Friday, 13 August 2010

(500) Films of Empire - Day 330

57 - Lawrence Of Arabia - 3 stars
If there was one film on this list that truly encapsulates the term 'epic' then I would probably select this film over any other.
It has stunning widescreen vistas and battle scenes where hundreds of arabs on horses attack an enemy town (all done back in the day with real extras, no CGI here thank you very much).
Yet for such a big film it has some beautifully deft little touches. Like the edit where Lawrence blows out a match and it cuts to the desert, or Omar Sharif appearing out of a mirage on the horizon.
Whilst it is big and grand and continued that practice of blacking people up (and not in an ironic Tropic Thunder way. This time it is Alec Guinness as an Arab Sheik), I couldn't help feeling that I didn't learn enough about T.E. Lawrence as a man that I should have from spending nearly four hours with him.
Instead I just got the feeling that this film established the genre of "man immerses himself into another culture in order to learn about them but ends up fighting alongside them" that has been used in the likes of Dances With Wolves, The Last Samurai and of course Avatar.

282 - The Godfather Part III - 2 stars
At one point, Pacino shouts "Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in".
That sentence echoes throughout the film as there is a feeling that the people involved are simply going through the motions. Indeed Coppola himself only did this film for monetary reasons.
For apart from a nicely handled series of mafia hits intercut with an opera performance, the entire film and story feels completely unnecessary and undoes a lot of the excellent work that has proceeded it.
And then there is poor little Sofia Coppola. Bless her, she tried but at times she is visibly uncomfortable. At least she can take comfort in the fact that she is a much better director than she is an actor, as Lost In Translation.

Days remaining - 35 Films remaining - 33

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