Monday, April 30, 2007

The Lives of Others

After spending Saturday doing accounts and studying for an upcoming certification exam, Sunday became a drop-out day where I slept for ten hours straight (where I normally struggle to get more than five) and got to catch up on a couple of movies.

Dream Girls on HD-DVD was a very pleasant surprise. I'm not a big fan of musicals, and since this is from the director who gave us the extremely average Chicago my expectations were low. I guess my enjoyment is partly down to the superb High Definition presentation of the film - a two-disc set with an excellent 'Making of' documentary which, at two hours long, is about the same length as the main feature. Eddie Murphy was a revelation, Jamie Foxx was as superb as ever, and newcomer Jennifer Hudson gave a performance that was worthy of the 'Best Supporting Actress' American Academy Award it won. The music is great, beautifully integrated into the (admittedly somewhat clichéd) story, and the visuals are stunning. Highly recommended!

In the afternoon I finally got round to renewing my Clapham Picture House membership, and took advantage of the first of the three free viewings membership gives you by going to see The Lives of Others which beat Pan's Labyrinth to the 'Best Film in a Foreign Language' oscar this year.

The film is very much a low-budget 'art house' picture, but an excellent one for all that. I went in expecting it to be about 90 minutes long, and exited to find my watch had jumped forward an hour past the time I expected it to be. There are't many two and a half hour films that are so gripping you lose all sense of time. All that being said, I think the American Academy got it wrong this year and should have given the oscar to Pan's Labyrinth.

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