Saturday, July 24, 2010
At #26 on The List is Kubrick's science-fiction masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey.
This film is perhaps one of the biggest gaps in my filmic knowledge. Despite it being the all-time Favorite Film of many many friends and relatives, including my own father, I have never seen it.
Heh, well, firstly and most importantly, I dislike sci-fi.
I dislikes films that take place in space (generally speaking and Star Wars exempt). And furthermore, I am not the biggest Kubrick fan.
So it's no surprise that this wasn't quite my cup of tea.
That said, I really did (am) giving it a fair go.
I use the present tense in brackets because I am simultaneously typing while watching said film. Or rather, I watched 45 mins last night with my hubby (who incidentally is another person who loves the movie) before bed; Now, we are at the 1 hr 28 minute mark, and while I don't *dislike* the film, I am rather impatient and finding it slow-go.
So I will use my ability to type without needing to look at the keyboard while I watch the rest of this film.
From a purely visual point of view - this film is MINDBLOWING. Even by today's standards, but one can only imagine the impact it made in 1968. And I would love love love to see it on a big screen.
I'm not necessarily one who like films that are visually spectacular, but lacking in other areas. I do appreciate that film is, in and of itself, primarily a visual medium. But I truly believe that a film that lacks cohesiveness of the visual with other aspects of film, fails inherently.
2001: A Space Odyssey quite obviously doesn't fail per se...
But, and this is rather unpopular to say, I must agree with the critics who've said that it was "somewhere between hypnotic and immensely boring." and "2001 is a disaster because it is much too abstract to make its abstract points."
The film is slow.
A tad boring, minus the oooo-ing and aaah-ing over the gorgeous shots and nifty cut-aways, or the few captivating points of creepiness (usually coinciding with excellently haunting music).
Where is it goooooing, for god's sake?
What about plot?
I hate the too-abstract. The purposefully and pretentiously abstract.
And seriously...3 minutes in the frikkin dark, with nothing but manipulative music to set the scene, as a start to the film?
Puh-lease, Stanley Kubrick.
Apparently the book is excellent, and explains things which Kubrick has purposefully left vague, for viewers to prescribe meaning unto. My husband has pointed out gaps which the book explains -and also offered that the novel is on the shelf, should I ever want to read it (...hmmm, can't quite see that happening).
And I'm not an idiot who needs things to be spelled out to me, Hollywood style.
I just don't find myself riveted by the concept.
I like my films with a large side helping of meaning and emotion.
I know the themes tackled in this film were large and "profound", but the way in which they were handled left this viewer less than dazzled.
But hey, at least I know have basis for the zillions of references to this "epic film".
And I was dazzled by visuals and brilliant use of music/sound.
So, 3 out of 5 monkeys then.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
"Alright, Calloway, you win. I'll be your dumb decoy duck"
Oh Zither, Zither, how I can't get enough of that zither sound...
Number 65 on The List is Carol Reed's post-war British film-noir classic 'The Third Man'. One of my favourite films already, it was a pleasure to watch it again after some time.
I first encountered this film in the film class, where I studied it whilst living admist Eastern Europe, in a setting that nearly matched that of the film. It was exciting to watch this film while living in Prague, and seeing it now takes back to 2001, and the cobblestoned streets thereof.
An excellent mystery, The Third Man is the story of Holly Martens, "a hack writer who drinks too much", who arrives in sketchy, black-market-ridden post-war Vienna, to find that his friend (the wonderfully named Harry Lime) is dead. Circumstances surrounding his death are sketchy, and Martens is determined to find out 'the truth'.
The suspenseful and well-crafted solving of that mystery is just part of what makes The Third Man a great noir.
Also remarkable is, of course, the fantastic & quirky musical score (zither!), and the black & white "expressionist cinematography", in particular - bizarre camera angles. Add to this the dodgy eastern european characters and locations, and the brilliance of Joseph Cotte, Allida Valli and Orson Welles' performances, and you have one grrrreat film, which I definitely give