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Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema - BBC4 19th March: Superheroes

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15 hours ago, Loik V credern said:

 Came away wanting to see heist gone wrong film Face with Robert Carlyle.

 

It’s not very good.

 

Does Kermode champion it here?

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17 minutes ago, grindmouse said:

 

It’s not very good.

 

Does Kermode champion it here?

 

It's in his list of 50 must watch films, yeah.

 

Quote

Mark Kermode says: “A cracking but often overlooked crime thriller from 1997, featuring a sharp script, a stellar cast, and a dynamite soundtrack. Directed by Antonia Bird, Face one of the UK’s most versatile and sorely missed filmmakers, Face is an ace heist-gone-wrong thriller that was correctly hailed by London’s Time Out magazine as a ‘muscular, raw and aggressive slice of vividly authentic populist cinema.’”

 

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24 minutes ago, Loik V credern said:

It's in his list of 50 must watch films, yeah.

 

It’s in my list of forgettable British crime thrillers. They do a heist and then it’s sort of a whodunnit as one of them double-crosses the rest (it’s a first act spoiler so not giving anything away), and the revelation of who that is and the climax are poor IIRC. It’s been a long time since I watched it, but this is an example of where I think Kermode is recommending a film based on it’s context and director, rather than anything exceptional or must-watch.

 

If you watch a lot films and are interested it’s not terrible way to spend 90mins, but it’s not some unearthed gem.

 

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Indeed. If you were going to pick a heist gone wrong movie nobody has seen how about something good like Quick Change or 3000 Miles to Graceland 

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1 hour ago, linkster said:

Indeed. If you were going to pick a heist gone wrong movie nobody has seen how about something good like Quick Change or 3000 Miles to Graceland 


Quick Change and Diggstown/Midnight Sting for me

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I watched the heist one last night, it's really good but he reminds me of my old film studies teacher, focuses very much on genres and tropes and their evolutions and subversions. It's interesting but it's not as groundbreaking or eyeopening as something like Mark Cousins story of film which I strongly recommend to anyone with an interest in film. This isn't a criticism, he's doing really well I just think there's more to films than just genres and tropes.

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Last night's episode of this was excellent. He covered a hell of a lot of ground - you could have done a whole episode on time travel movies, they're a genre unto themselves - but still managed to get some incisive criticism in there as well. Good choice of films too.

 

I was  surprised to hear that Silent Running is his favourite SF film - I seem to recall Kermode appearing on Mark Radcliffe's late night show in the nineties and arguing that Silent Running was rubbish because the film revolves around a trained botanist trying to solve the "mystery" of why the plants on the spaceship are dying, when it's obviously because it's flying away from the sun. Maybe he's just changed his mind, or maybe (and more likely) I misremembered.

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I was really disappointed by last night's episode on Sci-Fi. Unlike the other episodes that picked apart and put back together again a narrow band of movie genre, this was just a very broad catagorisation of an even broader genre, and listing a bunch of films. 

 

It kind of came across as something he wasn't particularly interested in and he learned it all from a book.

Probably this one: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Geeks-Guide-SF-Cinema-Revolutionised-ebook/dp/B074FYX83X/

 

It'll probably show quite a lot when he hits horror next week and it's a brilliant programme again. 

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9 hours ago, AK Bell said:

I was really disappointed by last night's episode on Sci-Fi. Unlike the other episodes that picked apart and put back together again a narrow band of movie genre, this was just a very broad catagorisation of an even broader genre, and listing a bunch of films. 

 

It kind of came across as something he wasn't particularly interested in and he learned it all from a book.

Probably this one: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Geeks-Guide-SF-Cinema-Revolutionised-ebook/dp/B074FYX83X/

 

It'll probably show quite a lot when he hits horror next week and it's a brilliant programme again. 

 

I agree with this. SF is a very broad genre, as is horror, and I’d have preferred them to be broken down into significant sub-genres, in the same way that we got a full episode on heist movies, rather than them just being slotted into a full show on crime movies as a whole.

 

There should be no shortage of subject matter for a full episode on slasher movies, ghost stories, vampires, psycological horror etc. instead of a generic hour on the whole lot next week.

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10 hours ago, K said:

Last night's episode of this was excellent. He covered a hell of a lot of ground - you could have done a whole episode on time travel movies, they're a genre unto themselves - but still managed to get some incisive criticism in there as well. Good choice of films too.

 

I was  surprised to hear that Silent Running is his favourite SF film - I seem to recall Kermode appearing on Mark Radcliffe's late night show in the nineties and arguing that Silent Running was rubbish because the film revolves around a trained botanist trying to solve the "mystery" of why the plants on the spaceship are dying, when it's obviously because it's flying away from the sun. Maybe he's just changed his mind, or maybe (and more likely) I misremembered.

 

If he has changed his mind it was a long time ago - he’s been banging on about it for years on the radio show with Simon Mayo.

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Thought that was quite drab considering the potential of the material. The Heist and Rom-Com eps still easily the best of the bunch. Fingers crossed he can do his favourite genre equal justice next week.

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Edith Bowman is one of those people so clearly lacking in any kind of talent for the job she does, it's genuinely baffling that she has had a long and fairly successful media career.

 

There's a few like this. Susan Calman, that's another one. Her entire gimmick is being a slightly less funny Ruth Davidson.

