Since a new Coen brothers film is a big event in my opinion, here’s the first trailer for Inside Llewyn Davis which has hit the net today:
Twitter has been full of praise for this trailer, but to me it just looks like big robots hitting things… with an incongruous use of GLaDOS.
And I thought we’d gotten over the “whuuuuurph” sound in trailers? I still have faith in Guillermo del Toro though.
The handful of you that regularly visit this blog (and I mean handful literally), will notice the site has been through a re-design recently. It should be cleaner looking and easy to find things to read. Gone is the endless scrolling and gone
are will be the pointless stars arbitrarily rewarded on my whim.
I’m also intending to focus on shorter reviews slightly more – you’ll notice the title above has changed to ‘concise movie reviews from the UK’ – because that’s what I feel I do best, but there will always be the occasion to write 1000 words on why The Expendables 2 is a postmodern masterpiece, and I’m hoping to differentiate those bigger reviews/opinion pieces from the standard reviews.
Hopefully you enjoy the new look and focus – I’m intending to write more, promise – and three reviews are coming up tonight to kick things off.
Also, if anyone wants to design me a logo for the price of a cinema ticket and beer do let me know.
Also, two more:
(I should probably use this opportunity to point out Step Up 4 is out tomorrow).
So the Sight & Sound poll results were announced last week, and as expected, Vertigo triumphed. Personally I was happy to see The Searchers return to the top ten but sad to see Singin’ in the Rain go. My biggest disappointment was the lack of any film more recent than 1968 at the top. In The Mood for Love placed highest at 24, but There Will Be Blood not even making the top 100 was a surprising oversight.
Well, not ones to let our opinions go unheard, the ‘Film Bloggers of the Internet’ have gathered together under the guidance of HeyUGuys’ Adam Lowes to put forward our own top tens. Amazingly 120 people contributed and came up with a very different list.
Here are both lists:
|Critics (Sight and Sound)||Bloggers (HeyUGuys)|
|1. Vertigo||1. Jaws|
|2. Citizen Kane||2. Back to the Future|
|3. Tokyo Story||3. = The Dark Knight|
|4. The Rules of the Game||3. = Blade Runner|
|5. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans||5. = 2001 A Space Odyssey|
|6. 2001: A Space Odyssey||5. = There Will Be Blood|
|7. The Searchers||5. = Psycho|
|8. Man with a Movie Camera||5. = Citizen Kane|
|9. The Passion of Joan of Arc||9. Pulp Fiction|
|10. 8½||10. = The Thing|
|10. = Alien|
More ‘mainstream’ than S&S but not as shit as imdb’s Top 250, the blogger’s list makes for an interesting read. What we have managed to do at the very least is establish a consensus on the best modern films, something that Sight & Sound failed to do.
There’s an interesting inversion going on: Where the critics conglomerated around a handful of established classics and threw in a wide variety of modern films to their individual lists, the bloggers were quite happy to agree on the likes of Jaws, Back to the Future and Blade Runner as amongst the best in cinema, but had a scattershot approach to anything made before the sixties aside from Citizen Kane.
The two lists side by side make for fascinating reading – and provide a definitive top twenty if you like (well, 21 anyway). It also shows that personal film favourites are quite generational.
For those of you not in the know, Sight & Sound is a BFI-published magazine which has been running since 1932 and takes a serious, scholarly approach to cinema. Once a decade they invite critics and directors to contribute their top ten films, resulting in one of the most definitive lists of the greatest movies ever.
I for one am very excited about the results, and particularly keen to see if Citizen Kane holds onto the top spot as it has done since 1962 or finally relinquishes its place. It will also be interesting to see if There Will Be Blood (above) can become the youngest film to be inducted into the list in several decades.
In putting together my own list I wanted to strike a balance between creative brilliance (what I would refer to as the best movies) and personal preference (the ones I would call my favourite movies), so this list should represent my admiration for the art form as well as my own tastes.
I also wanted to use this as a springboard for a series of reviews, looking back not only at these ten films, but also many others that made my initial long-list and a few greats I’m yet to see (Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans springs to mind). So look out for those in coming months.
In this situation it seems unfair and almost impossible to rank each film individually, so here are my ten sorted chronologically:
The General (1927)
Black Narcissus (1947)
All About Eve (1950)
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
The Searchers (1956)
Ashes of Time (1994)
There Will Be Blood (2007)
Edit: Between the Sight and Sound results being announced and Hey U Guys running their own poll amongst bloggers (which I have contributed to) I have actually revisited my list and made slight alterations. I decided to make my selection more personal, thinking about the films that have made an impact on my life rather than focusing more on ones I think are technically brilliant.
For reference, the old list was: The General; Casablanca; Black Narcissus; Sunset Boulevard; Singin’ in the Rain; Rear Window; The Searchers; Persona; 2001: A Space Odyssey; There Will Be Blood
Let me know what you think of my list on twitter.
Prometheus was a disappointment to most but was entirely serviceable and full of epic visuals, which in my opinion mostly made up for its shortcomings. But the main story of this summer was about three wildly different approaches to superhero movies.
Immediately after I saw The Amazing Spider-Man I proclaimed on twitter that I was suffering superhero fatigue, that The Amazing Spider-Man rehashed not just the original Spider-trilogy, but also did the same thing as all the Marvel films I’d seen over recent years. In fact I was slightly wrong with that assertion, and it took The Dark Knight Rises to bring this realisation into focus.
