DAILY FILM DOSE: A Daily Film Appreciation and Review Blog: June 2013

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Naked Prey

One of the unique experiments of the 1960’s, Cornel Wilde’s ambitious parable of culture and conflict is remarkably simple in concept - a British game hunter captured by African natives for torture escapes and has to fight the harshness of the African environment while in flight from his pursuers. The result, a 90min chase film which comments on the fragile state of our civilization with the same irony as “The Most Dangerous Game”. "Lord of the Flies”, and “Planet of the Apes” would also become the main influence for Mel Gibson to make his own version of the story, "Apocalypto".

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Carlos

Olivier Assayas' memorable addition of Euro-art house credibility to what was essentially a procedural action film told with maximum realism, cinematic swagger and panache resounds memorably in the light of other New Millenium hot button thrillers such as Zero Dark Thirty and Homeland.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Scum

Alan Clarke’s powerful indictment of the British juvenile penal system is a virtuouso cinematic achievement, ugly and beautiful at the same time, influential to the modern works of Steve McQueen, Gus Van Sant and others. Scum, like Clarke’s mostly television work in the 70’s and 80’s represents some of the best films ever shot for television.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Straw Dogs

This is Sam Peckinpah's other unquestionable triumph, second to The Wild Bunch, a classic morality tale that furthers his career examination of violence and the specifically American perception of it. While The Wild Bunch was told using the tropes of the Western genre and the familiar themes of male camaraderie, heroism, anti-heroism and machismo, Straw Dogs is about a cowardly pacifist forced to find his latent primal urges to protect his home and family.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Stoker

In the long history of Asian genre directors crossing over into English-language films, Chan-wook Parks’ Stoker, a deliriously directed noirsih thriller, is the cream of the crop. Unlike this year’s other Korean-directed thriller Jee-woon Kim’s The Last Stand, Park’s devilish film about nebbish teenager disturbed by the arrival of her long lost Uncle bristles with cinematic ingenuity and with a kind of inspired unconventionality not seen since the bombastic heyday of Brian De Palma.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Band of Outsiders

Even after six films following his celebrated Nouvelle-Vague debut 'Band of Outsiders' finds Godard at his hippest, frolickiest, cool, witty and irreverent – a postmodernness which bleeds formally into the seminal early work of Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Fanny and Alexander

While Ingmar Bergman’s films have often been marked as methodical and arguably slow exercises in emotional rigor, which is often unfriendly to lay audiences, Fanny and Alexander is a wholly accessible, truly haunting journey for its two main title characters.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Cleopatra

'Cleopatra', notable for being the most expensive movie ever made, the subject of heavily-consumed gossip fodder, and it’s place as one of biggest Hollywood ‘flops’ of its time, carries a lot of baggage. But unlike the glorious rediscovery and new appreciation of Michael Cimino's equally-loaded 'Heaven’s Gate', 'Cleopatra' never surmounts its expectations as a bloated and creatively bland sword and sandal picture.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Jubal

Delmar Daves’ (3:10 to Yuma) uncomplicated western soap opera has taken the fancy of the Criterion Collection resulting in a visually spectacular high-def transfer, though underwhelming in special features. Despite some ovepraise in the Criterion notes, Daves’ very loose Othello story set fits the western genre well. Shakespeare’s themes such a male loyalty, codes of honour and betrayal are transplanted successfully to the story of a wandering cowboy caught in the power struggle between a naïve cattle rancher and his devious ranchhand looking to seize his wealth.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Bambi

If John Ford made an animated film it might be this one, a tender and dreamy romanticization of the majestic North American forest and wilderness and arguably the best animated film Disney ever made. 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

John's Carpenter's The Ward

Well, it was fun to have John Carpenter back after so many years dormant and more than a decade of forgettable films, even if this latest effort was not the reverie we all hoped for. At least it’s a pure horror film. There are no vampires or ghosts on Mars. But there is a contained location, specifically a psych ward in the '60s, and the ghost of a missing or dead girl tormenting a group of female patients.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness

With the kinks worked out from the previous exposition and time travel-heavy Kirk/Spock origin story, and by staying close to the spirit of Wrath of Khan, the most action-oriented entry of the Star Trek episodes, the result is a more focused and thus clearer action sci-fi picture aimed at moderate Trek enthusiasts and summer blockbuster audiences.