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Occupation: Charity Worker
Best Movie: Amelie / Annie Hall
Worst Movie: Jaws III
Location: London (England)
Favorate Quote: You know you don't have to act with me, Steve. You don't have to say anything, and you don't have to do anything....not a thing. Oh, well maybe just whistle. You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow."
Blue Velvet (1986)
Edgy Velvateen Darkness To Devour
This movie is a playground in which Lynch develops his trademark dark moody velveteen sets, pitched against the veneer of normality in a sleepy suburban town. Its strongest points insurmountably being held in the Cinematography which I feel is stunning and leads us directly into his 'Twin Peaks' Is this the same town? One has to ask.
The basic story is follows our lead character Jeffrey (Kyle McLaughlin) who returns to his hometown for his father's funeral. Whilst walking he discovers a rogue mutilated finger which he takes to the police and begins to unravels our story by unveiling a dark and sinister side to his airbrushed, perfect suburban town.
Jeffery & his senior high aid and perpetual tease, Sandy (Laura Dern) become embroiled in a blackmail story in which Dorothy (Isabella Rossellini) is providing Frank (Dennis Hopper) a local sycophant with sexual favours so he will not harm her son.
There is a sexual intrigue with Jeffery & Dorothy that displaces the purity of his platonic relationship with the beautiful and pristine Sandy. Jeffery is troubled by the extent of his sexual deviation, which is highlighted in the scene where he beats Dorothy if not only briefly it is still wrong to him. Does he then compare himself to Frank, who seems to embody all he despises, the answer I believe to be yes.
This setting of Lynch's perfection masks a skewed or grotesque world in which Frank (Dennis Hopper) provides the performance of a lifetime. The young and naïve Jeffery (Kyle) gives us a limp and weak performance overshadowed by Hopper and Rossellini.
It is not the first times directors have used this setting of Americas suburbia, Stepford Wives, American Beauty, Traffic, Twin Peaks and Fargo to name a few. They all have a creepy edge and show that there is always an undercurrent no matter how much you try and fence yourself off from the world. This film for me is ahead of its time and is highly critical of the void between normality that which you find odd. It is also current with the USA's vehicle of a 'Fear Nation' of all things on the fringe.
Blue Velvet is a platform for Lynch to move on, it has all his signature dream sequences, which he does so well, tying the symbology to the film he loves so much. I was impressed with the settings and contrast of dark colour against light shots, however eventually I felt the story to fall down a little and become flimsy when it could have been much more. This is not to say I did not enjoy the movie, I just felt that it didn't make that 8/10 but rather gets a respectable 7/10 for the voyeur scene of Hopper & Rossellini if nothing else.
An intelligent film that attempts to delve into America's underbelly and uncovers more than the average film-goer would probably want
Films are rarely as good as the book but there are exceptions to the rule
This remains true for this very good adaptation of the classic book by Carl Sagan. Sagans' idea was to make science and the elite commandeering of information available to the majority, he wrote his books for a wide audience and I think the film shows this as was intended by its author.
The Film is roughly about Dr Arroway, Ellie, and how she handles being alone in a world without family or close friends. It is metaphorically able to make us all think about how isolated we as a race, and as people can feel.
Ellie, a brilliant young scientist working on the mistrusted SETI program discovers a message sent to earth from distant star system Vega. On its discovery Ellie must battle with the Military, Pentagon, and Male Dominated scientific world to keep her cards on the table and her discovery that of her team. Ellie is constantly kept in the game by he benefactor, a rich technological industrialist mogul who has a vested interest in her participation of the programme to reach this alien culture.
I don't wish to go on any further and spoil this movie as I rate it as a fantastic exploration of Science Vs Religion and the entire subsequent human spectrum in between. As a film there were several alterations from the book that I felt could have been included, for example not just one traveler but a range of them, philosophers, theologists, scientists, poets and Dr Arroway.
I have watched this film a number of times and still find it a joy to watch the fifth, eighth and tenth time. Jody foster playing a not so dissimilar to her role in Silence of the lambs (attractive, clever, young, successful woman battling in a male world) is exceptional and delivers feeling and intellect alongside an impressive script.
