Early January’s Film Crop

A Blockbuster, God I Hope It Becomes A Blockbuster & Art.

The Blockbuster; Twilight caught me by surprise, mainly because it was a lot better than I’d expected. Internet rumours about the books had sort of raised my alarms about the possibility of the film, so I was pleasantly surprised that it’s actually decently acted & directed, looks wonderful and has a very good soundtrack. I’ve got a couple of issues with the pacing and I agree with the directors comments regarding the sparkle scene (sorry ILM, it just doesn’t work) but it’s worth the risk. Maybe more suited to DVD for those still unsure about it, but I suspect that this has been the victim of slight internet snobbery regarding the books origins.

Special mention must go to the two respective family fathers, both of whom have none showy quiet roles that hold the film together.

God I Hope It Becomes A Blockbuster; Slumdog Millionaire arrives on a trail of publicity that again made me sceptical, but for once is right on the money. It’s certainly being mis-advertised (before you reach the feel-good ending there’s certainly a lot of pain along the way) but word of mouth should still work for this in the long run and it does need to be seen at the cinema just for the sheer beauty of the cinematography, this is a very colourful film in every sense of the word.

Breathlessly directed (the camera always moved), unbearably nerve racking (even though you know the ending) and with the best child actors seen outside of a Spielberg production there isn’t a single thing about this film I could criticise. And no matter how harsh things look the sheer decency of the principal character is so great that you cannot help but root for him. However any joy is as a result of the plot which pieces together what could be a series of unconnected stories in such a convincing fashion that any reservations about plot holes disappear as you just will it to answer your next question.

Expect this to absolutely dominate forthcoming British Film Awards (and hopefully International ones as well). Oh, and stay for the credits – it raises an already wonderful ending to a thing of absolute joy.

Art; Che Part One is Steven Soderbergh’s two hour part work of the four hour film that he presented to Cannes last year. Cut into two distinct halves by the studio (but with the directors blessing) what emerges is as infuriating, perplexing and downright watchable as every other film he’s done.

It assumes (actually, dictates) that you have prior knowledge of the subject as no explanation for anything is given. You are simply dropped in the middle of the Cuban Revolution and two hours later leave the subject, still in the middle of the Cuban Revolution. No explanation of the politics behind the conflict or the man is given, but then in the context of this film, none is needed. Instead it focuses on the principals of fighting a guerrilla campaign, the truth about a war which is won street by street.

It’s a fine film, but watching it you get the sense that somewhere out there is an even more demanding three/four hour cut following the same events and that all we’ve been presented with is the work-in-progress (similar to Coppola’s view on the original cut of Apocalypse Now). I’m going to reserve final judgement until February and Part Two, but for now this looks very promising.

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