Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Batman : Dead End

You're probably wondering what this is all about eh? No, it's not the Untitled Batman Begins Sequel, this is a fan film. Yes, that's right a fan film, a short film made by filmmakers who are fans of, in this case, Batman.

Why am I doing a write up on this?!? Why not? I never said this blog was going to be exclusivley theatrically released feature films (although they will more than likely be the majority), I do watch short films online, partially cos I work on short films, but also because some of them are quite good. This is one I enjoyed.

Batman : Dead End, is listed on theforce.net, and features Batman, played by Clark Bartram (although that name sounds like it's been made up especially for this). He goes out to pick up The Joker who's escaped from Arkham and gets himself stuck down a dead end with a host of unsavoury characters, in the shape of Aliens & Predators.

Now when someone sys "fan film" you immediatly think, kids, geeks, home video, bad costumes and acting etc etc, what a lot of people fail to realise is that there are filmmakers out there who go to a hell of a lot of effort to make their film look as good as poosible, just as you would expect from a "serious" short. This is one of those, they've gone to a lot of effort, got people in who have really good Alien/Predator outfits and tried to compose and light as best they can.

Unfortunatly the Batman costume is a tad dissapointing, ok, it looks like some of the comics, but c'mon, someone's got to have made the body armour!

Anyway, I enjoyed watching this which is the main thing, it's just over the eight minute mark with credits and is easily watchable. I felt it kind runs down the line of, "this is quite good, it's almost really good" if you get what i mean.

I downloaded the small mov (48Mb) from TFN, (I downloaded the 160Mb MPEG as well but that didn't work!), check it out.

Batman : Dead End - 6/10

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter And.. Spring

This was not what I expected, although saying that, I wasn't 100% sure what to expect. Everyone who I'd spoke to about it (well, the two people, one of whom lent me the DVD, cheers Conal), said that "you have to be in the right frame of mind for it", I kinda knew what that meant, especially after watching The Straight Story (which I haven't watched all of yet), so I was waiting for the time when I was in the right frame of mind.

That never seemed to come about. So, seeing as this was a borrowed DVD, I thought, sod it, I'm gonna watch it.

I'm glad I did, it's a beautiful, peaceful yet moving piece, the sort of film that you don't see very often, very little dialogue, beautifully shot, accomplished acting, brilliantly scripted and overall a joy to watch.

This is the first of Ki-Duk Kim's films that I've seen (he also makes an appearance in the latter part of the film) and I think it's a good place to start.

It is a very calm film, not slow because apart from the odd couple of lingering landscape shots, it's extremely well paced. For the most part the film focusses on it's two central characters, the old bhuddist monk and his young (companion/apprentice?!?), who grows up over the course of the film. During the second act, a young girl comes to the floating temple they live on and the young monk's world is thrown into disarray.

Although the film is visually beautiful, it's not overly stylised as something like House of Flying Daggers is, it remains very natural looking and allows the landscape it's set in to define the look of the piece.

Subtle, moving and inspiring. Now that I've watched it, I don't agree with "You have to be in the right frame of mind", I think the film gives you that frame of mind.

Bom yeoreum gaeul gyeoul geurigo bom - 8/10

Brighton Rock

What's this?? Matt watching another old black and white film?!? What is the world coming to?

Now, I watched this film in two parts, first on the train the other morning on the way to work, and the rest, just now in the comfort of my room, maybe that spoilt the effect somewhat, but I was underwhelmed by this one.

The performances throughout are ok, Ida played by Hermione Baddeley is ridiculously annoying, but I guess that's partly what her character is supposed to be, Richard Attenborough as Pinky, doesn't really do anything for me here, the nature of his character is portrayed well I guess, even if it spelled out for you in Alphabites at the end of the film :/ for me it was all a bit mediocre.

The plot centres around the ever increasingly complicated cover-up of a murder (followed by another), and mainly Pinkie's inept handling of it.

This is one of those "should watch", "iconic" films, although, I wasn't as impressed with this as I have been with Citizen Kane, The Lady from Shanghai, Seven Samurai, or Kind Hearts even, I would however rate it the same as The Third Man, which happens to be another Graham Greene work.

What's the problem with it? It's just a bit dull, coming (and still) from the Brighton area, it's interesting to see Fred run up North Street, past the clock tower and on to Queens Road as he [actually does] head towards the station, but that was it, it's alright, but just alright.

