Monday, December 29, 2014

Sweet Charity (1969)

Charity Hope Valentine. Has there ever been a character so aptly named?

She gives and gives unconditionally.

She spends her life believing in better possibilities.

She is genuinely a martyr for love.

But for all these rare and beautiful qualities, is she merely naive, immature and deluded, living out her life with unrealistic fantasies? Or is she the embodiment of everything we all really want to be?

Most of us believe that “there’s gotta be something better than this” in our lives and we deserve to be loved, appreciated and not humiliated. Maybe we can all live hopefully ever after.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Time Bandits (1981)

A child’s bedroom is sanctuary from his parents and their materialistic world but it also houses a vast world of imagination. Kevin’s passion for history, adventure and new ideas invites chaos into his life through an epic odyssey alongside a hoard of dubious cohorts with their own agenda. Are his experiences legitimate excursions into times of heroes, legends and fables or are they unconscious delusions aroused by the heterogeneous clutter within his fortress? Building blocks, knights in armour and spaceships pervade his world to save him from idol drudgery and thrusts him into a bureaucratic war between good and evil.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Cube (1997)

Reasonably low budget, considerably high concept, metaphor for life;
Born into confusion, concealed perils await, death is inevitable;
Strength within numbers, collaboration promotes achievement, the innocent ascend.

Our protagonists are in the prime of their life, trying to get to the root of the problem without a square meal to fuel them. Each prisoner (with a moniker akin to an institute of confinement – a sweet conceit) is efficacious in their own right, but to solve the puzzle of Rubik proportions, need to work as a whole or dice with death.

Within the third dimension
There is always room to move...

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mulholland Drive (2001)

Diane Selwyn; an actress with a dream. Camilla Rhodes; her lover, her idol. Hollywood doesn't live up to its façade and Diane feels betrayed in life and love. She becomes a casting director of her own fictitious drama, giving parts to those who pervade the final days of her life. As she descends into madness and Pandora's Box exudes its terrors, enter: Betty Elms - an ingénue desiring a path that is the antithesis of her recent journey. Those who aggrieved her will pay the price; the one she desires becomes her neophyte protégée. Il n'est pas de orquestra! Silencio...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Chicago (1927)

Real-life killers Belva Gaertner and Beulah Annan were Maurine Dallas Watkins' inspiration for her play's dubious heroine Roxie Hart and rival Velma Kelly; two women who became idolised despite their abhorrent criminal activity. Chicago is a modern morality play and a poignant indictment of a society obsessed with celebrity culture, the theatrics of the legal system and journalists' desperation for scandal. In our mollycoddled society, do we care more for performance and entertainment over truth and the lives of the innocent? Still relevant today; Frank Urson's film highlights how susceptible we are to the razzle dazzle of media and law.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Clue (1985)

Defying its frivolity, Clue has a grave attitude toward capitalism. Our playful guests are proud of their anti-socialist stance despite it being their ultimate downfall. Each has the blood of staff on their hands for their cardinal sins. Their sanguine attitudes are challenged on this ruddy night of financial ruin; even Miss Scarlet's lust for cash is subdued in a sea of compromising guilt. Jonathan Lynn's script disguises the left-wing politics behind a veil of bourgeoisie personalities. In an ironic reversal, Marxist egalitarianism prevails; our players survive with an equal share of penalties.

Or was communism just a red herring?

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Psycho (1960)

Out of all the iconic moments in Psycho, the scene in the parlour of the Bates Motel between Norman Bates and Marion Crane is a tour de force. Two characters - one a misguided woman reaching a moment of clarity and redemption, the other a deeply troubled man under the thrall of his mother - discuss birds, taxidermy, personal traps, private islands, and going a little mad... Their mutual vulnerability accentuates the growing fear of what's to come. Anthony Perkins' subtle transition of emotions is chilling. With superb dialogue, expert direction and priceless performances, it's a golden moment of cinema.

Read more about Psycho in an older blog post of mine here.