Having now had a chance to catch the latest brace of blockbusters I feel it necessary to say that I enjoyed them all. Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest delivered a good yarn full of weird and wonderful characters – Bill Nighy and his crew were so grisly and entertaining that you couldn’t help find them riveting (especially Nighy’s accent which sounded French at first). Orlando and Keira are still positively inert in comparison but perhaps necessary to the story, which I read somewhere managed to create an equivalent character for each persona in Star Wars even down to Mackenzie Crook and Lee Arenberg as R2-D2 and C-3PO who just seem to haplessly turn up in the right place at the wrong time. Depp is obviously great but I was also delighted to find that Geoffrey Rush will be in the third one as he’s such good value. Great fun!
After the opening few seconds of Superman Returns I was able to relax the hugely tensed muscles that were causing my face to contort with trepidation and start to really enjoy myself (a bit like when you’re dreading an embarrassing relative making a speech at your wedding and them turning out to say generous, warm and funny things). This epic, trapped in development hell for ages which had more directors attached to it than probably anything else has ever (even Batman Begins) managed to be really very good. Apparently we’re meant to disregard a few of the latter Superman films but since I couldn’t remember them anyway that didn’t matter. The story with the crystals was very watchable and Spacey was superb as Luther. Most surprising of all was Brandon Routh who made a really good Clarke Kent and Superman respectively. What I found refreshing was that the producers didn’t cop out and go back to do a roots story which is what is done with every superhero movie, largely because they can’t seem to find a way to develope a good story once the hero has become established and triumphed over their first big nemesis (and it’s easy to see how attempts at these developments fail when you see something like Spiderman 2 which apart from the great action sequences was like watching an expensive soap opera). Kelvin might be able to help me out with why, or more likely find me a dozen examples of why I’m talking tosh 🙂
Last night I popped along to see Michael Mann’s latest, Miami Vice which duly kicked ass. I think I enjoyed it so much because there is actually nothing like it around at the moment and hasn’t been for quite some time. All recent action movies are aimed at kids like Stormbreaker or for prepubescent teens like The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift or else they’ve felt that they have to be more than they actually are in the case of M:I:3 and other so called event movies (and usually end up being much less than the sum of their parts). Miami Vice was a no nonsense, stylish and fast paced cop picture that managed to be both authentic and visceral whilst at the same time having its heroes pulling ridiculously ostentatious heroics with speedboats, ludicrously powerful guns, and surveillance technology. Because of the beautiful locations and consistently intriguing array of characters, even two hander conversations were suspenseful and establishing shots were an event in themselves. The final shoot out was very reminiscent of the superb gun battle in Heat except here the stakes were higher with a more traditional good guys versus bad guys. So good! Even if Colin Farrell looked a bit like one of the village people.
In other news, Film Four, true to their word of showing great movies, are showing a season of Hayao Miyazaki films all this week. On Tuesday I caught “My Neighbor Totoro” which managed to be both utterly daft and a really affecting story of two young girls moving to a remote rural location with their well-meaning father whilst they worry about whether or not their hospitalised mother is ever going to recover. They make friends with a huge cuddly tree spirit who might not be able to make everything alright but does introduce them to a flying cat-bus. Yesterday I saw the epic “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds” which was a very involved parable about mankind’s struggles to utilise early 20th century technology (and space age sleds) and harness the winds whilst surviving threats like toxic forests and huge insect armies in the wake of a nuclear holocaust. Tonight’s film is Porco Rosso (about a dashing pilot who seems to have had his face altered to resemble a pigs) and tomorrow is Princess Mononoke which I’ve seen before and loved. Catch them if you can!