All posts for the month April, 2013
Posted by videocitylondon on April 27, 2013
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
Hi-light: Jennifer Lawrence’s Oscar-winning portrayal of a young widow struggling to get her life together in the face of sexual prejudice.
Lawrence Alternatives: Lawrence’s far more weighty performance as Ree in Winter’s Bone (2010). Also, Lawrence fans should check out The Burning Plain (2008) – good little drama co-starring Charlize Theron as a woman whose mysterious past won’t leave her alone.
Thematic Alternatives: Two Lovers (2010) starring Joaquin Phoenix about a young man with Bipolar Disorder and the two women who simultaneously enter his life. Story of Adele H (1975) and Camille Claudel (1988) – two slightly bleaker portrayals of historical characters who suffered from ‘mental health issues’, both about supremely talented women who, nevertheless, have historically remained in the shadow of the more famous men in their lives. Adele H was the daughter of Victor Hugo. Camille Claudel, the lover of Auguste Rodin. Both films star Isabelle Adjani.
Hi-lights: The giant pencil. The killing of the Daily Mail reader. Poppy.
Ben Wheatley Alternatives: Check out the director’s previous films, all with a touch of the macabre about them: the horror, Kill List (2011) about a couple of contract killers, one of whom has a disturbing past that resurfaces sending things spiraling out of control. And Down Terrace (2009) in which a crime family endeavors to unmask the identity of the police informer nestled in their midst.
Hi-lights: Not sure there are any.
Martin McDonagh Alternatives: Check out the director’s previous (and superior) film, In Bruges, a dark comedy about a couple of hitmen awaiting the consequences of a job gone wrong (also starring Colin Farrell) – and his short film, Six Shooter, which you can find in the Cinema 16 European collection.
Hi-Light: Mads Mikkelsen’s performance as the uncompromising accused.
Mikkelsen Alternative: This year’s Oscar-nominated Royal Affair, in which Mads plays the physician who becomes embroiled in a passionate affair with the young Queen of Denmark – an affair which changes the country forever.
Thematic Alternatives (just in case you’re interested – for whatever reason – in this sort of thing): Thomas Vinterberg’s much-celebrated previous film, Festen (1998), deals with a similar theme, this time the issue in question coming to light during a family get-together. And, for its witch-hunt storyline, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible (1996) with Daniel Day-Lewis and Winona Ryder.
French Comedy Alternatives: “If you enjoyed this, you’ll probably also like:” My Best Friend (2006) directed by Patrice Leconte, in which a business man, challenged by colleagues to produce his ‘best friend’, realises that he doesn’t have any friends, leading to a desperate attempt to find/make some. The Closet (2001) in which a man, in fear of losing his job, claims to be gay thereby falling into the ‘minorities’ category which he feels will offer job protection. And The Concert (2009) – former conductor of the Bolshoi Orchestra, disgraced 30 years ago for employing Jewish and Gypsy musicians and now relegated to the position of Bolshoi janitor, travels to France with his old group of musicians to play in a prestigious concert hall, under the guise of being the Bolshoi Orchestra. Heartwarming.
by Dixie Turner
Posted by videocitylondon on April 24, 2013
…Happy Birthday, anyway.
If you haven’t seen Bowling for Columbine, now’s probably as good a time as any. In light of America’s continued inability to curb its gun laws, Bowling for Columbine – which looks at America’s fascination with bearing arms in light of the Columbine High School tragedy – is a pretty topical watch. Amongst the most memorable moments are the scene in which Moore goes to a bank that gives away a free rifle when you open up an account (am pretty sure Nat West won’t even give you a smile) and the footage of (and subsequent interview with) Charlton Heston, former president of the National Rifle Association, yelling “From my cold dead hands” as he holds aloft a rifle at a rally. Who will ever watch The Ten Commandments and think of Moses in the same way again?
From: “Thou shalt not kill”…
…to: “FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS”. Wow.
