Tag Archives: movies

An Inconvenient Truth

I went to see “An Inconvenient Truth” last night, a film about Al Gore’s global warming lecture tour.

It’s very well done. Gore delivers the talks with humour — he introduces himself link this, “I’m Al Gore, I used to be the next president of the United States” — confidence and passion. (If he’d had this passion in the presidential campaign things could have been very different!) Even for someone that agrees with the message there are some scary statistics. Perhaps even more scary is the lengths that some politicians go to to avoid acknowledging the problem, much less doing something about it.

Quite possibly a case of preaching to the choir, but I still think it’s well worth seeing.

As a counterpoint, you might want to look at these videos from the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Talking about CO2, “they call is pollution, we call it life.” Based on the fact that we breath out carbon dioxide they conclude that the volumes found in the air currently are perfectly natural.

These people should be forced to watch “An Inconvenient Truth.”


I watch a lot of movies but I don’t usually review them. This makes “Irr?versible” unusual. This word, in fact, describes much about the movie and my reaction to it.

The movie starts at the end, with a death that the blurb proudly describes as “one of the most violent murders ever portrayed on celluloid” and then works backwards detailing the motivations for it and the complex relationships between the various characters.

It sounded like an interesting premise and I was looking forward to seeing it. Unfortunately I found it to be deeply flawed.

Let’s start with the simple stuff: the quick-fire, “street” language does not lend itself to subtitles, which, on occasion, makes the dialogue difficult to follow. The cinematography is such that the screen is often busy too, making reading the dialogue and seeing what’s happening hard work.

It’s not only my reading comprehension skills that are a problem.

The director decided to make each scene look like one take, with no obvious cuts. Great idea, but it might have worked better if he’d been able to keep the camera on a level. It swirls around in an uncomfortable, sickness-inducing loll. This effect gets less and less as the film progresses and might have been applauded as very creative if it had not been over-done.

And it might have been better received if the sound-track had not followed in a similar vein which, unfortunately, was not the case. Instead we are subjected to a 28Hz hum, which, apparently, is the same kind of sound produced by an earth-quake. This effect was added with the express purpose of getting people to walk out of the cinema.

Why deliberately make a film difficult to watch? Shooting difficult or controversial subject-matter is one thing, but driving people out of the cinema by making things physically unpleasant strikes me as odd at best. Not since McDonalds opened its first restaurant has this been considered good business.

The main issue I have with the film is that the director seems to have used jarring imagery, painful audio and a reverse-chronological narrative not to enhance an already interesting story but as a replacement for it. “Memento” is the obvious comparison point as it also runs backwards, however in this case it works. The lead character can only remember so far back which lends itself to the “backwards” story line, we learn what happened at pretty much the same rate that he does. With “Irr?versible” I’m not sure.

Also used to prop up the weak story-line is the excessive violence and sexual content. I’m no prude, I’ve seen some pretty violent films — I rate “Reservoir Dogs” highly and even “Baise-moi” wasn’t this bad — but this was too much. Does a rape-and-beating scene really need to last twenty minutes? Is it necessary to see someone’s skull cave in after a savage beating? (All in the first forty minutes by the way.)

Most of the best scary or violent films rely not on actually showing what happens but by building tension and suggestion. How much do you actually see in the ear cutting scene in Dogs? This film certainly does nothing to dispute my position on this.

Overall you have to ask yourself whether courting controversy with nausea inducing sound effects, drunken camera-work and excessive violence is a good substitute for a well-written script and more controlled direction. I say no, what do you think?

March of the Penguins

You’ve already seen once my disdain for Christian extremists. This week I found one more reason when we went to see “La Marche de l’empereur (2005),” or “March of the Penguins” if you, like me, can only read English.

As you may be aware, the Christian Right have adopted this movie as an example of both monogamy and Intelligent Design. If you’ve seen the film you’ll realise that it’s neither.

The idea that a creature most comfortable in the water walking over seventy miles several times a year is proof of intelligent design is, frankly, laughable. And the monogamy bit is only slightly more convincing. Yes, they do have a single partner but only for one mating season. Next year, should they survive, they’ll find someone new.

Fortunately none of this distracts from the film. It isn’t especially deep or meaningful and it doesn’t go into detail as much as, say, an Attenborough series on the BBC would. It’s beautifully shot. The commentary is generally interesting, although it does lapse into easy anthropomorphism rather too frequently.

Enjoyable and worth seeing, just not necessarily for the reasons that some people tell you…

Weirdest Movies Reviews in the World — Ever

This is incredible. And I don’t use the word lightly.

The site in question is the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Reports. Here you can find hundreds of “reviews” of movies and ratings of how well they conform to one interpretation of good Christian values. They claim that it’s objective but there are a number of opinions about the faith that would not be shared by all.

I think pretty much all of my favourite films do very badly on their scale. I have not checked through all of them yet but two of the best ones so far are for The Incredibles and The Passion of the Christ. They both score roughly the same, yet the former, a typical Pixar movie with all those hallmarks that Disney films used to have, has “…behavioral, moral and value implantation dangers” while the latter, despite depicting a man being nailed to a cross, “…is [only] a movie.”