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Non-Review Review: Blancanieves

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2013.

Blancanieves feels like either a film that has its finger firmly on the pop culture zeitgeist, or the victim of the worst timing. It appears less than a year after The Artist won the Best Picture Oscar, becoming a massive critical and popular success. Given the relative dearth of high-profile silent black-and-white films, Blancanieves is somewhat trapped within that shadow. More than that, though, it emerges following a year that demonstrated popular culture’s fixation on the Snow White story. 2012 saw the release of both Mirror Mirror and Snow White & The Huntsman, both reimaginings of the classic tale. Blancanieves is, for its own part, an adaptation of the fairy tale, and it seems like the story was weighing on the popular imagination.

In any other context, Blancanieves would seem like a breath of fresh air. An affectionate homage to the classic era silent cinema, retelling the Snow White story in an unfamiliar setting, there’s a lot to recommend it. Indeed, Blancanieves is easily the best Snow White adaptation of the past year. Unfortunately, it suffers because it’s not quite as charming, witty and well-constructed as The Artist.

Dark materials...

Dark materials…

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Fresh Perspectives: Classic Directors and Not-so-Classic Films…

I caught Mel Brooks’ High Anxiety at the weekend, and I have to admit, I liked it. I’d only heard the movie mentioned in passing from time to time, never discussed with the same reverence as Space Balls or Blazing Saddles or Young Frankenstein, but never with the same bitterness as Dracula: Dead and Loving It. It never really made it on to any conscious “to see” list with any of the great works from iconic directors. However, I really enjoyed it. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t consider it a forgotten classic, or a misunderstood gem overlooked in Brooks’ impressive filmography. It has its flaws and problems, but I enjoyed it. In fact, while I wouldn’t consider on par with some of his stronger films, I dare say that I actually enjoyed it more than some of them, despite the fact I hadn’t heard that much about it. In fact, I can’t help but wonder if I enjoyed it more because I hadn’t heard that much about it.

High expectations can lead to monstrous results...

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Non-Review Review: High Anxiety

I quite enjoyed High Anxiety, even if it didn’t rank quite as high as some of Brooks’ other efforts. While it still possesses the same wonderful wry moments, High Anxiety is a Mel Brooks film that arguably works better as a farce than as a parody. I suspect that this has something to do with the director’s intended target. While Westerns were ripe for mockery in Blazing Saddles and old horror films were perfectly suited to the sense of humour in Young Frankenstein, it always seemed like Alfred Hitchcock was aware of his own filmmaking style, and seemed to occasionally be gently mocking it himself, rather than playing his heightened suspense with a po-faced sincerity. I think that parody and satire work best when they represent an attack on a target that suffers from a little bit too much self-importance, while Hitchcock’s films are generally a little more self-aware than that.

Gone to the birds?

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