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Sep 072017
 

Well of course it is.

To give a bit of context, this came up in reaction to an article on Hollywood picking a director for a Star Wars film, and the possibility of the chosen director being someone other than a white male. Of course the comments kept bouncing back and forth between declaring the comment above to be racist and sexist, and claiming that it wasn’t.

Highlighting that Hollywood seems to have an exclusive club of candidates to direct big budget films which exclude anyone who isn’t white and male, is perfectly reasonable. Or at the very least, turning a blind eye (as far as “industry recognition” (like the Oscars)) to female directors when they do get to direct (and there are plenty of talented female film directors). In fact there are also plenty of talented non-white film directors too.

Which is a bit of a surprise – you would expect the famously liberal Hollywood to be gender and ethnic background blind when it came to picking talent. You might have assumed (as I did) that the career path for film directors favours rich white dudes – perhaps with “internships” (slavery for rich youngsters) amongst other things.

So it would appear that Hollywood is actually being sexist and racist in selecting film directors for major films. And it needs to fix this.

In other words the sentiment of the statement was anti-racist and anti-sexist.

But the way that comment was expressed was racist.

Any time you say something like “must choose ${ethnic group}” or “must not pick ${gender}” you are being racist and sexist. Even if it is in a good cause.

It is better to come up with a better way of saying the same thing: “It would be a surprise to see Hollywood select a director from any background rather than it’s usual pool of directors that give the impression that Hollywood is racist and sexist.”

Apart from anything else, the comments following such an article might be a bit more interesting.

Contemplating The Sea

Jul 122010
 

According to the American Film Institute, the film “The Third Man” is American. There is one small problem with this: it is a British film through and through. The director was British (Carol Reed); the writer (Graham Greene) was British, and of the three producers only one was American (the others being British and Hungarian). The film was made on location in Vienna with additional work in a British studio.

So how on earth can anyone consider it to be an American film ? Interestingly the AFI seems to make a habit of this – in their 1998 list of great films, some of the films leap out at me as being British :-

Of that list, there may be some debate about the last two, but both were directed by an American directory after he had chosen to live in Britain. Both were written by British writers, and the sound requirements of 2001 could only be met at the time by the use of a British studio.

The trouble with claiming that several of the greatest films ever made were American when they were in fact British, undermines the British film industry. And it’s not as if the American film industry is short on great films!

Mar 222010
 

The world seems to have gone 3D mad with films like Avitar, 3D TVs, 3D laptops, etc; fair enough you may think but what is this 3D they are talking about ?

Well it’s not 3D at all. What they are all talking about is a stereoscopic effect where two different images in two dimensions presented to different eyes give the impression of a three dimensional scene. Just film a scene with two different cameras a little distance apart and you too can produce an illusion of three dimensions. But walk around the back of Scarlett Johansson or Brad Pitt and you will soon see why it is not 3D at all.

That is not to say it is bad – just deceptively named. Call it “stereoscopic” and I’ll be happy.

Jan 012010
 

So O2 is giving away free downloads for the 12 days of Christmas (or something like that) and have just given away a free copy of the film “Lesbian Spank Inferno” … sorry I mean “Lesbian Vampire Killers“. Well as it was free, I decided to give it a go …

The first thing to note is that watching films on an iPhone is a pretty bad idea. Ok, it is portable and probably isn’t too bad for watching an old film that you are familiar with for entertainment on the move (although reading a book is probably better). The screen is just too small.

As for the film itself, well you will have to turn off your “PC filters” before watching – the title itself and the first few minutes reveal a misogynistic fear of lesbians (the writers seem to be under the impression that lesbians are that way through a hatred of men!).

After you turn off these filters, what do you get ? Well two principle characters who are pretty repulsive – one pathetic type whose girlfriend  is routinely unfaithful (and with good reason), and another who is even more pathetic and unsurprisingly has no girlfriend.

These two pathetic losers journey to a village under an ancient curse whereby all 18 year old women suddenly turn into lesbian vampires (surely a contradiction in terms). They meet up with an unlikely bunch of history students – all female and all with a predilection for wearing low-cut tops. At which point the “story” (if it can be called such) progresses through an unlikely series of events until our two “heros” with a surviving love interest manage to defeat the lesbian vampire queen.

It isn’t good porn (whatever that is).

It isn’t comedy. And no I’m not being superior – I like simplistic “Carry On” style smutty comedy.

It isn’t a good vampire story. It doesn’t even have much of a story.

All in all, a complete waste of time. One of those “freebies” that cost too much.

Don’t bother.

