Friday, 21 March 2008

What I saw in the holidays....

So then, what brilliant/dire/average British films have you seen over the Easter break?

Once you've seen one, get on the net and do a little digging - reviews, box office, production companies, awards, articles - synoptic stuff.

Post a comment as a personal response but try to use some film terms where appropriate (genre, audience, camerawork, editing, characterisation, mise-en-scene, style, tone, lighting and colour, narrative, sound etc)
Stuck for ideas at the video store? How about this years' Bafta nominations for Best British Film? Control, Eastern Promises, The Bourne Ultimatum, Atonement. Last years': Casino Royale, The Last King of Scotland, Notes on a Scandal, The Queen, United 93. After something a little more 'indy'? Here is some nominations from the 2006 BIFA's:
Kidulthood, Red Road, Severance, Shooting Dogs, The Road To Guantanamo, The Wind that Shakes the Barley.

Chocolate bar to the first poster who can name the famous film that this still frame from The Cottage (Paul Andrew Williams, 2008) clearly pays homage to.....


Abster said...

The Shining?

Mr. M said...

Are you sure? Question mark suggests otherwise. I'll let you have it though. Well done Abster - Galaxy, Cadbury or Lindt?

Ash-a-ley said...

You knwo she is going for the expensive one haha!!

I merged my two responses together on the over post. =]

Happy Easter!

ponkalulu said...

I've just finished watching Sixty Six (2005). It's a WT2 Production and although it's quite funny and stuff, it's not surprising that this sub-company produced it. It's main themes are Jewish culture and football, and it includes a blind Rabi, Helena Bonham Carter and Catherine Tate. It was quite socially realistic in my opinion, and there was a good variety of camera shots and angles, helping to keep it interesting. There was nothing spectacular about the editing, but the continuity was good, and the story is quite heartwarming. There was also original footage from various points of the 1966 World Cup, warm-up games and the final. Overall, it was fairly good, but not the best!

Burby said...

it was like opening a lift to find a wall of blood seeing someone got here first to the chocolate...

watched michael clayton which is the debutant film of director tony gilroy who is american but nethertheless has the tenuous link to british film of being a writer on Bourne...

err will watch united airlines 93 at some point though... michael clayton is good, at first i thought it was gonna be a pretty ordinary film, the card playing and picking up his kid, but the visual style was really good and the twists are too...

bit confusing i think gilroy could/will do better, the red folder was cool especially having watched american beauty again yesterday... and the closing sequnce of just clooney in the cab is an excellent cliche/reference type thing to the films stylistic roots...

gonna ride my little tricycle to greener grasses byeeee

Abster said...

oooh thank you sir! but no choco bar for me sir- wont be havin anymore of that stuff till next easter! hehe! :S
Nah, i'm just in it for the pleasure of winning! ;D hehe
but u could give my chocolate to one of the others! Emily will defo have it! lol

Abster said...

British films! I started with the film,"L4YER CAKE" (2004) which was Matthew Vaughn’s first film as a director. Guy Ritchie was originally going to be the director for the film, but he had other projects and therefore Matthew Vaughn who had the idea to make the film in the first place took up the challenge.

I thought it was pretty good. I was very impressed with its style. They represented the drug scene in England as quite a "glamorous" business, but also it had it's very grim side- British gangster conventions were really apparent in this film. There were a few shots in particular that impressed me for framing and also creativity with the shots. The colour was also quite vibrant for example if it was a setting with a lot of blue, the blue would be enhanced etc etc.

Although it was a film based on a British film, and had a British director and a British cast, most of the funding came from Sony. And Columbia Pictures were behind it too, so I am not entirely sure about that side of things. I will keep researching. And also watching the "British Connection" on Film4 every night so I might pick one of those films to analyse! :D

Oh and this film is defo not British, but I saw the film La Vie En Rose! LOVE IT!

Burby said...

watched 'united 93' and that stasi film as well as 'last life in the universe' which touted itlelf as the japanese lost in translation but really wasnt...

united 93... err well it was a lot or boring phonecalls and the same things happened three times in a row...

the people on the doomed plane were portrayed very well, and becuase of my awfull memory i thought that one of the planes managed to overcome there attackers... the ending therefore was powerful as the closing image is from the cockpit, a quasi-pov of the ground rushing forward...

there was no beligerant flag waving, firemen diverting planes with jets of water, or tasteless references to oil apart from perhaps one stark shot of a gasoline pump (not in a politicised context even so)which i might have expected of an american director (even when they are presented with a delicate subject like this)

the film was perhaps a critical success of a few notable 9/11 movies becuase of its humanistic/realistic approach to the chracters and style as well as some excellent cinematography...

new yorkers trying their best has some obvious paralels with british realist films and greengrass carries across all his talents well to the new setting...

dunno if its technically a british film... its got money from working title and greengrass thats pretty good for me..


