Wednesday 19 March 2008

R.I.P. Anthony Minghella, Arthur C. Clarke

I was going to write a ill-written ranting article about horror films or something to that effect, however I find myself writing a small note of remembance for two people who made very different waves in the media world.

I wasn't a fan of the Anthony Minghella films I saw, however one must show respect for someone who created artistic visions that were enjoyed by many others and will continue to be for many years to come.

Authur C. Clarke's "The Sentinal" influenced one of the most hypnotic and beautful films in the first hundard years of cinema. Cliche I know but it was Clarke's words that allowed us to enjoy one of Kubrick's best known films and one of the best films I feel I've ever seen.

R.I.P. Both will be sorely missed by those close to them.

Wednesday 12 March 2008

Rosemary's Baby is reborn...

..and already I wish for an abortion. Micheal Bays Platinum Dunes seems to be hellbent on re-making horror film that don't really need to be touched.

Rosemary's Baby
I usually don't mind about most remakes. As long as the makers can take the original idea and rearrange it into an interesting way I'm game. The new Hills have eyes had an intensity that I found missing in the original, while The U.S. Grudge had it's moments (definitely better than the remake of Ringu).

However Hollywood is constantly churning out remakes that many are considering sub-par. Hell, I'm sure the two remakes I used as examples are disliked by many.
What many people hate about these remakes is simply the lack of understand on what made the original movies so creepy to them. Those tiny little nuances that have kept films into peoples minds and/or nightmares will be lost.

Which leads me to the article about Rosemary's Baby. Considered a classic to many and well revered in horror circles. While melodramatic and dated by today's standards, Rosemary's Baby is still a great 70's tale of paranoia and fear. It's not like most horror films and its main theme is something that will scare soon to be parents until we are long gone; "Is there something wrong with my child?".

A film like Rosemary's Baby deals with it's characters and their story more than anything else. It's back story whispering cultural dealings of the day (Is god dead?) while telling a disturbing story about a young mother whose moved to a place where she knows hardly anybody and fears not only for her child but her own well being.

It's a grown up horror movie. Something we do see less of in these days of so called "torture porn" and self referential "satire". It is also something I don't think Micheal "maker of that toy movie" Bay's production company is up for. After watching how The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was slickly "re-imagined" I can't see Rosemary's Remake being a subtle re-working of anything at all.

Remakes, Re-imaging, Rip offs, Whatever. Like I said before I don't think there's anything wrong with a good re-vamp of something. Without Hidden Fortress there's be no Star Wars etc. But I don't feel that Platinum Dunes current style of glossy, MTV edited re-makes, filled with dirtied up beautiful people are the right to go for a film made by a director whose well know for his intelligent psychological movies.

Tuesday 11 March 2008

Review: Jumper

Year: 2008
Starring: Hayden Christensen, Jamie Bell, Rachel Bilson, Diane Lane
Screenwriters:David S. Goyer and Jim Uhls and Simon Kinberg
Director:Doug Liman

What if you could go anywhere you want in the blink of an eye? That's what Doug Limans latest film is about. Welcome to the world of Jumper. Christensen plays David who after a near death experience, discovers a genetic anomaly that allows him to "jump" to anywhere he wishes (think Nightcrawler in X-men). However Roland (Jackson) is an agent of a secret society that believes that only God may have the sort of power David has. To add to the proceedings David hooks up with an old flame named Mille (Bilson) and meets another jumper (Bell) and lands them into trouble as well.

Jumper is lazy. It's plot is thinly spread, the characters are two dimensional and the acting is is half baked. I shouldn't ask for too much for a February release but after following and enjoying the other movies of Doug Liman I could see me really enjoying this. Unfortunately Jumper is a movie only looking for one thing...."franchise".

Jumper should have been a movie that could stand on it's own two feet. Instead Liman's film leaves half the story unsettled and open ended with all of it's plot strands unexplored in any sort of depth. It's running time is short, but only because it seems half the film is on the cutting room it can all be explained in the next film.

The films corner cutting fucks up the storytelling so much it's distracting. An example would be the "relationship" between the films leads. Despite what the characters say, for no moment at all do we believe these two people have cared about each other since they were five. After not seeing each other for almost a decade the "Reunion" scene is pretty much this:

"hey how you doing?"
"Wanna go to rome?"
"Sure ok!"

This happens so often in the movie it becomes annoying. Everything is rushed and glossed over to push the viewer towards a anti-climatic cliff hanger. Characters are left inexplicable positions and never seen again, reasoning behind people's actions are never truly explained. Scenes literally "jump" (sorry pun not intended) to the next with no true story logic and it's a damn shame because when Liman directs the action the viewer has an ok time.

While not as brutal and intense as some of Limans other movies, Jumper's action set pieces are bring about a moderate amount of fun to the proceedings. Liman almost manages to gives a tasty glimpse into an intriguing idea but is let down by quality control. Screenwriters Goyer and Uhls have given us stronger scripts in the past but it seems that this film was written in between others project that they have more interest in.

The films casting also becomes a hindrance. Christensen and Bilson are attractive people but bland actors. Their chemistry is almost non-existent throughout the movie. Their dialogue does nothing to help them but they constantly play out their roles like two strangers that have just met.

Samuel L Jackson is once again on auto pilot. I can't remember the last time I saw him in a recent movie that I've truly enjoyed him in. With this said however, Jamie Bell injects some much needed humor and energy into the film. But by the time his character is allowed to do anything, the film is almost finished. Same goes for the cameo that is Diane Lanes role. Also Michel Rooker is in this and is hardly utilised and that my friends sucks balls.

I have no problems with films wanting to be franchises. However compare this to something like say The Matrix which can stand alone and become part of a three very easily. Jumper restricts itself so much it takes away everything that would make it a fun franchise to begin with.
It's a shame when a director you enjoy creates something that disappoints you, however it makes you go back to the movies that you loved before and that can only be a bad thing.