Friday, July 6, 2012

What You Been Watching? 1 July 2012 - 6 July 2012

I lied. I said the next post was going to be the incredibly titled "So Toby, Now That You're Back On BBBG What's Happening?" one but I'm sitting on the sofa contemplating how much I've enjoyed the Josh Radnor film Happythankyoumoreplease and thought I'd write about it a little instead. It turned in to this. Darwin would be proud.

It's almost a week in movies post but not quite.

I saw the Woody Allen Documentary this week. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. It was two hours of "then Woody made this film, people liked it but they didn't like the next one." There was a bit of new interview footage of the great man himself, it's sad to watch, he's old now but still a genius.

The fact that he's old made this an important step in preserving him, making him immortal; his opinion on life and his career are now saved for all time. But there's no way that the film maker could have been unbiased as part of getting this exclusive, highly sought after, rights to this footage. Skimming over the low points, of which anyone aware of Allen's career will know there have been many. We all have our own particular choice of worst Allen film and some of us refuse to acknowledge his faults, gushing endlessly about why Curse of the Jade Scorpion is a masterpiece or that Jason Biggs is the perfect Allen surrogate in Anything Else (that's my one) and not acknowledging this aspect of Allen means we might have to wait another twenty years for a full and accurate portrait.

And that's ignoring the whole Mia Farrow's adopted daughter thing.

So two hours wasted I would say. Sorry folks.

Have you ever heard of this talented young actor by the name of Val Kilmer? 1989 saw him appear alongside then wife Joanne Whalley in the debut film from director John Dahl, Kill Me Again. A key film in the film soleil ouevre it features Kilmer as a seriously down on his luck PI, Whalley as the dame with a heart of stone using Kilmer to secure her escape with the takings of a bloody heist from psychotic boyfriend Michael Madsen.

It's all pretty standard stuff plot wise, crosses and double crosses keep you wondering who's going to come out of it alive and whose side will they be on when they do? But it's an enjoyable ride through the sleaze of Nevada, film soleil's version of New York, with some good performances all round, most notably from Mr Blonde. I mention QT's debut here as there's no doubt in my mind that he was influenced by this film. Michael Madsen towering over a guy strapped to a chair as he tortures him for information. You all know the scene, only it was done here first folks, with more blood.

John Dahl demonstrates he has some talent to lend to the genre (going on to make the superb thriller The Last Seduction with Linda Fiorentino) with some beautiful dark noir interiors contrasting with the fabulous washed out exteriors. He literally reverses film noir cinematography staples with this film.

On to the pseudo mumblecore behaviour of Josh Radnor with the entertaining to say title of Happythankyoumoreplease. It's about growing up and shedding the cycincal approach to life in your twenties as you rapidly approach death (otherwise known as your thirties.)

Radnor shines in the role he wrote and directed himself in. He's aloof yet lovable and has a really wierd situation with a young boy who he meets on a train. And he surrounded himself with talented actors who all put in strong performances in what oculd have become cookie cutter roles in the wrong hands. It helped that there was a trio of beautiful women to look.

The shaky camera technique is occasionally adopted but for once doesn't become annoying or distracting, instead simply enhancing the mood, the way cinematography is supposed to work.

Enough talking about films. I've got a book to finish reading (so I can finally read Snuff by Terry Pratchett), three short stories to redraft and a new sofa to pick up. Stop distracting me!

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