Monday, 22 February 2010

(500) Films of Empire - Day 160

165 - Partie de Campagne - 2 stars
A short film by Jean Renoir that looks at the impact a tiny moment can have on someone's life, in this case a stolen kiss. Consider this to be a black and white French mini Before Sunrise!
The Dufour family travel from Paris to the countryside for a picnic. There they encounter two boaters, or bounders and cads, who are interested in romancing the beautiful Henriette who is engaged to her rather dull fiance.
After going on a boat ride with one of the young gentlemen, they share a kiss before going their seperate ways. Years later by chance they meet by the same spot and admit to their true feelings. Oh yes, now from that description it sounds like a beautiful romantic moment but this is where the hard boiled cynic in me rises up again. I would urge people to revisit the scene where they kiss. The man is essentially forcing himself upon her until she gives in to the kiss. So when they meet years later and he remarks that he comes here because it reminds him of his happiest memories what are they exactly, "remember the time I forced myself on you"?
It doesn't help that filming was never completed and scenes towards the end were replaced with cue cards.
It seems the hopeless romantic in me is simply that... hopeless!

189 - Ghostbusters - 4 stars
One of the definitive 80's movies and possibly the favourite film of my friends Guy, Scott and John (so much so that I put a special screening on for their joint brithday party a couple of years ago. Scott was even forced to wear a Ghostbuster outfit. I'm sure I've got a photo of that somewhere).
Sentimentality would push me towards an instant five star rating but that is not the purpose of this challenge, I have to be critical and review each film as independently as I can.
Still holds up very well for a film made in the eighties. Special effects aren't too bad, nice to see Mr Stay Puft again, Sigourney Weaver is very sexy when possessed... and it has one of the best theme songs of all time (until it was butchered by Jedward on X Factor)
But the real charm to the film is the bond between the central trio of Venkman, Stanz and Spengler. You really get a feeling that these guys have been friends for a long time and the banter between them is excellent.
That brings up a problem in the film: Winston Zedemore. What is the function of him except to have a man of colour in the film?
Special mention must go to William Arterton who seemed to have a niche role during the eighties of playing absolute assholes (see Die Hard). His EPA bureaucrat Walter Peck is responsible for setting up the showdown at the end and for one of the best lines in the film:
"Everything was fine until dickless here shut off the containment unit", "Is this true", "Yes it's true, this man has no dick".

Days remaining - 205 Films remaining - 268

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