Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Films of the past few days

Caché (Hidden)
Michael Haneke is fast becoming one of my favourite directors. I think of him as the David Lynch of "foreign" cinema. Indeed, so much so that this movie starts with a couple receiving video tapes of their house under surveillance, à la Lynch's Lost Highway. A little further in, a dinner guest tells a story about a dog, the punchline of which is identical to Jack Nance's canine tale in Wild at Heart. A fair amount of the film plays out in near darkness, as does much of Lynch's oeuvre, especially the last third, apparently, of his upcoming Inland Empire. So, is Haneke a dirty robbing bastard? Well, I rather think not. What he is is a great film-maker creating often challenging pieces of work that play with notions of time and personal interrelations. Hidden sees a return to the theme of rewinding time, in this case, videotape, much as he did so brilliantly in one key scene in Funny Games. It also adds fuel to my belief that he is obsessed with doorways. I really liked this film, despite having to watch it in three sittings. Just think how much more I would have liked it in one. 80 out of 100.

The Omen
Previously I've only ever seen snippets of The Omen, like, 25 years ago. We all know what The Omen is about, don't we? The devil's son is "adopted" by Lee Remick and Gregory Peck and marks the beginning of the end of the world, apparently. I've gotta say, despite being a pretty old movie, this was still quite good. You have to ignore the fashions of the time, of course, but the story is strong and the film well acted. Hell, it's even got Patrick Troughton in it, who was the second Doctor Who, back in the '60s! Speaking of the 60s, I'll give this 62 points.

Last Party 2000
Philip Seymour Hoffmann fronts this documentary following the 2000 US elections, the ones that Bush and his brother rigged so that Dubya would win the presidency. It's pretty much what you would expect, given that we all know the outcome only too well, but it is interesting, and there are some great quote, like this one from GWB himself: "If we don't win the state of Florida, my brother Jeb will be in big trouble." Oh, that plays great now, don't it, Georgie Boy? There are also celeb talking heads such as Noam Chomsky, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Bill Maher, and others. Somewhat of its time, this film, but interesting nonetheless. 62 points.

Dog Soldiers
The British film industry has been closely tied to horror for some 40 years, and Dog Soldiers was widely held up as a return to form on its initial release. I saw this on the Sci-Fi channel, and unfortunately it was pan-and-scanned and had commercial breaks, but at least it wasn't cut for language or violence. It was a reasonably enjoyable romp, played well by all concerned, and it was far better than the director's next film, The Descent. A middling 60 for this.

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Blogger Suze said...

I can't share my thoughts on any of these except The Omen. Not seen it for years.

It's good to hear after all this time that it still holds it's own.

07 November, 2006 09:35  
Blogger Red said...

I think it's highly unfair to compare Haneke with (pwah) Lynch.

Having said that, I am not 100% convinced by Haneke yet; indeed, the more I see by him, the more I think I loved The Pianist despite him being at the helm rather than because of it. I didn't like Time of the Wolf and I have no recollection of Code Inconnu other than the guy who played Majid in Caché in that scene on the metro.

Caché was good, though.

07 November, 2006 10:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haven't watched a film for 2 weeks now!

Somebody has leant me a copy of 'the davinci code' I cant bring myself to watch it.

I have ordered 'Sympathy for mr vengance' however and looking forward to another night of South Korean cinema.

Next on my list in Derek Jarmans 'last of England'. My wife has wanted to see it for ages now. She has a degree in film and video art and enjoys a good arty movie now and again. She can even tolerate subtitles now!

07 November, 2006 10:30  
Blogger Milla said...

I am glad you liked The Omen. The original is one of my favorite horror movies. I recently saw the new version and it was OK, I mean, just about Ohkaaaay...

Red, what do you mean by putting the word 'pawh' next to the surname Lynch? You in for a fight or what?

07 November, 2006 10:55  
Blogger Tanya said...

Nice to see the reviews up. I agree with you on The Omen. I haven't seen the others. For its time, The Omen was really good. I am holding off seeing the remake because I really don't want to be disappointed.

