You know what they keep telling writers with tedious regularity?
“Write what you know.”
Well, right now I don’t know shit. Apart from a few things about movies, those celluloid confections that give me a two-hour window into a life that isn’t mine. So, it’s time for me to chew your eyeballs right out of their sockets with what is Good and Right at your local cinema emporium and all fine purveyors of cinematic wonders. So, let’s do this:
Kung Fu Hustle – Imagine Shaw Brothers meets Looney Tunes, or Kill Bill’s Crazy 88 doing dick ‘n’ fart gags, and you just about scratch the surface of Stephen Chow’s retina-scorching love-letter to the golden age of martial arts cinema. Neither as cute or laugh-out-loud funny as Chow’s Shaolin Soccer, but still a solid use of a couple of stray hours that you need to fill. Like a throwing star to my frontal lobe, this kept me pinned to my cinema seat. Or maybe that was something sticky under my chair…
The Consequences of Love (Le conseguenze dell’amore) – The words “existential Italian thriller” may fill you with balls-shrinking dread, but this little gem is one of my favourites of the year so far. Any film that can keep you rapt for over an hour without even getting the story started must have a little something special on the go. Or maybe someone smeared Crack on the screen. I don’t know. Either way, this is a beautifully shot, meticulously paced character study of one man’s seemingly aimless existence, held together by the mesmerising central performance of Toni Servillo.
War of the Worlds – Watching scenes of mindless destruction and helpless death a week after the London bombings made me look at this film in a different way, and it certainly wasn’t the mindless bubblegum diversion that I expected it to be. Surprisingly dark, brutal and increasingly bleak, Spielberg proves that he still has the chops when it comes to edge-of-the-seat set pieces, even though, despite the note-perfect closing of the criminally underrated The Terminal, he shows that he STILL hasn’t worked out how to end a film, adding this to his growing list of “Great Movies That Just Don’t Know When To Stop”, along with AI Artificial Intelligence, Minority Report and Catch Me If You Can.