Wednesday, August 1, 2007

August 1st Log

1946, Michael Powell / Emeric Pressburger, United Kingdom
Repeat Viewing, DVD

What a wonderful film this is! Classic, romantic intelligent, charming, imaginative, and absolutely lovely! Made in one of the greatest years in film history and by two of British's most legendary filmmakers: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Together they collaborated on almost 20 films, and to me, this is their finest. This is really a very simplistic fantasy story, but Powell and Pressburger extend it beyond the heights of standard filmmaking and into a magical world of ambitious vision, fairy tale, and beauty. The dialogue is wonderful and the film features glorious and vibrant Technicolor cinematography (earth) contrasted with sharp black and white (heaven). There is also some fabulous performances (notably by David Niven as Peter Carter) and strikingly inventive and creative visual techniques that Powell and Pressburger explore. Some of the originally intended themes (wartime propaganda) of the film (particularly within the trial sequences) is dated, but the true core and appeal of this classic film is undeniable, as it transcends far beyond it's narrative or themes. A Matter of Life and Death is a film that has the magical power to lift the viewer and carry them away into it's emotionally involving and visually beautiful world of sheer imagination and romance. "We won. I know darling."

2006, Finn Taylor, United States
1st Viewing, DVD

Writer-director Finn Taylor follows up his sleeper hit success with his third film The Darwin Awards. I did not like this film, but like Cherish I can see this being a sleeper indie success and Taylor is likely to gain a small cult following. To me The Darwin Awards problems lie in the writing, which come off as far to contrived to work as either dark satire or witty screwball comedy. The film centers around The Darwin Awards (, which “honour people who ensure the long-term survival of the human race by removing themselves from the gene pool in a sublimely idiotic fashion.” On paper this could work as a comedy, but the film is executed poorly, as it tries to blend some sort of mockumentary style within the fictional narrative. It only ends up make the film irritating and contrived for occasional cheap laughs. The film features a well known cast and the performances are not bad (the smaller roles such as those from Robin Tunney and Juliette Lewis stand out as most memorable).


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