While I’m always on the lookout for the next great film and at the same time not too effected anymore by hype* (was easily able to go and see Avatar in 3D without feeling sick like some folks I know), I’m more precious when it comes to DVD’s. You know how that overnight sticker shimmers with so much hope and possibility? Yeah well there’s a good chance you’re going to be made a fool of. I’m even more cynical about older films because I don’t know if anyone has noticed but DVD’s don’t always work. I mean they literally don’t always work. Maybe it’s my DVD player but no, I don’t think so… No one seems to care. They scratch and skip over damaged areas. At least with VHS you got to see the whole film. Sure it was through a haze of noise and crackle and I loved it how sex scene on VHS movies were always WAY grainier because they’d been watched a 1000 times over. But you saw the whole film. Remember BE KIND REWIND? Anyway, I am pleased to say that four of the five last films I saw did not skip and blew my mind. I’m saving one for the next review but here are the three:
AGORA: Rachel Weisz is slowly becoming one of my favorite actors and this masterpiece cements this even further. She has never disappointed but somehow went unnoticed for me for some time. Maybe it was her role in the Mummy (which honestly I love those films), but she’s subtle and brilliant which sometimes equals a slow burn for my simple mind. I’m catching up. Agora is directed by Alejandro Amenábar who I didn’t realise I already knew. He gave me one of the most hair raising cinematic experiences of my life. Through sheer coincidence I caught The Others a few weeks after reading Henry James’ the Turn of the Screw. The effect was such that it felt like I was experiencing something from another lifetime. Suffice to say The Others was his abstract interpretation of the novel. It’s a cracker and so is the book. Agora itself is beautiful in so many ways. The cinematography in Agora is a good enough reason to watch it. But it’s also very well written, well performed and heart breaking all at the same time. No point giving anything away. Watch it.
THE GHOST WRITER: Roman Polaski has not lost his touch and continues to mesmerize me with every frame. The plot centers around a nameless ghost-writer (Ewan McGregor who I am convinced was asked to speak like Michael Caine in this), who is hired to complete the memoirs of a former British prime minister. He uncovers a heap of secrets that put his own life in jeopardy. The casting is brilliant and the locations are to die for. Listen closely to everyone’s voicing and watch the walls because they’re literally covered in million dollar paintings. Also please explore his back catalog. Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby is a must for all which is a great little segue into:
CHILD’S PLAY: I’m a big fan of 80’s horror. B grade, C grade bring it on. Holland’s film is late 80’s but scrapes in. I guess my childhood was pretty stable so I wasn’t all that freaked out. Also, I wasn’t really allowed to watch any of it so had to catch it when I could at cousin’s houses. What I’ve found is that at the core of many horror films are basic family values. Understanding this and watching many of these films with that in mind changes the experience. I’ve only seen this once before and what surprised was how seriously well shot it is. I remember it being about a freaky little killer doll but it’s nothing like that at all. It became and stayed famous for all the wrong reasons. I love it and think it’s worth checking out… again.
*I mention this because I was the opposite. Anything remotely attached to hype would not get my pennies. Period.