The Fifth Element

Fifth_element_poster_(1997)The Fifth Element (1997) – 8/10

Recently re-watched this cult classic sci fi space opera by Luc Besson.

Campy, comic book glory.  Hilarious and engaging.  An amazingly imaginative universe.

The fragility and power of love.


Florence Foster Jenkins

Florence_Foster_Jenkins_(film)Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) – 7/10

Meryl Streep is such a fine, nuanced actor; hilarious bad singing.  Poignant.

How could Florence not be aware that she is such a bad singer?

Flowers of Evil

MV5BODRjY2YzMDEtMjJmOC00NDVmLTlmMjAtODU0OWEwMmU4NDE2XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjk1MTI1MQ@@._V1._SX99_SY140_Flowers of Evil (2013) – 8/10

13 episode; rotoscope; exquisite animation; end theme creepy, chanted.

Kasuga, Nakamura, Saeki: love of literature; deviant – isolation, outcast; adolescent, puberty, assault; confusion; status quo; daring; idolise, perfection; anger, hatred of mediocrity.

Charles Baudelaire published Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil) in 1857 – beauty in modern industrialising Paris in 19th century.

Slow, measured pacing; pondering.

Frances Ha

Frances_Ha_posterFrances Ha (2012) – 7/10

Black and white flick about 27 year old Frances as she endeavours to find meaning and direction.  Reminiscent of a Woody Allen view of life.  Fluttering along: funny, crazy, brave and confused.

Greta Gerwig  is unique but always sort of the same.  There’s a solidness about her characters.  Always a glimpse of something relevant.

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far_from_the_Madding_Crowd_(2015_film)Far from the Madding Crowd (2015) – 5/10

Beautiful English country, rich settings. Competent acting.

Gabriel Oak is definitely tall and incredibly handsome – perfect husband material for Ms Everdeen.  Other competitors for her affections are not so compelling.  Don’t know what she saw in the slimy Sergeant Frank Troy  and she just couldn’t bring herself to consider the stalwart but oh so boring William Boldwood.

What was it about Ms Everdeen that was so compelling to these men? Yes she is a wasp-waisted, free thinking woman who spurns convention.  Was that really so unusual in that era?

The film seized and held the attention of my 90 year old mother so it’s got that going for it.

Fargo (season 2)

Fargoseason2promoFargo (Season 2) – 1/10

I’ve got a good idea.  The first season of Fargo was so good and brilliantly acted, let’s just throw in as many clever plot elements as we can think of.  More is more right? How about:

Aliens; a horde of characters; sing/song Tarantino-esque hitman; idiot mobsters and lawmen; crazy Lynchian hairdresser and her none too bright husband; butcher’s assistant who reads and quotes Camus’ absurdist philosophy; aliens; Ted Danson in yet another incarnation of, well, Sam Malone, John Becker . . .; Coen-esque mute identical twins who ‘sort of’ dress alike; time period references (Jaws, Gilligan’s Island etc); Ronald Reagan; sunken living room; oh yeah and aliens; ad naseum.

1/2 point for the beautifully tragic Solverson family; Lou a loving husband and father and the only smart police officer, his wife Betsy – strong, smart but fatally unwell, and little Molly.  1/2 point for the amazing, desolate, winter setting.

Fast & Furious 7

Furious_7_posterFast & Furious 7 (2015) – 4/10

James Wan, a director with an interesting perspective.  Action, action, action is his perspective for F&F7.

There’s a seemingly endless cast of muscle bound miscreants: Vin, Dwayne and Jason. Add Kurt Russell and Michelle Rodriquez (something about her teeth) to the mix and you’ve got opportunity for amazing in every scene.

Plot is all over the place.  Jason is mad at Vin et al for hurting his dirtbag brother.  Jason is hard to catch so Kurt suggests procuring the ‘eye of god’ that can locate Jason anywhere in the world.  To find the ‘eye of god’  the team has to free its creator from baddies in Azerbaijan. The team plus the creator travel to Abu Dhabi to collect the ‘eye of god’ only to find that it’s been sold.  They get it in their hot little hands by jumping across the three Etihad towers.  And then they lose it and travel back to LA to face off with Jason and all the baddies. Oh, Kurt joins them at some point and appears to be fatally wounded but winks so we know he’s ok.

Astounding action scenes juxtapose quiet affirmations of team member loyalty and affection. Each stunt more outrageous than the last.  What’s the best way to ‘covertly’ enter Azerbaijan? Airdrop all the cars of course.  Solves any potential transport issues.  How to steal a billionaire’s Lykan HyperSport from the 5oth (or so) floor of an Etihad Tower in Abu Dhabi?  Why, drive out the window of tower number one, free fall across to tower number two, crash out the window on the other side and free fall across to tower number three.  Exit and watch the HyperSport plummet to the ground.

Just one more.  Can’t shake that drone?  Speed through an underpass with the drone in hot pursuit. As you exit the underpass ask your friend to drive an ambulance off the bridge and into the drone.  Don’t worry, he’ll be ok.  Exit the crash, stretch those tired muscles, pick up that M134 Minigun and you’re good to go.

Who’s gonna pay for all the damage?  Who cares!

Genuine sympathy for the loss of Paul Walker.  In the true furious tradition it’s about honour, friendship and family.