Brighton Rock - 6/10

Monday, May 08, 2006


B-Movie Madness! Slime, nastyness, laughs, CHEERS!!

Difficult what to know what to say about this one, I've been really looking forward to seeing it, waiting...well ages, ever since I saw the trailer online, would I be as disappointed as I was with the humongous let down that was The Weather Man??


It could have been better, with the posters screaming "The funniest comedy horror since Shaun Of The Dead", didn't help it, it's nowhere near as funny (but the line probably rings true). I'd put this film easily in the same stock as Eight Legged Freaks, and I'd rate it about the same...but nastier!

The performances are as good and as convincing as you'd expect from a film of this caliber, Nathan Fillon strikes the right level of redneck and tough guy for the police chief, Elizabeth Banks is just the right amount of ice-cream & flake (work that one out!).

One of the little touches I liked in this film was..no not the uber references scattered throughout, although there are many (and clever)...but the relationship between Starla and her (body snatched) husband Grant, it's surprising how much it makes sense and how much it adds to the film.

So what exactly is this all about eh? It's essentially a bog-standard "body-snatcher/the thing" type affair, clearly drawing on many genre influences and putting them to good use. It's a tad slow in places as it tries to build the tension when all you want is laughs and slime, but it's heart is in the right place. The backwoods, redneck setting works brilliantly, to be honest I would've liked to have seen them push it a little further with that, but is has the desired effect.

Don't go in expecting anything nearly as funny as SOTD, but do expect a above average, slime n laughs horror. Enjoy watching it, and be prepared for your girlfriend to go-on about how disgusting it is after you watch it ;)

Slither - 7/10

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Kind Hearts And Coronets

Firstly, cheers The Daily Mail, free DVD's galore, and this as the post title suggests is an Ealing Classic.

It's famous mainly for Sir Alec Guinness' turn as all eight members of the D'Ascoyne family, all the blurb focusses on Guinness' performance, which while top notch, is, I feel, eclipsed by Dennis Price as the central character, Louis Mazzini.

It's slow going, for me at least, while the composition and cutting certainly shows it's age, the acting is natural, relaxed and far better than I've seen in most other films of this era.

The story kicks off with Louis in his cell waiting to be hanged (hung?), he is writing his memoirs and this takes us through the tale of how he came to be in his current situation. It's an interesting and entertaining journey, one of the secondary players Sibella (played by Joan Greenwood), has a husky allure that bugged me throughout (in a good way), I have since decided that she sounds like Felicety Kendal, which is no bad thing ;)

One other thing that struck me about this film is how racy it is, there's some serious suggestion in there, which surprised me for a 1949 picture.

Overall, it's a good film, definitly worth watching, terribly british and terribly terribly good performances.

Kind Hearts And Coronets - 8/10

Blog Update: A couple of friends have accepted my invitations to contribute to this blog, look out for reviews from them (one being "The Squid And The Whale") coming up sometime soon.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Brotherhood (taegukgi)

Completely bloody amazing!

It's full Korean title; Taegukgi hwinalrimyeo, this film by Je-gyu Kang is simply one of the best war movies I've ever seen.

Immediatly comparable to Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan, there are similar visual stylings, most noticable in the battle scenes, where the use of desaturated colours and a low shutter angle give it the vivid, jarring effect "popularised" by Private Ryan.

The story, set in the Korean war during the 50's, follows two brothers when they get drafted and the elder brother's personal quest to earn a way out for his younger sibling.

To this effect, the film focusses on the personal aspects more than the war itself, the acting by both Dong-Kun Jang (who looks remarkably like Chow Yun Fat) and Bin Won is superb throughout, in fact I don't think I can fault any of the performances! I'm a huge fan of Asian cinema, and have been getting more and more into it in recent years, I heartily reccommend this film to pretty much anyone, although, some are more open to subtitled films than others ;)

Korea seems to be churning out some of the best films out there, far far better than Hollywood, (look out for reviews of Chan-Wook Park's revenge trilogy), next up is Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter...and Spring by Ki-Duk Kim, although I've been told by two people now "you have to be in the right frame of mind", looking forward to it!

Brotherhood (2004) - 10/10 WATCH IT NOW!!!