Friday, 30 July 2010

At The Pictures: Inception and Toy Story 3

Been putting off writing about Inception, wanted to let it sink in a bit more. I really enjoyed it, and it’s great seeing original content in Summer blockbusters. The look, pacing, sound and structure were all great. But as time goes by the effects of it are wearing off a little and I’m starting to think “was it actually that good?” – the characters were a little bit one dimensional, and there was a bit too much talky-explainy scenes. I did enjoy it though, and I’m probably going to go and see it again, but it’s not a 5 star classic. Nice clothes though, and I’m enjoying reading various people’s interpretations, which are bordering on fan-fiction, about ‘what was REALLY going on’.

Toy Story 3 was just another example of Pixar’s brilliance. You really can’t fault them. My one gripe is that I wanted loads more Mr Pricklepants. Let’s hope he gets his own spin-off. I can’t really think of anything to say. It’s not as good as Up. It might be better than The Incredibles.

Friday, 9 July 2010

At The Pictures: Greenberg

So last night I saw Greenberg, the latest film from Noah Baumbech or whatever he’s called. It stars Ben Stiller as the titular Roger Greenberg who retuns to his native LA following an exile in New York, and some kind of unspecified psychological breakdown inducing hospital stay. He hangs out with his brother’s PA, and meets up with his old band mate. All three central performances are pretty great, some of the best work I’ve seen from Stiller and Rhys Ifans. I’d not seen the girl in anything else but she was also great. Like a less hot less annoying Zoeey Deschanel. They’ve all got various issues and problems, and the plot doesn’t really go anywhere – the pet dog’s ongoing illness is the only narrative arc really, but it’s still engaging throughout and occasionally funny. I particularly enjoyed Greenberg’s ranty letters. The Mayor of New York, the airline company, a taxi firm, and Pakistan all fall foul of his poison pen. It’s not really a comedy though, just East Coast anxieties moved to sunny LA.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Books What I Done Been Reading

On the bus this morning I finally finished reading Jonathan Lethem’s The Fortress Of Solitude, which I’d been given as a birthday gift back in March.

The book is essentially about New York, and Brooklyn in particular. It takes a panorama of themes equal to The Wire in scope. Race relations, gentrification, the end of hippy ideologies, music, drugs, graffiti, and some other bits and bobs are all touched upon as we follow the lives of 2 character growing up from the 70s to the present-ish day. There’s also a vein of the fantastic running through the book’s core, which intertwines with the characters’ love of comic books.

The whole thing’s pretty ambitious basically, and the writing style is a bit dense at first – it took a while for it to grip me, but I’m really glad I stuck with it.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

At The Pictures: The Killer Inside Me and The Brothers Bloom

I went to the cinema twice in 2 days. Crazy.

First I saw Michael Winterbottom's The Killer Inside Me, which came shrink wrapped in controversy. It wasn't that bad reeeeeeeally. The violent scenes were pretty grim, but there was no implication that the women were enjoying it - which is a criticism I've read in some reviews. The film deals with the old literary staple of The Unreliable Narrator, but to me it didn't quite work. There's also a really bad CGI scene at one point. If you don't have the budget for a decent effects shot, then don't bother. I can't decide if I actually liked it or not. File under 'hmmm, interesting' I suppose.

The Brothers Bloom is Rian Johnson's follow up the opinion splitting Brick. For some reason it's taken about 2 years for it to reach UK cinemas. I really liked it, but I can see that it's not for everyone. Like Brick, it makes no allusions to being set in the 'real' world, which grates on some for reasons I don't get. It's a bit 'indie film by numbers' at times. A little Coen Bros, a bit of Wes Anderson, etcetera etcetera, but I don't mind a bit of that. All the locations they filmed at were stunning, and the trio of central performers were great. Plot wise I don't think it quite manages to do everything it was trying to, but it's a fun ride. Hope his next film gets here sooner rather than later.