Sunday, 6 January 2013

The week in brief (31 December 2012 - 6 January 2013)

This week's list of movies watched:

The Sure Thing (1985): 8/10
The Dark Knight Rises (2012): 8/10
Mad Max (1979): 5/10
Margaret (2011): 9/10

Another fairly slow week - and again, not too much for me to report on, really. Owing to a delay in my LOVEFiLM delivery, I spent the week catching up on a few old favourites. I've previously reviewed The Sure Thing and The Dark Knight Rises (here and here), and I can only report that both movies were just as good second time around.

While I have seen Margaret before (I really liked it), it was a little different this time, as I saw an alternative cut to the version I caught in the cinemas this time last year. Quite frequently, when I see an extended cut of a movie on DVD - it's usually a Hollywood comedy, with something like "Unrated Extreme Edition! Too Hot for Cinemas!" on the box - and I can generally see why all the 'extended scenes' were removed from the film in the first place. On this occasion, however, given that Kenneth Lonergan, the director of Margaret, had an extended battle with the studio over the content of the picture, it was genuinely interesting to see a longer version of the film which is apparently closer to his original vision. In terms of differences between the cuts, I'd say that the longer cut may be a slight improvement on the cinematic version. Certain scenes have been added in to the picture which make previously inexplicable plot points make more sense, and the movie flows a little better as a whole. Above all, some of Lonergan's themes in the film - that of New York as a whole being shaken to its core by the 9/11 attacks, and that Lisa Cohen's story is just one of many stories taking place in the city at any given time - seem clearer in the longer cut. Though this is a rather lengthy picture (now coming in at just under three hours), it's well worth the investment of your time.

Only one other film to report on this week - and one which had the dubious honour of introducing Australian wildman Mel Gibson to the moviegoing public - the original Mad Max. Although it's one of those movies which seems to have been on late night TV about twice a week since 1987, for one reason or another, I'd never got around to seeing it until now. Set in the near future, the story involves a renegade lawman's pursuit of an unpleasant gang of bikers who have been menacing his family. Even though it's regarded as a classic of its genre, I have to say that I wasn't overly impressed with this one. The film was made on a shoestring budget, and that's something which is apparent in various aspects of the production - from the generally dubious quality of the acting to the bargain basement "apocalyptic future" look of the film. Even more worryingly, Max doesn't really get 'mad' (and take his revenge) until the very end of the movie - that's a long time to sit through some pretty poor screenwriting and uninteresting characters. That's not to say that the film is entirely without merit - the first ten minutes and last ten minutes are pretty exciting, with some high octane car chases and some highly commendable stunts. Apparently the second film in the trilogy is a big step up, so I'll probably seek it out at some point, but my expectations for it won't be particularly high.

Kirk's Quote of the Week

Miller's Crossing (1990)

"Johnny Caspar: It's gettin' so a businessman can't expect no return from a fixed fight. Now, if you can't trust a fix, what can you trust? For a good return, you gotta go bettin' on chance - and then you're back with anarchy, right back in the jungle."

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