Celebrating Great Films

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Unranked at time of writing.

Painfully cool. As in, immensely cool, and just a little bit painful.

I really wanted to like this film, and there's a lot to like: it's funny, original, endlessly inventive, and packed with geeky video game references. But (and I hate to say this) I was bored.

Hard to pin down what was wrong with it. Lack of chemistry between the main characters? All flashiness and no content? I dunno. There seem to be enough people who loved this film to propel it into the IMDb Top 250, but for me it would have worked better as a TV series - it just didn't have enough substance for the big screen. One for DVD perhaps; there are certainly enough background jokes to deserve a second viewing. Or perhaps the comics are where the real fun is at.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Ramona Flowers was suitably awesome, and I thought Alison Pill as Kim Pine punched above her screen time. Michael Cera was, well, Michael Cera - which is no bad thing.

I'm still rooting for writer/director Edgar Wright. Shaun of the Dead is one of my favourite films, and it's great to see him hit the big time. I look forward to the third in the Blood & Ice Cream trilogy.

Edgar Wright apparently obtained permission to use the famous theme song from the NES title, The Legend of Zelda, by writing a letter to Nintendo, saying that it is considered to be "the nursery rhyme of this generation". Loving the 8 bit music.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Film A Day...

I recently succumbed to a ridiculous whim and bought a job lot of 171 DVDs from eBay wholesale, for just over £1 each. I kept the best ones, about half of them, and sold the rest for £1 each almost immediately.

Thus, my DVD collection is now a DVD library. And suddenly I have loads of films I'm excited about watching.

My learned friend Jeremy Sheldon makes sure he watches a film every single day. This week, without really intending to, I have achieved just that.

Thursday: Nacho Libre. Flat and unimaginative comedy in the vein of Napoleon Dynamite. 3/10.

Friday: The Expendables. A wasted opportunity. Big on gore, low on everything else. 3/10.

Saturday: Animal House. Now I know where Ferris Bueller got his inspiration! Genius. 8/10.

Sunday: Serenity. Fun science fiction flick, though you can tell it's an extension of a TV show. 7/10.

Monday: The Secret In Their Eyes. Great slow-burning character piece. 8/10.

Tuesday: Gamer. Why are there so many bad reviews of this? I loved it. Good zeitgeisty script. 9/10.

Wednesday: Slither. Not too clever B-movie horror parody. 4/10.

Thursday: The Illusionist. On one hand, brilliant and beautiful silent storytelling. On the other hand, slightly irritating characters and not as good as Belleville Rendez-Vous. 7/10.

Friday: I'm just about to curl up with WarGames...

(Disclaimer: I'm sure my ratings show all kinds of bias and are no doubt heavily dependant on how I was feeling at the time - but hell, that's my MO.)

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Secret in Their Eyes

#166 at time of writing.

Once in a while, a film comes along that manages to keep you glued to the screen without lots of action or glamour, but simply by compelling character development and a decent plot. This Argentinian offering delivers with confidence, subtlety and wit.

It's a film about closure. The protagonist, a retired legal counselor, seeks to quench the demons of his past - a traumatic injustice, a lost opportunity for love. The plot unfolds gradually, step by step, gathering force and substance without cutting any corners. The characters are complex and real, and I enjoyed their company for the duration of the film.

Juan José Campanella's directing is impeccable, the production is slick and inventive (there is one particular shot of a football stadium that high-budget Hollywood movies would be envious of), the acting is spot on, the story is satisfying - what more could you ask? More than deserves its 2009 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Go see it!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Self-love is all the rage right now

The Man Who Married Himself, the short film I wrote last year, has done it again. It won the Grand Prize for Best Comedy Short at the Rhode Island International Film Festival.

The news I'm waiting for now is whether it will be accepted into the BFI London Film Festival so I can invite all my friends to come and see it!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Nothing to do with films

OK, this post is nothing to do with films. I'm asking a favour.

In short, Cadbury are running a Pocket Game competition and I would love you to vote for my entry, which has already been shortlisted into the final round!


You'll need to create an account on the website in order to vote, but don't worry - you can opt out of marketing emails.

The voting closes on August 9th. If my game wins, it will get manufactured and distributed to some 25000 people at the Olympics, which would be Very Cool.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

I'm an award winning screenwriter!

...Or, at least, co-writer of an award winning short film!

The Man Who Married Himself won Best Comedy at the LA Shorts Film Festival. That is very exciting news, particularly because that qualifies it for an Oscar nomination...

See here for the full list of winners.