Steve Jacobs, 2008), based on the novel by Coetzee.

  • It's a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946): Black and white characters. Black and white situations. The denouement is silly. I understand it could be heart-warming to many. Ikiru (Kurosawa, 1952) is head and shoulders above this in portraying how a man finds meaning when his life and work don't offer any.

  • Not Without My Daughter (Brian Gilbert, 1991): Interesting (though overdone) take on tradition/religion/patriarchy in third-world countries. The film was not allowed to be shown in India for fear of alienating Iran.

  • Kingdom of Heaven (Ridley Scott, 2005): Saladin is by far the strongest character in this film. Orlando Bloom is a pleasure to look at, but he can't really talk like a leader. I found it a deeper film (though it is still somewhat cliche-ridden) than Gladiator, which was better narrated but was ultimately superficial.

3 comments:

Surbhi said...

Not without my Daughter: the ban is a non-entity now with satellite channel like PIX airing the film. The film's last sequences, when the woman escapes through the difficult terrain and escapes a rape attempt, are perhaps the only scenes, where the tension is really built. In all other scenes, it is contrived. Hindi Film Industry paid tribute to this film by lifting the idea of escape from fascism and violence in Shakti ( 2002) , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakti_(2002_film).

nitesh said...

I saw the The Fall recently and loved every moment of the film. Not only the frames are beautifully composed but everything works perfectly to give us an interesting fairy tale. Where one could simply rest back and relax.

Harmanjit Singh said...

Nitesh, I found the film not working at so many levels.

It has beautiful shots, yes. But it feels more like a slide show than a film. There is no coherence and narrative sense to the the shots except that the director wanted us to see some places.

It is a travel-brochure disguised as a film.