Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Women On The 6th Floor (2010)


Jean-Louis Joubert is an affluent stockbroker who owns a luxurious building in Paris that is seemingly only inhabited by his ex-country girl wife, their 2 obnoxious children (who are mostly away at boarding school) and a number of Spanish maids who live up on the 6th floor.  Jean-Louis leads a very scheduled and some may say boring life that is thrown into a slight disarray when his maid of 25 years decides she has had enough and leaves his employ. This leaves space for Maria, the newly arrived niece of one of the upstairs lodgers to fill the position. Maria is a breath of fresh air for Jean-Louis and it is through her that he will discover a whole new world that has been under (or in this case above) his nose the whole time.

The Women On The 6th Floor is a light comedy that had the potential to be more of a commentary on the 1960's exploited immigrant work force that was the result of the oppressive Franco regime of the time, yet it glosses over these issues with veritable ease, opting instead to be a simplistic representation of the dynamic character, rolled up in a crowd pleasing way.  Whilst it is entertaining enough whilst you are watching it, a little after thought will leave you dry.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Melancholia (2011)

From the offset Melancholia is going to immediately divide audiences. It is purposefully slow, often bereft of dialog and does very little by way of establishing a plot or storyline. It is a film about depression, paranoia and the end of the world and whilst it looks stunning it plays a little overly melodramatic.

 Justine and Michael are deeply in love, it is their wedding day and they should be happier than ever. They are on their way to their reception which will be a memorable event if for all the wrong reasons. Those present at the reception include Justine's sister Claire, their estranged parents Gaby and Dexter. Claire's husband John, who is the owner of the massive estate that the event is being held at, Jack, who is Justine's boss and who is attending predominately in order to get an advertising tagline from her and the wedding planner, who all but shuns Justine once things take a turn for the worst. It becomes abundantly clear over the course of the evening that this is a broken family, full of resentment, possibly some insanity and in Justine's case depression. This is possibly the first depiction on film of every bride's worst nightmare when it comes to the reception.

The second half of the film focuses its attention to Claire, now caring for Justine who has become crippled by her depression, both physically and emotionally. Claire is suffering from paranoia, this is a result of the discovery of a new planet that has been hiding behind the sun and that is now in a probable collision course with the Earth.

What the film lacks in exposition it certainly makes up for in style and performance.  All of the cast are impressive, with Kirsten Dunst throwing the full weight of her own personal bout with depression into her character, but it is the visual aspects of the film that steal the show.  Von Trier uses some amazing cinematography and some superb use of CGI to enhance his backdrops, however all if this still isn't enough to save the film from being a slow, sometimes dull and often overly melodramatic piece.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Come Early...

And with Christmas bearing down upon us with steadfast ease, more gifts to myself to help with silly season sleaze.

 Das Boot  -2 Disc Collector's Set (JBHIFI Exclusive)

 Fight Club - Digibook Blu-ray & DVD Set (JBHIFI Exclusive)

Sucker Punch - Steelbook Triple Play (JBHIFI Exclusive)

I am up on Film Central again this week so expect reviews of Melancholia and Mission Impossible 4 before next Tuesday!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

More Blu's & Ghibli

In the run up to Christmas a number of retailers here have some pretty good sales going on!  So to help relieve them of stock I picked up a few bits and pieces....

Resident Evil: Afterlife JBHIFI Exclusive Steelbook

Watchmen JBHIFI Exclusive Director's Cut 2 Disc Edition

 Winnie the Pooh Big W Exclusive

Match Point and Moon

 Last House on the Left (US)

 Also from CD Japan the last of my Ghibli films has finally arrived.... Tales of Earthsea. I had only seen it once, and so sat down to rewatch it, and I am afraid it still doesn't really do anything for me. The picture and audio quality is mightly impressive, but I just don't find the story or characters as compelling as other Ghibli films. I am still glad to have it in the collection, but I doubt it will get much action.