Monday, 22 February 2010

(500) Films of Empire - Day 159

A busy day in the world of Dallas. Film watching, show rehearsals, film watching, BAFTAs, Predator then bed. Phew, hectic or what? Quick recap of the movies watched below:

414 - The Double Life of Veronique - 3 stars
Sunday morning, tired, grumpy and with a fuzzy head thanks to Innis & Gunn is not the optimum way to view a foreign language film, especially a complex one like this!
Irene Jacob gives a terrific performance as Veronika and Veronique, two identical yet unrelated women whose lives become linked by a tragic event.
There is a theme of control and manipulation through the film as Veronique becomes involved in a relationship with a puppeteer who may or may not have information on the connection between the two women, and true motives are unclear.
Frustratingly unresolved at the end.

I missed seeing Mulholland Drive at work today because it clashed with rehearsals but I managed to sneak in a viewing before the BAFTAs whilst enjoying some tasty fajitas with Siobhan. She had never seen it and I had to prepare myself for the inevitable barrage of questions that would follow the film!

391 - Mulholland Drive - 5 stars
So difficult to talk about because it is difficult to describe and even understand. Just check out some of the 971,000 rsults for 'Mulholland Drive explained' on Google!

Originally designed as a TV pilot, David Lynch shot extra material to try and finish the project but due to the nature of the production, at times it is very Tarantino-esque, in that it is collection of weird and wonderful moments rather than a cohesive narrative.

However this does not stop it being a fantastic film which sparks hours of debate about 'what happened', 'what part of it was a dream?', etc.

Best I can figure is that Diane had her lover killed and through her guilt created a dream world where Rita was dependent on her and she had the potential to be a Hollywood sta.

Naomi Watts is fantastic in this, particularly in the audition scene where she turns a daytime soap piece into something altogether more sinister.

My favourite part is the Club Silencio sequence which features a heartbreaking rendition of 'Crying' in Spanish by Rebekah De Rio.

This film also contains the biggest scare of any non-horror movie. I am referring to the scene in Winkies where the guy describes a dream that he had. Lynch keeps the camera moving during the scene, almost as if it is floating, which increases the level of unease until the fantastic payoff.

The rest of the evening was taken up with the BAFTAs which were annoyingly shown on BBC1 2 hours after the event so I had to stay off Twitter, etc for 4 hours while I waited to watch the unspoiled results. After a good night of results with excellent wins for Duncan Jones and Colin Firth and a resistance by the British to being blinded by the big CGI bucks of Avatar, it was time to introduce Siobhan to the world of Predator (which she told me afterwards was hands down the greatest film she had ever seen ;) )

364 - Predator - 5 stars
Between this and Die Hard, John McTiernan has the proud distinction of directing not only the two greatest action movies of the eighties but probably on this 500 list.
It is impossible to review this in the same way that I would films like Mulholland Drive or Schindler's List. Some movies have a message, explore issues, have a story to tell, and some just want to entertain. Predator's purpose is escapism and to entertain the audience and it succeeded on that goal with me. I actually found myself quoting every single line in the film before it happened. You know you really love a film when you are able to do that (see also Anchorman, Big Lebowski, Star Wars, etc).

How OTT is this film? Exhibit 1 - Jesse Ventura uses 'Old Painless', which is a mini-gun that is normally mounted on the side of a helicopter. Exhibit 2 - The Dutch/Dillon greeting which is the most OTT shot in the history of cinema, just look at those arms!

Also with Predator, you get two films for the price of one. The first half is a straight up men on a mission film, while the second half becomes a sci-fi horror movie, as the Predator hunts the team one by one using a variety of weapons and very bad CGI.

Days remaining - 206 Films remaining - 271

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