Burby said...

of course by same things happening in a row i was refering to the similar lead up of phonecalls and chains of command rather than to the crashes themselves opps... didnt mean to trivialise... of course greengras couldnt have handled it much differently... and maybe he was going for a relentless sort of feel... i just didnt like it, dont like the fact these movies exist particularly lol its the equivalent of the first world war movies made in 1928, eerily close to the time of the actual travesty..

anyways ^_^

Ash-a-ley said...

Sooo, me and Justine were in Tesco Earlia, and we found a great deal, we got Notting Hill, About A Boy, and Love Actually for £6!

Anyway so i have spent tonight watching About A Boy and Notting hill... and i am officialy fed up of Hugh Grant.. In Fact if what i have just said was at the start of one of his films it would probably be a voice over!! I only Noticed that tonight!

Anyway i do think that these Working Title films are very usefull for answering about representations of being british and general Britishness, because the films contrasts so much to the more darker films we have watched such as This is England and Bullet Boy.

It has what you would typically expect from a Working Titles Rom Com, such as the locations are always pretty nice, and they all live happily ever after blah blah blah. It was the first time i had seen About a Boy tonight and i liked the fact that it has a slightly darker subplot, with (thingy from skins who i cant remember the name of) mum attempted suicide.

As for some of the more technical elements in the film, i liked the use of cross cutting at the beginning of about a boy, i thought it was a good way to lead up to them meeting. The one shot that Always sticks in my head from notting hill is the tracking shot when Hugh Grant is walking down notting hill and the seasons change. I think it is a more inventive way of showing the passing of time, because they could have just used 6 months later, which would have sucked.

I always start writeing this things and ranting on about the wrong things, and then cant remember what i actually wanted to say in the first place! So sorry if its aload of rubbish!!!!

I should be watchign Atonement and United 93 soon.

Enjoy the rest of your time off everyone!!

Ash-a-ley said...

Anyone getting fed up of me yet?

I just finished watching Atonement, and i actually was really suprised, it was alot better than what i thought it was going to be!

I loved the way this film was edited, i particuarly liked how they showed briony's point of view and then cut to Cecilia's and Robies, and it was horrible that you knew what was going to happen!!!

I thought Briony's own soundtrack was really clever aswell, with the typeing of the typewriter sounds, you could tell it was her brain working but also it worked well with the manner of her walk which was very direct and precise!

Loads of the camera shots in this movie i loved aswell! Especially the shots of Robbie in France, there were lots of wide shots used to show the location and the destruction from the war. Also the scene in France when they finally make it to the beach i thought was really good because of the Long Tracking shot, i thought it really summed up what was going on there at that point of time.

As for the Mise en scene, not only did i think the Locations were amazeing, but i thought that the detail to the patients wounds in the hospital were really realistic, and it really helped the audience realise what it was like for the nurses of this time.

I also think that this film shows very good representations of what it is like being british in this time period, of all classes. With the beginng with Cecilia at the big house etc, to her an briony becomeing nureses and haveing to deal with the patients. And obviously the three soldiers, and how each of their personailities differ. I think at one point James Mcavoy said "Im not a toff" kind of referring that they didnt do much in the war... for example compareing it to the character who raped the cousin (omg too many names) who ended up makeing the chocolate bar FOR the military and makeing loads... yet really he was doing nothing! and he was the one that should have been arrested in the first palce!!

Yea anyway biiiig rant, but i really enjoyed this film!! I thought it was sad at then end though =[.

I got ELizabeth the golden age today... had another trip to tesco got Atonement and that for £20 haha!

I stay up to late.....


Abster said...

Yes ashley I am sick of you!!! sick sick sickkkk. haha
I love you very much really!
I saw atonement again the other day too, I just love it. for all the reasons ashley said up there^
I totally agree with Ashley about the class representations of Britain in that period.
and although this doesnt have much to do with representations, i have to say that I HATE the scene with all the soldiers on the beach. Apart from it being really upsetting. Its soooooooooo slow moving- I remember geting so bored at the point in the cinema! harsh, i know, but can't help it!

Ash-a-ley said...

awwwh abi, i love that bit lol, it kind of showed the deterioration of robbie, i think, but im not going to lie i did get a text half way through it lol so i got distracted for about 5 seconds haha!

Anyway i watched elizabeth the golden age this morning, and i preferred it alot more to the last film. im not really sure why, maybe its because i remember things about spanish armada and could kind of follow it better.

