Sunday, 13 July 2014

Against the Crowd Blogathon

So there's been a really great Blogathon happening over at Dell on Movies. I only found out about it a few days ago but I've just managed to put together my entry in time to meet today's deadline. 

It's quite possible that this post could make any of you reading this seriously question my taste in film.

The rules are pretty straight-forward:

  1. Pick one movie that "everyone" loves (the more iconic, the better). That movie must have a score of at least 80% on Tell us why you hate it.
  2. Pick one movie that "everyone" hates (the more notorious, the better). That movie must have a score of less than 30% on Tell us why you love it.
  3. Include the tomato meter scores of both movies.
A film I hate that everybody loves:

Please don't call the lynch mob on me! There were a number of choices for this one; Moulin Rouge being my first choice, but surprisingly that wasn't fresh enough with just 76%. I also considered The Dark Knight Rises, which I initially loved and have grown to hate the more and more I think about it, American Hustle and King Kong.

I watched Don't Look Now last year as part of my June 100. Given the fact that it regularly appears on collections of the best ever horror films, and that a ton of people whose opinions I value love it, I couldn't believe how little I cared for this film. It sometimes happens that an older film doesn't age too well and so it can never really live up to its hype for a younger audience, but I don't think that was the case here, this was just bad.

I really like the concept behind the film's story, the cast seemed pretty great and everything I'd read about it made it seem like it was a masterpiece. While I know that many, many people do regard it as such I just found it incredibly dull. I'm all for a slow burner and creating a creepy atmosphere over cheap jump-scares, but the majority of the film was a badly paced melodrama and when there was the odd instance of horror it had no effect me because of how uninterested and detached I was from the characters and their story. I didn't even really find this to be an interesting depiction of grief beyond the iconic opening scene (which was extremely affecting I'll admit). To top it all off the final twist//reveal just plain annoyed me and genuinely had me feeling like I'd wasted near 2 hours of my life.

It's such a shame because I really wanted to love this film, and truly expected to do so. Maybe it all just went over my head? I just can't fathom how it's gained the acclaim that it has and that impressive 96% on RottenTomatoes is a completely mystery to me. I should probably try watching it again sometime, but it won't be for a good while.

A film I love that everybody hates:

So if you hadn't already dismissed me as a bad cinephile, prepare to do so.

I absolutely love Sucker Punch. I've already talked about this film being one of my biggest guilty pleasures here, and I still don't understand why everybody got so up in arms about the film when it was so much fun. Granted I adore Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish and Oscar Isaac and I'm fascinated by asylum's so anything set in one immediately gets my interest, but I really think the film is kind of great.

The production design is fantastic. The costumes, sets, action and general aesthetic really appealed to me, Zack Snyder, for all his failings, really does know how to make a fantastic looking piece of cinema. A lot of the criticism for the film is based around the view that it is essentially Snyder making his own sexual fantasies into a film and anyone who likes it is just some naive, straight teenage boy getting off over hot women with guns. I think it's fair to say that being gay I don't really fall into that demographic, so there must be something a little more to the film than just the hot women.

I'll admit that the plot does a little get lost in itself and some of the characters are severely undeveloped, but the layered narrative and figuring out what was real and what wasn't is just part of the appeal for me. There's also a wonderful scene between Emily Browning and Jon Hamm that only made the extended cut because the ratings board don't like anything too sexual. That scene ties up a lot of the inconsistencies in the plot and does a great job of bridging the real//asylum-based world and the burlesque//brothel world, had it been included in the theatrical version I think the film may have been received that little bit better than it was.

I'm not claiming that it's a masterpiece but Sucker Punch is pure escapist fun and constantly entertaining.

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