Saturday, January 29, 2011

Image Of The Day 01/28/11

Way before Leonardo Dicaprio's Cobb had his totem in Inception and was questioning what was dream and what wasn't, Ridley Scott's Blade Runner had also used a small object to puzzle audiences and make them ask questions about what had just happened. Was Harrison Ford's character a robot? 28 years later we are still asking ourselves that same question and I bet that will likely be the same thing for Christopher Nolan's flawed but fascinating movie. I am not part of the camp that thinks Blade Runner is a great movie but it is one with images that resonate deeply in our heads. Its cult status is just that. A film that has been somewhat overrated all these years but still provokes fascinating debate in its premise and plot twists. The special effects might be spectacular for a film from 1982 but don't necessarily give us a high that is needed for a Sci-Fi classic, in other words it hasn't aged well ditto the bad 80's hair and clothes which portrays Los Angeles in 2019 in not just a social turmoil but fashion turmoil also.

If anything, the film is best seen as a layered but not quite fascinating portrait of a hell bound futuristic society. A society in which machines are just as much human as -say- humans. The replicants are so close to a sheer clone from us that they need to get tested by an expert to verify their fake-ness. Harrisson Ford's Deckard is put into that situation on the audience. Is he one of us? or is he one of them? to question our hero throughout the film director asks us to put aside our preconceived notions of what a male movie hero should be like. There are instances and there are clues but they all contradict one another in our reasoning's as to whom this man actually is. I'm sure the storyboard of Blade Runner was much more interesting that the final product. It's a movie that encompasses layer after layer but yet feels cold and isolated from its viewer.

For my money Steven Spielberg's Minority Report comes closest to what Scott probably wanted to do both visually and narratively with his film. Spielberg managed to make the best out of a Philip K Dick story by implementing his gift of storytelling and taking advantage of the advancement in Hollywood technology at his display. It isn't just Spielberg's film that will age better than Scott's film. Alfonso Cuarron's Children Of Men has been called our generation's Blade Runner. A masterpiece of visual storytelling, Cuarron's now classic film is a reminder that great Science Fiction still exists out there. It is interesting to see how the film has been gaining more recognition since its quiet release in December of 2006.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


The Way Back (PG-13) ★★★

Peter Weir has taken a thin script and brought some much needed life to it with his direction in The Way Back. The visuals are staggering as Weir transports us into the true life journey of a bunch of prison camp escapees in Siberia. Their goal is to get to India, where communism does not reign and their right to live does. It's a movie that might have faltered in other hands but Weir invests heart and soul. I was really struck by the performances, which include an Impressive Collin Farrel as an escapee with violent tendencies and Ed Harris as the only Yankee of the bunch, a man who's old age does not defeat the courage he has to make it out alive. In essence The Way Back is as epic as any film out there. Its 130 minute running time can sometimes be real mountainous to sustain but it is in its overall feel and ambitiousness that it truly hits the mark. You come out of the film drained but knowing you had an experience.

Blue Valentine (R) ★★½

You won't find many better performances out there than those of Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling in Derek Cianfrance's Blue Valentine. They play a married couple that have reached the final straw and are inching closer and closer to a divorce but like all marriages, it was once was a happy and beautiful thing. Through flashbacks we are taken back once upon a time, when these two lovers first met and felt an excitement that is missing in the present. Williams is astonishing and only furthers the case that there are many actresses that can equal her talent at the moment ditto Gosling who's just sublime. While the perforances area thing of beauty the movie is not perfect. Some of the stuff presented here hits hard whereas other scenes feel trite and obvious. As much as I wanted to love this movie, it doesn't say anything new about relationships. Think of last year's 500 Days Of Summer but much more serious and much less fun.

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