So recently I've been collecting a few DVDs. And I thought it was about time I started watching them. But first, a little review for the film I saw in the cinema on Thursday.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Even though I missed the first half hour of this film because it took me that long to walk from Cheltenham train station, I still really enjoyed it (I got a seat right in the middle of the front row, haha). I can see why it's been given an 18 certificate but I personally don't think it's that bad. There is lots of blood, yes, but I think the film board was more worried about how cavalier the killing is: there's a sequence where Sweeney slices about ten throats in five minutes and shows absolutely no remorse. Not to mention the important characters that get killed and the fact he nearly kills his only daughter. I'm not saying that I'm particularly bothered by this, because a) it's a musical and b) Tim Burton takes care to make the killing very theatrical, but I can see why it would worry the censors. It's the only film where Johnny Depp has ever scared me: he really captured the feeling of a man who has nothing left but his desire for vengeance (unlike the Bride in Kill Bill, who is given a reason to live and move on when she sees her daughter is alive). Alan Rickman singing was just... amazing, very rich and vibrant, like a cello (I should know, I used to play one). Timothy Spall was iffy but suited his character and it would have sounded awful if they'd dubbed him. Sacha Baron Cohen was just amazing. There's nothing that man can't do, as long as he's inhabiting a character. The scene where he moves from that overdone Italian accent to a quiet Estuary one made my jaw drop because it was so smooth. And I also liked Helena Bonham Carter, even though I got annoyed at her character. Mrs Lovett, this is a man who is only interested in killing. He's obsessed with the memory of his dead wife and daughter. He is not ideal husband material. I know he is pretty and has nice cheekbones, but you really should find someone else. In short, I was not surprised when he killed her at all. My only criticism would be that the ending of the film was so abrupt. I realise this is probably in keeping with the musical but I sat there and thought Wait, that's it? They didn't have to do much, just show us Anthony and Joanna escaping to live happily elsewhere (which I assume is what happened, since Judge Turpin and the Beedle are both dead) and suggest what might have happened to Toby. Oh well, it's a small thing, didn't spoil my enjoyment. If you liked Sleepy Hollow, which is more gruesome in my opinion, then I think you would enjoy this.
The Science of Sleep
I've had this film for a while, but I hadn't got around to seeing it until last night. I didn't know what I was missing. This is a fantastic film, and I use that word in both the modern and the old-fashioned sense: it's very good and it's straight from fantasy. It's all about what happens in the mind of a creative person, about the difference between dreams and reality, how you cope with reality if you're a creative person, the compromises you have to make, the frustration when people just don't get you... I think you can guess by now that I completely identify with the characters in this film. If you are creative in any kind of way, see it. That's all I have to say.
The Dark Is Rising: The Seeker
Okay, so if you haven't read the books... any of the books... this is fine. It's an okay film to watch. If you have read the books, avoid it if possible and if you do see it, just forget everything you read. I only saw it because it was at the Guildhall and it only costs me £4 to watch a film there. They shouldn't have said 'based on' in the titles, they should have said 'inspired by'. Because what they've done is take the basic storyline and twist the characters until they're nigh unrecognisable. The beginning is good, quite creepy and disorientating. I really wish they'd done more in that vein because half-way through, it just degenerates into a typical fantasy film. Christopher Eccleston would have been a fabulous Rider, but all he does is canter around on his horse saying "My power grows stronger". That's great, can we see some evidence? Chris is a great actor, he brings so much intensity to his roles, he can be mesmirising on screen, why didn't the director use that? He's actually scarier in Heroes than in this, which is WRONG. The Rider should be utterly terrifying. Ian McShane is, frankly, not the man I would have chosen to play Merriman, that honour goes to Patrick Stewart (who is so perfect, it's not even funny). But putting that aside, he could have been good... if they'd given him more to do. Again, a waste of talent, I think. The boy who plays Will is actually quite good (though what possessed his parents to name him Wolfgang?) and really, he's what kept me watching to the end. I'd love to see him in a better film. The special effects were good, and that's about it.