I would give this film an 8.5 and recommend it to anybody, but if you are a sci-fi fan and haven't seen this film then you're in for a treat.
American History X (1998)
Strong performances by Edward Norton & Edward Furlong really make this film for me. The direction by Tony Kaye with his mixture of black & white history contrasting with colourful reality is magic to absorb and shows this film up to be what it is a true American Classic, ironically by a British director. The film itself is about two brothers, Derek the elder and Danny the younger adoring sibling. Derek has been in jail for three years after killing a black youth who tried to rob the family; the nature & brutality of the crime still shocks me to this day. AHX tracks Derek's history through the first formation of racist sentiment laid down by the father. These feeling of hate are embedded when later his father is killed in the line of duty. Derek becomes involved in the local Nazi movement, his intellect turned by youthful rage into hate crimes and the rational that comes with Neo Nazi propaganda. The Nazi-tattoo sporting, egotistical, philosophical younger Derek is a steam train waiting to crash, his propulsion to stardom is eventually embodied when he takes the life of the young thief, the scene is very apt as he calmly lies down and knows he will be a hero to his friends. Without wanting to spoil the film Derek encounters change in the prison, he meets a black man whom he works with and faces his own demons inside, I will leave it there for those who want to be moved by his transformation. Anyway, he comes out a new man and only wants to be that new person, which means leaving the old crowd, leaving the Anti-Jewish sepal he's been living with so long. The problem lies with his brother who has become a little Derek, getting drunk and being influenced like he was. Derek's cross to bear is that he can't change his life without his brother coming with him and being on the right side of humanity. I think that this film is less about race and more about our ability to change as individuals, the fact that we can become what and who we want is a gift. Derek becomes the man he always wanted to be, he only wants the same for his brother. Kaye's use of black & white creates an atmospheric drama that builds tension and has you feeling like a stung out piece of drum leather by mid movie. I love the way that Kaye subtly uses quotes and intellectualises the Nazi Stance, only to watch it being broken down by the same man (Derek / Norton). Norton is a joy to watch as is Gould and Furlong. To sum up American History X is a powerful intelligent drama, which provides plenty of discussion after the movie. This film should be on every high school curriculum
Dark City (1998)
This movie is rotten...
I watched this movie on the recommendation of a stranger whom i had recommended an excellent movie to (Lucia y el sexo) and in return they insult me with this mediocre mismath of, The Matrix & The Truman Show.
Being in the mood for an intelligent Sci-Fi film i was in the mood, the lights were turned down and i had told my friends that it should be a good movie. It wasn't so much that it was badly shot, unrealistic, and fairly boring with a shabby performance by Mr Sutherland. More so the complete annoyance i got from the plot and the acting.
I am going to keep this quite brief as i wish not to spend any more time discussing this film. For all of you whom enjoy sci-fi, leave this well alone and go and rent Blade Runner or 2001 a space Oddysey and your thirst shall be quenched.
I first watched the movie on a recommendation and was hooked on Mike Leigh movies ever after.
Naked does not mess around with polite small talk, No, it truly baptizes the viewer into a gritty, dirty puddle of London which leaves you feeling like taking a shower after your through.
When I watched Naked as a student I had been to London only once, having now lived in the capital for over two years I have seen the dirty underbelly and appreciate the honesty of leigh's film more so now than ever.
I particularly enjoyed 'The wandering Scots', and the 'Security Guard' whom are both lost, yet in very different ways.
Thinking back to the time i watched it i was captivated by the dialog, and the self destructive element that hung like dynamite around our characters. This frustrated me than but now being more mature i can accept it as inevitable for these individuals.
I can honestly say that there are not many movies that make one feel this way, make one reflect and feel so empty looking at Johnys life and future...
I have the utmost respect for all the actors in this film. Yet, it has been a number of years since i have watched it as it is a long embarkation through the soul of human suffering...watch it for the pure genius that is Mike & David but be sure to watch it in good company that has an open mind.