Saturday, 24 August 2013

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (2011)

Morgan Spurlock, famously of Super Size Me, wanted to make a documentary about advertising and product placement in today's movies.  However, wanting to do it differently, he made the movie purely using money that he raised from sponsors and advertising within the film.  Which he managed.  The film itself is simply Spurlock trying to generate interest in potential advertisers to invest in his film, the product of which you are watching.  Which is all a bit weird.  Towards the end he is excited about the release of the film and how it’s all starting to come together, and then of course it ends, because that was the film!

The result is an interesting documentary about how powerful advertising is within the movie industry.  There is the occasional interview with the likes of J. J. Abrams, Quentin Tarantino and Brett Ratner, but Spurlock spends most of the time discovering the techniques that the industry uses to target audiences.  One company even does an MRI scan on him to see how he responds to various product images!   I think perhaps I expected a little more from the film, such as a few case studies of specific films and how advertising influenced the production/direction.  Of course perhaps he wanted to, but wasn’t allowed.  A very interesting film, and a window into a business we don't really know much about, all told with Spurlock's enthusiastic, perceptive and amusing style.  I for one will probably be more aware of product placement in movies now.  But, well, you know, that’s just, like, er, my opinion, man.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Get Carter (1971)

Following his excellent performance in The Italian Job playing the cocky cockney Charlie Croker, Michael Caine stars as an equally cheeky chappy in Get Carter but this time he has a vicious side too.  Following the mysterious murder of his brother, gangster Jack Carter (Caine) travels from London to Newcastle to find out why, and to make the perpetrators pay.

A very enjoyable romp, Get Carter is brought alive by a dazzling performance by the indomitable Michael Caine who takes the great script by Mike Hodges, polishes it and really makes it shine.  Initially Caine’s character is similar to his Italian Job persona, but it’s not long until the body count increases and it’s clear that Jack Carter is more likely to blow the bloody doors off on purpose if it would kill someone who conspired against his brother!  Mike Hodges’ direction is inventive and dynamic creating a very stylish film; sometimes flipping the camera upside-down during a chase, and there’s a great scene where Jack is rescued from pursuit by a woman in a sports car (very 007), and the whole thing is seen from a birds-eye camera.  And that’s not to mention the wonderful 60s and 70s decor in the various apartments, giving the film a wonderful gritty working class feel.

There are many revenge movies, the more modern ones being flashy, slick affairs generally with explosive set pieces, however they rarely do anything new.  Get Carter hardly breaks the mould in terms of story, but it does have bags of style, a smart script, clever direction and of course Michael Caine. But, well, you know, that’s just, like, er, my opinion, man.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Gainsbourg (2010)

Gainsbourg tells the story of Serge Gainsbourg (born Lucien) and how he became a famous musician and sex symbol (apparently).  The thing is, I didn't care.  When I've watched other films concerning characters that I’ve known little if anything about, I've immediately wanted to know more about them; eg Walk the Line, Mesrine or A Royal Affair.  However with Gainsbourg I would not like to know more, in response to the Starship Troopers question.  I actually thought the young Lucien had a far more interesting story, and could had watched a film all about him, (the kid was a more dynamic actor too).

The structure of the film is all a jumble.  Suddenly he was married?  Who to?  Then later he's married to someone else - oh they're his kids are they?  Then suddenly he's in Jamaica?  Now I'm all for non linear plots, but this just felt very messy and confusing.  Because of these seemingly random events the film is boring and lethargic at best.  And I really didn't know what the Frank Sidebottom character was all about.  But, well, you know, that’s just, like, er, my opinion, man.