Warhorse (2012)

I marked my first visit for a long time to the local Odeon multiplex with a screening of Warhorse. The film was great. Shame about the cinema. After sitting through a good half hour of adverts and promos (including an ironic reminder that pirating films will lead to bad quality viewing experiences), the BBFC certificate popped up with a slightly green hue. Must be a stylistic choice surely. Then the Dreamworks and Amblin title sequences came up – slightly green again. Hmm.. What’s Spielberg doing here? Then the rolling Dorset country side came into sequence, with a green haze, odd. It wasn’t until our green skinned martian like protagonist Albert appeared that I knew something was wrong. After 5 minutes the packed cinema still hadn’t cottoned on that the colour balance was off, so I marched off to moan to have a word with the cinema staff. I received a thank you, and then immediately on my return the screen cut out. I then had to wait another 20 mins before Warhorse finally appeared  as Spielberg intended.

Anyway, I digress. I’ve long been a fan of Spielberg; E.T and Jurassic Park are two films I grew up loving, and no matter what the cynics say, the bombastic action sequences and lush orchestra scores of Spielberg films have *nearly* always won me over (sorry Indiana Jones and The Crystal Skull). You’ll be pleased to know Warhorse is of a similar vein; epic action sequences, heart warming moments, John Williams, etc…

The performances on the whole are very good. The actors were almost entirely unknown to me before seeing the film, a credit to both the actors, casting staff and Spielberg himself for making the bold choice. I still think the star of the show is Joey, the horse. Some really good scenes, particularly in the battles, where you find yourself routing for our equine friend. Like many others, I did feel myself welling up towards the end. With some typical Spielberg mastery, the whole cinema was sniffing into their tissues. Warhorse will undoubtably not be lampooned by the usual army of Spielberg cynics, but for the rest of us, this touching war film is a befitting edition to the Spielberg canon.

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Eraserhead (1977)

ImageIt’s been a very quiet weekend here at home, so got the chance to watch a load of films. The one I wanted to write about though was David Lynch’s Eraserhead. Aside from The Elephant Man, I think I’ve been confused by just about every Lynch film. As far as I can tell, this film is about an awkward, shy man. He has a bad relationship with his girlfriend and her family, and preoccupies himself with playing records and staring at a dirt covered radiator.

There are key themes throughout Eraserhead that reoccur within Lynch’s other films and this film is very cryptic with it’s meaning. The avant-garde soundtrack constantly whirls throughout the film and gives little away.

A truly bizarre and memorable film. I can see why it did well on the indie horror circuit.

The Artist (2011)

 

Those film reviewers lucky enough to have visited Cannes have all been raving about The Artist for some time. For the rest of us in the UK, we’ve had to wait a long 7 months to get to see this, and it was worth the wait. Michel Hazanavicius’ superb film tells the story of the decline of a silent movie stars career, through the medium of you guessed it, a silent film (how very postmodern). The Artist shares the gaiety of Singing In The Rain, but also has a tinge of the sharper/witty edge that fans of Hazanavicius’ OSS 117 series may know. The score is wonderful, I’ve listened to it since seeing the film and it certainly stands up comfortable on it’s own. One final note – Jean Dujardin is fantastic as Valentine, thoroughly deserving of his Golden Globe.

Super 8 (2011)

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As you can tell from the date on the above poster, I am late on this one. Having missed it’s nationwide cinema release, my girlfriend kindly gave me the Super 8 Blu Ray for Christmas. I had high hopes, friends liked it, rave reviews from the press, even Mark Kermode liked it. I wasn’t let down. Super 8 is a great pastiche to the Spielberg blockbusters of the 1980s that I grew up watching. It’s smart, funny, geeky and is filled with explosions and special effects. Most of all, I actually cared about the fate of the characters. Lots of small details are found throughout the film and as like other J.J Abrams titles, the film is filled with easter eggs. I can highly recommend Super 8.

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

A Visit From The Goon Squad has been on my books to read list for a little while now. As someone that frequently ignores the old adage ‘Never judge a book by it’s cover’, I was immediately lured in to a bumper sized paperback copy of the book by the sleeve’s vibrant illustrations and an impressive collection of one liner reviews. Week by week the book has slowly crept further from the back of the Waterstones bookshelf now to the front of the store, and then I probably thought I should probably read it before I’m told to by the TV Book Club.

The story itself is funny (I often found myself laughing aloud on the train, something that happens very often before 9am and a coffee), moving (often very suddenly the mood shifts) and is told through a narrative that shifts between time and character in each chapter, cleverly interlinking constantly throughout. I found my sympathy rested with different characters at different points of time within the story and Egan was really not afraid to show the dark side to a lot of her characters. Egan is clearly not afraid of bending convention, and I thought the powerpoint presentation towards the end of the book was inspired.

That’s probably all I can go into without spoiling the story, but I can wholeheartedly recommend A Visit From The Goon Squad to all.

 

 

 

 

Playstation Network Still Down, Day 7: Data Theft?

Not too long after writing a brief post on the recent Playstation Network troubles, a Sony statement is to reveal that PSN users’ data has been stolen. Names, addresses, email addresses, dates of birth, security questions and also very worryingly the potential theft of credit card details. It looks like it’s time to alter those passwords and security questions if they match those attached to your PSN account. While I do appreciate Sony’s honesty, I am still a bit miffed that this could have happened. If I receive a bit more junk in my email spam folder, I can handle that. I’m a little more concerned about my bank details though… Here’s hoping nothing comes of this.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/8475728/Millions-of-internet-users-hit-by-massive-Sony-PlayStation-data-theft.html