30/07/2017

End Of The Week Shorts #16.1



Today's Shorts: Godzilla (1998), Top Hat (1935), La Belle et la Bête (1946), Gojira (1954), El Topo (1970), Pandora's Box (1929), The Blood Of A Poet (1932)



I've seen this film too many times. Caught it as it was on T.V and I barely paid attention. 
The spectacle of Godzilla is really dulled by the painful writing, which is certainly the worst part of this movie. There are hints of a social commentary on post-Cold War American society, but I didn't see it amount to much; I was too distracted by the terrible characters. What's more, I cannot understand both the choices in characters and the casting in this movie - all involved are so bland and forgettable that it becomes annoying that you have to spend so much time with them. 
Whilst I can understand the unforgiving criticism of the Godzilla things as they do look stupid and are a ridiculous movement away from the classic monster (which has left this movie being considered non-canon), the CGI never bothered me considering its time and the ambitious scale. With better direction, writing and acting, I think the creatures could have had a better presence and have actually felt like a threat (especially in the third act). Beyond this, people generally thought this movie sucked when it first came out and I don't think times have changed - rightly so.



Could you really ask for more from a musical romantic comedy? Top Hat is a masterpiece and a perfect piece of entertainment. The numbers all work, the comedy hits, Astaire and Rogers, of course, gel impeccably and the direction is brilliant. 
If I had to, I could fault the predictability and formulaic nature of the script, but I won't. What's more I could mention that the sound design isn't impeccable, much like almost all movies from the 30s, but, again, I won't. There's nothing worth faulting about this movie, it's one of the greatest musicals I've ever seen and it wonderfully captures, like few films ever have, the old Hollywood magic. I can do nothing other than repeat myself; Top Hat is a masterpiece and a perfect piece of entertainment.



An incredible cinematic re-telling of a classical fairy tale, one imbued with such immense beauty through both the design and Cocteau's direction. Made more than phenomenal by the impossibly rich cinematic language, La Belle et la Bête manages to encapsulate the spectacle of early cinema as projected through figures such as Méliès along side the poetic cinematic aesthetics of Vigo, Gance and Dulac to produce a masterful portrait of compassion, fear, repulsion and beauty. The cinematography alone is enough to leave you in awe, but with every single detail of this narrative fine tuned to perfection - the comedy, the melodrama, the costume and set design, the characterisation - La Belle et la Bête is an overwhelming piece of immense, fantastical cinema. 
If you have not seen this film, do not even hesitate, this is a true feat of filmmaking and a purely great picture.



By no means at all is Gojira a simple monster movie spectacle, it is rather a profoundly tragic exploration of humanity's capacity and ability to deal with power and destruction in the post-atomic era. 
In constructing this overwhelmingly melancholic parable, Honda of course puts to screen some of the most iconic cinematic images of all time - which, as much as they have been celebrated, have also been bastardised. But, though this movie has clearly aged and could easily be mocked for its practical and special effects, there is a great display of ingenious cinematography throughout this narrative; which is supported by the direction and script wonderfully. And the script is certainly the strongest element of Gojira. Not only does it articulate a stunning subtextual narrative, but it is structured perfectly with very little fat, repetition and unnecessary scenes. 
A classic for good reason, Gojira is an astounding piece of cinema that everyone must see.



There is something entirely transcendent of sense, articulation and reality imbued into the fabric of Jodorowsky's cinema and El Topo captivates this perfectly. 
As a series of absurd parables rife with symbolism, surrealism and insanity, El Topo is one of the most unique films you will probably ever see; and about as far removed from the western as you could formally get, El Topo is also a meta-narrative that defies definition and, to a certain degree, description. There is, however, an incredibly captivating quality woven into Jodorowsky's imagery, story and edit that place you into his wonderfully alien world and have you feel a strange sense of belonging. The best way to then describe this film would be to say it is like hearing a foreign language and understanding it, not knowing how such a thing is possible and not knowing how to describe or articulate what you've absorbed to anyone else. 
A masterpiece as defined by its own standards, El Topo is a film I urge and dare you to see.



Though the direction and cinematography are very striking throughout, I did not have a good time with Pandora's Box. 
The root of all my problems were quite evident after the first few scenes; whilst I quickly gathered together who each character was and what their motivations were, I was never sure if and how I was supposed to be empathising with them. And because I assumed all control over characters was relinquished, I began to really disconnect from and then despise our protagonist, Lulu - because there is nothing redeemable about her character. However, when it became obvious that we are supposed to have seen Lulu as innocent and the victim of a world with laws such as, to quote Roger Ebert, "Anyone who looks that great, and lives life on her own terms, has to be swatted down by fate or the rest of us will grow discouraged", I was pretty much ready to walk away. 
If this is the questionable point of this movie, then it is poorly made in the first hour, leaving the final half pretty exhausting. Though I was confident that this was a promising picture, I've been left with nothing other than exasperated disappointment.



I watched this yesterday, but couldn't organise my thoughts into even an initial reaction. Having thought about it for quite some time, The Blood Of The Poet seems to be an intricate dissection of, as the title may suggest, a poet seeing his life and his worth in his work. The manner in which this is shown to haunt our main character is incredibly striking; the use of both sets and cinematic language give this film such a plastic sense of fantasy, which is to say that it feels constructed for the purpose of art, but nonetheless holds an element of immersive mythos. 
Very impressive, but equally dumbfounding, The Blood Of A Poet is an intriguing example of avant-garde poetic cinema.





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End Of The Week Shorts #16.2

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