Thoughts on a few films I’ve watched recently

PLEASANT SURPRISES

Edward Scissorhands – Bizarre and contrived but in a thoroughly enjoyable Tim Burton way. Johnny Depp said he cried like a baby when he read the script, and you can see why – certain personality types will relate to the character on a deep level and appreciate what’s being symbolized here.

Event Horizon – Creepy, clever and mind-opening – I’d rank it up there with The Matrix for the authentic and foreboding sense of the future that it constructs.

Pirates of Silicon Valley – Probably my favourite of the lot. I knew I’d enjoy this because of my interest in the early history of computers, but the movie goes well beyond an adequate dramatization of those years to a touching and poignant piece of cinema, brilliant portraying the characters of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and the shared dynamics and dreams that led to their ascendance, teaming up and falling out.

IN-BETWEEN

Sunshine – Bit sterile, first half drags on and the first few deaths have no impact – just feel like part of a very deliberate effort to get the death toll rolling. Somehow all the characters manage to be slightly annoying as well, making it hard to sympathize with any of them. These negatives aside, the film is beautifully shot, tense with a few twists towards the end and, most significantly, has an interesting, apocalyptic yet very believable/scientific concept carrying the storyline.

Baraka – Awesome in the true sense of the word – it inspires awe: in our natural world as well as the long, rich tapestry of human civilization. Main problem is that with its almost complete absence of dialogue and reliance on subtle sounds and sweeping/panoramic cinematic photography, it’s hard to fully appreciate on a domestic screen & sound system, coming across more as an (overly) long episode of Planet Earth rather than the feast for the senses it would be in a theatre environment.

DISAPPOINTMENTS

Alien – I was expecting a classic like this to be much more atmospheric and scary. As it was, Alien didn’t absorb me that much into its world, it lacks explanation and, most damningly, the alien just wasn’t as insidious or intelligent as it should’ve been – it may as well have been a stock standard wild animal (lion or something) on board the ship.

Spinal Tap – Again, was expecting more from a cult classic. A few lol moments in the first half seem promising but then the movie loses its sense of humour, goes absolutely nowhere and by the end (not that it even has an ending), has completely lost the gritty charm and engaging fly-on-the-wall immediacy that shone through in parts of the beginning.

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