Sunday, August 14, 2005

Cinema is dying

Doom... Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3... Harry Potter 4... King Kong... Sin City 2... Mission: Impossible 3... Superman Returns...

Just some of the films moviegoers can look forward to over the next year or so. And all of them remakes of or sequels to other things.

Money has ruined cinema, it has done for years. Studio bosses only care about balance sheets, so whenever a movie has moderate success they quickly line up a sequel. When a certain genre movie has success, they rush to make one of their own (matrix-style futuristics, superheroes, etc).

Special effects are becoming tiresome. In a bid to outdo the last big effects-fest, a lot of new action movies seem to have been written around the effects. Movie makers seem to think that by simply having the kernel of a good idea within all the chase scenes and cgi, it will succeed (see The Island).

The best three films I have seen in the last couple of years are Saw, Dead Man's Shoes and Lost in Translation. They are almost devoid of special effects, and there are long sequences where it appears that not a lot is happening (whereas rather a lot is).

Saw is a great movie for a number of reasons. First, it's darker and tighter than 7even. Second, the actions of the killer are truly ingenious. And third, it has a wonderfully un-Hollywood ending.

Dead Man's Shoes is by far the best low budget British film for years, has a beautifully written script and is ultra-realistic. The acting is flawless, and the story is as powerful as any I have ever seen.

Lost in Translation is a very accurate and humorous pastiche on what it is like to be a Westerner in Japan. Murray and Johansson give very understated and believable performances, and the story stays with you long after the credits have rolled.

Three great films, very indie, very raw. No special effects, no checklist cliches, just good movie writing.

A great tragedy in the world at the moment is that mediocrity sells. It's the same with pop music. A cardboard cut-out can sell more than an original, interesting product. Luckily good movies and songs are being written, although they seem to be few and far between.

And by the way Hollywood and all you DVD distributors: A dvd costs a few pennies to make, so are you really surprised when people download movies for free rather than spend £20 for glossy packaging?


Anonymous Phil C said...

I had an idea the other day. All these super-star actors who earn 15 million a film should donate 1 million of their fee to a fund which awards new directors with great script ideas to get a low-budget film made - all ideas, not flashy effects. Never happen though.

4:40 am


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