DVD Tales: Babel to The Ballad of Cable Hogue

Following from Artificial Intelligence: A.I...

Babel (Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu, 2006)
I briefly reviewed the film recently in This Week in Geek, so I don't need to get into it too much. This was a blind purchase based on its Oscar nods, and it didn't disappoint me. Babel is a juxtaposition of four cultures, and the more "alien" that culture (relative to mine), the more I got into it. Helps that it was brilliantly acted by all concerned.

Back to the Future (Robert Zemeckis, 1985)
Back in the mid-80s, when not very many people had any kind of VCR, I remember some friends of mine having seen Back to the Future more than 30 times. In cinemas and drive-ins alone. That's what you call a hit! And who doesn't like this time travel comedy? Come on, it's fun! And the outtakes with Marty McFly as a Cuban street tough ("Heyyy Puto!") has quickly become an inside joke in my circle.

Back to the Future Part II (Robert Zemeckis, 1989)
Two reasons to get Part II: I'm a bit of a completist (though if you go back through these Tales, you'll see I didn't spring for Aliens 4 - I've got my limits) and it came in a boxed set with the other two. In other words, I don't think it's very good at all. The ideas are fun: the future as seen from the 80s, doubling back on the original adventure, different timelines... But it's a terrible mess without the heart of the original. It just feels like a big stunt. And there are just so many times I can point out young Elijah Wood before everyone starts screaming "We know!!!"

Back to the Future Part III (Robert Zemeckis, 1990)
Now here's one I really did enjoy. Part III was made back to back with Part II, so it sort of invented the quick-release sequel concept used by the Matrix and Pirates of the Carribean. With a single time to explore, it avoids being as jumbled as the previous chapter, and as Doc Brown's story, it's got even more heart than the original. With great gags harking to the first film, the final chapter of the "rubber time" series ties everything up satisfactorily.

The Ballad of Cable Hogue (Sam Peckinpah, 1970)
At some point, I was looking to expand my collection and there were these cheap boxed sets of Steve McQueen movies. Everything important except The Blob, I think. So I got those. And a couple of them (Junior Bonner and The Getaway) were Sam Peckingpah movies and extremely well commented upon by a trio of experts on a commentary track. That made me very interested in his other work and I quickly found yet another boxed set containing, among others, this film. A quick review also to be found in This Week in Geek.

But what did YOU think? Next: Barton Fink to Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.



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