Thoughts On: End Of The Week Shorts #39


End Of The Week Shorts #39

Today's shorts: District B13 (2004), Mughal-e-Azam (1960), The Ox-Bow Incident (1943), Dave Chappelle: Equanimity (2017), The Original Kings Of Comedy (2000), Into The Storm (2014), This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

I remember seeing this a few years ago and having a good time, but I forgot how good District B13 is. 
Featuring some immense stunt work, this film isn't completely original in its choreography or direction of action, but it is impossibly precise. Sometimes as impressive as the likes of The Raid, this is then a film that will have you constantly repeat "Oh, Jesus!" as bodies fly up walls and across rooftops. The plot of the film, however, is basic and does attempt some social commentary. This has some amount of punch, but it is very clunky and far from profound. On its release, this film was dismissed on the grounds that it was unoriginal. This is true, but, at the same time - especially in the action sequences - this does refine some of what its predecessors (films such as Ong-Bak) do with some crisp cinematography and solid direction. 
All in all, this is far from perfect, but a tremendous time. Don't let the horrible poster deceive you, this is a pretty good picture.

Mughal-e-Azam is a masterpiece of tremendous magnitude. A poetic tragedy and the ultimate story about father-son conflicts, this is an allegory about the past and the future. Moreover, this is about a faith in what brings a nation to the present and a love that may take it elsewhere. With faith prevailing, we can see this to be a melancholic allegory about how change does not occur as quickly as we'd like. Mapping this onto the real world, there is clear evidence for this being a story about a reconciliation between Muslims and Hindus - and in possible reaction to the division of India and Pakistan in the late 40s. 
Capturing the poetry of movement, light, music and theme, Mughal-e-Azam is as formally stunning as it is narratively powerful. This deserves so many more words, but I'll end here with a strong recommendation. A must-see and an incredibly important piece of film history.

The Ox-Bow Incident is a powerful Western drama based on true events which seeks to find the true face of justice and the true conscious of the law. Moreover, this uses premeditation as an anchoring theme to explore motivation in its characters, and to subvert the roles of much-seen archetypes present classical Westerns. This means that the strong, laconic and seemingly honourable are not the heroes of this story. With World War 2 as this films context, it then seems as if the Western is being used to allegorically question the ways of humanity and its affinity for violence before peaceful resolution. 
Everything about this film is more or less faultless; the expressive noir-esque cinematography, the rounded characters, the confining sets, the striking mise en scène, the tight, reflective script and the precise cinematic language - all brilliant. Without hesitation, I then strongly recommend this.

Certainly the strongest of Chappelle's Netflix specials, this provided some pretty big laughs. I loved Chapelle's ability to retain a hard opinion and self-assured persona whilst juggling difficult subject matter. This allows for a comedic pressure to be built and let loose with brilliant effects. 
I don't think Chappelle is the best to ever pick up a mic, but in Equanimity it is obvious that he is a true virtuoso who has (periodically) been at the top of the comedic world for decades. An hour well spent: recommended.

A true blast. The Original Kings of Comedy combines snippets of documentary with footage from the last two days of the Kings of Comedy Tour featuring Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer and Bernie Mac. 
The best way to describe the comedy within is to say that it's pure, full-body stand-up; sing, dance, scream, act, rant or curse, they're going to make you laugh somehow. Whilst D.L. Hughley and Cedric the Entertainer are solid, Steve Harvey absolutely blows things out of the water with tremendous energy. And Bernie Mac. Bernie Mac is one of my all-time favourite comics, and on this tour he tells one of my all-time favourite jokes, but he's just not on screen long enough. I can't complain, however, as this is one of the few stand-up specials he features in. 
All in all, comedy gold.

I remember seeing this in the cinema few years ago and having an ok time whilst knowing this was a very mediocre movie. Seeing Into The Storm on the smaller screen affirmed that whilst emphasising the weaker aspects of the film. 
In short, this is an incredibly formulaic film in regards to theme, character and plot that isn't sure if it's a found footage movie or not. The acting is just about passable, the script is chock full of lines that should have been struck from the page, the soundtrack is weak and the CGI is sometimes questionable. There are one or two impressive shots and well-acted sequences, but they aren't too common. 
From this description, you may think that this is a horrific movie. In reality, it is just a dumb, throw away flick that has quite a bit of energy to it.

A ceaseless stream of endlessly quotable lines, This Is Spinal Tap's reputation by and large precedes it. 
This is a good time, but I can't say I'm on the bandwagon with this one. I like some of the humour and certainly appreciate the ludicrous audacity of everything about it, but, having seen this about three times now, it largely goes over my head. 
More so a movie that everyone needs to have under their belt than a life-changing experience, This Is Spinal Tap is certainly worth the watch, but is also a cult film for good reason - not everyone will think this is fantastic.

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