Archive for February, 2014

This is a fantastic film! It’s also one of Mark Kermode’s top 10 so I was looking forward to it. It’s directed by the great Ingmar Bergman and has been massively influential throughout the world. It explores deep themes underneath the surface and it really stays with you a while after watching. The film interweaves very cleverly both its characters ad its plot points. The main plot we see is that of a disillusioned knight Antonius Block. He and his squire Jons are back in Sweden after fighting in the crusades. Block is playing chess with himself when he is visited on the beach by death. Block challenges death to a game of chess so that he may live a little longer to do one good deed before his demise. Death agrees and they start a new game.

the-seventh-seal-chess-game

On their way home to Blocks castle they meet some interesting characters and also see the ravages of the plague. They meet Jof and Mia and their baby son who are travelling with their actor manager Skat. Jof and Mia are actors and are presenting shows across the country. They soon all become friends and join up as a travelling company. This films is full of despair and darkness and all of the characters have to face dark moments in this movie. There is the plague which is wiping people out left, right and centre but also there are the religious fanatics who go about burning people at the steak and marching while flagellating themselves.

seal look into death

 

One of the most interesting themes for me was the feeling of the absence of god. This is mostly portrayed by the chess playing knight. He is a deeply troubled man who just wants proof of gods existence. He struggles with this a lot in the movie and gives him some real depth. In fact all the characters in this film have a lot of depth to them.

686493734_1380730664

 

This is a truly magnificent movie that really gets you thinking. I thought about this movie for a long time afterwards. Its really stylistic and captures the despair of the times wonderfully. It definitely requires more than one view because of its great depth. I myself am itching to watch it again and am left fascinated by it. It definitely has made me want to check out Ingmar Bergman’s movies, which I will look forward to doing.

Advertisements

Logan’s Run 4/5

Posted: February 22, 2014 in Film Review
Tags: , , , ,

Well this is an interesting science fiction movie from the 70’s. Its got quite a bit of cheesiness to it but an underlying theme of government control that shadows our own lives. Its set in the year 2274 where the human civilisation live under a sealed off dome city. All of their life is controlled by computers and as they are born they are implanted with a crystal in their hand that changes colour as they grow older. When reaching the age of 30 the crystal will tell them their time is up. When this happens they will undergo a ritual called “carrousel” where they will be vaporised. Most of the residents accept this, but some do try and run away. To catch the runners the system has sandmen in place, whose job it is to track down and kill the runners.

Loganlifeclock

Logan 5 is a sandman who one day finds an ankh on one of the runners. He takes it to the head computer where he is told that it is a symbol of a secret group who help runners find sanctuary. He is asked to track down sanctuary and destroy it, however the twist is that the computer sets Logan’s life crystal off to flash four years too early. This then forces him to become a runner and he runs with Jessica 6 who seems to know more about sanctuary as she herself has an ankh symbol.

logans-run-1976

 

I don’t want to actually talk more about the plot as halfway through something really interesting happens and makes the film feel like a completely different movie. Its like a rebirth and works brilliantly. Logan’s run is a very trippy, cheesy looking sci fi but I really enjoyed it. It has interesting characters and set designs and features a pretty serious undertone. I feel this movie will get better with each watch and do want to re visit it some time.

 

So I feel like I must have missed the point here. Its one of Mark Kermodes top 10 and up until now I have loved all of his selections, but I really struggled with this one. It’s a really nice idea, well acted and nicely presented, but I couldn’t help feeling that it was just pretty average. Which is astounding, because if you look it up many people adore this movie and lots say it’s the best movie ever made. Well it certainly isn’t even close to that in my opinion. Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate it, I just thought it wasn’t as good as the hype surrounding it. The story follows a pilot who jumps out of his damaged plane without a parachute, just before doing so he talks with June, a radio operator. The next morning he is washed up on the beach nearby and soon actually meets face to face with June. The two soon fall in love and things seem to be fine apart from the face that he was actually meant to die that night. The afterlife is presented in black and white and we learn that they have made a great mistake in the fact that Peter should have died. They send conductor 71 down to retrieve him and clear up their mistake. However when he turns up and literally stops time to talk with Peter, Peter argues his case and wants to live as he has fallen in love.

NIVEN

 

Meanwhile on earth a local doctor thinks that Peter is having delusions and wants to help him by performing brain surgery. This makes us question what is actually happening to Peter and is somewhat of an interesting point. The movie just didn’t really work for me, I found it actually way too over the top and rather too whimsical. I couldn’t take it serious at all and found some of the characters quite shallow and annoying. Its a nice idea but in the end just didn’t work for me and felt actually quite boring in parts.

