Hooray for January which brings with it a slew of quality films as everyone competes to get their grubby little mitts on a shiny statue!
First out of the traps was Sweeney Todd. Now, musicals can be a bit hit-and-miss – for every Moulin Rouge there is a Chicago – but the pedigree of this one is better than most in that it does not try to be a “big screen musical”, instead it’s a film that just happens to have musical numbers in it. Johnny Depp does one of the finest David Bowie ever to grace the screen (or he does at least half of the time, the other half he still seems to be channelling Keith Richards), whilst Alan Rickman is actually subtle for once.
It looks fantastic, sort of Victorian London channelled through the Hammer House of Horror all given a slick CGI makeover. Its near black and white except for arterial spray (of which there is plenty) –which leads me to BBFC question number one.
Why does this have an 18 certificate? Yes, there is plenty of blood – but it’s so gloriously over the top that it’s funny rather than horrific. Yes, it would be a strong 15 – but certainly no stronger than the raft of teen themed horrors we’ve had in recent years? Maybe it is the musical numbers.
No Country For Old Men is completely different, a modern day western / film noir that plays like a silent movie for most of its running time. It has no incidental music throughout meaning that for much of the time the ambient sounds of the landscape are all that you hear. It is superbly acted by all – even if those that have top billing never actually meet with each other – and once again looks beautiful. Thoroughly recommended.
Word of warning one – do not go to see this at any time or place where the average audience member will be an ill-educated idiot who sees that Tommy Lee Jones is in it and expects that it will be like Men In Black, it could seriously impact on your viewing pleasure. There was a distinct split in the audience come the end between those that had got it (variously older members of the audience) and those that went “What?” (a variety of sports gear and track suits).
Word of warning two – BBFC again. I can see why it is a 15 certificate given its strong moral theme but be aware that this is not for the squeamish. Certain scenes (usually involving a compressed air bolt gun) are distinctly horrific so be careful.
Erotic Thriller (Hollywood); A weak excuse by a middle-league director and an up and coming star to try to garner notoriety by shoe-horning a weak thriller plot onto a series of plastic sex scenes – usually involving a first tier star who’s on their downers – in which A sleeps with B whilst B is possibly killing everyone else for a very weak motive. Every ten minutes will be punctuated either by another awful sex scene (Sliver’s toy submarine?) or bad action scene (anything that is described as an Erotic Thriller and has Bruce Willis in it).
Erotic Thriller (Ang Lee); A taut politically themed thriller where the leads are two people who can actually act and have not been chosen for their plastic components that just happens to have a fair bit of shagging in it. Said shagging will actually enhance character development and thus be an integral part of the plot rather than a set piece, but will include a close up of Tony Leung’s scrotum that may shock viewers. Film ends with salient point about political machinations of the various classes.
Hmmm? Now which should I recommend?