Sunday, 22 August 2010

(500) Films of Empire - Day 341

137 - Dances With Wolves - 3 stars
Well this is evidence that you should judge each film on its own merits and not be prejudice just because of your feelings on previous experiences, in this case the films of Kevin Costner.
I'd never seen this before but I went in wary due to the idea that all Costner films tended to be over three hours long and incredibly dull e.g. Waterworld, The Postman, etc.
Imagine my surprise when I got a good film through the post from Lovefilm.
Dances With Avatars is anchored by a strong performance from Costner, showcasing the heart of a man desperate to cling onto the notion of the old America.
Incredibly polished for a first time director especially considering the location shoot and the fact that Costner is the lead actor as well. He clearly must be a huge Eastwood fan, although he is not quite on his level in terms of talent.

20 - Blade Runner - 5 stars
A cracking throwback to the film noir genre wrapped up in a gorgeous science fiction package.
Harrison Ford is superb as Deckard, the hardboiled 'Blade Runner' who is forced to take down 4 replicants in a futuristic version of Los Angeles.  It's probably his best acting after Raiders, and although he may have had issues with Ridley Scott on set, I feel that it adds to his performance.
Star Wars is normally credited with moving sci-fi away from the clean, precise, clinical worlds and spaceships of the 50's b-movies or 2001, but Ridley Scott is equally influential.  Between this film and Alien, Scott helped create the Tech Noir look of modern sci-fi that combined the futuristic with the realistic, and 20 years before Firefly had that fusion of East and West cultures.
But behind the fantastic production design and special effects, is  the story of a man who can rediscover his humanity, as beautifully summed up in one of the final moments, the wonderful "Tears In Rain" speech.
Of course I watched the definitive, superior Final Cut of the film (devoid of silly happy endings and expository voiceover) but it does bring up the question of when you work your way through a list like this and you get to a film that has several different cuts or versions, which one do you watch?  It is difficult to know because the list just says Blade Runner.
It's funny now to watch films like Blade Runner and Back To The Future that were set in the near-future back then, seeing their vision of the future and realise that in just 5-10 years we'll have flying cars, androids, hoverboards and powerlace Nikes!

Days remaining - 24 Films remaining - 25

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