Sunday, December 22, 2013

Weekly Round-Up (12/15/13 - 12/21/13)

This is in addition to the Cinemanila Film Festival entries I've seen this week (see below for my reviews of those films).

Kind Hearts and Coronets (Robert Hamer) ***1/2 - I try my best to be able to see a wide variety of films. I must admit that one of my cinematic blind spots are the Ealing Studios comedies which I hear so many good things about. Well, they're right. This is a delightful black comedy about a young man whose mother was a black sheep of a wealthy aristocratic family so he murders all the other heirs in order to climb his way to being duke. It's surprising twisted especially for its time (it's still quite twisted to this day, it held up). It has some surprising twists as well. The highlight of course is watching the great Alec Guinness portray all the victims.

Chimes at Midnight (Orson Welles) **** - Filipino film critic (and on-line acquaintance) Noel Vera considers this one of, if not, THE best films ever made. He's right that it's a great film, probably one of the BEST Shakespeare cinematic adaptations ever. It wouldn't QUITE make my upper-tier all-time list but I just saw this a few hours ago and I have to say my admiration for it grows the more I think about it. This adaptation is unique since it is actually not based on one Shakespeare play but five of his historical plays, constructing a narrative around the fictional supporting character of Falstaff. Orson Welles plays Falstaff embracing his more grotesque features. The film has a grimey, almost avant-garde feel to it but despite that, it still manages to pull off one of the BEST medieval battle scene ever committed to film and one would EASILY stand up along CGI/gore-laden battle scenes of today.

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