(In some respects, of course, it’s perhaps not such a leap. I mean, if there has to be a National Rifle Association, there’s a beautifully warped logic to having Moses as President. Who better than Moses to remind you of your right to defend yourself when your adulterous wife steps out with another man? Defend your moral indignation by shooting him down (but, take heed: it’s only righteous if you have two fingers resting on the Bible whilst you pull the trigger). Lockheed Martin’s new logo will feature Gandhi riding a nuclear missile and I’m sure World War III will be brought to us by Disney. Freedom will be delivered with deadly force, and Mickey Mouse ears. God Bless America (P.S. Thou shalt not kill).)
So, thank you Michael Moore for ruining Ben-Hur and El Cid etc. Now, when I think of Touch of Evil, I of course think of it as one of the greatest – and last – of the film noirs; I think of the incredible cinematography and Orson Welles’ incredible bulk – but in the back of my mind is a new and annoying association between the name Charlton Heston and the words ‘touch-of-evil’.
Charlton ‘Touch of Evil’ Heston and the incredible bulk of Orson Welles.
Anyway. It’s also worth having a look at the documentary made about Michael Moore (Manufacturing Dissent). Whilst not being a fantastic piece of filmmaking (and obviously having an agenda of its own), some of the aspects of Moore’s allegedly less-than-ethical methods of journalism that it digs up are a bit of an eye-opener. Not sure Noam Chomsky would approve.
By the way, if you’ve seen Farenheit 9/11 and thought that was good, it’s worth checking out Why We Fight, by Eugene Jarecki (director of the more recent, and excellent, House I Live In), all about the arms trade – that’s a real eye-opener. Happy hunting!
by Dixie Turner
Posted by videocitylondon on April 23, 2013
Posted by videocitylondon on April 22, 2013
Tom Cruise plays Jack Reacher, a retired army officer who was in the military police, whom now lives a drifter… no phone, no email, no home…
After a seemingly random killing spree which leaves 5 people dead, a crime scene too good to be true for the detectives on the case and a man in custody it seems like this investigation is an open and shut case. However the man in custody, now left in intensive care, only responds to police questioning with three words on a sheet of paper “Find Jack Reacher”…
The scene is set for a surprisingly well paced crime thriller with an interesting, and to some degree, intelligent twisting and turning plot. The action sequences are of Bourne trilogy-style with the usual Hollywood slick special effects and good looks. At about 2 hours in running time it could be seen as being a little long for the usual Hollywood action thriller, but the story keep the interest going enough so it doesn’t slide into being too over-stretched or create the feeling that it may never end…!
Worth a watch if you’re either after the usual Saturday night Hollywood thriller or something a little more interesting than the typical conveyor belt churned-out big budget films.
My rating : 7 / 10
Reviewed by Ben
Friendship, rivalry, betrayal and murder. Fairly traditional, French ’90s-style psychological-thriller, in the vein of Fatal Attraction/Single White Female etc etc. Starring Kristin Scott Thomas (I’ve Loved You So Long) and Ludivine Sagnier (Moliere) and directed by Alain Corneau (Tous les matins du monde). Senior executive, Isabelle, exacts revenge on her ruthless colleague, Catherine, who through fear of being overshadow is threatening Isabelle’s private and professional world. The performance from Scott Thomas is as good as always, but Sagnier ends up seeming to be guilty of over-acting which, actually, is more a matter of poor direction with some overly indulgent long scenes (for instance when Isabelle breaks down in the lift etc), than any obvious inability on her part. Cert. 15 French with English subs.
LOUIE SEASON 1:
‘Seinfeld’ meets ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’, says Rob.
