Monday, October 23, 2017

How do you describe a feeling?


Award ceremonies are usually something I work at rather than be invited to, rarer that I’m attending as a nominee. Tonight I was also, to my surprise, a winner. I was Anne Baxter minus the glamour, the bad feelings towards her (I hope) and questionable journey...

A good day.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Friday, October 20, 2017

10 thoughts on...The Party


  1. All hail Kristin Scott Thomas! What a joy it is to see someone give something more meaty than a repressed woman to play. Her she delivers a terrific performance that manages to meet all the many tones of the film...
  2. ...she doesn’t manage to give the final ‘twist’ much reality but that is not her fault. Enter: Sally Potter.
  3. I’m not sure whether I should admit this but I loved the active disinterest in pregnancy. Probably because I find Emily Mortimer a deeply dull screen presence and to have the likes of Patricia Clarkson put her down is delicious. (Note: I love babies and am much more enthusiastic in my own friendship/family group)
  4. Sometimes I’ll find myself wanting claiming that Sally Potter deserves to be recognised as widely as her British contemporaries such as Mike Leigh or Ken Loach. Then I remember the work, which is nowhere near as iconic or accomplished as those two particular filmmakers. And, worse, I don’t think any have connected with an audience in a meaningful way. Orlando is an exemption in my books (what a film!) but the others never reach those heights. The Party is one of her more crowd pleasing but empty films where the discussions on politics, belief, society, feminism, etc feels forced and distracting from the simple pleasure of seeing some terrific actors play out a rather simple concept.
  5. Can we get a buddy comedy with Clarkson and Scott Thomas please? They’re a hoot here.
  6. It’s difficult to make a film focused on four rooms feel cinematic but Potter does. Especially those smacks and punch.
  7. I wish Potter had given Clarkson and Cherry Jones characters that were less a repetition of their previous great work. (Sidenote: I need to start the new series of Transparent!) 
  8. It’d be nice to see less stories about privileged white people in British film. Perhaps another reason Potter’s work doesn’t find resonance with a wide audience?
  9. Cillian Murphy is on fire here. And looks incredibly handsome. His character and performance give the film some much needed variation from the polite aggressive elsewhere.
  10. I must rewatch Orlando soon.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Monday, October 16, 2017

One reaction to...A Mother Brings Her Son to be Shot


It is a testament to the documentary genre that a title such as A Mother Brings Her Son to be Shot loses its provocativeness within the first few seconds of the film. It follows a republican community in Derry, post-Good Friday Agreement and the only word I can think to describe this community is broken. Although they are living in a 'peaceful' Northern Ireland, the readiness the community has to use and accept violence is shocking. It does not seem possible that this is so close to home. Documentary is absolutely the best way to have told this story, that guiltily feels foreign to me despite being an Irishman living in the London. Surely this is something Irish and British people should be aware of? I do hope it gets a wide release, this is documentary filmmaking at its most relevant.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Kiss.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Revisiting...The Fabulous Baker Boys

I'm shoehorning this into a 'revisit' as I'd actually never seen this film before, but it's the type of film you feel you've seen purely because it's an iconic moment.

I decided to revisit because of Michelle Pfeiffer, her recent 'comeback' buzz and the fact this film was the focus in a recent Broad Appeal podcast (a great series for cinephiles, check it out on iTunes!). I had high hopes for her performance but less for the film itself...yet I was left disappointed. 

There is a reason why I've never heard someone gush over this film: it has almost zero personality. It's a simple story about two male nondescript characters going through a predictable arc. And thankfully Pfeiffer's Susie Stone enters to complicate their arc, with an energy that is vastly more exciting than anything else inter film. Sadly the narrative more interested in the story of one man's frustrations with artistic freedom in a world of commerce and Susie Stone is sidelined. It feels like the type of film that ignores it's MVP to its detriment.

I wish I had rewatched Married to the Mob instead, a film that knows how to make the most of Pfeiffer's talent.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Smile.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Top of the class...sequels


As Blade Runner 2049 has just proved, sequels can be magnificent experience for fans of the original. This isn't always the case (The Lost World: Jurassic Park anyone?!) but now feels a good time to celebrate ten of my favourites. For this list the focus is the second film.
  1. The Empire Strikes Back
  2. Before Sunset
  3. Addams Family Values
  4. Aliens
  5. The Godfather Part II
  6. Blade Runner 2049
  7. Toy Story 2
  8. Batman Returns
  9. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  10. X2

Friday, October 13, 2017

Thursday, October 12, 2017

My favourite shot...A Fantastic Woman


A shot that perfectly portrays A Fantastic Woman's narrative: a character attempts to overcome obstacles to be with her partner. There's also a hint of colour in the otherwise grey, metaphorically and visually, moment.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

One reaction...Harvey Weinstein


Since I can remember I've loved films and this fascination really kicked off in the late 1990s in my teens. It'll come as no surprise then that Harvey Weinstein had been an idol of mine. He championed the type of filmmaking I felt passionate about over the years such as My Left Foot (Irish stories on the big screen!), The Crying Game (another Irish story and with a trans character!), Pulp Fiction (new cinema!), The English Patient (swoon!), Shakespeare in Love (more swoon and celebrate its Oscar victory against male-centric war films), Chocolat (rather simple but effective female led narrative with buckets of charm) and Philomena (Irish, female led). His style of producing echoed the past where he could create stars, bring a mass audience to all sorts of films and was rewriting the rules of Hollywood. He was, in my mind, a rock star. 

There were stories of his bullying from a filmmaking perspective, such as his unfair Oscar campaign tactics and the post-production of Grace of Monaco, but I romantically saw this all as passion. Passion may have been one element of hat behaviour but with hindesight it now seems a symptom of something much more disturbing. His abuse of power to assault women will forever stain his reputation and there should be no forgiveness in light of the three decades and countless women who have suffered. There are many other 'dinosaurs' who will no doubt come to light over the next few weeks and months. We as a society should applaud those who have suffered abuse and are now coming forward to share their story. And hope that this awful news will lead to a more equal industry. Harvey Weinstein may have changed cinema but as a white man in a position of power, he should be held accountable as a message to the industry and beyond - particularly as there's a similar 'dinosaur' in the White House currently.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Smile.

 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

10 thoughts on...Blade Runner 2049


*Spoilers alert*
  1. Denis Villeneuve was the perfect choice for this film. And quickly my favourite director working on large canvases...
  2. ...if only this had performed better at the US box office. It was unlikely to be a huge hit but there's much for a wide audience to connect with, especially with two likeable, charismatic stars in a known property. Villeneuve will have to wait to join the ranks of Christopher Nolan for now, but one can realistically hope that he'll be able to have increasingly creative freedom with large budgets and original stories soon...right?
  3. I don't think I've ever seen Harrison Ford give such a layered performance. In one moment he expresses a complex range of emotions. He's no Kristin Scott Thomas, Imelda Staunton or Cate Blanchett but he does something special. It's exciting to watch someone of his stature push himself.
  4. I want to visit the world of Blade Runner. I don't think living there would be good (although is that where we're heading!?) but I'm fascinated by its realness. And would love to watch a hologram performance by someone of the icons of the past. I think I'd pick Judy Garland rather than Elvis though.
  5. There are always improvements with visual effects but here these effects are imbedded into the story and feel doubly impactful for their believability and  use within the narrative...
  6. ...the moment Racheal appears took my breath away. I can't wait to find out how they did it.
  7. On Racheal, I join many in having concerns over the depiction of her 'love' scene with Deckard in the first film and am relieved that this film gives women an improved presence in the narrative. Yes this is still a film about a white male but he is surrounded by powerful women (from the LAPD, Wallace Corporation and the Replicant Resistance) and his love interest, Joi, displays a more complex personality than the digital girlfriend label would suggest. The film does include one character, Marietta, whose presence is underwritten however it is two female characters who ask tasks of her rather than men. That's progress in equality surely, even if not progress in storytelling. There is one character I've not mentioned, the future for replicants. I want her story please - as long as it's as good as this.
  8. Can Roger Deakins get his Oscar already? This would be a deserving win along with Visual Effects, Music and Art/Set Direction. I'll be hoping for multiple nominations too including Director, Supporting Actor and Orignal Screenplay.
  9. Can Villeneuve make Cleopatra or Dune next? I wouldn't mind seeing his Bond movie, but wouldn't it be more exciting to see him take on something more original? 
  10. I'll be watching this again in the cinema very soon. A terrific film that respects and celebrates the original film whilst feeling like a departure too. Hoorah.