Three Times (Taiwan, 2005)

It’s great to see that challenging arthouse is still around (are there any British arthouse films where the pacing is slow and the narratives require committments from viewers?). This stays in the mind (maybe cos little happens events get burned into the head) and the 2nd section is particularly haunting (partly due to the fabulous Keith Jarrett-like piano score). It you’re into challenging cinema then Hsiao-hsien Hou‘ films should be seen. (Cubby Broccoli)

Far From Heaven (US, 2002)

Beautifully made retro-update of All That Heaven Allows. Fascinating movies that looks like it was made by Sirk in the ’50s but couldn’t have been (Sirk did tackle racism in Imitation of Life but homosexuality couldn’t’ve been dealt with in such a fashion). (DVD, 2).

The Descent (UK, 2005)

Great opening and very effective in creating a claustrophobic atmosphere. Once the characters start getting bumped off it loses its edge. (OAR).

AVP: Alien v Predator (US, 2004)

The high concept is in the title. This is effective as an action (slightly) gorey movie but steps up a grade when Sanaa Lathan’s character joins forces with a Predator (an alien-human alliance). (OAR)

Fear Eats the Soul (West Germany, 1974)

Possibly Fassbinder’s greatest movie; a remake of All That Heaven Allows. The ‘impossible love’ between old woman and immigrant worker, and the racism they have to contend with, is relevant now with the treatment of asylum seekers and immigrants. The ’70s decor and fashions certainly make it a decade to have avoided (unfortunately I remember it) and Munich looks dreadful. The references to the massacre at the 1972 Olympics can stand in for Sept 11. Now is nothing new. (DVD, 3)

Bombón: El Perro (Argentina, 2004)

This is the sort of sentimental films (including a dog show!) that I wouldn’t touch with a large stick if it were in English. Intellectual snobbery. No, it’s just more interesting to see other nations; in this case the Patagonia region of Argentina: windy! The dog’s a great actor. (OAR)

Jerry Maguire (US, 1996)

Interesting to see Cruise losing it as Maguire loses his job given his recent tantrums and loss of Paramount contract. Still, he is a fine actor with the required charisma of a star and this is an excellent movie. (DVD, 2)

Serenity (US, 2005)

Joss Whedon’s first movie; bombed at the box office but has a high appreciation rating on imdb. Typically modern (too?) fast narrative that often obscures interesting ideas. It’s harder to develop character relationships in a feature, than on TV, and with a crew of eight Whedon set himself too hard a task. Still worth a watch. River’s fighting skills are awesome but the frenetic editing does more to conceal than reveal; compare to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon where Jen Yu beats up a load of guys in a bar. (DVD)

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (US, 2004)

Intertextuality rules! This movie works, it is funny, because of how it references others texts/genres/narratives. It sets up expectations and then parodies them by working against the norm. The Simpsons exemplifies this. (OAR)

Fantômas – À l’ombre de la guillotine (France, 1913)

The Fantomas is regarded as a classic serial. Approaching 100 years old it is only impressive from an historical viewpoint as the pacing, for an action film, is far too slow by our standards. However, it’s easy to see how impressive this would’ve been in the early years of cinema; even now the shot in a theatre box, with the stage in background (deep focus nearly 30 years before Citzen Kane), is striking. So it is a classic and interesting to see how Feuillade constructed his narrative space. (DVD)