2019 Film Reviews – 50: Judy [dir. Rupert Goold; 2019]

I don’t normally insist that films must possess a degree of contemporary relevance, but it’s hard to watch Judy without wondering why its creators felt this particular story had to be told now, and in this way. Yes, there are attempts to link Hollywood’s oppressive treatment of Judy Garland with current fears about movie moghuls’ abusive exploitation of women, but they frequently comes across as … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 50: Judy [dir. Rupert Goold; 2019]

2019 Film Reviews – 49: The Great Hack [dir. Karim Amer & Jehane Noujaim; 2019]

I realise that various news sources have already covered the information this documentary presents about the activities of Cambridge Analytica (and if you’re not aware of the organisation, I suggest you look it up with delay), but Amer and Noujaim’s documentary encapsulates and presents it all in frighteningly compelling fashion. From the work of The Guardian’s Carole Cadwalladr, to the not-unproblematic involvement of Christopher Wylie, … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 49: The Great Hack [dir. Karim Amer & Jehane Noujaim; 2019]

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 think 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]

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]