Recently Watched

Contains adult language

Broken Flowers: Has anyone ever come up with a ranking of films according to how much value the lead actor adds? I suggest as no. 1 Broken Flowers, a film which would be pretty boring if it didn’t have Bill Murray in it. (7.5/10)

The Party: Put it in the textbook: Setting the bulk of a film in a single location is generally a good idea. Peter Sellers, possibly the funniest man in the history of film, plays a hapless Indian actor accidentally invited to a producer’s party and completely carries this one (no. 2?). Regrettably, the filmmakers chose not to trust him all the way and instead opted for a proper escalation in the last third of the film – foam all over the place, elephant in the pool and all. Strongly recommended nonetheless. Question: Is The Simpson’s Apu a ripoff of the Sellers character or is this just the prevalent American stereotype about Indians? Or is it just me automatically thinking “Apu!” when I see a funny Indian? (8/10)

Ghost in the Shell: The general aesthetics of this film, much indebted to Blade Runner, are a treat. On the downside: Typically poor Japanese animation. (Hint: If the mouth moves, so should the chin.) Still I can see why everyone was raving about this film ten years back. A remake with real-life actors plus lots of digital stuff could be very interesting. (7.5/10)

Stealing Rembrandt: This Danish comedy about some petty criminals inadvertendly stealing a Rembrandt painting has all the plot devices in it you’d expect. Entertaining nonetheless. (7/10)

Pi: Is this film, a sort of Eraserhead with maths instead of freaks, a daring unconventional underground masterpiece or artsy-fartsy crap? I tend to go for the latter, but the contrast-rich b/w cinematography is great. (4.5/10)

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Super-extended director’s cut with new music and whatnot DVD version): If, after watching the minimalistic Pi, you feel you need to get your eyes fucked good, Lord of the Rings III may be the right choice. Massive castles, giants, flying dragons – this one’s got the lot. Never mind it’s a bit daft and also has a talking tree in it. (6.5/10)

Play Misty for Me: Clint Eastwood’s first film as an (actor-) director; also possibly the first film about stalking. Would be more convincing if the Eastwood character didn’t make a few stupid decisions which escalate the situation. Hitchcock would still have made this a compelling thriller, but aesthetically it’s pretty trashy at times. Even trashier: The German title Sadistico – Wiegenlied für eine Leiche. (5.5/10)

The Bridge on the River Kwai: Could be an even better film if you took out all the bits about how great it is to be British. Oh. (8/10)

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