Saturday, February 05, 2011

January 2011 Film Highlights

Vist the blog damn it!

Rare Exports (2010) Onni Tommila, Tommi Korpela, Per Christian Ellefsen, Ville Virtanen. Dir: Jalmari Helander

Archaeologists dig up the frozen body of Santa, who soon unleashes his wrath against the naughty. Terrific dark horror comedy with a wickedly funny anti-festive premise. It’s also visually splendid, boasting some suspenseful direction and moody scenic cinematography. An absolute hoot from start to finish.


The Green Hornet (2011) Seth Rogan, Jo, Cameron Diaz, Christophe Waltz. Dir: Michel Gondry

A spoilt rich layabout teams up with a fighting genius to become a new crime fighting hero. A shaky script, some good laughs, but the side-kick is more likeable and engaging than the hero. The plot doesn’t kick in until very late and Gondry is not in his element.


Ghost Ship (1943) Richard Dix. Russell Wade, Edith Barrett, Ben Bard. Dir: Mark Robson

A new ship’s officer starts suspecting that the Captain is unhinged and possibly dangerous. A tense, moody film that doesn’t quite have the chance to develop its character’s decline in its brief running time. But it retains a strong sense of mystery and atmosphere found only in the best noirs.


Catfish (2010) Dir: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman.

A photographer develops a multi-layered online relationship with a child artist and family, but eventually smells a rat. Documentary unveiling of an elaborate deception, which may or may not have happened. Moments certainly raise doubts, but the pay-off is worth it. A troubling film about a prevalent modern phenomenon.


Night and the City (1950) Richard Widmark, Googie Withers, Francis L. Sullivan, Gene Tierney, Herbert Lom. Dir: Jules Dassin.

A small time tout finally finds a scheme to make him rich, but quickly makes dangerous enemies. Absolutely terrific film noir strikingly filmed in post war London. Unremittingly bleak and full of fascinating seedy characters; it’s tautly paced with always a hint of danger in the air.


Van Helsing (2004) Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale, Richard Roxburgh, David Wenham. Dir: Steven Sommers.

The vampire hunter goes after Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolf Man. Uses a coda of ‘more is more’ inevitably resulting in a loud, gaudy, stupid mess. The script is appalling, the dialogue: groan-inducing, acting: wooden, and the plot: hole-ridden. An insult to Universal’s monster legacy. Beckinsale’s corset – the only highlight.


Arsene Lupin (2005) Romain Duris, Kristin Scott Thomas, Pascal Greggory, Eva Green. Dir: Jean-Paul Salomé

A master thief with a troubled past seeks an ancient treasure with a seemingly immortal women. Stuffs so much into two hours that it never stands still for a moment, making it difficult for you to feel for the characters, or be really impacted by the drama. And it has so much potential...


Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Laurence Luckinbill, James Doohan. Dir: William Shatner

A cult leader and his followers hijack Enterprise and take it on mission to find God. Why anyone thought they could satisfactorily realise such an abstract concept is anyone’s guess. There’s too much jokiness too, but at least Shatner, Nimoy and Kelley get plenty of screen time together.