Archive for August, 2009

28Aug

August 28th

It’s the last Filmmaker Fridays for August so check out the Screening this Week section to see who’s featured. Also, stay tuned to see what September’s theme will be. It’s gonna be a good one! Goodbye Chinese martial arts films, hello new theme. I’ll post it on Tuesday.

Happy viewing.

It’s the last Filmmaker Fridays for August and this week’s featured filmmaker is Stephen Chow simply because, in my opinion he has revamped the way martial arts films are made. Don’t believe me? Watch Kung Fu Hustle, or Shaolin Soccer.

25Aug

August 25th

I have posted a film review for Fifty Dead Men Walking. It is a very good film and I would recommend it to anyone. However, before you see it you should look up some Irish history and information on the Irish Republican Army – the stuff on Wikipedia is a pretty good starting point. 

Inglorious Basterds made over 35 millions dollars this weekend at the North American box office. That is huge for a Tarantino movie, and although the film does look great, I wonder what elements he “borrowed” from other films that are in this one.

Director: Kari Skogland
Writer: Kari Skogland (screenplay); Nicholas Davies & Martin McGartland (book)
2008

This is a film about an extremely courageous and heroic man in Ireland during the late 1980s. Martin (played by Jim Sturgess) is an Irish Catholic, and everyone in his community answers to the Provisional Irish Republican Army who are at constant odds with the British army occupying the territory. It is clear from the beginning that Margin has no desire to join the republican army – one petty arrest later and the British see some potential in him to work for them. Fergus (Ben Kingsley) recruits Martin to work undercover in the republican army for the British because the members of the RA trust him entirely and he is very unassuming. What follows is a sordid tale of lies, deceit, violence, bravery and despair. The film is made up of brilliant performances all around, but especially from Jim Sturgess who gives a genuine portrayal of the man who saved fifty lies while working undercover. Kevin Zegers really surprised me in this film and performed a lot better than I thought he would – even his accent was pretty good. 

What was most interesting about the film, aside from the story, was the editing and style. There is a lot of quick hand held camera movements, insertion of stock footage for historical accuracy and documentary appeal. The superimpositions of Martin overtop of the news footage bind the film as a story focusing on one man’s fight to make a difference, rather than focusing too much on violence or politics (which could easily have happened in a film like this). Fifty Dead Men Walking is a well structured film and I recommend it to everyone. 

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Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

Stephen Chow directed this highly original martial arts film. It is a wonderful blend of comedy and action with a touch of style in the vein of the Bugs Bunny cartoons. 

Drunken Master (1978)

Jackie Chan brought us a new version of kung fu – a comedic one. His brand of drunken fighter king fu and own stunts really changed how these films are made. It’s because of him that films like Kung Fu Hustle exist.