Thursday, August 08, 2013

July Film Highlights

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Blancanieves (2012) Maribel Verdú, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Ángela Molina, Pere Ponce. Dir: Pablo Berger.

Blancanieves 50 Word Film Review

The estranged daughter of a crippled bullfighter is sent to live with him and his cruel new wife. A new silent film retelling of Snow White; a very European marriage of fairy tale and grotesque, celebrating the passionate culture of Spain’s past but without shying away from its cruelty. Sumptuously beautiful and elegantly brought to life.


Behind the Candelabra (2013) Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, Dan Aykroyd, Rob Lowe, Debbie Reynolds, Scott Bakula. Dir: Steven Soderbergh.

Behind the Candelabra 50 Word Film Review

The story of Liberace’s relationship with a young dog trainer, Scott Thorson. Amongst cinema’s most unusual and creepy relationships, yet despite the possessiveness and pseudo-incest, there is something ultimately endearing about this bizarre pairing. Douglas and Damon are both excellent, though Lowe also has a plumb role.


Hansel & Gretal (2007) Chun Jung-myung, Eun Won-jae, Shim Eun-kyung, Jin Ji-hee. Dir: Yim Pil-Sung.

Hansel & Gretal 50 Word Film Review


After a car accident, a child leads a man to a strange fairy-tale cottage in the woods. This creepily sugar-sweet world is brilliantly bought to life and the disturbing implications of the childrens' powers linger long after viewing. Adult characters, however, are curiously under-developed and drags badly in the middle.


A Field in England (2013) Michael Smiley, Reece Shearsmith, Peter Ferdinando, Richard Glover, Ryan Pope. Dir: Ben Wheatley.

Field in England 50 Word Film Review

English civil war deserters are forced by an alchemist to search for treasure in a field with magic mushrooms. Seriously strange tale of witchcraft and devilry, in the tradition of folk horrors like Satan’s Claw and Whicker Man but hallucinatory. Defies easy explanations, but certain sequences linger long, especially the freak-out.


The East (2013) Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page, Patricia Clarkson, Toby Kebbell. Dir: Zal Batmanglij.

The East 50 Word Film Review

An undercover operative infiltrates an anti-corporate activist group with an eye-for-an-eye philosophy. Despite hard-hitting pretensions, little better than an average teen movie. Politically and philosophically flimsy, activists are too clichéd and underdrawn and the corporations too diabolical to be taken seriously. Not very engaging, and gets steadily sillier.


Equus (1977) Richard Burton, Peter Firth, Colin Blakely, Joan Plowright, Eileen Atkins, Jenny Agutter. Dir: Sidney Lumet.

Equus 50 Word Film Review

A psychiatrist must treat a boy who has viciously blinded six horses. Some said that Lumet’s adaptation lacked imaginative staging of the play, yet could hardly be called badly done – some sections are electrifying, and not just because of the actors or script, which are both outstanding. Disturbing and enthralling.


The Invisible Boy (1957) Richard Eyer, Philip Abbott, Diane Brewster, Harold J. Stone. Dir: Hermann Hoffman.
The Invisible Boy 50 Word Film Review

A super-computer tells a boy how to make his own robot. Vehicle for Robbie the Robot from Forbidden Planet, curious mixed-bag, part kid wish-fulfillment but with serious sci-fi pretensions. Weirdly subversive and deadpan in humour for 50s, yet contradictorily frightening and paranoid. Lots of fun though, both intentionally and unintentionally.