TRUE GRIT (2010)
The story of an increasingly demented old man escorting a young child – but enough about Bad Grandpa.
The story of a young woman travelling cross country for revenge with a spaghetti western soundtrack – but enough about Kill Bill.
Despite all these plot similarities that are only now dawning on me, there’s a lot to like about True Grit, and not just because it features the name Coen twice in the credits. Who doesn’t like a good old revenge story? Who doesn’t want to see a 14 year old girl kill someone? Who doesn’t like Jeff Bridges. Nobody doesn’t, that’s who.
OK, that got a bit confusing too. Perhaps not as confusing, though, as the somewhat creepy pedophile vibe that Matt Damon’s character gives off as he tries to, entice, if you will, the young girl away from the old man. And what kind of Texas Ranger has a last name like LaBouef? Much like ‘No Country For Old Men’ I must acknowledge that the mumbled tone of some of the dialogue is enough to make you go ‘what?’, and hope for context so you don’t have to go back. I’ve no doubt the Old West wasn’t the epitome of elocution but still.
In the end, they all overcome their own self-interest and work together to save the day (which in this case means ‘kill the guy the kid wants to kill’). The addendum at the end is entirely underwhelming, but doesn’t detract from a well told story. The acting talents of Bridges, Damon and Brolin are all well known, but the film rests on the shoulders of the young protagonista, Hailee Steinfeld – and she more than holds her own in a strong cast. 7/10
LOGAN’S RUN (1976)
What drew me to watch this classic was a whole host of pop culture references I couldn’t get out of my head. The last time that happened I watched Network and was blown away by one of the best films I’ve ever seen.
I can’t really say the same for Logan’s Run.
Welcome to the future, where we all have diamonds in our hand that tell us how old we are – because who can remember these things? Unfortunately due to the depletion of natural resources, society has developed a ‘one in-one out’ kind of system, and you don’t get to live past 30. You’re promised renewal as a baby (because that’s a massive incentive), and your demise is met in a freaking strange ritual.
Of course, some people don’t want to die, and go for a run. Logan is a sandman, who hunts these people for a living.
The world itself, in the year 2274, is basically a giant hedonistic sex arena where swiping right on Tinder actually puts the person in your loungeroom for sex (although they have to leave through the front door). Logan meets a girl called Jessica (and by the way – BOING!) who turns him down, and he ends up finding out about a group who help people escape the ritual. As a ‘covert op’ he must infiltrate the group, but of course he goes soft and seeks ‘sanctuary’ himself.
He and the gorgeous woman escape, and what do you know, it’s green outside, the air is breathable, everything is fine but absolutely overgrown. All the movie tells us at the start is that due to ‘overpopulation, war and pollution’, everyone goes into the sealed city. Surely the world would have an essence of devastation, instead of just an old man living in a modern day jungle in Washington.
Then there’s the old man with the shitload of cats. How long had people been living in the dome city? We’re supposed to believe that Logan is the fifth one, yet the 60 or 70 year-old man outside was around for the end of humanity?
It’s also good to see that in the 23rd century there’s still a healthy disrespect towards gender equality and a complete absence of any other race than white people. The Chinese mustn’t have won…
Oh, and what the fuck was the robot in the ice cave apart from a waste of 20 minutes? Although there were boobies… So… 5/10
BEING JOHN MALKOVICH (1999)
You either love this movie, or you hate this movie. No matter which category you fall into, there’s no denying that it’s VERY FREAKING WEIRD.
Craig Schwartz is a frumpy puppeteer with a somewhat frumpy Cameron Diaz for a wife. Appearance wise they look like the perfect couple. Finally Craig realises he needs to get a new job, and gets one, where he lusts after the admittedly slutty Maxine. A love triangle develops. It’s straight-forward enough.
Oh wait, then Craig finds a door behind a filing cabinet, a tiny door that, like Alice, he falls through and into… John Malkovich. He starts a ‘business venture’ with Maxine because who doesn’t want a new life? Craig hopes that new life involves having sex with Maxine. Eventually it becomes about whether Craig or his wife are in Malkovich while he has sex with Maxine. Craig, the puppeteer, slowly starts to learn how to control Malkovich, much like a puppet. Eventually he manages to stay in there permanently and Maxine and Craig as Malkovich start their life together.
EVEN MORE THAN THAT, MALKOVICH BECOMES A PUPPETEER! CRAIG IS CONTROLLING MALKOVICH LIKE A PUPPET WHILE HE CONTROLS PUPPETS! ITS SO FUCKING META!
Of course it turns out there’s a rational explanation for it all, that being an immortal soul in the body of an old man, who has used this ‘portal’ to inhabit people and live for centuries – Malkovich just happens to be the next vessel.
It’s confusing, it has conflicting morals and the scene where Malkovich goes into his own head will never leave the back of your mind after seeing it, but this film is incredible. 9/10