Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Prometheus - Ridley Scott (2012)

    1. Prometheus is a complexly bad film by Ridley Scott.
    2. If you only saw it once you might have had the sense that it was good for the first hour, and collapsed later on. In fact, this was an illusion produced by your own excitement taking about an hour to wear off. A second viewing reveals that it’s pretty bad the whole way through.
    3. One of the problems with Prometheus is that it’s an Alien prequel. Alien is just the best horror film ever made that happens to be set on an alien planet. It knows what it’s about, it’s about scaring you and it uses every jaded, dirty trick it can lay its hands on to do so. Prometheus wants to be a sci-fi film in the spirit of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. You can tell from the use of Chopin, the early exterior shot ofthe spaceship moving silently across the vastness of space, the hugely overwrought mythological overtones and the fact it’s called Prometheus.
    4. You’ve probably spent the time since you realised a what a bad film it was hoping that Ridley Scott was drunk when he made it, because he’s about to revisit Blade Runner, and wouldn’t it be awful if he fucked that up too?
    5. For instance why would anyone who wasn’t totally bladdered at the time cast Guy Pearce to play the world’s oldest man. Why not cast Anthony Hopkins, Peter O’Toole, or just anyone slightly old? Why not cast my Dad? He would have been way more believable.
    6. Why do the prehistoric star maps show the Engineers co-existing with humans? And if, as the ship’s captain suggests, the planet is a military facility, why have the Engineers been encouraging prehistoric humans to draw helpful maps of how to get there? There’s no point thinking deeply about it, or going onto an internet forum to discuss it, it’s not a mystery, it just makes no sense.
    7. There are two good ideas which were squandered in the film. One is the thought ‘what if we were the aliens?’, uninvited, unwelcome guests on a planet that we were never meant to find. The other is, what if life itself were a biological weapon?
    8. Because that’s what the contents of the vases seems to be, a formula for a selfish gene, equipped with a complete horrorshow of a survival instinct, that on contact with air  begins spontaneously to assume the most aggressive form possible to ensure its survival.
    9. F-boner continues a good run, as the retentive, tight-buttocked android, David. His best scene is another Kubrick rip-off, playing basketball indoors, while the humans are in hypersleep – like Jack Nicholson throwing his baseball in the abandoned hotel. But he also has some shockers – grinning into the star map for instance. And even though dismembered androids who keep talking while vomiting a weird milky fluid are the mascots of the Alien films, the short exchange about mankind's insatiable curiosity that ends with Dr. Shaw apologising for zipping his decapitated head into a bowling-ball bag is pure turkey. It's a good thing that in space no-one can hear you snort with with derision.
    10. So given that David indirectly impregnated Dr. Shaw out of envy, or spite, with the proto-squid. And the proto-squid then impregnated the surviving Engineer with the Alien, that would make Dr. Shaw, who we are told earlier on is barren, the progenitor of the Alien. A kind of Leda and the Swan-type scenario. Or maybe David is the holy ghost and she’s the Virgin Mary. Or maybe since the proto-squid is ripped from her she's a female Adam, giving birth to an Alien Eve. Or maybe Weyland is the father, David is the son and oh look I suddenly don't care any more.

      Friday, 1 June 2012

      Moonrise Kingdom - Wes Anderson (2012)

      1. Moonrise Kingdom is a film by Wes Anderson that you may want not to like, but will probably find impossible not to like.
      2. Anderson is turning into a obsessional stylist along the lines of Pedro Almodovar. His conventions are thematic, as well as visual, but his visual tics include the tracking shot through a model-like building, or actual model of a building. The inventory-taking diagrammatic layout shot. The artfully colour-coordinated codacrome fashion shoot shot. The symmetrical portrait with matching background shot (often in pairs). The slow-mo walking shot. The super long mise-en-scene in a single take. They are all here. In fact, if you like Wes Anderson as much as Wes Anderson does, you'll love this.
      3. There's something utterly mad and childish about wanting to get all of your favourite things into every film you make. It's like a boyscout who's proud of his badges. Or a little sensitive girl who wants to show you her careful selection of books and records.
      4. In this very entertaining video Bill Murray notes that Anderson tends to wear his trousers short, so everyone in this film also wears their trousers short and ends up looking like 'the kind of person you might want to mug'. You probably also noticed that the film is dedicated to Anderson's girlfriend, the writer Juman Malouf. And the film, in its earnestness, awkward showiness and nested detail, is exactly the kind of gift that a character in a Wes Anderson film would give their girlfriend.
      5. David Lynch wants to show you what's inside his head. But he's the kind of unapologetic weirdo that doesn't really care what you think:  he's blown his nose and wants you to look at the handkerchief. Anderson wants to show you what's in his head, but he also wants you to like it and appreciate that it's cool. And there's something annoying about this. Neediness of this kind is the opposite of cool - it's awkward. But oh, awkwardness is very Wes Anderson.
      6. If you'd like to experience the feeling of being in a Wes Anderson film in your own life, find a colleague or family member. Begin a conversation, but hold his or her gaze for way longer than is necessary or comfortable. Now look away. Now look back and thoughtfully offer them an ashtray, a carrot stick or a sandwich with the crusts cut off.
      7. Look at Bruce Willis, he thinks he's acting like an intelligent person acting like a stupid person. Ha ha ha.
      8. If you were a paedophile, wouldn't it be funny to get two 12 year olds to grope each other, film it and then show the film to millions of people? 
      9. Of course, the 10 Point Review is not suggesting that Wes Anderson is a paedophile, but only that, if he were, he'd be the paedophile all other paedophiles wanted to be. In fact one of the things that makes Wes Anderson's films so fundamentally Wes Anderson is their shyness around all matters sexual. (Apart from that bit in The Darjeeling Limited where Adrien Brodie fingers Amara Karan on a train which feels massively overdone and compensatory). Adult relationships in his films are always complex and sad, and there is a huge yearning to be actually pre-sexual. A non-sexual sexual impulse. Maybe what you're realising is that Wes Anderson is a strange guy. Perhaps you're even starting to think it's sort of wonderful that he's allowed to make films with big stars in them, that loads of people go to see.
      10. Bill Murray isn't an actor, he's the man with the world's most sympathetic face. Bill realised years ago that he didn't have to do anything to make people warm to him, in fact they warmed to him especially when he didn't do anything. His face reaches new levels of immobility in this film, like a hugely loveable sofa cushion, from a childhood rec room, with the stuffing removed.