#218 / 365 – ‘On the Waterfront’ (1954) – 108 mins
IMDb Challenge #130 / 250 – Ranked #105 – DVD Collection
Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) dreams about being a prize-fighter, while tending his pigeons and running errands at the docks for Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb), the corrupt boss of the dockers union. Terry witnesses a murder by two of Johnny’s thugs, and later meets the dead man’s sister (Eva Marie Saint) and feels responsible for his death. She introduces him to Father Barry (Karl Malden), who tries to force him to provide information for the courts that will smash the dock racketeers.
On The Waterfront is a movie that touches on the most basic of themes, loyalty versus honesty as well as exploring corruption along the way.
The story is a taut and electrifying affair, with Marlon Brando putting in scaldingly performance as the “I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum” character whose seeking redemption, and is very similar to that of his 1951’s ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ performance, and one which ushered in a new style of acting that was based more on feeling and instinct than intellect. On the Waterfront is an unforgettable film that should not be missed.
#219 / 365 – ‘Troll Hunter’ – 103 mins
Cinema Challenge #86 / 115
Meet Hans (Otto Jespersen). He’s a world-weary, government-employed pest controller. But Hans isn’t concerned with ordinary vermin. His targets are enormous, ferocious, Christian-hating trolls who roam the spectacular Norwegian landscape. That comes as a big surprise to student film-makers Thomas (Glenn Erland Tosterud), Kalle (Tomas Alf Larsen) and Johanna (Johanna Morck). When they set out to follow him – they thought Hans was just an ordinary bear poacher. Now the disbelieving trio are about to come face-to-face with the huge, ugly, snarling reality behind those cosy folk tales.
With all ‘found’ footage movies, the set-up is simple affair. However the biggest strength of Troll Hunter lies in writer and director André Øvreda’s attention to detail when it comes to playing out this refreshing mythology. He creates a believable landscape and detailed backstory before letting the unique creatures come out to play. The Trolls, when we do see them in all their glory are visually impressive, and the CGI does genuinely serve a purpose. Coupled with some excellent sound which roared through the cinema in the same vein as Jurassic Park did, Troll Hunter is sprinkled with dry humor as you watch the title character go about his business with a bored, almost routine look.
If there is one criticism of the film, it would be its length and there were occasional places where the pace lagged slighty. An US remake is in the works for 2014, I’m not sure why really as this Troll Hunter was gripping, captivating and enjoyable entertainment in its own collective right.
#220 / 365 – ‘Colombiana’ – 108 mins
Cinema Challenge #87 / 115
When she was just nine years old, Cataleya (Zoe Saldana) watched helplessly as her parents were killed in front of her eyes. Fleeing from Colombia, she took refuge in the US with her gangster uncle Emilio (Cliff Curtis). Fifteen years on, she works for him as a coldly efficient hit woman. But she remains determined to avenge her parents’ murder – at any cost. FBI agent James Ross (Lennie James) is equally determined to bring her to justice.
I’m going to keep this very short. Colombiana story kicks off with a reasonably promising premise after Cataleya (played as a child by Amandla Stenberg) witnesses the murders of her parents. They’re somehow involved in the Colombian drug trade, although the films normally reliable writer, Luc Besson this never bothers to explain this to any satisfaction, like most everything else in this film, and you just expect a lot better from the man who scripted the brilliant and intelligent ‘Leon’ which had strong character interaction.
After this Colombiana becomes a film that is so slap-dashed put together, it just becomes an empty collection of ingredients. The films monumental failing is it simply fails to deliver on its ‘taglined’ and trailer led billing of an action led vengeance/revenge movie. When the all too brief action sequences do make an appearance the whole movie quickly becomes a forgettable and insipid affair.