Sunday 30 July 2006

Crash (2005) - ickleReview (DVD)

The second time round this works better: knowing what's coming and how the characterization works, I appreciated what the film was trying to do: open up ethical and moral questions about racial difference and prejudice, provoke debates, ruffle feathers. I found the characters much more sympathetic. The film has an air of realism but an undercurrent of fable and morality play. The characters are stereotypes, like the stock characters of the medieval morality play; but they are always complicated and compromise our initial reactins towards them.

Nugget: gutsy and clever film about the way people treat each other and the consequences of their behaviour. It's not didactic and offers an ambiguous space in which to think.

Take the Money and Run (1969) - ickleReview (DVD)

Woody Allen film, still in his early mode, like Bananas (1971). This was the first Woody Allen I ever saw. I remember the chain gang but thought that came at the beginning rather than near the end.

Woody plays Virgil, a hopeless kid who's bullied and keeps getting his glasses trodden on. He grows up to be a petty criminal, but not a particularly good one. He's caught and imprisoned a couple of times for trying to rob a bank. He meets a girl whose purse he was trying to steal and falls in love.

The gags are mostly mildly amusing rather than laugh-out-loud funny. The best gag is when Woody tries to play the cello in a marching band.

Nugget: only for the serious Woody Allen fan. Not the best film to demonstrate his talents to the unconverted.

Walk the Line (2005) - ickleReview (DVD)

Biopic about the singer-songwriter Johnny Cash. Don't bother. It's crammed with clich├ęs and unoriginal plot arcs. You really have seen it all before. What the hell was all the fuss about? Why did they have to turn it into the same old love story and struggle against drugs and alcoholism, and an inferiority complex because his older (better) brother died as a kid? It was so clunky I could see it all coming. The music was done reasonably well, but I don't particularly like Johnny Cash's music. He should cheer up a little bit.

Reese Witherspoon is pretty as the love of his life, June Carter, and she sings well, but she's not given that much to play with. It's quite a stock role. It's all a big fudge.

Nugget: why the hell have I already seen this film a million times before? I could tell it would be like this just from the trailer and didn't really have ants in my pants to watch it. If you haven't seen it yet, don't bother. It's a bit mince.

Thursday 20 July 2006

Wednesday 19 July 2006

Bloom vs. Bloom

Leopold Bloom by Richard Hamilton

Richard Hamilton's wonderfully believable picture of Leopold Bloom (above) is so much more convincing than Stephen Rea's melancholy portrayal of the character in the 2003 film, Bloom (below).

Stephen Rea in Bloom

Wednesday 12 July 2006

Materazzi vs. Zidane - the prelude

Marco Materazzi, the Italian defender who provoked Zinedine Zidance into being sent off towards the end of extra-time in the World Cup final on Sunday, does have a bit of a reputation. I think he must have said something along the lines of: "I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!"

Saturday 8 July 2006

Changed priorities ahead

I found this sign at the end of Walton Well Road in Oxford, just behind my house. Beyond it lies Port Meadow. It is of course a traffic sign, I think a temporary warning for the construction traffic over the canal bridge; but it resonates for me with priorities in life. How are your priorities changing? Posted by Picasa