Tag Archives: Film

Das Boot – The Definitive Film About Staring at the Ceiling

Do submarines even have ceilings?

I have finally fulfilled a long term ambition of mine to watch Wolfgang Petersen’s submarine epic ‘Das Boot’ ALL THE WAY THROUGH IN ONE GO. It’s a truly excellent film which had me gripped from beginning to end. Which is quite astonishing really because it has a very limited cast in a very limited space and most of the time not very much is happening. The acting is strong and the tension is palpable as the submarine’s raison d’etre is being target practice for British depth charges.

If I had been in charge I think I would have had a slightly more upbeat ending. The ending is by no means weak but it did seem a bit tangential and unexpected.

Anyway, top marks all round!

EDIT: Refers to Director’s Cut Edition

Film Opinion: Ultramarines

Being a follower of all things blue power-armour related I had heard many things about the first Warhammer 40k movie – the CGI based Ultramarines. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting anything good hence the delay in not seeing it the moment it hit the shelves.

I read a couple of reviews on the internet but I don’t think you can take those kind of things at face value. The problem with a movie like Ultramarines is that every fanboy Games Workshop nerd and his brother is massively biased. Either it is always going to be the best movie ever because it’s got frickin’ space marines in it, or it is always going to be the worst movie ever because it’s got frickin’ space marines in it. There is a third group of fanboys that think the movie is going to be terrible because the second marine from the end had his purity seal on the wrong leg and there is no way that those marines would have had those bolters in that colour on that campaign because of the great pig wrestling bolter revolution of M39.988 meant that all bolters assigned to that particular squad would have been a slightly different shade of grey and therefore the movie goes totally against and ruins the 40k universe. (You can occasionally find these type of fanboys lurking around The Bolter and Chainsword forums).

I think the movie itself is actually pretty decent. Honestly! Now then, it’s not a gun toting slug fest and doesn’t contain too many cliches. No-one gets power fisted, so it’s not strictly true to the board game. The story however is interesting, tense and engaging despite the lack of rootin’ tootin’ and shootin’. There’s not a terrific amount of characterisation but the marines themselves are believeable, as is their predicament. The voice acting is also good and feels right. The music in the film is appropriately atmospheric. If I had to pigeon hole the film into a genre I would have to go with a thriller, which is not something I was expecting. Nevertheless the movie is watchable and enjoyable.

The CGI in the film has come in for some criticism, and probably rightly so. This certainly isn’t a Pixar production. The backgrounds are empty with very little going on in them. Most of the movie is set in a dust storm which adds to the tension but you get the feeling it was done partly to lessen the amount of work required. It’s not all doom and gloom though as these things don’t really get in the way of the story. There are also some memorable slow motion scenes which add flavour to the film.

Is there anything I would personally like to have seen done differently? A few minor points I suppose. There aren’t many characters in the film, however it is difficult to distinguish them once they are wearing their helmets. Yes they all have different voices but the helmets make it harder to tell who is actually talking. Maybe a helmetless squad would have been less believeable but may have improved dialogue. Along the same lines, there is no change in voice effects in or out of helmets. A minor grumble really. The only storyline-type change I may have made is making the space marines seem more super human. Space marines are supposed to be nigh on invincible and stronger than thousands of men in battle. The trouble here is that they are fighting other space marines so this trait is never obvious. Maybe I’m just being picky and I suppose someone with no prior knowledge wouldn’t really mind. Finally, a facemelting cameo from the dreadnought in the Dawn Of War 2 intro would have been good!

So overall – It’s not going to win any oscars, but I was pleasantly surprised by this decent movie venture into the realms of the 41st millenium.

Film Opinion: The King’s Speech

It’s got no explosions in it. It’s got no car chases. There are no sharks with frickin’ laser beams in it either. In fact, The King’s Speech has loads of those actors from those incredibly dull films about Mr Darcy (apparently in the olden days girls swooned at any man with extreme social awkwardness and big sideburns). In fact, old Darcy has the lead role.