Posted by videocitylondon on April 21, 2013
From Martin McDonagh, director of In Bruges. A bunch of inepts run a dog-napping business. Not in the sense of sending dogs to sleep, but as in stealing them for ransom. One day they steal the wrong dog – the beloved pooch of a violent criminal (Woody Harrelson) who vows to kill all those related to the robbery… Starring everyone. Cert. 15
The latest High-School Musical/Glee-type extravaganza. Judging by the trailer, it looks a little edgier and the humour a little darker than the afore-mentioned productions, largely as it focuses on ‘oddball’ and ‘misfits’ (cue token misfits: the gay guy, the overweight girl and presumably a maths geek or two). Fun. Starring Anna Kendrick (Scott Pilgrim). Cert. 12
A modern british film noir, set in London. Following a brutal murder, the lives of a beautiful divorcee and the detective in charge of the investigation intersect. Starring Charlotte Rampling and Gabriel Byrne. Cert. 15
Irish drama about a young man with a promising future who commits a devastating act which shatters the lives all those around him. Directed by Lenny Abrahamson (Adam & Paul). Cert.15
SIDE BY SIDE:
A documentary with Keanu Reeves, in which he interviews numerous big-hitters in the film industry asking them about their transition from film to digital, and exploring the question of whether or not film has a future. Shame they don’t interview independent/experimental filmmakers who would no doubt come at the issue from a different angle…
ALSO OUT THIS WEEK:
SUITS SEASON 2:
30 ROCK SEASON 6:
Posted by videocitylondon on April 12, 2013
… or mention the film The Iron Lady. Phew. Finally, a Thatcher-free haven. And I’m not talking about Britain, now that she’s gone. In fact, I’m not talking about her at all. MaggieMaggieMaggie. I’m not talking about her because everyone else in the country is and you can’t look at a paper without a thousand words on her legacy, her funeral, the fact that she wore hats (and, apparently, sometimes even gloves) and occasionally smiled (despite cracks clearly appearing around her heart as she did so) being thrust into your face. This is a Maggie-free zone. So…
FILM OF THE DAY:
“I’m a professional businessman not a professional Pakistani. And there is no question of race in the new enterprise culture.”
A LAUNDERETTE AS BIG AS THE RITZ. OH YES.
Johnny: “Ain’t nothing I can say to make it up to you. There’s only things I can do to show you… That I am with you.”
**THIS IS ENGLAND ’85**
STEPHEN FREARS’ AND HANIF KUREISHI’S 1985 FILM IS AN IRONIC SALUTE TO THE THATCHER-CHAMPIONED SPIRIT OF PRIVATE CAPITALISTIC ENTERPRISE. IT ALSO THROWS CLASS, RACE AND INTERRACIAL RELATIONSHIPS INTO THE MAGGIE-MELTING POT AND JABS HOLES IN THE IRON-CLAD TORY TENET OF ‘FAMILY VALUES’ BY FEATURING A SUCCESSFUL GAY RELATIONSHIP AS ONE OF THE CENTRAL STORYLINES.
DID I SAY THIS WAS A MAGGIE-FREE ZONE? MY MISTAKE.
posted by Dixie Turner
Posted by videocitylondon on April 11, 2013
“WHO’S FIGHTING AND WHAT FOR?!!”
DOCUMENTARY BY THE MAYSLES BROTHERS (GREY GARDENS) ON THE STONES’ 1969 US TOUR – MOST OF THE DRAMA FOCUSES ON THEIR DECISION TO GIVE A FREE GIG IN NORTH CALIFORNIA AND HOW THE HELL’S ANGELS CAME TO BE THE EVENT’S SECURITY GUARDS – AND HOW IT ALL WENT HORRIBLY WRONG… HYDE PARK, ANYONE?
Mick Jagger: [watching Tina Turner performing the opening of the concert] It’s nice to have a chick occasionally.
The Ike and Tina segment in the film is – if you know anything about their relationship – the most powerful, and hair-raising part. Tina sings ‘I’ve Been Loving You Too Long’ in a call-and-response with Ike, where he feeds her the words (“I can make you say anything I want you to say, make you do anything I want you to do..” etc) and she repeats them back to him – pop-history dynamite. Of course, there’s that other band, too – the Stones, is it?
Hells Angel: They told me, if I could sit on the stage so nobody climbed over me, I could drink beer till the show was over.
posted by Dixie Turner
Posted by videocitylondon on April 3, 2013