nothings fun anymore

I don't really understand anything

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Quick Film Reviews #27
Still applying the Bechdel test to films: a pass is if they feature two female characters, with names, who talk to each other about something other than a man.

Animal Kingdom
Probably not what you'd expect from a film about an Australian crime family, Animal Kingdom consists mostly of the stomach-churning feeling you get when you're stuck in a bad situation. Beneath the familial camaraderie, the characters never listen to one another, follow advice, or really cooperate, they just head along their own disastrous paths.
Test: Fail

The Guard
More on the world of crime, but this time with philosophical villains, a wry, almost idiot-savant Irish cop and his fish-out-of-water serious American counterpart. Amy's two favourite parts of this film were: 1) the sex workers are portrayed as actual people not generic cut-outs; 2) at one point when the villains are talking in an aquarium a shark does a somersault in the background. She made me rewind that bit to watch it again.
Test: Fail

Citizen Kane
It's rentlessly excellent in its cinematography, but the thing that surprised me most about Citizen Kane is how pacey it is. I do wonder if some of its critics have a point when they suggest that the tremendous style conceals a lack of depth and emotion.
Test: Fail

Wild Geese
"One of the greatest action films of our time" says the case. Dull action sequences, uninteresting characters and a heavy dusting of racism are what it actually contains.
Test: Fail

I didn't really watch this film, but I listened to it while playing on a tablet. The only thing that struck me about this film was one point when the unemployed, failed small-businesswoman main character completely flips out about the ridiculous extravagance of her antagonist's wedding arrangements. And you're like "YES. The real issue here is class and conspicuous consumption." But the moment passes.
Test: Pass

Conan the Barbarian
I wouldn't say Conan is an especially good film, but it's a hell of a lot better than most Fantasy films. I was trying to work out why, and I think it's because it's not silly. There are a few slip-ups but on the whole the visual design is very good. Special effects are kept to a minimum, and when they start to overreach themselves, they're kept brief. Of course, most of the script is rubbish, as is Arnie's acting. Most of the serious talking is done by Max Von Sydow and James Earl Jones, so it can't go far wrong. It's also a film that remembers (like LotR) the importance to the genre of landscape.
Test: Fail

If you want to understand the war in Afghanistan, this is a pretty good start. It reminds me a lot of the series of videos by a Guardian photographer, showing British troops on long, unproductive patrols, dealing with locals they don't know how to persuade, and getting into firefights with unseen enemies. One of the most striking shots for me - more than anything in the climactic firefight - is a black & white drone camera view of some men getting ready to fire on the Danish positions, presumably entirely unaware they are being watched. Ten seconds later, an artillery shell lands in the centre of the shot and obliterates everything.
Test: Fail


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