Watching The Dark Knight Rises I didn’t experience any of the ‘seen it all before’ moments I did with The Amazing Spider-Man, I didn’t even really think of it as a superhero movie, which is a testament to Christopher Nolan’s attempts at grounding the franchise in some sort of parallel reality.
The Avengers meanwhile was an out-and-out comic book adventure. It was loud, colourful, whimsical and funny. And Marvel’s own films (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America et al) leading up to ensemble mega-mix all had the same spirit. I was harsh on The Avengers at the time, but on reflection it’s a much better film than I gave it credit for and I’m looking forward to a re-watch.
Which brings me back to Spider-Man. It doesn’t fit with The Avengers and it doesn’t fit with The Dark Knight Rises, and frankly it doesn’t fit in 2012 full stop. The film straddles an awkward line, taking itself too seriously to provide flat out escapist thrills whilst taking place too far from reality for it to resonate.
The Amazing Spider-Man is already dated. It doesn’t get the tone contemporary viewers are looking for. Far from putting a different take on the web-slinger, it actually inhabits the same cinematic universe as Sami Rami’s creations. The Amazing Spider-Man finds itself grouped in with films like Hulk, Daredevil, Fantastic Four and the X-Men: The Last Stand, films very much of their time which now look dated just a decade or less later.
I can take more serious approaches to comic-book material (Man of Steel is genuinely intriguing) and I’m happy to detach my brain and throw myself into Marvel’s ultra-colourful escapist meta-universe everytime they churn out a sequel or new franchise (I’m very excited by a potential Edgar Wright/Joe Cornish take on Ant-Man), but it’s the dour po-faced self-reverential mode of blockbuster filmmaking I can no longer abide by. Even if those films do feature Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone.
Turns out there is a huge Marvel box set being released alongside The Avengers blu-ray, and each film has been given some unique and very pretty artwork for its sleeve.
Take a look at the best ones below, and find a couple of others here. I would very much like some of these on my wall.
Looking back at the films I’ve watched this year I was a little underwhelmed. Overall it’s been a pretty poor cinematic year, particularly from the American mainstream. The lacklustre Avengers has been the year’s biggest success story but doesn’t feature here, and whilst visually impressive and pretty entertaining, Prometheus is too flawed to make the cut.
It has actually been a relatively good year for comedy though, with Damsels in Distress (which I saw last year, but was released in 2012), Goon, Carnage, The Muppets and 21 Jump Street all challenging for my fifth spot.
But without further ado, here are my top five in reverse order:
5. Young Adult –Charlize Theron has a great time playing a character approximately as mature as those in the Young Adult novels she writes. A comedy that’s big on laughs but is also poignant, Diablo Cody’s script is mature and heartfelt as well as clever.
3. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia – A subtle slow police procedural gives way to an even subtler and slower study of an intelligent man isolated in a rural community. Give in to its rhythm and be impressed by the filmmaking and moved by the acting.
1. Moonrise Kingdom – My number one film is so full of charm it hurts. Basically I’m a sucker for quirky indie films and movies about kids, so for me Wes Anderson’s latest ticks all the right boxes. It’s a film I was not only absorbed by, but I watched the whole thing with a huge grin on my face.
Then today I found out that 2D screenings of Prometheus at my local Cineworld are severely lacking. And it’s not that Cineworld have a shortage of prints, but more so seems like a cynical ploy to force customers into paying the higher 3D prices. The fact that Prometheus is only showing at 12.00 and 17.40 in Cineworld Wood Green whilst playing hourly in 3D is simply unacceptable. Why is there no peak time 2D showing?
I really miss the time when I could go see a big new film on a huge screen with the best image quality possible. Some of my most distinct cinema memories were formed in the vast 400-seat Screen 4 of Cineworld Crawley: A sold out opening night showing of The Matrix Reloaded with many equally disappointed friends, the sweltering heat of 400 people sitting in one room during a heatwave for Pirates of the Caribbean, the magical near-empty afternoon screening of Sweeny Todd. Now that screen has been converted into an IMAX, which I’m sure is impressive but I’m pretty sure won’t sell out regularly at £13.90 a go.
But what’s more, I could never have those experiences now at any cinema. Almost every cinema’s largest screen has been given over to a format which provides the viewer with a lesser experience. I could rant about the headaches and blurry darkness etc etc but I’m taking it for granted the majority of people reading this already dislike 3D – I’m yet to meet anyone who actually likes 3D (tweet me if you do, for science).
On top of that, the multiplex experience really needs to improve generally. It’s very rare to find a dedicated ticket desk actually open these days, meaning I’m stuck endlessly queuing behind indecisive idiots unsure of whether they want a hot dog or nachos, the most vile of cinema foods. In screens the floors are sticky, chairs are broken, some bloke normally walks in halfway through to make sure we’re not all recording it on our mobiles, the unfunny Orange ads run for four months now, often the sound is very quiet or changes volume halfway through, the projector is regularly out of focus, the aspect ratio is sometimes wrong, and the air-con is always set to ‘arctic’.
I’m not surprised people pirate or choose to just watch films at home through LoveFilm or Netflix. I love the cinema, that darkened room and big screen allows me to lose myself in a film like no other experience. But if I didn’t have an Unlimited card and instead had to pay £8-15 for every film I saw, I would certainly think twice before every trip.
If you have thoughts on the issue I’d be interested to hear from you on @arnoldmovies