Well being a long time Ghibli fan I am always looking forward to their next project. This is quite a simple little tale following the lives of a young school girl who is living in a boarding house near Yokohama port. She has a lot of responsibility looking after her family while her mother is away studying in America. Each day she raises a set of signal flags with the message “I pray for safe voyages.” This is in memory of her father who was killed in the Korean war. She soon meets a young boy who posts a poem about her flags in the school newspaper. The two first become friends, but soon develop feelings for each other, however things get complicated one day when they learn that they are linked more than they know and might be brother and sister.

poppy_2632981b

They realise that they cant feel the same about each other but continue to be friends. They are also on a quest to restore and save their kind of club house where the newspaper is written, which is due to be demolished. This is an important building to all students so they have to pull together to try and convince people not to pull it down.

fromuponpoppyhill-flags

 

This is a really nice little movie and encompasses everything we have come to expect from Ghibli. It has that feeling of innocence and love that they are so good at showing in their movies. It has great animation as always and really has that special charm that only Ghibli can do. Ghibli movies always have this kind of magic to them that really makes me actually feel part of the world in which you are visiting while watching. The attention to the small everyday details of life is always captured beautifully, which helps it feel so real. I really did like this movie, it wasn’t amazing and it certainly wasn’t one of Ghibli’s best attempts, but it still carried that Ghibli magic that made me want to revisit and stay in that world.

Regular readers to my blog will know that I have been on a couple of projects lately, one is looking at the films of David Cronenberg and the other main one is looking at Mark Kermode’s top 10. This one is on his list so I got it for Christmas. It’s a fascinating movie that really is quite creepy even to this day. It’s quite a simple story but its charm is that it’s really gripping and oozes style and general creepiness. It follows the story of a doctor who goes about trying to save his daughters horribly disfigured face. This would seem quite normal apart from the fact that he does this by kidnapping young women and literally surgically peeling their face off and applying it to his daughter.

22184_Eyes-without-a-Fa-3

 

He is driven by guilt, in that he is the one responsible for the car accident that has caused her disfigurement. She spends almost the entire film behind a creepy expressionless mask. Although she wants her face to be renewed she does start to empathise with his victims and would rather just die. There are some great creepy moments in this movie and a lot of it is achieved through rather dark gothic visuals. There is actually one sequence in this movie that made me actually feel quite grossed out and I havent felt this disgusted for a while. It was a really realistic surgery “face peel.” There are even stories of people walking out of the cinema when this film was released.

eyes3

Well I really loved this movie and I was thinking about it long after it ended and that is always a good sign that you have watched a fantastic movie. I am coming to realise that I have a very similar taste to Mark Kermode and I think his top 10 have all been really good so far. Looking forward to the next one.

This look into David Cronenberg’s career has been one hell of a ride. He has proven to me that he can direct any genre with style and fantastic storytelling. This is his second film working with the fantastic Viggo Mortensen. Its another crime based drama, this time focusing on the Russian mafia. It also stars Naomi Watts who plays a midwife who gets caught up with the Russian mafia. Her journey begins when she find a Russian diary on the body of a 14 year old girl who died in childbirth. She also find a card for a local Russian restaurant. She sets out to try and find the girls family so she can find a home for the baby.

anna-Gangster-Movies-eastern-promises2

She meets with the restaurants owner Semyon who appears friendly. However her Ukrainian uncle and self-described former KGB officer, Stepan urges caution when she asks him to help translate the diary. She soon meets other Russians Kirill and his driver Nikolai Luzhin, superbly played by Viggo Mortensen. Viggo is so convincing in this role that you really believe that he is Russian. As the story goes on the tension rises as Semyon wants the diary back at any cost as it has evidence of terrible crimes committed against the 14 year old girl.

m01121_med_03

Yet another 5 star fantastic movie from Cronenberg. A thrilling spectacularly tense ride with twists along the way. Viggo proves he is one hell of a brave and awesome actor as he leaves us with a fantastic fight sequence in which he fights for his life while completely naked in a bath house.

936full-eastern-promises-screenshot

This is one hell of a film with yet another fantastic performance from Viggo.

Another awesome David Cronenberg movie here! It is a little different in theme to his previous stuff, but man is it one hell of a movie. Not only is it one of his best films, it’s also one of Viggo Mortensens best roles too. Cronenberg is on top of his game here and proves he can do any genre with style and great storytelling. Viggo plays Tom stall who is a mild-mannered family man who owns a local coffee shop. His life changes dramatically when one night he kills two men in self-defense as they come to rob his shop and murder his waitress.

2005_a_history_of_violence_005

This act makes him an overnight celebrity and brings much unwanted media attention his way. Soon things take an unexpected turn for the worst when a scarred gangster by the name of Fogarty comes into his shop with his henchmen. Fogarty keeps calling Tom by another name claiming Tom to really be a gangster called “Joey Cusack.” Tom seems really confused and says that Fogarty is confusing him with someone else.

large history of violence5

However Fogarty is convinced and thus begins stalking Toms family. This of course puts huge strain on Tom and his relationship with his family as they start to doubt their husband and father. This is an amazing film which is so well acted. Viggo is just simply amazing in this role and proves his is definitely a fantastic character actor. Although it is quite a different type of film from Cronenberg, it does have a lot of the same themes running through it from previous works. You have the extreme violence, and believe me it is very violent! and at the heart of it you also have the character in a struggle with his personality.

a20history20of20violence203-450

This one really floored me. I cant wait to finish my David Cronenberg run so I can then do a post with my top 5 Cronenberg movies listed!