2-8 February 2009

February 26 2009 at 10:24 pm (The list)

diner1Diner (1982)

Taking its cue from George Lucas’ American Graffiti, Barry Levinson’s Diner is heavy on nostalgia and light on plot. This time, though, the focus is not teenage anarchy, but twenty-something angst set against the backdrop of Baltimore in 1959. Five college-age friends hang out for two hours and chat. That’s pretty much it. There are occasional high points in which all of the great ensemble cast get the opportunity to shine, from Tim (Kevin Bacon) drunkenly trashing a nativity scene to Shrevie’s (Daniel Stern) hysterical record collection rant. But a flabby script and some semi-improvised acting make the whole far less than the sum of its parts.


Rating: 3/5


Shame list total: 1,223


man_on_wire_ver21Man on Wire (2008)

Filmed with the panache of the best crime thrillers, James Marsh’s Oscar-winning documentary Man on Wire is a brilliant study of passion and drive. As soon as he saw images of the yet-to-be-completed World Trade Centre, the young Philippe Petit (resembling a cross between Gollum and A Clockwork Orange’s Alex DeLarge) makes it his life mission to tightrope walk between the twin towers and in 1974 he finally fulfils his dream. Marsh mixes actual footage with re-enactments, and interviews with everyone involved to create a tense portrait of this ‘artistic crime of the twentieth century.’ Admirably the film never mentions the fate of the twin towers which makes Petit’s feat such a worthy tribute to them, and it’s the crazy Frenchman’s boundless enthusiasm and fearlessness that makes the film so watchable.


Rating: 4/5


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