07 November, 2006 11:19  
Blogger Red said...

Oh, cara Milla... there goes what could have been a wonderful friendship...

Any fight that doesn't involve a cookout, I am bound to lose (and I'd probably lose to you in the tiramisu showdown too...), so here's the deal: I manage to have a wonderful relationship with *, who loves the Lynch. Sure, occasionally I storm out of the cinema (like in the middle of Mulholland Drive), but it's nothing that agreeing to disagree and never dragging me to see any of his films again can't solve.

07 November, 2006 11:49  
Anonymous cappy said...

the omen; an absolute classic

dog soldiers; not too bad

the other two i haven't seen. did watch the family stone last night. ok, if a bit too predictable.
and we also watched v for vendetta too. a very enjoyable film. and natilie portman with a shaved head phoar!!

tonights treat is march of the penguins. i will keep you updated!

p.s. i have the week off! hence the filmic action!

07 November, 2006 12:43  
Blogger Karen said...

I have to say that I enjoyed Dog Soldiers despite it's slight hokey-ness. And I must confess that I didn't enjoy the Omen that much. It was ok, but not a classic in my mind.

07 November, 2006 13:36  
Blogger Milla said...

Red, you let me win at the outset, wonderful!
Mind you, if it was a Battle of the Risotto, I would lose without a doubt.

I love Lynch, always have and always will. If he wanted babies from me...well...I wouldn't say no...

07 November, 2006 13:59  
Blogger Will said...

Saw Red Road at the weekend - all that surveillance stuff and tense creepiness reminded me of Hidden quite a bit. Go see.

07 November, 2006 14:16  
Blogger Martha Elaine Belden said...

ooo... i've been wanting to see cache... glad to know you viewed it so highly. now i can be assured i'll enjoy it (you're a bit more harsh on movies than i, so i figure if YOU liked it, then I'LL like it :)

07 November, 2006 16:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked Dog Soldiers. Liked the original Omen...hated the remake like no one's business.

When I say hated...I mean HATED. ;)


07 November, 2006 16:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Omen I remember cause it scared me when I was a tween. And the picture you have of Dog Soldiers up is super cool. It scares me just looking at it!

07 November, 2006 16:41  
Blogger Sheamus the... said...

Ah man...I love Dog Soldiers and I loved the Descent even more. I highly enjoy spelunking though so I guess I can relate to some of the fears experienced in the movie. Like the part where she gets stuck in the barely sqeezable cavern...(I also love creatures!)

07 November, 2006 16:51  
Blogger ldbug said...

That first film looks good, I'm going to see if I can find it.

The last has a creepy picture!!

07 November, 2006 17:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

im very curious about that movie cache. ...

to this day i cannot watch the omen alone in the dark. i have to have supervision because that movie completely frightens me.

07 November, 2006 19:15  
Blogger The_'Real'_Batman said...

Hanecke is wesome; I just purchased his collection; he might be art-house but he creates vivid cinema.

Dog Soldiers is excellent but I would disagree with you that the Descent is worse. It uses claustrophobia so well that when the creatures appear you're freaked enough. However, if you've watched the U.S ending I can understand as that mucks things up.

07 November, 2006 20:14  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Hallo evlyborry!

I left it a little late to reply to everyone in turn, didn't I? But, I will say a quick "thanks for the tip" to Will; and a "nope, just didn't like The Descent" to Sheamus and Batman. I saw the Uk version, and as much as I thought it was useless, it at least wasn't as bad as The Cave.

Also, RD: Da Vinci Code was aiight, y'know, just aiight. I've never seen Last of England, only bits, and I love the look of the photography, which is all grainy, I think. Shot on Super 8 or 8mm film, wasn't it?

08 November, 2006 18:03  
Blogger Kate said...

I love the Omen, it's one of my all time favourite horror films - that scene in the cemetary still makes my toes curl. I also like Dog Soldiers, didn't think I would, but it has a certain charm. I agree about The Descent. I hate that film, but I won't even begin to tell you why because I would be here all night.

09 November, 2006 20:23  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Kate: The Descent was bad, but The Cave was so much worse...

10 November, 2006 11:08  

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