Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Let's just calm down for a moment, shall we?

Okay, so far this blog hasn't exactly been concerned with the most sophisticated end of television and cinema. It's mostly been cartoons and whatever's out on general release.
Don't think I haven't noticed this. I have. So, in consideration for you, my readers, in search of some cultural brain-food, I did some proper film-watching this week.

Weekend At Bernie's

If you ever need proof (and you shouldn't) that the 80s weren't sexy, this is the film for you. The shapes, the colours, the music, the values, it was all wrong. Anyway, the film.
The plot is water-tight. Two office workers, Richard (the stressy one) and Larry (the goofy one) stumble upon a flaw in their company's accounts, suggesting corruption. They take it to their boss, Bernie, who is understandably impressed and invites them to his house for the weekend. The guys are overjoyed, consumed with a mixture of 80s greed and what seems like a wild sexual attraction to Bernie. Anyway, one thing leads to another and Bernie ends up dead. Of course, Larry and Richard want to party, so they pretend that Bernie is alive. With "hilarious results".

It seems pointless to highlight any flaws in this film, because you get the feeling that no one involved in the making of it would care. It did make me chuckle a couple of times, but my main argument with it is that it's so dated. And I just don't like the 80s. I'm sorry. I know I'm meant to, but I just don't.
If you like films such as Baseketball, The Whole Nine Yards, Office Space, etc. You might get a kick out of this.
But Some Like It Hot it ain't.

"Gee Joel, seems like an awfully elaborate way to point out how you're not watching any proper films."
"Shut up, the blog's not finished yet."

I Live In Fear

Apparently Akira Kurosawa said that he was proud of this film above all of his doesn't quite match up to Seven Samurai or Stray Dog, but it's still pretty amazing.
It's the story of a post-war Japanese family trying to section the patriarch father when he tries to move them to Brazil, in fear of nuclear war.
I always tend to watch Kurosawa films when I'm tired, which is a habit I have to break, but this one kept me awake and alert the whole time, even though nothing really happened.

There are moments of visual and emotional beauty on display here, especially when the father cradles his newborn grandchild in a moment of irrational fear and the downbeat ending. The pacing is brilliant, and Kurosawa makes people sitting down and having a chat surprisingly tense.
The characters are all flawed but sympathetic, and the central character of the father is a very complex representation of post-war Japan; steeped in fear of the H-bomb, but also making us doubt his sanity on the issue.
If you've never seen a Kurosawa film, please start. I wouldn't suggest watching this one first, but it's worth a look at some point.

Now back to my cartoons.

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