Old Notes On Some Films I Watched

[Continuing a theme, here are some old notes on films I watched and wrote about and then promptly forgot about instead of posting them on the blog. However, these were just films I watched on television, rather than on DVD. It’s almost completely different.]

Jude

An adaptation of Thomas Hardy novel (Jude The Obscure), directed by Michael Winterbottom. Christopher Eccleston is Jude, a man from a poor family who wants to go to college to better himself, so reads Latin in his spare time. He is tricked into marriage to Rachel Griffiths only for her to run off to Australia. So he works as an engraver in a big town, where he meets with his cousin (Kate Winslet). They fall in love but don’t marry because she is a proto-feminist. They have children but people won’t let them lodge due to not being married. His ex-wife reappears with Jude’s son, and gets him to take him back. Life is grim, so the first son kills the other two children and then himself. This sends Winslet potty and she goes off with another man so she can be respectable, even though she still loves Jude. This is a well-made film but it is incredibly depressing and grim; it leaves you feeling as if you’ll never be happy again.

Rating: DA

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Code 46

Another Michael Winterbottom film. Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton star in an interesting idea of a film: set in the near future, people need a special insurance to go anywhere, and Code 46 is a ban on people with similar genetic identity from having kids. The are some nice touches that flesh out this world (such as the lingua franca including bits of Spanish and Chinese) and it is beautifully realised using current locations (I’m sure I recognised Canary Wharf tube stations), but the love story is the main drive and it feels a little weak, despite the excellency of the actors. (I thought is odd that the director felt it necessary to show us Morton’s recently shaved pudenda in the love scene.) An interesting if unsatisfactory experiment.

Rating: DVD

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Central Station

An odd little story from Walter Salles, director of The Motorcycle Diaries. Set in Brazil, it sees an old woman (a former teacher) who makes a living writing letters for people who can’t write but she never sends them, blaming the post if anybody comes back to her. She writes a letter for a mother to the father of her son, who is then run over by a bus (after changing the contents of the letter). The old woman then sells the boy to a couple who she thinks will get him adopted to foreign families, bus she has a change of heart and decides to take the boy back to his father (and to escape the person she sold the boy to). So the film becomes  a strange road movie (with a very authentic feeling, which could be why he got The Motorcycle Diaries job). However, it’s not particularly engaging – it ends with her leaving the boy with the now-dead father’s other sons – and you are only left with the odd beauty of Brazil via the roads to stick in the memory.

Rating: DA

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You, Me and Everyone We Know

This is a typical US indie film – that same quality of film stock and lighting and ‘ordinary’ locations, mixed with an abundance of quirkiness – which comes out of Sundance on a regular basis. Written, directed and starring a video artist, it is to be expected that the film is a little disjointed. It starts well, introducing the various characters; however, the oddity piles up to a disproportional level and the ending doesn’t even pretend to give any sort of satisfying resolutions to the narratives, which leaves you admiring the ability of the creator but hoping you never see it again.

Rating: DA

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Hideous Kinky

An adaptation of a memoir about a woman (played by Kate Winslet) who takes her kids to live in Morocco in the early 1970s. I only watched this because I think that Winslet is a great actress; otherwise, it was not worth watching – the selfishness of the central character deprives empathy and then the film peters out at the end, with the mum taking her kids back to UK after a road trip. Really dull.

Rating: D

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Love, Honour and Obey

Juvenile rubbish with actors playing at gangsters (badly) and the people involved (Jude Law, Ray Winstone, Johnny Lee Miller, Sean Pertwee) should be embarrassed at being involved. The ONLY reason to watch is a scene in which Denise Van Outen deep throats a cucumber.

Rating: D (only because I don’t do a zero rating)

[Explanation of my updated film rating system]

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