An affecting portrait of the voice of combat sports, Mauro Ranallo.
An affecting portrait of the voice of combat sports, Mauro Ranallo.
A reboot of an Eighties cult classic, that’s good? I know, I’m as surprised as you are!
Now that John Wick is decidedly a franchise, the third instalment takes a nosedive. Here’s my review for Thumped, my first since forever.
2019.04.05 // Filed under: Screen
Mostly Netflix originals fare in December and January, and not a standout among them. The best film I saw in this period was, and I’m happy to say this, a new Ben Wheatley film. Because I really didn’t get on with Free Fire, but Happy New Year, Colin Burstead — which screened on the BBC to ring in 2019 — is for me his best since A Field in England. Apparently his next project is a new adaptation of Rebecca, but seeing as the Hitchcock original is unimpeachable, I can’t see what else he can bring to the table. It’s repeating a mantra for many a film fan but still: more original stuff, please. More…
Good points, well put.
2018.12.20 // Filed under: Screen
A fallow couple of months recorded here, owing to work busyness and lots of late shifts. And only one particularly standout showing in the lot. I can do better than this. More…
A sad story of how creativity gets exploited and chewed up by the machine.
I liked Robert Redford’s cinematic swan-song just fine, no more and no less. You can read why above or on Medium.
This movie was much more interesting to read about than it was fun to watch. Also: I have vague recollections of seeing Get A Life that might be phantom memories; was it ever shown on Irish/British TV in the Nineties?
This is very niche, but my kind of niche.
2018.10.11 // Filed under: Screen
Those weird few months I was talking about meant a significant drop-off in my movie watching habits. That goes for press screenings, too. I was only able to make it to a handful of those, and review (in long form, at least) even fewer (Leave No Trace is great; Incredibles 2 not so much). More…
Would’ve included Pimpbot 5000, myself. (Also, my mind is blown that Stacey was Amy Poehler.)
It’s more of an essay about the tarnishing of Pixar’s reputation, if I’m honest. You can read what I wrote at Thumped or on Medium.
Debra Granik’s follow-up to Winter’s Bone lights on similar themes but from a very different angle. Read my review at Thumped or on Medium.
A useful summary of that other big screenwriting book (the first one being Robert McKee’s Story, which I’ve had for decades but never finished).
2018.06.09 // Filed under: Screen
I always talk about films I have watched, so let me tell you about a couple I didn’t watch, bailing after the first few minutes of each. More…
A fantastic repository for would-be screenwriters or anyone interested in the making of film.
Real-life locations, or approximations thereof, crop up in a lot of slice-of-life anime (and the manga it’s often adapted from), which is no small part of why the genre appeals to me.
Yeah yeah it’s the Steamed Hams meme but this version wins the prize for Best Thing. Though I will admit it’s given a run for its money by Steamed Hams but it’s the French New Wave.
He’s really done it all, hasn’t he?
I just like the parts where his eyes bug and he shouts a lot, if I’m honest. [c/o LinkMachineGo]
A weighty story but a feast for the senses, The Breadwinner is one of the year’s finest films thus far. See it in cinemas around Ireland and the UK (and on Netflix in the US). And read my review, also on Medium.
Here's a nice look back at Mad Max 2 from the Red Letter Media guys (even though they prefer Fury Road, or don't mention Waterworld even once) and one that makes me want to reappraise a film I only gave two-and-a-half stars on my last watch a few years ago.
To keep track of what I still need to see. I watched quite a few of the initial series of 30 for 30 last summer; I can watch a good documentary about sport (or anything, really) any day.
I will admit, my primary reaction to Ready Player One was how lacking in imagination the whole thing was. (All those references to leech from, and the best you can come up with includes planets where a single common-or-garden game arcade is repeated in identical instances covering the surface? Really?) But that’s my privilege showing. Everything here is on point.
2018.05.07 // Filed under: Screen
I tried to make up for not watching any films in the first two weeks of April by watching seven over the latter half. And five of them involved actual trips to the cinema: one a press screening in Dublin, one at the fleapit down the road, one in the basement of the local arts centre (a regional screening as part of the Japanese Film Festival), and a double-bill at the IFI. My pick of the month is one I won’t be reviewing till later in May, but my thoughts on the rest are below. More…
“The use of poisonous mushrooms isn’t about women playing some zero-sum game with controlling men. What the trope really does is prompt viewers to consider what female agency can look like in situations that are overwhelmingly shaped by sexism—and it’s not a pretty sight. The women mimic the language of violence articulated by the men in their lives, in one of the only ways available to them. Unable to emancipate themselves fully from the trappings of their gender roles, their only recourse is to do harm before they suffer further. In one of the last scenes of Lady Macbeth, when Katherine implicates her lover and maid in the murder of a child, her face is eerily impassive, mirroring the expression of her husband early in the film when he regards her with cruel indifference. In that moment, they are one and the same.” I did not like Lady Macbeth, but that quote gets at what the story really is.