This film pretty much gives exactly what the first film did, with the architecture, locations and costumes- where it yet again won an oscar for best costume design. I guess that they new this film would be quite "safe" because of how well the first film did, and they new that the same conventions would sell.

lol thats all for now, i feel like a geek for writeing about so many films, but i actually feel like i am doing work lol!!

Ash-a-ley said...

I just watched united 93 and i agree with burby i really don't enjoy watching these films especially so close to the time of the actual event. I don't think it should be something which should be made money on.

I reaaaaly reaaaaly didn't like this film! I'm a loser and like happy endings, and its even worse that i was cringeing because we all know exactly what was going to happen.

None the less i do agree and think that they showed the real emotions and feelings of the characters on the united 93 planes really well. I think it also managed to show that the American's are just useless... with all the phone calls and things, yet they did hardly anything... i know there is a limited amount they could have done. but at the end of the movie it said that the military found out like 4 minutes after the united 93 plane crashed that it was hijacked and the nearest jets were 100 miles away. So if they hadn't of tried to take over the plain it would have hit its target.

But meh. I can't compare it to any other films about 9/11 because i haven't seem them and i don't want to lol.

I'm going back to the Rom Coms lol, i wan't to watch hugh grant fall in love again haha!

jonathan of rose said...

It's taken me a while to come here... I'm very lazy. Still, I watched Eastern Promises again, to contribute to the discussion. It kind of pushes the idea of British film- director David Cronenberg is Canadian, and the principal leads are American, Australian, German, French, without any Brits, I think. (Remember that crossdressing guy from Elizabeth? He's in this, and he's ambiguously gay in this as well, though more subtly. Weird.)
Still, it's set in London, and definitely looks "British" (rain-soaked streets, cloudy skies over scummy Thames etc), and the theme of Russian gangsters does have connections to Britain's darker underbelly. It's a fairly naturalistic film, for the most part, which we perhaps associate with British film- no wild edits or camera shots, subtle or no music, and muted colours/mis en scene.
Then we get to the fight scene. Sorry to be shallow, but the film centres on this, where gangsters come after a naked Viggo Mortensen in a steam bath. It's one of the most brutal, painful-looking scenes I've seen, and has some parallels with the end of Audition (one of the scary Japanese films you might remember emanating from my laptop). There's no music, lots of long, sometimes moving takes, odd for an action scene. Very visceral, though (Viggo looks on the verge of death by the end), maybe going back to the director's past of violent movies, only executed very thoughtfully and deliberately for great effect.
Not the best film ever, perhaps, but definitely a good'un, and it demonstrates the co-operation between countries on films that ends up with films being called "British" when you might not expect it.

princess_lauren said...

Just incase any one wants to borrow them I have..

Elizabeth (the first one)
This Is England
Red Road
Dead Mans Shoes
London to Brighton

..on DVD

facebook me or something and I'll bring them into school for you

Mr. M said...

Great to see a few more comments coming in. Thanks to ponkalulu, ash-a-ley, burby, abster and jonathan of rose for your astute film comments. A good range of content and opinion.

princess_lauren: thanks for your offer of DV lendings to the group. Very generous. Now you just have to comment on one! ;) What did you think of Red Road or Dead Man's Shoes??

ponkalulu: good comment - heartwarming stories about football eh? Britain loves them; especially if it dredges up the glorious past of 66 - it's either that or derivative hooligan movies which are mostly drivel.

burby: thanks for the shining references; very clever. All work and no joy makes burby...?
I saw Michael Clayton recently too and was quietly impressed. Loved the closing shot. Good rumination on everything that is broken with the US (the west?) without moralising or shoving it down your throat. Tilda Swinton was great but not in it a lot to walk away with both Bafta and Oscar for supporting role. I see what you're getting at about the phonecalls etc in United 93 but have to disagree - I thought it was an outstanding piece of filmmaking. As for the whole 'too soon' debate - it's tricky because the whole 'war on terror' thing is ongoing (unlike at the end of WW1 - it was over). As such, I think it's so important to have work like this that attempts to present a balanced account, doesn't take sides, tries to remain objective and not moralise so that ultimatley the audience are left to make up thier own minds - or at the very least talk about some of the issues afterwards. Interesting to note that Greengrass is returning to the same broad geo-political issue in his latest film...can't wait. Have you seen Sunday Bloody Sunday?