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12 hours ago, Fierce Poodle said:

 

If he has changed his mind it was a long time ago - he’s been banging on about it for years on the radio show with Simon Mayo.

 

I'm probably mistaken, I just have this clear memory of Kermode really laying into the film. It's stayed with me to the extent that I have Silent Running tagged as a bad film in my head, so I've never actually seen it.

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41 minutes ago, K said:

 

 I have Silent Running tagged as a bad film in my head, so I've never actually seen it.

What!!!!

 

I think the coming-of-age and sci-fi episodes of this are quite weak because the subjects are too broad. There is no formula and you can tell almost any story in these genre.   RomCom and Heist are far more formulaic and it's fascinating to see how they conform to a formula and feed off each other.

 

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13 hours ago, FishyFish said:

 

I agree with this. SF is a very broad genre, as is horror, and I’d have preferred them to be broken down into significant sub-genres, in the same way that we got a full episode on heist movies, rather than them just being slotted into a full show on crime movies as a whole.

 

 

Dominic Sandbrook did this for SF in a four-parter, repeated fairly recently, broken down into Time Travel, Space, Robots and, uh, another one.. Alien Invasion, I think. Might still be on iPlayer - ah, not available.

 

'Tomorrow's Worlds: The Unearthly History of Science Fiction' it was called - while it was SF in general, there was a lot about film; most of the talking heads were from the movies.

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27 minutes ago, smac said:

 

Dominic Sandbrook did this for SF in a four-parter, repeated fairly recently, broken down into Time Travel, Space, Robots and, uh, another one.. Alien Invasion, I think. Might still be on iPlayer - ah, not available.

 

'Tomorrow's Worlds: The Unearthly History of Science Fiction' it was called - while it was SF in general, there was a lot about film; most of the talking heads were from the movies.

 

Yeah, I saw that when it was first shown. Maybe having Kermode do something similar would have perhaps been re-treading old ground, but it still would have been preferable to trying to cram everything from a very broad genre into a single episode. In fact, thinking about it, it would have been nice to have this as a potential multi-year series, perhaps concentrating on a genre in more detail over a number of weeks. There are certainly a number of genres that would easily support this.  On the flipside, if the purpose of the show is to concentrate more on tropes, then perhaps that would be taking it too far.

 

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2 hours ago, K said:

 

I'm probably mistaken, I just have this clear memory of Kermode really laying into the film. It's stayed with me to the extent that I have Silent Running tagged as a bad film in my head, so I've never actually seen it.

It's an influential film on more modern sci fi films (like Moon) despite it's relatively low-key status so worth taking a look.


I watched it in my late teens and loved it, then rewatched it in my early 30s and was a bit disappointed. I'm probably due another watch soon - maybe I'll fall in love with it again.

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The biggest problem is that sci-fi isn't a genre so much as a theme. You can have a sci-fi horror, a sci-fi heist, even a sci-fi romance. Sci-fi is basically everything, but tomorrow. It's the same with trying to do "period" as a genre. You wouldn't mash in a second world war film with Sense and Sensibility. And they should have known that. 

 

Silent Running is alright. I wasn't blown away by it but I felt it was worth a watch. 

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8 hours ago, AK Bell said:

Sci-fi is basically everything, but tomorrow.

 

Star Wars not sci-fi then? ;)

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16 hours ago, jonamok said:

 

Star Wars not sci-fi then? ;)

 

It's a fantasy in a sci-fi environment. I'm not counting them first words. 

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The sci-fi episode isn’t even really pretending to be the structured analysis the other episodes have given. It’s just Kermode gabbing about sci fi for an hour.

 

OTOH I could listen to him gab about the topic for twice that long so it gets away with it.

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I've watched all of these and have enjoyed each of them a lot, but then I really like Kermode anyway as I typically agree with his tastes and I listen to his and Simon Mayo's radio show every week. I have to say that in tonight's episode, on Horror, some of the "tropes" felt a bit shoe-horned in, however. The idea of the savant character, for example: yes, they make an appearance in some horror films, typically supernatural ones, but I wouldn't say they were a structural convention in the same way as most of the other things he mentions. The lone female survivor idea, too - again, this happens sometimes, but probably just as often it's a male survivor, multiple survivors, or no survivors at all.

 

On the whole, however, it was a very good programme. I'm a bit disappointed there aren't going to be any more episodes in fact and that tonight's was the final episode. He could have done one on war movies, or cop films, or thrillers. Instead of doing the programme on genre convention "secrets", I think I'd have preferred it if he just analysed some of the famous scenes from the best examples of each genre. He did this to an extent anyway, but I'd have liked more of it. I'll have to get one of his books.

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Yeah, like sci-fi, horror's a bit too broad to cover as efficiently as, say, rom-coms or heist movies, which are more likely to follow a specific template. But, as with the others, it was entertaining and enlightening all the same, so I wasn't too bothered that it kind of pinballed around a bit. 

 

I was disappointed it was the last episode, too, but it wouldn't surprise me if there was a second series. Westerns, war movies, film noir...plenty of other avenues they could explore. 

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Yeah, I'd be surprised if it didn't get renewed. It can't be very expensive to produce, it's just Kermode in a studio introducing clips. It was a great episode though. Horror is very broad, but Kermode's observations were very well thought-out - particularly the one around why horror films often revolve around childhood and children's toys, i.e. the idea that as a child your toys have a secret life of their own, which is then extended into adulthood.

 

 

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