Saturday, January 22, 2011

3 down, 3 to go

In the last two weeks I've been to the cinema three times.

First up was 127 Hours, starring James Franco as the bloke who goes trekking, gets trapped in a gorge for 127 hours and has to cut his own arm off to escape.  The film is a good watch.  The fact that the amputation scene is famous is important, because if you know it’s coming (as I did), it adds a lot of suspense the film.  James Franco gives an excellent performance, especially considering he has no other actors with him for most of the film.  At 90-odd minutes, it’s not excessively long, and the momentum and pace is maintained despite the relative lack of anything happening.  The main weakness with the film is that, basically, nothing happens.  The plot is tiny.  The direction isn’t anything to write home about either.  But Franco is very impressive, and the soundtrack is also very good.  A decent film.

Next was The King’s Speech – about the stammer of King George VI and his struggle to overcome it.  Yes, Colin Firth really is as good as people say.  His performance alone makes the film worth watching.  Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter are also as brilliant as ever.  The performances, as in 127 hours, are the reason to watch the film.  The script is good, and very funny in places, but held back by a frankly uninteresting and very obvious plot.  Therefore, massive respect to the actors for holding my attention (if a film has a poor plot, that is normally enough to turn me off).  Another decent film.

Finally, Black Swan – with Natalie Portman as a ballerina cast as the lead in Swan Lake, whose paranoia develops into disturbing hallucinations.  I joked before seeing the film that I was going to watch Portman go insane for two hours, but that really does summarise the film.  Again, the performances are excellent, particularly Portman herself.  Choreography, design, camerawork, costumes, music – all great.  This film is full of suspense, a real squirmer.  It’s not easy to watch at all, and frankly makes a mockery of the classification system, being a 15 despite explicit violence, language and sex.  Oh, and drug use (nearly forgot).  But it is really, really good.  The best film so far this year.

I don’t think I’ve ever been to the cinema this regularly before.  But it’s nice.  And there are another 3 films I hope to see soon: Hereafter, Never Let Me Go, and The Fighter.  I shall let you know my thoughts in time.

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