Sunday, July 30, 2006


If you pay any attention to adverts then you will have noticed that Film Four is now free. The satellite/digital channel run by Channel Four and stuffed with movies.
When it was originally launched it was touted as a specialist channel, somewhere to go for alternative films, classics and world cinema, so it's odd that the majority of films that gain a mention in their current hyperdrive are more geared toward the mainstream.
I can't complain about having access to a film channel for free (seeing as I get digi-telly bundled with my broadband) but I hope that they don't stray toward the more obvious side of alternative in order to placate the providers of advertising revenue. Lost In Translation is hardly undiscovered.

Anyhoo, seeing as I own the DVDs for the opening night's line up, I neglected trying out this wonderful source of free flicks until today. When I saw Topaz.
Not known as one of Hitchcock's classics, this is presumably due to the fact that where his other films might instill fear, excitement or tension, Topaz dishes out generous helpings of boredom.
Pushing uncomfortably close to two and a half hours, Topaz succeeds in making the run up to the Cuban Missile Crisis a ho-hum occurence. The main characters struggle to gain anything more than a periphery hold on your attention, which can partly be attributed to the actors treating the grave political machinations with all the seriousness of stomach cramps.
I didn't like it.
Where I said "generous helpings", I don't wish to imply that Topaz reaches previously unheard of levels of boredom, or in any way drags itself out of the humdrum chains it is mired in, rather it is merely dull and unexceptionally so. The kind of film that plays on a sunny sunday afternoon and fails to hold your attention.

In summary, I'm glad it was free, three cheers to Film Four.

Higurashi, or Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, is an anime show currently airing in Japan. A boy moves to a small village with his family, and becomes involved in a curse which sees people die every year after a religious festival. Beginning as a cutesy tale of a young boy moving to town and making friends with lots of cute and chirpy girls, it quickly descends into a mire of psychological horror and gore, with a complex time-shifting plot that possibly implicates the whole village into a conspiracy involving human sacrifice. Higurashi is something to look out for, assuming it gets licensed and released over here, that is.

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