Dec 032008
 

Format: DVD

IMDB entry: here

A rambling incoherant documentary that is so impenetrable that it will take you some time to realise the subject is beastiality (although if you have just pulled the DVD off the shelf in the video store you probably know). Most of the time skating around the subject in question is wasted time; there is no point in being subtle about this subject. Those who are going to be offended by the subject are going to be offended however subtle you are.

So why waste the time on being subtle ? The extra time could have been better spent interviewing more participants, or more experts on the subject. The long, lingering, landscape shots were very pretty but also pretty pointless.

Thumbs down.

Note that I am deliberately not judging anything other than the film itself; I’m not condeming the film because of the subject matter at all.

Nov 292008
 

Format: DVD

IMDB entry: here

(although they insist on calling it “The Last Hangman” (which is completely wrong of course))

This is the story of one of the last hangmen in Britain and his journey through learning his trade to becoming the top man in his profession. And his increasing doubt about the morality of his work. It is an oddly fascinating story, with Albert’s home life being so mundane that you wouldn’t have been able to pick him out in the street.

A film that anyone in favour of the death sentence should watch.

When we think of reasons why the death sentence is wrong we normally concentrate on those who are executed. But perhaps we should also look at the executioner and the dehumanising effect of perhaps decades of executions with hundreds of official killings

Not only should we question whether the state should descend to the level of murderers in carrying out executions, but whether the state has the right to ask another human being to kill. Because in the end there is always a killer carrying out the execution.

Nov 262008
 

Format: Blueray

IMDB entry: here

The story of a woman who first encounters criminal violence with her boyfriend; she is beaten and he is killed. During her recovery, she encounters more criminal violence which she deals with using an unlicensed gun. The later might make this a pro/anti gun control issue film, but that does not interest me.

This could be a film that would be one of those run of the mill things that just does not make an impression, but Jodie Foster’s acting adds enough that you connect with the character and have an interest in her journey. Perhaps not a great film but definitely a good film.

Nov 242008
 

Format: TV broadcast with an ugly as hell station logo

IMDB entry: here.

This is your usual hollywood action movie; there isn’t enough plot to say anything about it. It is just a vehicle for a lot of special effects, explosions, car chases, and the like. If you want a film to make you think, then this would be a bad choice, but there is nothing wrong with a bit of mindless entertainment. And this is mindless entertainment in spades … which may sound like a criticism, but it is a fine film of its kind.

But it did make me think (so perhaps it wasn’t perfect). The storyline (without trying to give too much away) includes a whole bunch of policemen making a trip to a foreign country to “kick some ass” (or more correctly some arse). It occurred to me that this is a rather common theme in certain US films of the action variety – the evil villains are lurking in some foreign country and the heros just go after them without considering that what they are doing is effectively an act of war.

I am sure that US foreign policy is not controlled by US action films in any way, but the genre may lead the US population to be more accepting of more extreme forms of foreign policy and the belief that the US government is entitled to use practically any form of action against targets in foreign countries. This also implies a disrespect for international laws which leads to very little opposition when the US government ignores those laws.

The US is known (outside the US at least) as being more than a little gungho in certain foreign policy matters. Does the propoganda of actions fims let the US get away with this without as much criticism as it perhaps deserve ? Or even worse does being brainwashed by action films lead those who set US foreign policy act a little more gungho than is wise ?

There is nothing wrong with “carrying a big stick”, but those who do should remember the first part of the phrase “speak softly”. In the right circumstances, the more extreme forms of foreign policy are perfectly justified, but they also alienate the residents of those foreign parts. If you do not need to annoy people, why do so ?

Nov 152008
 

Format: Blueray

IMDB Entry here

Now this is what I call an action movie. A bunch of mercs are hired to get a case off somebody, and are gradually whittled down by casualties, and betrayal until it becomes about something other than just the job. Not only are the action scenes interesting and believable (too many modern films have action scenes that require the existence of superhumans), but include some of the best car chases anyone has ever seen.

It also has a lot of depth with a surprisingly complex and twisting story. Tons of mystery; not least of which, what was in the case ? Nobody knows.

Definitely worth a watch.

Nov 012008
 

Format: Blueray

IMDB entry: here.

On the surface this seems to be a simplistic story about a man who stumbles on a drug trade gone wrong, picks up some money, and finds himself pursued by those who want it back at any cost. But there is a far more complex story going on hidden beneath the violence having to do with the thoughts and feelings of an old sherif who follows on behind trying to pick up the pieces.

The added complexity adds interest and makes this interesting than a typical action film. It keeps your interest during a lazy rainy afternoon and is worth the time.

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