I’ve find setting up filters in life help keep the best things coming your way.  It’s not devious or overtly strategic, but some particular pals are particularly geeky and keep me informed of new technological advances, some musos point me towards exciting new releases and some photographers drop me a line to let me know when they’re excited about things or have found something that might be of interest.  I’d like to think I’m part of this cog for others too, pointing them in the direction of interesting things.  I’d like this blog to have such an angle too.

I can’t really be bothered with TV; trawling through endless Virgin channels to eventually settle on yet another Grand Design/Simpsons rerun.  I love a good series – The Wire, 24, True Blood, Life etc – but with a memory like mine can’t schedule my life around the telly. I love a good DVD box set, and thank the lord for the hybrid box set iPlayer/watch-again shift, but there’s nothing I like more than the 2hr escapism of movies. I read Total Film magazine & use their website for reviews to inspire the Love Film online dvd rental thang I’ve done for years.  As well as pal suggestions, Total Film is my film filter and I get to catch all sorts of ace 4*+ stuff.

Tonight Clare & I really fancied the kino & were considering catching the interesting sounding An Education. Total Film gave it 4 stars (review here).  But it was a 9.45 showing and even putting Clare in a darkened room at 6pm leads to Zzzzzz.  I remembered we had Gran Torino from Love Film and fired it up.  Here’s the poster:

Gran Torino Poster (from Google image search)

Clare was asleep in 10 minutes flat, but I loved it.  It was a Clint fan/thinkers film, with a likably gruff grumpy racist at it’s heart. The disarmingly earnest Eastwood is so watchable and immense in every scene. It’s a bit over eager in nailing home a tail of racial prejudice, but Clints character Walt genuinely doesn’t like anybody and his exchanges with everyone are incredibly funny.  Read Empires review here, which ends:

“Simply terrific, enormously watchable and an absolute must for all Eastwood fans. Gotta say it: this film will make your day.”

I couldn’t agree more.  Rent it.

Another interesting film I caught recently was Munich.  It’s been one of those films that I nearly wanted to catch at the cinema, but it looked a bit intense to be entertainment.

Munich Poster [from google image search]

Then I bought it and it sat in the pile for a long time nearly getting watched but still looking a bit intense to be entertainment.  Spielberg having a serious pop at anti-semitic terrorism isn’t often what I look for in an evening’s escapism.

But it was mint – seriously heavy weight acting from seasoned pros – I’m glad I gave that DVD a twirl.  Finally a film I think Eric Banna is better than bland in.  Total Films review (here) said “A gruelling, remorseless thriller that grapples with vital, intractable issues. No easy answers, no condescension, no compromise. Devastating.” Damn straight.  Sometimes films are good for you.

And sometimes films are in ‘foreign’ and even though you’re told they’re good for you, the language barrier stands in the face of escapism, demanding concentration.  But a week back I finally gave in to La Haine.

La Haine Poster [from google image search]

French for ‘Hatred’ this 1995 bleakly comic film was set around a day in the life of three teenage friends in the tense backstreets of Paris race riots and their struggle to live in the impoverished outskirts, a million miles from Amélie‘s Montmartre (which notwithstanding is equally worth a watch).  This powerful movie pushes a palpable sense of urban angst scored to hiphop – in a way not disimilar to Spike Lee’s excellent ‘Do The Right Thing’.  Like Eric Banna, I’ve never been 100% convinced by Vincent Cassell, but in this he’s boom.  Watch this film.  You won’t regret it.

So there are 3 films I’ve way enjoyed recently for you to squeeze your eyes round.  Get involved.