Best Films Of 2021 and Screen Time December 2021

And so another year comes to an end, this time with a bin full of (mercifully, negative) lateral flow tests. Despite a few difficulties along the way, the film review project survived intact: if we count this post, then every single movie I watched, either at home or at the cinema (when they re-opened) has been written about in some way on this blog.

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House Of Gucci, Spencer, Respect and others – Screen Time November 2021

Here’s one way to sum up November’s cinematic delights: four films about fascinating, real women, and two films about equally fascinating, fictional women. Tellingly, the latter were far more interesting than the former, with one important exception, as I’ll describe in a moment.

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Annette, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and A Clockwork Orange – Screen Time September 2021

If September’s film viewing was bound together by an overarching theme, it was the idea of integrity. In Annette – Leos Carax’s memorably surreal musical – the main characters grappled with their attempts to remain true to their artistic lives – and their splintering selves – while singing their way through some deceptively banal songs. (Do banalities always achieve profundity if they’re repeated often enough?) Adam Driver was superb here, presenting an image of destructive masculinity that spanned the full range from barely-moving subtlety to limb-flinging ostentatiousness.

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The Fullness Of Paradise – A Special Project With Amouage

Once again came the momentary struggle against the lack of control over my drifting body, to be replaced by a sense of surrender It is with tremendous excitement that I’m able to give you the very first glimpse of The Fullness Of Paradise, a modern fable I’ve been asked to write for the Oman-based perfume brand, Amouage. At this stage, the only part of the … Continue reading The Fullness Of Paradise – A Special Project With Amouage

In The Skin Of Uncertainty

Ever since I first came across them, I’ve been haunted by these words from Michael Ondaatje’s In The Skin Of A Lion: “the extreme looseness of the structure of things”. I can’t remember what context they were in – I can’t even remember very much about the book – but they emblazoned themselves on my soul with what has turned out to be pretty solid permanence.

To me, the phrase has always been about embracing uncertainty, about giving oneself up to not knowing, to an absence of control, to smallness, to transience, to greyness. And I suppose that’s why I’ve been dwelling on it a great deal in recent months. Because if there’s one thing the current pandemic has flagged up – and goodness knows, it’s flagged up more than a few – it’s that some people really can’t cope with uncertainty.

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Some Of The Things I Haven’t Missed During Lockdown

In no particular order… Shopping – even though I normally consider myself to enjoy mooching around shops. But I have not missed it one single bit. Driving Queuing in car parks Feigning politeness in front of people with whom I have zero desire to spend any time Inane, small-talk-laden social gatherings Feeling tired Feeling like I never have enough time Reaching the end of each … Continue reading Some Of The Things I Haven’t Missed During Lockdown

Some Of The Things I Have Missed During Lockdown

In no particular order… Travelling The cinema Spending time with certain family members Laduree London Stopping somewhere for a coffee and a ten-minute session of watching the world go by Going for a walk without feeling like I’m in a tense, Tron-style video game in which you have to avoid coming within sneezing distance of everyone else Going out for a meal Inviting friends over … Continue reading Some Of The Things I Have Missed During Lockdown

Brexit Day

At this heart-fracturing moment, we say that we did the best we could. But maybe we didn’t. We marched. We signed. We petitioned. We emailed. We tweeted. We posted. We talked and talked and talked. We sang. We shouted. We chanted. We honked. We hooted. We hollered. We stickered. We t-shirted. We badged. We bannered. We leafleted. We postered. We tried, we tried, we tried. … Continue reading Brexit Day