ash-a-ley: great postings! you have become a prodigious blogger! doesn't matter if you ramble :) and yes, your spelling is atrocious :)) You make some excellent points and you are quite right in that there is plenty to say in terms of representation when looking at the Brit Rom Coms - all that white middle class malaise certaily has a market. Just look at the box office takings of these sorts of features. They are the bread and butter for Working Title. Do you think Hugh Grant falling in love is almost a sub-genre? As for Atonement - totally agree with you on the soundtrack - Dario Marianelli won an Oscar for it; the only Oscar it won out of 7 nominations. Typwriter sounds were a great little recurring motif. Have to disagree with you on the Golden Age though. I thought the shot of Clive Owen clinging to the gunwhales of the boat, wind in his hair, during the naval battle were truly laughable (in fact I think I laughed out loud in the cinema!)
As for the ridiculously stereotyped Spaniards - truly risible. I bet Abster was appaled!! (you seen it Abi?). Astute comments though Ashley -esp. about the 'safety' of an Elizabeth sequel and playing to it's strengths (costume, locations, cast) to ensure maximum revenue. Although I think WT were a little disappointed with it's final returns - mostly due to luke warm reviews from some influential critics keeping the punters away.

Abster: The bar of choc goes to YOU - you can distribute it to whoever you like. :) Nice comments too - Agree with you on the Layer Cake treading the fine line between glamourising the nasty world they inhabit. But don't most gangster flicks have an element of that? Part of the whole living vicariously through others/escapism thing. What about the end though? Glamourous?

jon of rose: thanks for the Eastern Promises comment. Unbelievable scene, the sauna knife fight. Indelibly etched on my psyche. The lack of music, rapid edits and flashy camerawork is indeed part of what makes it so brutal and realistic - almost unparalleled (a Cronenberg trademark is his realistic and shocking depiction of violence, wounds, viscera etc - have you seen The Fly? Existenz? A History of Violence?) Refreshing to see a 'hero' really strugling after such an ordeal too - I get so sick of leading men who shake off bullet wounds and the like within a scene. Canadian director or not - we'll take it as a British film, right?

And for the rest of you slackers, in the immortal words of Delia Smith:
"Where are YOU, LET'S BE HAVING YOU!!"


az said...

Do Irish films count? Anyway i watched six shooter last week and was really impressed by it! Its a unconventional film in its nature due to it being a short and it only lasting 27mins. Martin McDonagh’s debut film shows Brendan Gleeson starring as Donnelly, a man who has just lost his wife in an accident, and his relationship with an odd young man played by Rhuaidhri Conroy while on a train journey. Due to the fact that it was shot on location on a train, that they could actually only use for 8hrs a day, the shots that were used were limited but that takes nothing away from the film which has a great twist at the end. Also terrific acting from Gleeson but Conroy was awesome. Overall, brilliant short film with the only negative being that because of the thick Irish accents, some lines are hard to understand. Cant wait to see McDonaghs next film, In Bruges, starring Colin Farrell and again Brendan Gleeson.

Mr. M said...

Reckon it counts, az.
Film Four were involved and it was a UK/Ireland co-production with a UK born writer/director. That'll do nicely.
Sounds great too - would like to see it. Black Irish comedy on a train- a good combinationa and Gleeson is usually good value. Won best short film at the Oscars. What is In Bruges about?

Rhys Williams said...

I watched Hot Fuzz over the hols, and was disappointed with it, especially as I had already seen the few good parts it actually had, in the trailers. I liked the cameo from Bill Bailey though.

I did a bit of research on Brit films and was surprised to discover the new batman movie is classed as British, so i did some more digging and found out that a lot of the locations are here in the Uk.

One of my favourite films is Children of Men and i wasn’t sure how British this film was. The storyline represents Britain in the year 2027 when mankind can no longer procreate. It also looks at some of the issues we face today i.e. terrorism, illegal immigrants and refugees. Although the director is Mexican and one of the main actors is American, the majority of the cast is British. Moving away from the Britishness, one of the things i like the most about this film are the single-shot sequences where so much action takes place in one lengthy single shot. I think this is a great way to build up suspense and keep continuity. Back to Britishness I’ve also found out that even the composer was British and the film received three Academy Award nominations and won two BAFTA awards. So i guess it’s more British than I thought.

princess_lauren said...

Ok its john here, cant get my stupid account to work. I watched greenstreet.
Its about an american guy (played by elijah wood) coming over to england to see his family. he gets involved with some english west ham football supporters. good stuff!!

These football "hooligans" r portrayed as abusive thugs, who thrive on fights. they also r portrayed as a stereotypical englishman who loves beer and football and r very headstrong individuals. They back up there mates and never back down. The most obvious stereotype is how the english football supporters h8s journalism and americans! this makes the main storyline. however by the end of the film the american is welcomed to the firm. However this represents england in a bad light.

Alot of close ups r used to show the intensity of fights and the damage done in the fights. these camera angles and music gives u the impressiion that the fights r filled with passion which makes beloved football fans understand how they r tipped over the edge to react like that.

newhos good film if u like football, brawls and a bit of blood.
l8rs xxx