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This week, I went to the cinema twice

02/10/2010 1 comment

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Ben Affleck and posted a trailer for his film The Town. This week, I went to see The Town and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Remember how Gone Baby Gone was full of moral ambiguity and dilemma? Well, so is The Town. The story concerns a gang of bank robbers, headed up by Doug MacRay (Affleck), and their exploits, internal problems and their pursuit by the FBI following the robbery of a bank, managed by Claire (Rebecca Hall). In the midst of it all, Doug ends up developing some inappropriate feelings for Claire, after checking on her to make sure she didn’t have any valuable information to pass to the FBI. Affleck builds on Gone Baby Gone in terms of his directorial style, however the film is unfortunately less interesting; it’s a fairly basic cops and robbers thriller. Despite this, it remains entertaining for its two hour duration, with new developments occurring fairly regularly, even if they aren’t earth-shattering twists. Where Gone Baby Gone showed its strongest hand in its last five minutes, The Town collapses in the last thirty seconds, which leaves a bitter taste. Thankfully, the rest of the film is so solid and full of energy that it still holds up. It really is a cracking movie, if not a classic. It had done well so far at the box-office, taking in $61.5m worldwide from a $37m budget, improving on Gone Baby Gone‘s haul, and showing that as well as making films with integrity and thoughtfulness, Affleck also makes films that people want to see.

As the title of this post suggests, I went to the cinema twice this week. The second time was to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Robert Zemeckis’ Back To The Future, another film I wrote about recently. Having never seen an old film on the big screen before, this was a new experience, and was well worth my £6. I love this movie, and the big screen only made it better. I noticed things I hadn’t noticed before, laughed at things that hadn’t seemed funny before, and the soundtrack seemed even better than ever. It was, in a word, incredible. I can’t imagine that anyone reading this hasn’t seen Back To The Future before, but if you haven’t, stop whatever you’re doing and watch it now.

As awesome as the two feature films I saw were, the highlight of my trips to the cinema were seeing the trailer for The Social Network twice. David Fincher is by far my favourite director currently working, and has made some of my favourite ever films. When I first heard about this film, it was a strapline news article in Empire magazine, saying “David Fincher signed on to make Facebook movie”. I had no idea what this meant.Maybe it was some sort of social networking mystery, or a Hard Candy-esque story. Nope, it’s just the story of Facebook. Nothing could appeal less to me as a concept, but with Fincher attached I am far too excited, and the trailer only serves to get me so excited that the film cannot live up to my expectations. It will still be the greatest movie of the year though. Here is the trailer, so you can be excited too.

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Back To The Future: 25 Years On

22/09/2010 1 comment

I didn’t discover Back To The Future until I was 15, in 2003, and I didn’t watch it properly until I was 18, in 2007, but it is now one of the very few films that I would describe as being entirely faultless. Really.

25 years is a long time, and for a film to have not aged badly in that time is impressive beyond words. The Breakfast Club is one of my favourite films of all time, but watching it back now I feel very aware that I am watching an 80s movie. And of all the decades to root yourself in, the 80s has to be one of the worst. Think of the synthy scores, the huge hair and the dated computer technology. It almost brings a shudder. BTTF does none of these things. Alan Silvestri’s score is timeless – resisting the modal electronic score, the only big hair to be seen covers half of Christopher Lloyd’s head, and the ‘futuristic’ technology is presented as well as technology ever was up until the likes of 1995’s Hackers.

Really though, the genius of the film is not in any of the details, but in the sheer timelessness of the story and the humour. I can’t imagine I’m alone in every wondering whether I’d be friends with my parents if I went to school with them, and I’m certainly not the only one who has had to suffer the negative attention of an arsehole like Biff. I haven’t gone back in time though.

I can’t work out if the sequels let the original down. They clearly aren’t up to the standard of Part One – not many films are – but neither do they destroy the legacy of it, like the Star Wars prequels do. What they are is unnecessary, although inevitable given the success of Part One. The franchise is possibly the beginning of trilogies such as Die Hard and The Matrix where the first instalment is a perfectly self-contained story needing no further explanation, but is then expanded upon. BTTF and Die Hard, I would argue, are not ruined by their inferiour sequels, whereas The Matrix certainly is. I cannot now sit and watch The Matrix without thinking “Ah, for fuck’s sake. Why did they have to go and ruin this?” This probably helps BTTF remains so awesome after 25 years.

Those are my thoughts on Back To The Future. Rambling, perhaps, but honest at least. In future, I may try to plan my posts in advance a bit more. What I’m trying to say is that I love Back To The Future and if you’re not an idiot, so do you. It is having a 25th anniversary re-release on October 1st, and I urge everybody to make the trip to see it. It isn’t often that one gets the chance to watch a classic on the big screen – at least it isn’t in the middle of Yorkshire – so I for one will be taking the opportunity.

Films of the 80s.

13/09/2010 1 comment

Recently, I have watched a lot of films from the 1980s that have made me think, for the first time, “They don’t make ’em like they used to.” Films like The Lost Boys, Stand By Me and Back To The Future could not have been made in any other decade.  The tone of these films is oddly grown-up for what are otherwise kids’ movies. Stand By Me is about a group of young teenagers, but is peppered with shits and fucks, and is about going to find a dead body. The Lost Boys would be a perfect kids’ movie if it wasn’t about vampires. Having not seen it as a child, I don’t know if it scares kids, but I think it would have terrified me if I had seen it when I was younger – check out Kiefer Sutherland’s vampiric face. That’s a scary dude. Speaking of which, Kiefer defines these 80s movies for me. He was the perfect age, and had the perfect look, to be a dick; as he was in Stand By Me and The Lost Boys. Now he plays Jack Bauer on 24, and is completely unrecognisable from playing David, the most charismatic, evil bastard I’ve ever seen in a (sort of) kids’ movie, in The Lost Boys. Even Back To The Future was fucked up – it was essentially about a kid trying not to stop his own existence by keeping his teenage mother at arm’s length. Dark.

I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of weeks, since Stand By Me was on TV, and for the life of me I can’t work out why the 80s was responsible for so many great grown-up kids’ movies. Having not been born until 1988, I suppose I don’t have the greatest knowledge of the decade, and perhaps the secret lies in the vast ocean of information I don’t have about the 1980s. What I do have a knowledge of, however, is the 1990s and 2000s; 20 years in which we didn’t get any films that can compare to the likes of The Lost Boys or Back To The Future. I would perhaps put Groundhog Day in the same sort of bracket, but that was nowhere near as dark as its 1980s counterparts.

Despite my thinking about it and taking the time to write a blog post about it, I really have no conclusion that I can draw. All I can say is that I hope Hollywood rediscovers whatever it was that influenced these classics, because I would like more of them. And when I say more of them I don’t mean Lost Boys: The Tribe or Lost Boys: The Thirst. No amount of Corey Feldman can make me want to watch either of them.