Sunday, February 16, 2014

Films - 10th - 16th February 2014

A new week in film began on Monday 10th February with yet another subterranean encounter with my 50+ friends at the Pathe Cinema Buitenhof. On offer this week was Mr Morgan's Last Love ( also known as Last Love)... warning plot spoilers lurk here....
Michael Caine is Mr Morgan, a retired and recently widowed Philosophy Professor now living on his own in the Paris apartment that his wife selected and loved. Mr Morgan struggles now that he does not have his wife to translate for him. He does however live in a 'between world'  where he still sees his wife at many points during each day.... while sat on a park bench, or in bed at night.
                    Mr Morgan encounters Pauline Laubie ( Poésy) when surprised by his bus stopping more quickly than he was expecting. Pauline is a Parisian dance instructor, the twinkle in her eye is met by the same in Caine's ( he still has it... of course). What then unfolds is a growing friendship between the pair.... we really have been here before in other similar films of the genre. The added layer is that both Morgan and Laubie are prickly individuals  not easy to get to know - each is withholding elements of their lives..... we have seen this before also.
In Morgan's case the frosty exterior unfolds after he attempts to join his late wife, ending in hospital. His grown children arrive and further exhibit the traits of a family that has been fractured by misunderstandings brought on by things unsaid in the past. The ill adjusted offspring of course are not happy with the growing attachment between their father and the young Parisian..... long story short.....the son does eventually warm to Pauline.... this appears to give Mr Morgan to completion he requires.
The story begins quite slowly and with a little suspension of disbelief works. However following the hospitalization and the introduction of the awkward offspring the story telling begins to unravel for me. The director appears to believe that this can be overcome by moving the characters from set to set - Paris - a family house in Dinard, back to Paris to the apartment....back to Dinard...to a hotel room .... STOP!
Sadly for me the need to show the audience the ending literally spoils what could I believe be a cleaner and tidier ending.
The leads and supports try their best with the script which does let them down...and for me this gives Mr Morgan a score of 6.5 out of 10 for me

Friday 14th February - The Monuments Men - Pathe Buitenhof
Based on the true story which unfolded as the Second World War in Europe drew to its close. It became obvious that the Nazi's had plundered much of the art that had been in private collections at the outbreak of war. Much of this looted from Jewish families as they were consigned to their doom in 'the camps'. Hitler and his acolytes  destroyed well known works that were considered degenerate work. Many of his top generals took work into their own private collections, Hitler himself had a plan to create the 3rd Reich Art Museum in Linz.....and to this end many unique works were looted and hidden away in mineral mines in Germany.
The fear was that as the Nazi's drew back to their homeland that they would destroy all that had been hidden. Enter the Monuments Men, a group of middle aged art experts tasked with identifying works and ensuring their return to the places from which they had been taken.....
George Clooney's film was shot deliberately as an homage to the WW2 films of the 60's and 70's ( The Guns of Navarone amongst others)...and is termed a 'Heist!'  It begins as The Magnificent Seven.... Clooney even alludes to this as he recruits Matt Damone's character, it continues in the same manner.  The shame is that this film could have been played as a period docudrama such as the excellent Argo - unfortunately this appears to be Clooney's Ocean's Eleven - prequel! As such it does a dis-service to the original team of Monuments Men.....
The real monuments men are discussed in the following academic video which I would recommend viewing...

As for the Monuments Men.... it has the feel of a Period Ocean's Eleven and this I cannot get out of my mind.... thus I would give the film a 5 out of 10 .... it could and should have been so much better!

Saturday 15th February - Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2... in 3D.. Pathe Spuimarkt.
It was a windy afternoon in the city and I was at somewhat of a loose end... when I chanced upon CWACOM2..3D. The normally reliable Pathe Cinema had a minor meltdown on Saturday afternoon in Screen 2 at Spui. No sooner was the audience of expectant children, parents and others  requested to don 3D glasses than the system failed - the glasses had no effect everything was still blurry.....when we regained vision...the audio failed. The result was that was were treated to the opening 5 minutes of the film  twice. I feared that this was to herald a film that I could have escaped if the presentation had failed.
However what unfolded was a mad 95 minute fun fest. The story which was of course 'unbelievable' was sprinkled liberally with one liners and visual jokes for the whole audience.to laugh at.. the script really goes for it, setting its stall out to force you into submission by its very 'upbeatness'.... if that is a word? The amazing creatures that we meat ( not a spelling mistake!)... the Tacodile, Shrimpanzees to name but a few! The visual jokes were a 'piece of cake'..... yup literally a piece of cake.
I was glad that Pathe eventually got the presentation right as were we all....
The film will work for all the family.....I give it a 7.5 out of 10

A very interesting trio of films you will agree with for me unexpected results. I am now off to enjoy the 2014 BAFTA's cheering on Captain Phillips, The Selfish Giant, American Hustle and Gravity.....and of course Inside Llewyn Davis.... I have yet to see 12 Years a Slave and Nebraska and as a result cannot comment yet.


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