Good evening everyone, I apologise for the lateness of this FFFD entry but I've been fighting a bit of a grimting infection (grimting is actually on my doctor's notes).
Anyhow, I did actually get around to watching some films last week. One I have been longing to own on DVD for a fair while now and the 2nd you can possibly still catch on iPlayer if you are quick and interested.
Oh my sweet baby robot Jesus! This is a film that gets almost everything right. The characters, the cast, the effects, the style, the feel but the story is rot. But that is hopefully what a good sequel can improve on (Star Trek Into Darkness is out May 2013).
Alright, lets start with the casting. It starts out looking like an A&F models catwalk. The real trick of the film is twisting these characters from the film's opening until they end up within the last 30 minutes or so being uncannily like Shatner's Kirk and Co. from Star Trek. Karl Urban (Judge Dredd!) is particularly good as Dr Leonard "Bones" McCoy. Both Chris Pine as Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock end up being pretty convincing in tone to Shatner and Nimoy but without ever trying to imitate them. It's a pretty impressive piece of work from that respect. Of course, the secondary cast, Simon Pegg, Zoe Saldana and Eric Bana all do extremely well but McCoy is introduced a little late into the film as far too much of a comedy character and Eric Bana's Nero (the villain) has little to do other than snarl and shout, his role underwritten in comparison to the starfleet lot.
The look of the film is great, the lens flare (one of the inspirations for my blog's name btw) gives the feeling of consistent light, brightness and gleam. The opening scene almost makes me weep like a child everytime. Future Thor (in 2009 anyhow) Chris Hemsworth does his piece extremely well. The CGI is fine as, space battles never get old and are exciting and tense because the effect of damage and destruction on the ships is well shown and pretty horrific.
So I'm going to mention that the story is piss rot. Time travel done well is exceptional (see Looper!), here, it is not done very well. The result is that the film moves from planet to planet with little to hold the events together. The other main gripe is that the film's idea of what a black hole is makes me laugh (which isn't nice with an infection). The 'red matter' that makes an appearance in the film is simply used as an excuse by people watching the film who ask:
'How can a black hole only wipe out a planet and nothing else?'
'Shhhh. Red matter. Red matter is why.'
It doesn't really hold up to the high quality of the script in terms of characterisation and humour (it is pretty funny at times).
All in all, a really nicely done film and a very good way to introduce new audiences to a series that needed help.
The Draughtsman's Contract (1982)
Now this was a strange film. I had no idea what to expect when I started to watch it, it seemed extravagent period piece with a streak of comedy and an unhealthy streak of sexual aggression. At it's core, the story involves a Bryon-esque, arrogant painter being contracted to paint 12 pictures of a gentleman's estate, part of his payment being able to shag his wife whilst he is away. So far, so creepy.
Add to this some bizarre man statue who sneaks about the place, a fiendish murder and the set up within the pictures and soon the plot violently switches from odd period drama to surreal murder mystery.
The direction and script crackle. Peter Greenaway can write some dryly funny lines and the shots of the draughtman's equipment highlight just how good Greenaway's frame composition is. All in all, considering there is almost no action and almost everything is explained through long scenes of dialogue, it is to the writer's credit (who is also Greenaway) and the cast that these scenes never seen dull and indeed are very good at creating the situations and characters. The character remains static almost throughout the film, acting like a piece of draughtman's equipment itself.
All in all. Not a film for people expecting action or quick moments. But this film is odd and quirky enough to warrant a watch and you might end up being surprised by it. I know I was.
And I think it's on iPlayer as I said earlier.