Monday, 25 March 2013

Films This Week

(Click here to read my general introduction to the 'Films This Week' series of posts.)
Watched Punisher: War Zone. I couldn't put my finger on why, but somehow the tone of it didn't quite work for me. It seems closer to something like Dick Tracy than The Dark Knight, and yet at the same time it seems to be striving for some kind of...grittiness. Maybe it simply doesn't pull off the tough balancing act of comedy and violence. Or maybe I do just like different things on the page than I do on the screen. It's not without effect, though, and it has a few genuinely memorable moments. The Jigsaw makeup and design were particularly well done, I thought.
Watched Winchester '73. The film's narrative POV is a little inconsistent, but it's exciting and enjoyable all the same, with some beautiful photography – though I'm not sure I picked up on much in the way of subtext. I then watched Machete, which manages to get away by with being silly and over the top simply by being postmodern and having its tongue firmly in its cheek. In some ways it's a worrying call for fanatical vigilantism (if the law doesn't work, you have to rise up and kill people), but it feels like a more successful blend of violence and humour than Punisher: War Zone (though I'm not sure if you could call it gritty either – despite all the shocking events that happen it doesn't seem to take them, or itself, seriously enough for that). Although I perhaps didn't enjoy Machete as much as some of Rodriguez's other work, I still think he's a very good director of action films. But I think it might also be that I'm starting to question my enjoyment of watching this type of film a little more than I did when I was younger. Rodriguez very skilfully turns violence into an entertaining aesthetic and pulls genuine laughs from the proceedings, but I think I'm growing a little tired and troubled by this kind of cinema. After that, I watched Whales' The Invisible Man, which holds up very well despite its age – the special effects are still both special and effective! I think I'm yet to see one of the old Universal monster films that I haven't enjoyed.
The Invisible Man

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