Sunday, 26 May 2013

Will cinema die in 50 years time?

Lately, I have noticed that film fans, or casual movie-goers don't seem to appreciate a good film, when they see one. Movies nowadays are fair less complex, and are more likely aimed at people who are fans of the comedy genre. This doesn't bother me, but what bothers me is that people don't go and watch movies with more of a cinematic edge to it, they prefer to laugh ironically at one actor portraying seven roles in one movie (not Eddie Murphy...).

Im not saying people should stop watching comedy movies, I love comedies, but only for entertainment purposes, I don't favour comedies over dramas, unless it's a black comedy. I actually would find it hard that someone would prefer to watch 'Dude Where's My Car' over something like 'American History X', which is an incredibly powerful film. Although, many people might find it hard to watch, due to all the graphic scenes. But, that's reality and that's what make a good movie, taking elements from real life and adapting it to the screen.

Edward Furlong in 'American History X'

Let's take a look at a well-known director : Martin Scorsese. Scorsese has been known to be one of the greatest filmmakers of the 20th century, if not the greatest. His films are widely known and most current film directors have been influenced by him. One day I was telling my friend about how that 'Taxi Driver' is one of the all-time greatest American movies and is such an influential picture and he had never watched it before. So I was determined to make him watch it, and I did. He was mainly interested in watching the film because he knew that the famous "You talkin' to me?" speech was in it. Well, after the film had finished, I looked over at my friend, and asked him what he thought of it. And I couldn't believe the words that came out of his mouth, he shrugged and said "It was a bit slow."   . "A bit slow???" I said, what did he expect John McClain to barge into Travis's apartment and tie him to a radiator??? and shout "Yipee-ki-aaa!". Although this was the opinion of someone who likes Michael Bay's Transformers...

Robert DeNiro in 'Taxi Driver'

So, this clearly a case of people not getting the structure of how a great film is made. You build up the tension and suspense, if they didn't do that in Taxi Driver, it wouldn't be such a classic film. 'There Will Be Blood' has a brilliant build up of tension, represented by Johnny Greenwood's brilliant  crescendo throughout the film, all towards the... actually better not spoil it for those who haven't seen it already. Anyway, I'm just trying to express that our generation are pretty lazy and fail to attempt to watch any film pre-1980's, except Star Wars, which is a classic!

Daniel Day-Lewis in 'There Will Be Blood'

Friday, 15 February 2013

My opinion of Christopher Nolan.

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A lot of people say that Christopher Nolan is one of the greatest filmmakers of this generation. Most likely for his intelligent, well-thought out mind binder films, like Inception. Which personally I   think is his most intelligent film, with his very interesting storyline, that captured the worlds imagination. But I don't think it's his best, his recreation of the Batman films are creative and take  a new set on the comic book classic. In my opinion the best out of his trilogy is The Dark Knight, although that may change when I finally get round to see The Dark Knight Rises. He truly creates something magical in this film, by making an action film, which appeals to virtually anyone. I am not  much of a fan of action films, apart from classics such as Con Air, but this film is a lot more than just an action film. It keeps the viewer interested with brilliant characters, great acting, not forgetting the incredible performance by Heath Ledger as the Joker and events that amaze us and shock  us. Batman Begins was a lot better than I was expecting it to be, as I hadn't really intended on watching Nolan's franchise, not being a big fan of DC comics.

I love Nolan's collaboration with actors, he always seems to assemble actors from all over the world, especially the regulars : Ken Watanabe, Marion Cotillard, Cillian Murphy and Michael Caine. Of whom my personal favourite is Ken Watanabe, usually playing a high-powered Chinaman, he is perhaps the finest actor ever to come out of Japan. Hopefully he will cast him in his upcoming film, Interstellar.

 (Ken Watanabe in 'Inception')

Memento is another incredibly smart film of Nolan's. It proves that you can make a very successful film, with very little money, by having a smart script and storyline. Much like Quentin Tarantino first started off by making his iconic film Reservoir Dogs, which was mostly shot in just one room. Whereas Memento was half shot in one room, but the rest of the movie had very basic locations. This film was apparently based upon a short story by Nolan's brother, John, who has co-written with him on The Prestige, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. The two brothers have are writing an upcoming movie about the exploration of physchisist Kip Thorne. The movie is called Interstellar and will be Christopher Nolan's ninth feature film.

 (Guy Pearce in 'Memento')

I know some people say that Nolan is overrated, and is no way near to be compared against cinematic legends like Stanley Kubrick. I do partial agree with this, but he is still a very good filmmaker, I don't think he's absolutely incredible, but he is one of the best out there at the moment and creates a role model for young British filmmakers who want to make huge blockbusters in America.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Should Joaquin Phoenix star in Inherent Vice?