So it was with initial reluctance that I agreed to take my wife to see “The King’s Speech”, a film about King George VI, his crippling stammer and his speech therapist, an unconventional Australian called Lionel Logue.

Overall, the film is excellent. Everything is simply superb. In the early scenes of the film you quickly experience the severe cringeworthy awkwardness of being a major public figure and having such a speech impediment. At this stage however, George is still a prince and not even next in line to the throne. George and his wife known to modern generations as HRH The Queen Mother go in search of speech therapists with little success, until they meet Logue. Logue is played superbly as a wayward rebel who treats the prince like any other regular client, much to the disgust of the the royal couple. However, even at their first meeting Logue gets the prince speaking far better than ever before but at this stage he doesn’t realise it. It is only later when the prince hears a recording of himself made by Logue that he realises his success and decides to continue sessions.

The film then gets tangled up the abdication crisis of Edward VIII, and George quickly realises to his dismay that he will soon have kingship forced upon him. He realises that he now needs Logue more than ever and the two become inseperable as George prepares for the coronation. Watching the growth of this friendship is great to see especially since Logue treats the king much like his drinking buddy.

The climax of the film comes when the king must live broadcast a speech at the outbreak of the second world war; a nine minute speech to be heard by every english speaking person on the planet. Logue and the king work together to succeed at this previously impossible task.

The film really is worth watching. The interplay between characters is brilliant and the acting is top notch. The film has a good mix of drama, tension and comedy all rolled in. It’s a bit like a very good historical buddy movie. If you need to gain some brownie points, take your missus to go see it. You’ll hopefully love it too!

Regular Blockbuster Pants

So yesterday’s post was just an excuse to post a picture of a smurf, today we will get back to the grey matter challenge that is 6InchMove.

Firstly, before I get into the meat of the post, I need to define a blockbuster film… I mean a film with a massive budget and huge amount of special effects. Take that, Oxford Dictionary!

I did allude yesterday to a phenomenon called ‘Regular Blockbuster Pants’. Now I hope it’s not just because I’m old and jaded but generally if a movie is counted as a blockbuster you can almost guarantee it will have some lame excuse of a storyline. There are of course notable exceptions, and this is not a new thing in cinema. Anyone remember ‘Teen Wolf’? ‘Teen Wolf Too’? Precisely. Hollywood has been doing lame storylines for blockbusters since year zero. It’s a case of including so many special effects and getting the audience so amazed that they miss the gaping plot holes. Seriously, in the 80’s Michael J Fox turning into a werewolf was so jaw droppingly amazing that the script could have been written by a yucca plant and they would have gotten away with it. A case in point, I recently I went to see the second Transformers film. I can’t even remember if it had a plot my head was so stuffed with special effects. I could have been watching random exploding robot porn for all I know.

So anyway, that got me thinking, who is the target audience for this kind of film? Obviously some numbskulls, right? Always go for the lowest denominator and stuff. I went to see Avatar in 3D again. As usual I bought waaay too much drink to sit still through the whole thing. I looked around my fellow cinema goers for clues as I made the wise move of sitting at the front. The effects are amazing I thought as I walked the mile to my car after the film, having failed to park nearby. I continued to ponder why they would dumb down the blockbuster, as I drove to the garage, filled my car and accidentally deflated the tyres through not paying attention to the air pump instructions. I thought of whom this kind of script might appeal to as I realised half way home that I had forgotten to pick up some groceries. I was still thinking about it when I got home and realised I had failed to collect some computer cables, despite purposely having parked near a computer shop.

But seriously, blockbusters are fun. They are good for a laugh, but it makes me sad when good opportunities are wasted through poor plots. Why not make a good movie an epic movie? My feelings are that for some reason film makers are limited to around two and half hours maximum. Any more and the audiences might lose concentration, right? This then leads to ruthless editing, and the story begins to suffer. Shame, really. I suspect it is for this reason that director’s cuts are usually much longer, better and make much more sense than the released movie. Here’s hoping for some good director’s cuts in future!