Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker

I didn’t like The Last Jedi. Not because of the narrative or any risks taken by the director, but the fact that the film treated its villains with such a lack of respect that the supposedly diabolical First Order looked like it was run at a bunch of buffoons, especially General Hux. When the evil force is one big joke, how are we supposed to take the threat they pose seriously? There were, of course other flaws but the main problem was the lack of threat posed by The First Order. 

Black Christmas

This year’s Black Christmas is the second remake of the original film from 1974. Where the 1974 original film used the slasher blueprint effectivly, long before John Carpenter’s Halloween, the 2006 remake was pretty forgettable and generic slasher flick. The 2019 is a different beast, it tries to step away from the generic slasher and bring in a more modern take by dealing with topical themes of sexism, assault and female empowerment. 

Knives Out

 Many of the Poirot movies always end up with him, played by a Brit with an exaggerated French-Belgian accent (think David Suchet and Peter Urnistov), magically reaching his eureka moment and solving the most impossible of crimes. A strangely cherished childhood memory is one where, on a wet, rainy day in Wales, I watched Evil Under the Sun on ITV and the image of a man in black speedos is implanted in my memory that it’s the only thing I really remember. about the film. 

Ford Vs Ferarri

 For the uninitiated, Le Mans is a pretty big deal. It makes up one of the races you have to win to earn the Triple Crown of Motorsport (Monaco Grand Prix and Indy 500 make up the other two) of which only one driver, Graham Hill, has ever won. The film is centred around the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans, focusing on Ford’s on track and off-track battle with super car company Ferrari (who had previously won the past five races at Le Mans). In a bid to put a halt to the fledging sales, Ford decide to bring in Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) to help them build a car that will beat Ferrari at Le Mans and he knows just the guy who could win it for them, only problem is this guy, Ken Miles (Christian Bale), isn’t Ford material. 

Midway

The Pacific War has been popular in America cinema since the day the Japanese air force attacked Pearl Harbor. This ‘sneak attack’ on a date that will ‘live in infamy’ was instantly a sore point for America so the depiction of the Japanese army in 40s films like Wake Island and many others were frequently vile, racist, and lacking in the depth that German characters were depicted with in films like The Mortal Storm. Things have gotten better but for every Letters from Iwo Jima you’d get a few Hacksaw Ridges, but overall the depiction is far better.

Rambo: Last Blood

Politics influence movies and movies influence politics. It has always been a fact. Even the first Rambo was a politically driven film which examined America’s attitude towards Vietnam veterans returning home, abandoned by their government and vilified by certain quarters for being ‘child killers’. Rambo: First Blood came at a time America began to really look at its involvement in Vietnam, films like The Deer Hunter, Platoon and Rambo looked at the American psyche following its loss of innocence as images of war were beamed into every living room with a TV.

Gemini Man

Ang Lee is trying to change the way we view movies. His previous effort Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk was, in part, shot at 120FPS. His latest effort, Gemini Man, was entirely shot at 120FPS. The problem with this is only a select few cinemas have the capability to screen films at this framerate. This means only a select few people saw the film as it was intended by the director. Those who did see the film at 120FPS complained that it made the film loo ‘fake’ or ‘soap operary’. Whilst I didn’t watch it at 120FPS I can imagine it looked like watching films/TV on my uncle’s massive HD TV for the first time where it looked like everything was filmed in front of a really bad green screen.