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Joaquin Phoenix recently starred in Paul Thomas Anderson's 'The Master', where he played the troubled drunkard, Freddie Quaill. He could very well join PTA's ensemble team of actors, including : John C. Reily, William H. Macy, Julianne Moore and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Although these close actors have been avoided in PTA's last three films, he could bring them back for Inherent Vice. I believe Joaquin's best performance was in Gladiator, where he played the mean and vindicious Commodus, one of my most favourite characters. But the question is would he be the right choice to play the role of Doc Sportello in Thomas Pynchon's 1960's classic crime novel.

 (Joaquin Phoenix as Commodus in 'Gladiator')

A lot of people around the web have been saying that they would love to see Joaquin work with PTA again. Whereas some people have said that they would like to see someone else take the leading role, preferably PTA's first choice, Robert Downey Jr. I could see how he would have liked to work with Robert, as he idolised his father, director-writer, Robert Downey Sr, when he was younger. I personally would love to see Joaquin star in this film as the drug-pumped detective Doc Sportello, as he would be perfect for this role, having already played an alcoholic in The Master. Paul Dano would be a good choice for this movie too, he is a very talented actor and was brilliant in There Will Be Blood.

 (Robert Downey Sr.)

I am really looking forward to this movie, the storyline sounds fairly similar to Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, a professional journalist who regularly indulges in high-class drugs. As Inherent Vice is about a regular drug-using detective who tries to solve a kidnapping case in 1960's LA. I am very confident that this film will rank among his best films, as he has had this film in planning for a matter of time now and I'm sure he'll choose a brilliant cast.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The Master - Analysis

The Master - Analysis

The Master is one of those films, where you don't know what quite is going on, it's a mystery. And knowing Paul Thomas Anderson, I think he has made a truly under appreciated masterpiece, by not showing  what the message to the film is, but rather leaving it up to the audience to figure it out. Some say it is about Scientology, and yes it is based around a Scientology cult known as the 'The Cause', some say it is about the downfall of Post-World War II sailors and them trying to fit into society. I believe it is about Freddie Quaill's journey to becoming a better man and becoming more mature and responsible. He shows exactly the type of conditions sailors went through after the war : Stress, loneliness, sexual desires and the ability to be able to follow orders, as Freddie followed orders from Lancaster Dodd (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) known as Master.

 In the first part of the film, we see Freddie as a photographer just after the war had ended. He seems to show some kind of stress and social problems as he ends up being chased around the shop by a customer, who he tried to strangle with his tie, because he complained about the light being too hot on his face. Very similar to another job he had as a labourer on a farm, where he was famous for brewing his own 'moonshine', he was accused of poisoning a man after he gave him a some of it. We don't know whether he did this on purpose or not, but he did say that the man looked like his father, which later on he tells Master that he despised his father, because he was a drunk.

 When Freddie starts to get involved with 'The Cause', he follows Master's every footstep like a dog. He defends his beliefs, even know he doesn't even understand what the cult is about, he is following him because he is unsure what to do with his life. Master's son, Val, clearly has no interest in his father's work, but tries to go along with it as best as he can. But, when Val tells Freddie that his father is making the system up as he goes along, he starts to think if he is right. His mind is so boggled up, he will believe anything anyone says.

The last shot may very well confirm the interpretation of the film. Throughout the film we see Freddie expressing his sexual desires : writing sexual notes to random girls, humping a woman made out of sand, masturbating into the sea, imagining people naked... All of these are just showing his young, foolish personality, but once he has left The Cause, he goes to see Doris, the girl he loved before the war, but finds out she's moved on. Which is basically a sign saying for him to move on too. After, Master invites Freddie to England, he starts to sing a song to Freddie, 'Slow Boat to China', which I believe is Master's way of telling Freddie he wants to do all he can to help him, because he is very close to him and almost sees him as a son. Freddie ultimately rejects Master's offer to stay with him in England, but decides to go out into the world by himself, as he feels he is cured. So, on the final shot, we see Freddie laying beside the woman he made out of sand, as if he was in love with her and that shows he has changed.

I know that this film is definitely one, where it needs multiple viewings to be able to fully comprehend everything that goes on. It's pretty much the same with nay other PTA film, the first time you see it, it's good, but the each time you watch it after, it seems to get better and that's unlikely with most good movies. I have no doubt in saying that when Anderson releases his film adaption of  'Inherent Vice', it will be incredible.

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