Thursday, 15 October 2015

Notes on Films

The Martian is a simple film. It's terrific as an entertainment, keeping to the one situation, getting the stranded astronaut home, and building from that, with a variety of characters. The best thing about it is that it has a sense of wonder about people's reaction, not the planets, and never tries to pretension itself out of its b-movie plot roots. Instead its humorous, humane, keeps to the point, and delivers characters that are naturalistic and who don't always stick to what should be their type in this kind of story. the stranded astronaut is curious, resourceful against the odds, but sometimes a dick. But you still like him, in fact it makes him more likable to see his crabby side. The people trying to rescue him are trying their best to help but deal with the real world and its compromises, so their eventual sacrifices and moments of heroism make the story more emotional. the direction and writing is subtle. It's just one of those this one works types of films. Everything came together.

Avengers 2 is a cluttered mess if you're gonna be objective about it but is just so damned entertaining despite its flaws. It has fun action, a good if underused villain, some terrific character moments and jokes, and some wonderful small character moments. It's just that it has enough plot for a 3 hour film so things get compressed and sometimes lose their intended impact. It's probably the most under-rated blockbuster of the year, and it finally gives us some good Hawkeye moments. One of the interesting things is that the key emotional relationship that comes through both films is Hawkeye-Black widow. The superheroes have their moments but this one seems to be the one that underpins a lot of the stories, even though a lot is done subtly.

Murnau's Faust is a masterpiece AND very entertaining. Mephisto wagers with the heavens for the earth that he can corrupt the most kindest soul, Faust. He succeeds, leading to some astonishing moments of horror and fantasy, but cannot overcome a prime emotional connection that Faust makes, which is love. While this could sound tawdry, it's a beautiful, primal film, with astonishing images such as Mephisto and his dark wings spreading over the town. It works due to simplicity.

Prehistoric Women is indefensible. It's terrible yet oddly compelling. Hammer made it, trying to switch from British horror to fantasy but they get everything wrong, cluttering the dumb story scene after dull scene. It's odd that it goes from the real world to an alternative world and even though this is a fantasy trope, I couldn't help but compare it in some way to The Matrix but racist and out of its mind awkward on the idea of alternative worlds. It's a film that you should see because of how weird it is.