One hour and 37 minutes on the production of one of the finest movies of the 1980s. (Provided it isn’t DMCAed by the time you read this.)
Key quote here: “…minimising the window between the premiere and the global release date is a way of controlling and minimising discourse. If critics are not allowed to reveal even the most trivial details, they cannot engage with the material in any meaningful way.”
So close to parody, I’d never believe this actually happened if I hadn’t seen it myself.
I’m pained by the notion that Studio Ghibli is considered a genre unto itself, let alone anime as a whole. (It’s a medium, not a genre!) But gripes aside, this is a fine list for the uninitiated, with a spread that spans drama, action, romance and more avant storytelling.
I made a list on Letterboxd of 30 Shaw Brothers films restored via the American Genre Film Archive for theatrical release in the US this year, just for my own future reference but it may come in handy for you. (By the way, it’s dead easy to make lists on Letterboxd; this one took me all of five minutes.)
A short documentary about an incredible trove of letterpress blocks for movie advertisements dating from the early 1980s to before the Talkie era, happened upon by chance by two friends antiquing in Nebraska. It really makes stark what might be lost in the move from the tangible to the digital in media. [c/o Kottke.org]
2018.04.13 // Filed under: Screen
And I thought my February in movies was bad: only seven films watched in March. Not even two a week. And April isn’t looking much better, considering almost half the month has gone by and I haven’t seen a single movie. Quality, not quantity, I keep telling myself, even when the results don’t always bear that out. More…
The former Brat Pack star evaluates the John Hughes films that made her name some 30 years on, considering them from the angles of changing social mores, her own motherhood, and her growth as a person. Justifiably celebrated.
Lindsay Ellis’ video essay on why Bright doesn’t work is worth your time.
In case you were wondering — and yes, it’s the signifier/metaphor you might expect. Though it also fits with the not-necessarily-metaphorical groundedness of most contemporary anime (street scenes, convenience stores, vending machines, vehicles and public transport, etc).
Turns out, he got old, then found a new direction. “It’s so cool to see leading men become great character actors later in their career,” says a producer quoted here; indeed it is, and Fraser comes across as such an intelligent, sensitive and likeable guy in this GQ profile, that I’m quite looking forward to watching him in Trust now.
An epic blog post on the making of a film I still can’t watch, it’s that visceral to me.
“The plot is stripped to the bone, and it’s all in the execution” of what's easily the best new film I’ve seen in months. Also on Medium.
2018.03.02 // Filed under: Screen
February’s a short month as it is, but nine films over four weeks is a low batting average. One of those was a repeat viewing, two others I reviewed over at Thumped, and I’m writing up one more over the weekend, or perhaps early next week. The rest you can find below. More…
My take on this lurid but tedious spy drama, another miss for J-Law, plus a few words on the even worse Sky animation Monster Family. Also on Medium.
It’s amazing to me how many people took this article as a personal attack when it’s really about ‘Armie Hammer’ the carefully crafted phenomenon, not necessarily a judgement of the person. I mean, there’s no doubt he’s one of a long line of white male Hollywood stars who’ve benefitted from the privilege that gives them the chances so often denied to others, whether through unconscious bias or Weinstein-esque bad faith acting.
2018.02.15 // Filed under: Screen
Late with my monthnotes, and late with my Letterboxd reviews as well. Since we’re well into the new year by now, I’m overdue in noting that I logged 171 viewings over the course of 2017, which is about 50 more than I managed the previous year.
Even accounting for the fact that some were shorter (circa 1 hr) documentaries, that’s still a better than average showing. Mind you, I didn’t write as many full-length reviews as I have in previous years, but it surely indicates I was watching more for my own enjoyment and/or edification. (That also classifies as CPD as far as I’m concerned.) More…
So much of T2 absolutely holds up today because of the vision and pride of everyone involved — something noticeably lacking from much CG in movies today, nearly three decades and countless incredible advances in technology later. [c/o Interconnected]
I wasn’t enthralled by Guillermo del Toro’s fishy romantic fantasy, but can’t ignore the good work by Sally Hawkins and Michael Shannon. (Also on Medium).
A24 responds to viewers’ complaints about the treatment of dogs in its films. (The complainers, they’re not wrong.)
Spielberg’s spiritual prequel to All The President’s Men is flawed, but a better bet than Old Man Neeson’s latest one-man-army caper.