The World According to Renee

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Review: Hitchcock

You know you’re going to like the film when it opens with Ed Gein killing his brother.

Hitchcock follows the making of the classic film, Psycho. Helen Mirren, who plays Alma Hitchcock, knows how to work the screen, but she also knows when to take a backseat. In this film, she is absolutely playing second fiddle to Sir Anthony Hopkins, who prances around, filled with a sense of his own self-importance (essential when you’re portraying the great director). Scarlett Johannson was a little off as Janet Leigh; for a start, the wig wasn’t sitting right with me and she just fell flat against such an experienced cast.

There’s no real plot, so this is the perfect film when your brain needs a break. Hitch finds a novel he wants to film, the studio refuses to finance it (Psycho was self-financed), the Production Code dictates certain changes and the first print of the finished masterpiece is not well received. Add Alma’s side project, Hitchcock’s suspicions that his wife is doing more than writing with her new partner, Ed Gein hallucinations and you have yourself 99 minutes of a great film. There are numerous homages to Hitchcock’s works including several shots of venetian blinds (can you name a Hitch film which doesn’t use venetian blinds?) so any fan will delight in these. I would have liked to see more of Psycho‘s backstory but I suspect that’s a film all on its own.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch some Hitchcockian classics.

7/10 popcorns

January 17, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Babel

How did I miss Babel when it was released? Never mind, I’ve caught it now and I loved it.

Babel is four interwoven stories centred around an American couple visiting Morocco (Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett). The stories take place on different continents so the viewer is transported from Morocco to Mexico to Japan following characters that have all played their part in the story of life. Astute viewers will pick up who is who fairly quickly (I admit to being embarrassingly slow on the uptake with the Japanese contingent) and the film walks the viewer through each segment so there’s never any confusion.

This film is perfect for analysing. The colour red is present in almost every shot, forming a rich tapestry within the stories. The film is almost a connect-the-dots and when you see the formed picture, it’s breathtaking in both beauty and form. There’s no star of the film; Brad Pitt may be in it but he doesn’t steal the limelight. Cate Blanchett does what she does best, while allowing others to be drawn into her story. The other characters are not played by well-known actors, yet they still capture the screen like they were born for their roles. The Moroccan children are perfectly cast for their roles which remind us that sometimes, there are no villains.

Babel is a very long movie, so make sure you have supplies and a pause button for quick toilet trips. I took an intermission not because the film was dragging, but because I was so caught up that I forgot I needed lunch. This is a hallmark of the very best films, which should now be including Babel. And like any good film, there are questions forming inside the viewer’s mind, burning to be answered yet unsatisfactory if they are; the film doesn’t need a sequel to answer them, half the fun is pursuing the questions yourself.

A highly recommended film. 9.5/10 popcorns.

December 9, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment