No Need To Get Worked Up

Call me alarmist, but one of the main thoughts floating around in my mind at the moment is that Boris Johnson, in his great and unmatched wisdom (wait, no, that was the other guy) keeps implying that he may choose not to obey the laws that have been created to protect Britain from the idiocy of a no-deal Brexit. It’s an attitude that has frightened me more than I can say, because it feels like the epitome of a general trend towards ridiculing rules and structures. Yes, I understand – and I usually support the idea – that real change can rarely come about unless something is broken. But this feels like egotism: a sense that some people are more equal than others, and so don’t need to worry that certain laws apply to them.

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2019 Film Reviews – 48: The Man From UNCLE [dir. Guy Ritchie; 2015]

Although I tend to gravitate towards the less popcorn-strewn screens at my local multiplex, I adore the fact that cinema can embrace an almost endless range of styles. And I’ve always believed that all stories – no matter what genre they’re in – can be told well. The Man From UNCLE – throwaway froth though it is – could have been charming. It could have … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 48: The Man From UNCLE [dir. Guy Ritchie; 2015]

2019 Film Reviews – 47: Hitsville: The Making Of Motown [dir. Benjamin Turner & Gabe Turner; 2019]

You don’t really need an excuse to spend two hours in the company of some of the most irresistible music ever recorded. But if you insist on having a documentary backdrop to the likes of Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson doing their thing, then Hitsville fulfils the role with great charm. Taking its inspiration from Motown founder Berry Gordy’s policy of approaching the … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 47: Hitsville: The Making Of Motown [dir. Benjamin Turner & Gabe Turner; 2019]

On Guard

I spend a great deal of time telling myself what not to write about. Or, to be more precise, what I feel I shouldn’t write about. I’m pretty sure it was Krzysztof Kieslowski – still my favourite director, in case anyone’s interested – who said that he abandoned documentaries in favour of fictional features because the latter allowed him to be more truthful. I believe he was referring to the very specific issue of exposing intimacies and personal situations that one simply couldn’t film in a fly-on-the-wall, documentary format. But I think his statement also hints at the notion that fiction is a kind of shield. A layer of protection. For the author.

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2019 Film Reviews – 46: Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood [dir. Quentin Tarantino; 2019]

As someone who has long maintained that Quentin Tarantino is the single most overrated, most infantile film-maker of our times and treats his audience with a contempt and a disdain that should have seen him relieved of his camera years ago, I was rather surprised by how much I enjoyed the first two-thirds of his latest effort. Meandering around both the streets of Los Angeles … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 46: Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood [dir. Quentin Tarantino; 2019]

2019 Film Reviews – 45: Ad Astra [dir. James Gray; 2019]

I’m not as allergic as some to the use of voiceovers in cinema. But I can find not one single reason to justify its presence in Ad Astra, apart from being a means to emphasise how patronising the movie is as a whole. Its opening premise is promising, if tenuous: an emotionally-detached astronaut is sent on a dangerous mission to contact his father, who may … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 45: Ad Astra [dir. James Gray; 2019]