I've been terrible updating this blog recently - I've been very busy and much to my chagrin I've had to concentrate on doing actual work and stuff. From the 'Site stats' feature on WordPress I can tell that my lack of activity has had a dramatic effect on both of my readers, so I'm going to endeavour to stop neglecting you and hit you with some sweet content over the next few days.
First up, here are some quick reviews of some great, recently-released films I've seen over the past few weeks:
A beautiful looking film structured and composed with flair and imagination, Blue Valentine only falters occasionally - where Williams's character is extraordinarily plausible and well-realised, Gosling's occasionally lapses into caricature (his alcoholism is an easy and obvious narrative crutch), and the faint whiff of misery porn (stale bedding and ramen noodles, if you're interested) abounds in its heavier moments - Blue Valentine is ultimately rendered into something special by the humanity and generosity that filters down into the whole project from the two spectacular lead performances.
Unexpectedly, this is an austere, understated and powerful masterpiece from a country that has built an impressive cinematic legacy on shlockly exploitation (definitively *not* a slam, Mad Max 2 is one of the best films ever made, yadda yadda let's move on) - this is a serious piece of work, both tense and intense throughout with a uniformly phenomenal cast. In the pantheon of recent neo-realist gangster thrillers, this is way, way better than the stuffy Gomorrah and not that far behind the magnificence of Le Prophet. See it, see it, see it, go see it.
NOTE: Animal Kingdom has a terrible trailer - avoid it at all costs. Embedded above is a quick spoiler-free clip instead.
It's not easy to make a raging narcissist likeable and interesting but Submarine absolutely nails the suffocating solipsism of adolescence, while doing so with a refreshing lack of sentimentality and no shortage of humour and charm. It loses momentum in its closing moments, but overall it's a total joy - wonderfully observed, stunningly shot, and with an abundance of excellent performances (Noah Taylor was my personal standout). Submarine isn't just a film people will enjoy - it's one that people are going to want to revisit and live in for a very long time to come.
I still haven't seen True Grit, The Fighter, or 127 Hours, to my intense shame. Will try to rectify at least one of those before they disappear completely from cinemas.
Coming up, I'll try and do a retro round-up of all the old films I've been catching up with lately (of which there have been quite a few). In the meantime, I'll be back shortly with a special post on a GREAT cult film I had the pleasure of seeing on the big screen this weekend...