Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August Film Highlights

Read more at the 50 Word Film Reviews blog...

The Girl Who Played with Fire (2010) Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist, Lena Endre, Peter Andersson. Dir: Daniel Alfredson.

Lisbeth is accused of the murder of 3 people, Blomkvist must dig deep into her dark past in order to save her. Never quite catches fire like the previous instalment, but the ending sure does leave you desperate for more. The actors, photography and direction remain impeccable.

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Soylent Green (1973) Charlton Heston, Edward G Robinson, Leigh Taylor-Young, Chuck Connors. Dir: Richard Fleischer

Earth is overcrowded; mankind relies on the Soylent company for food, and one of their former executives has been murdered. A sour but quite brilliant piece of science fiction. Well realised, despite modest effects, it believably portrays what our future might be, and provides disturbing food for thought.

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The Killer Inside Me (2010) Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson, Bill Pullman. Dir: Michael Winterbottom

A sheriff begins an abusive relationship with a prostitute, awaking a desire for sadism and murder. Affleck is brilliant as the sweet voiced young psychopath, but this noir tale of dark goings on in a small town offers very little that’s not been seen before, besides the brutal violence.

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Fallen Angel (1945) Alice Faye, Dana Andrews, Linda Darnell, Charles Bickford, John Carradine. Dir: Otto Preminger.

A broke publicity man falls for a waitress, but marries a widower for her money; then the waitress is murdered. Has its moments, Andrews redemption, Carradine’s as a dodgy psychic... but thin characterisations let it down. Waitress is such a cow, it’s hard to fathom why everyone wants her.

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Oldboy (2003) Choi Min-sik, Yu Ji-tae, Kang Hye-jeong. Dir: Park Chan-wook.

A man kidnapped, locked-up and released after 15 years, without explanation, picks up a hammer and looks for answers. Grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go, right up to the jaw-dropping finale. The only way to be free is to leave the past behind... Brutal and completely brilliant.

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The Invisible Man (1932) Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart, Henry Travers, William Harrigan. Dir: James Whale.

A man who cannot be seen goes insane and terrorises a small town. The first and best version; the dramatic, but often hilarious script, is killer, and the effects are still impressive. Whale is at the top of his game and Rains manic performance is the icing on the cake.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

10 things you probably didn’t know about the Federated States of Micronesia



1, The Federated States of Micronesia is made up of four states: Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae.

2, Micronesia is made up of 607 different islands, spreading over 1,700 miles.

3, Despite spreading across more than 1,000,000 square miles, the islands themselves only have 270 square miles of land.

4, The population of Micronesia is only 108,105

5, English is the official language of the Federated States, but each state has its own language: Trukese, Pohnpeian, Yapese, Kosraean.

6, The islands of Yap is home to more than 6,500 Rai Stones large limestone discs, some as large as wagon wheels, with a hole carved in the middle. They are thought to be a form of ancient currency.

7, Many natives of Pohnpei exhibit an extreme form of colour blindness known as maskun.

8, The Federated States of Micronesia formed their own constitution in 1979. Prior to this, they had been a United Nations Trust Territory under U.S. administration.

9, Their currency is the US dollar.

10, Over the last 10 years, there has been on average 38 people in prison at a time.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What I learnt this week...

This week I learnt that peope with a BMI (body mass index) of over 50 are known as the 'super obese'.

I imagine it's because this is the stage at when a fat person begins to develop super powers. They no longer have to consume food; they can simply absorb anything by smoothering it with their own mass.

Apologies for the infrequent posting, but I am extremely busy at the moment, with work and... other things. I would elaborate, but I may be being watched...

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Film Highlights from July

Read more at the 50 Word Film Reviews blog.

The Fountain (2006) Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz. Dir: Darren Aronofsky

In 3 different time periods a man tries to save his dying love with the help of the tree of life. A dazzling rush that packs a breathtaking amount into 95 minutes. Metaphysical clap-trap or a meditation on love, destiny and death? – opinions will be divided. Definitely worth seeking out.

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Man On Wire (2008) Dir: James Marsh

Wire walker Philippe Petit has (illegally) done his act across landmarks all over the world, but his dream is the twin towers... An absolutely gripping story of obsession and daring with a fascinating cast of characters. Not just a brilliant story, but a brilliant piece of documentary filmmaking.

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Hard Candy(2005) Ellen Page, Patrick Wilson. Dir: David Slade.

A man lures a 14 year old he met on the internet to his home, but then she takes him hostage. Sharply directed psychological thriller with 2 exceptional lead performances, but it goes on too long and the final quarter is more clich├ęd. Warning: includes some mild castration.

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Get Carter(1971) Michael Caine, Ian Hendry, John Osborne, Britt Ekland. Dir: Mike Hodges

A violent London gangster travels up north to find out who killed is brother. A stark, cold thriller that features Caine in one of his most striking and impressive roles as brutal sociopath. What it lacks in substance, it more than makes up for in style, intensity and pure grit.

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This Film Is Not Yet Rated(2002) Dir: Kirby Dick.

A look into the secretive Motion Picture Association of America and how it rates films. A bold eye-opening look at the hypocrisy and bizarre behaviour of a subtly powerful organisation, which culminates in the unmasking of its secret raters. A smart, insightful argument for a better system.

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Road to Perdition(2002) Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jude Law, Daniel Craig. Dir: Sam Mendes.

A high ranking mobster must go on the run with his son, after he witnesses a murder carried out by the boss’ son. A handsome looking film, but ultimately, not a very gripping one. The film feels slow, the characters 1 dimensional, and Hanks is just too dull.

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Harvey(1950) James Stewart, James Stewart, Josephine Hull, Peggy Dow, Charles Drake. Dir: Henry Koster.

Jolly Stewart’s relatives try to have him committed for having an invisible 6 foot rabbit as a best friend. A delightful farce; Steward is wonderful as jolly hero whose relentless optimism and cheer brings out the madness and eventually, the best in others. Supporting cast is also excellent.

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Battle of Algiers(1966) Brahim Haggiag, Jean Martin, Saadi Yacef. Dir: Gillo Pontecorvo.

A reconstruction of events in Algiers in the 50s as the French try to suppress the movement for independence. So realistic in its depiction of guerrilla warfare it was screened at the pentagon before the Iraq war. A masterpiece of realism, as relevant today as it ever was.

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