Monday, 10 May 2010

(500) Films of Empire - Day 235

152 - Boogie Nights - 4 stars
The film that announced the arrival a huge talent. No, not Mark Wahlberg's penis. Paul Thomas Anderson obviously.
Visually exciting with some terrific camera work including several long tracking shots, an eye for period detail, but Anderson's biggest strength lies in his ability to work with an ensemble cast (a fact confirmed by his next film Magnolia).

There is the usual great work by people like Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, John C. Reilly and William H. Macy (this might actually be the first film that I saw all these actors in), but also unexpectedly draws strong performances from Wahlberg (starting out on his Entourage days) and Burt Reynolds.
Also funny to see Thomas Jane is a small role considering he is currently starring in Hung, another show where the main feature is a giant cock.
It is surprisingly non-gratuitous for a movie about the porn industry and in a similar way to Trainspotting, it deglamorises the subject matter. The guys doing the filming are about as interested in the sex as much as they were watching a guy paint a wall.
It brought up interesting parallels with the Hollywood system.
At one point filmmaker Jack Horner refuses to shoot on video, "If it looks like shit and sounds like shit, then it must be shit", saying that film is the only way to shoot movies.
Yet we are seeing a similar scenario today with many filmmakers who were apparently committed to celluloid now shooting on digital cameras and even moving towards 3D filmmaking. Is it only a matter of time till we see a 3D porno movie with the money shot coming out of the screen.
Believe it or not but porn has a huge influence of the technical advances of the industry. Porn adopted video over betamax, Blu Ray over HD-DVD, etc.

397 - Night Of The Living Dead - 3 stars
The original, but not the best, movie that throws a group of different people into a isolated location under attack from an outside threat.
Incredibly tame gore wise by today's standards but still powerful in exposing the lengths that people would go to in order to survive and that fellows humans are sometimes even more dangerous than the zombie threat.
Nice to see a black guy surviving until the end of a horror film for a change... oh wait, scrap that!
And before you ask, my top 3 films of this type are Dawn Of The Dead, Shaun Of The Dead and The Thing.

Days remaining - 130 Films remaining - 155

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