Archive | March, 2011

Tony Zoreil – dir. Valentin Potier

29 Mar

 

A short i saw a MIFF or two ago that i thoroughly enjoyed.

A TV MOVIE – dir. Daniel Faigle

29 Mar
27 Mar

Bonnie and Clyde

27 Mar

Charles Starkweather.

Tron: Legacy (2010)

26 Mar

STARS: ****

Dir. Joseph Kosinski

Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) is adrift in the world having lost his father (Jeff Bridges) twenty years ago in suspicious circumstances; his father literally disappearing off the face of the earth. Now 27, Sam occasionally sabotages the large conglomerate empire his father and business partner Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) created back in the ’80’s. Alan receives a message on his pager from Sam’s father’s office and tells Sam of this. Intrigued, Sam investigates the run down arcade which his father used to work out of. He stumbles across his father’s hidden computer lab and, whilst accessing the computer in it is zapped into “the grid” – a digital world that Sam’s father had created decades ago that sought to create a true utopia.

Sam struggles to stay alive in this world, run by the mastermind program CLU – who was created in the likeness of his father to seek perfection in the grid. Sam discovers his father has been trapped inside the grid for the last twenty years and goes about trying to free them both, battling CLU in order to do so.

I enjoyed this film. I would’ve loved to have seen it on a big screen but unfortunately my circumstances didn’t allow me to do so. However, i still enjoyed the experience and slick visuals. VFX have sure come along way since the original Tron (released in ’82). The design and action sequences were a joy to watch.

The writers must have had a field day with this storyline for it seems to have included every archetype under the sun. Clearly they had studied Joseph Campbell’s book a fair few times and are avid fans of star wars. Unfortunately they did not have the time available to them to flesh out all of the interweaving narratives in this Tron mythology as Lucas had in his duel trilogy. This created a slightly clunky effect for structurally the narrative had to jump cut and breeze over useful plot points (ie. The Darth Vadar-like awakening of Tron defending the users at the last moment).

Having just seen True Grit also i felt like it was the Jeff Bridges show. Especially considering he played four characters in this film it kind of weirded me out a bit. I reckon they got away with digitally recreating a younger Bridges in the character of CLU for he was an artificial character anyway.

I enjoyed many themes in this film and would gladly watch it again to enjoy the action sequences and study the grid’s design in more detail. One of the themes we are left with is having a digital girl in a material world – which i find intriguing and a poignant topic to explore in our contemporary culture. Oh, and i should really mention the great revival of ’80’s music and vernacular. I giggled when Bridges switched “the Dude” on in his portrayal of Kevin Flynn.

Gifted Hands – The Ben Carson Story (2009)

26 Mar

STARS: **

Dir. Thomas Carter

The true story of pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson who grew up in the ’60’s with very little to become the leading surgeon in his field. A true rags to riches tale that confirms that one can defy all odds through sheer hard work, discipline and faith.

Seemed to me like Gooding Jr., who portrays the older Carson in the narrative, has jumped on the band wagon of biopics along with Jamie Foxx, Joaquin Phoenix, etc. Although, to Gooding Jr.’s credit, he has downplayed his portrayal of Carson to show the man’s true integrity and persistence in life.

Very much a tele movie in style and format, it was interesting to compare such a dramatised approach to neurology after recently watching The English Surgeon documentary – which pretty much shows grit an’ all. It is strange how in TV land the approach to reinventing narratives is restricted to the most basic formulaic structures proven in motion picture history. Considering the smaller budgets and larger quantity of productions i would have thought tele producers would be seeking new and creative ways of telling stories rather than recycling the tried and true over and over again. Fear of the unknown and taking chances seems to be such a strong constraint on tele producers. It’s a damn shame. This story could’ve been told in such a more diverse, interesting manner.

However, if a light emotional crowd pleaser is what you are after – than this is the one for you. I am a firm believer that every film has it’s place and use – just like a smorgasbord gives you a variety of flavours and sensations to pick from so does the world of cinema.