Paul Dundon’s Weblog

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A little cheese and a little whine

A diary experiment

So, on the one hand, this blog is open to anyone to read, but on the other hand, no-one actually does. Meanwhile, my partner keeps asking me “what films have we watched lately that we enjoyed?” so he can recommend them to his friends. Ergo, it makes sense for me to keep a track of what films we watch here, primarily for my own benefit but also on the very slim chance that someone else cares what I think.

So, here’s a bit of a catch-up list:

Transformers 2

Unremarkable but unobjectionable sequel to the first film. Some of the mythology was a bit obscure but it was generally fun.

Surrogates

Pretty good sci-fi / detective yarn which seems to have been inspired by Second Life. The sci-fi content seemed to have been dumbed down a bit, but Bruce Willis was very watchable and the conclusion (if you grant everything that goes before) is satisfying.

Up

Beautiful film that has some powerful things to say about love and commitment without being preachy.

Stan Helsing

Not so much a horror parody as a chain of scenes parodying specific moments in specific films. One or two good gags, but much inferior to the later Scary Movie films.

Gamer

Inspired, I think, by Sony Home, this film touches on many of the ideas in Surrogates but sets out to be much darker. There are some good ideas here but the plot doesn’t really know where it’s going and the peroration is extremely weak. Overall, it’s a mish-mash of cyberpunk anti-corporatism and cowboy heroism that doesn’t work very well. It does have Milo Ventimiglia in rubber for a few minutes, so it’s not all bad.

Mirrors

Well executed by-the-numbers horror film with a disappointing “Scary Door” conclusion.

District 9

Starts as a heavy-handed commentary on apartheid and improves only a little.

Moon

Interesting reworking of the Blade Runner conceit, this is a very watchable film for what is effectively a solo performance. The story questions unfold nicely and although there isn’t much tension until the end, Sam Rockwell’s performance is engaging enough to keep you watching.

Coraline

Like most of Gaiman’s writing, this is a touching and optimistic film with a hint of gothic darkness. It’s a little slow moving but visually very appealing and it has a sort of ambling charm that makes up for the lack of pace. It also talks about taffy from Brighton, but you can’t have everything.

GI Joe

Could have been fantastic – there are some fine performances, excellent effects, brilliant, brilliant action sequences and a pretty good script. But it has too many flaws. It takes a pro-militaristic tone which feels a bit too gung-ho for comfort given what America has done lately, and for an elite force, GI Joe are a bit crap, being unable to defend their super-secret nerve centre of operations from basically a man with a sword. The writers have tried to up the stakes by making the baddies powerful and ruthless, but actually they just come off as implausible and childish.

Dorian Gray

Painfully slow but visually appealing adaptation of a problematic novel. Plenty of familiar faces and some good performances but a lack of chemistry between the leads, and the downplay of the relationship between Basil and Dorian, makes it hard to care what happens to him. There’s an interesting transformation of Lord Henry into an antagonist in the final 20 minutes – something that doesn’t happen in the novel at all – but it’s too little, too late.

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Filed under: Film + TV,

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My Bookshelf

The Golden Bough
The Value of Nothing
The Fire
A Wolf at the Table
Devil Bones

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