Film Friday… week 72

Brazil

Jonathan Pryce stars as a bureaucrat attempting to fix an administrative error in this bonkers Terry Gilliam imagining of a near-off future controlled by a faceless state. It’s almost too loopy to describe and focusing on the substance rather than the style here would almost be a mistake, as Gilliam uses light sound and atmosphere to create the very clear understanding that all is not right with the world in a way that supersedes plot. A case in point is the soundtrack, which is made up almost entirely of different versions of the song Aquarela do Brazil by Ary Barroso, at times gleeful… at others time sinister or tragic. It is an absolutely brilliant example of dystopian science fiction that will set a chill up your spine, if for no other reason than looking at the way a pre-mobile phone, pre-internet society imagined the future.

What do you mean I'm the only one that dressed up? You said it was a space angel party!

 Dolores Claiborne

When her mother, Dolores (Kathy Bates) is accused of murdering her long-time employer (Judy Parfitt), journalist, Selena (Jennifer Jason Leigh) returns to the hometown she loathed to try and make sense of what has happened. The deeper she digs the more she discovers that things are not what they seem, including her own memories. This plodding adaptation of Stephen King’s eponymous novel did little for me. I remember loving the book but I found it hard to keep focused on the story or the characters.

"That'll be the last time she wears my apron!" Sam thought to himself.

The Eagle

According to legend the entire Ninth Legion of Roman soldiers stationed in Britain disappeared into the Northern mountains, carrying their solid gold eagle banner. Twenty years later, Marcus Aquila (Channing Tatum) the son of the commander of the Ninth Legion returns to the mountains with his British slave, Esca (Jamie Bell) to find the eagle and restore his family’s good name. I think this is very much a movie about boys made for boys. I couldn’t resist muttering.  “Stop being such a dickhead and just grow up!” to myself through most of the film. Lots of swords and sandles… not much substance… virtually zero female characters.

Hey! Why you no wear bone hat?

The Last Picture Show

This 50’s set epic depicts the coming of age of a group of high schoolers trapped in a backwards West Texas town that is slowly dying. Caught between morality and savagery and control vs desire best friends, Sonny (Timothy Bottoms) and Duane (Jeff Bridges) learn about love and life as they fall in and out of love with the same vapid girl (Cybill Sheperd). I’m not quite sure what to make of this. In some ways it’s a classic but I found that it dragged and I just didn’t feel it the same way some of the critics seem to have. I’m all for bleak realism but there was nothing redeeming about this one. Watch to say you’ve seen it but beware the creeping depression that follows.

When all else failed, Alice always had her middle finger to fall back on. Take that, society!

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