Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Stuck in the middle with you, and you, and you...


Of all grades I instinctively want to avoid handing out too often, the boring old B– is top of the list. It's the sitting-on-the-fence grade: it feels lazy, as though I can't force myself down on one side or the other. And yet, right now, it's an affliction. I can't get round the problem of nearly liking about half the stuff on my current sidebar. Fabrice du Welz's Vinyan (pictured) has smashing photography, a confident arrangement of ideas and settings, an unexpectedly good Rufus Sewell performance... but Antichrist it just ain't, I'm afraid. Surrogates is about twice the film anyone was expecting, but still about half the one anyone could plausibly argue was a must-see. Army of Crime is so drab-looking and sluggishly assembled it was looking C-tier till way into the second half, but then the story gets going and I was hooked and moved. District 13: Ultimatum is neither more nor less than a propulsive, dumb, niftily edited action flick with a threadbare conspiracy plot that no one's worrying about too much. But it's still a B. Individually they're all just fine, but collectively they feel like some tyranny or epidemic of fine. Can someone who is NOT Nia Vardalos or Ricky Gervais please break this stranglehold?

6 comments:

Cal said...

I feel the same about District 9. Much more 'blockbuster' than it ever purports to be.

B- seems to be my favoured grade this year too, but maybe we should be grateful that this year is much better than 2008? :-P

tim r said...

I somehow forgot to post my grade up for District 9, but yep, it's the same one!

Guy said...

Anthough I have to work on a star system for InContention, I regard the 2.5 star rating as my B- equivalent ... and I was handing it out willy-nilly at the Venice Film Festival. Occasionally, on a whim, I'd round it up or down for the sake of variety, but it was mainly because I feared I was losing the critical ability to discern one film from another.

Anyway, you're not alone. Clearly, it's a current cinematic disease.

(By the way, are you attending any of the LFF screenings at the moment? I loved "The Portuguese Nun" this morning.)

tim r said...

Missed the boat this week, but I think I'll be coming in next Thu/Fri, so maybe see you there...

Guy said...

I'm sure I will ... maybe a drink is in order.

Anyway, you haven't missed much ... they seem to have taken advantage of the pre-festival screening window to force films upon us that no one would bother with during the festival itself. David Morrissey's directorial debut was borderline embarrassing. And I really didn't get Breillat's "Bluebeard" ... though it seems I must whisper that softly.

tim r said...

I looked at both of those, and looked away...

Reckon I'll be in for Kicks next Thursday, at the very least.