S T R A N G E R T H A N P A R A D I S E (1984)
D O W N B Y L A W (1986)
d. Jim Jarmusch
In an attempt to get this blog up and running again, I will talk to you first about a double bill of dreams that is still, three weeks later, swimming around my head. You should probably soundtrack this post with Tom Waits’ Jockey Full of Bourbon to really get the most out of it.
This double bill reminded me why double bills are so wonderful. The two films sit so perfectly side by side, both thematically and stylistically; meaning that just when you’re feeling down that the first is over, the second starts up and allows you to delve right back into that world of low-fi, black and white Americana.
With Jarmusch movies, rather than accusing him of being too concerned with style over substance, I would suggest that it’s more the case that the style kind of is the substance. These are films made in the 1980s but longingly remembering the ‘50s and ’60s: Willie (played by the gloriously gorgeous John Lurie) lives in a tiny New York apartment in Stranger than Paradise, proudly eats TV dinners and introduces his Eastern European cousin Eva to the joys of American cigarettes. He wears hats and the kind of leather jacket that makes you think of reading Bukowski and drinking bourbon. Willie, Eva and his buddy Eddie travel across America, through Cleveland and on to Florida where all three don wayfarer sunglasses and run out on their motel bill. There is a sense that, through Eva’s eyes as a foreigner, we too are watching decidedly familiar images of America for the first time.
Down by Law, if possible, is even more beautiful. Louisianna offers a dreamlike backdrop for three men on the run: it’s all dripping trees and vast swamp land and the looming promise of alligators. And even working with a very limited prison uniform, Jarmusch still manages to make the men look impossibly chic. They wear tan (I’m assuming tan, although the black and white makes it hard to tell) high waist chinos and button downs, low top converse and classic white thermals.
Quite apart from the films themselves, there is something so delicious about holing up in the cinema all afternoon for a double bill of films. We’ve fallen out of the habit of the double feature but this was a strong argument for its return.
5:58 pm • 14 October 2014
B L U E I S T H E W A R M E S T C O L O U R
(2013, Abdellatif Kechiche)
Okay, I’m just gonna throw my two cents in (along with the rest of the world) regarding this ridiculously self-indulgent romance.
It can’t go unmentioned – the run time. At over three hours, it’s pretty silly. The problem being that due to the controversy surrounding the film, and the fact that the entire narrative of the first ninety minutes of the movie drive towards the infamous sex scene, the film really feels like it has nothing more to offer after we’re through being educated, in painful detail, in the ways of gratuitous lesbian sex. Realising that they’ve already banged and there’s still a further ninety minutes to go feels very dispiriting.
Although, in its defence, for a film that has no right whatsoever being over two hours long, it does manage to pace itself fairly well (once you get over the halfway mark), but perhaps that was the two glasses of red wine and the dark chocolate that I was snaffling during the film that were keeping me entertained rather than Adele Exarchopoulos sobbing noisily every five minutes.
8:07 pm • 30 November 2013 • 1 note
S A V I N G M R. B A N K S (2013)
John Lee Hancock
So, unfortunately I went to go and see Saving Mr Banks, I don’t want to dwell long on this fact but just long enough to tell you how bad it is.
Quite apart from the fact that it’s just too damn long (after 90 minutes and they’re still quibbling over Mr Banks facial hair or whether there’s going to be an animated sequence (WE FUCKING KNOW THERE IS, WE’VE SEEN MARY POPPINS) I wanted to start pulling my hair out); my real issue was how weird it is that there is no mention whatsoever of any darkness on the part of Walt Disney. I mean, no shit, of course there isn’t – what was I expecting? An in-depth examination of the political standpoints of Disney? But I mean, it bare faced ignores a lot of shit and firmly, and happily, reinforces Disney’s image as father of America, complete with a representation of England that is fit to reinforce the Americaness of that America.
I’m just not sure what the film stands to do apart from remind Americans of the greatness, and all understanding and caring power, of Walt Disney. I feel strongly that no one who reads P.L. Travers’ original stories will give a shit about watching a revoltingly sentimental retelling of her childhood; so what becomes the point? Another schmaltzy and misty-eyed misremembering of the history of America’s greats it seems.
7:37 pm • 30 November 2013
Demons (1985) Lamberto Bava
The Mummy (1999) Steven Sommers
Magic Mike (2012) Steven Soderbergh
Misery (1990) Rob Reiner
and The Wolf of Wall Street trailer, hiya Leo
8:46 pm • 18 June 2013
T H E I C E M A N (2013)
I really wanted to like The Iceman, like really, really wanted to like it. It had everything going for it: Michael Shannon, my crush of the moment; and Winona Ryder, my crush of always. And even though I was fuelled by a lot of very delicious red wine - which usually serves to only make me more enthusiastic - I’m afraid to say that The Iceman was just one long borefest.
I think one of the main problems was the incredibly lazy casting, for the most part everyone was fine, but really? Ray Liotta as hitman boss, again? I mean, I guess in the film’s defence, the guy does have the kind of face that means that his only two options in life were to be either a) an actor specialising mainly in roles consisting of con-men, gangsters, mobsters and hitmen or b) actually being a con-man, gangster, mobster or hitman.
So basically, the only things that kept my interest peaked were Michael Shannon’s super cheesy facial hair stylings that seemed to change with everyone scene, and the unexpected cameos from David Schwimmer (genius) and James Franco (tired).
8:42 pm • 18 June 2013
Pickpocket (1959 Robert Bresson)
Eyes Without a Face (1960 Georges Franju)
Bande à part (1964 Jean-Luc Goddard)
Les Amants (1958 Louis Malle)
Les Diaboliques (1955 Henri-Georges Clouzot)
8:17 am • 22 February 2013
T H I S I S 4 0
(2013, Judd Apatow)
So what the fuck Peter Bradshaw? How do you even have a job? You’re like the worst critic of all time, you didn’t even bring up the weird racism in this rambling sprawling comedy.
This is not ‘terrifically assured work’, it’s just privileged white people moaning about nothing. I am all for respecting that privileged white people also have problems: I will totally defend Lost in Translation and Tiny Furniture, you know - these are films about feeling lost and finding it difficult to work out what to do next, made by women and for women for whom that is relevant and important. I’m sorry, but This is 40 is not the same. Everyone in this film is an asshole and act like their worlds are imploding when, if they’re having such serious financial difficulties, why don’t they just sell one of their BMWs and 7 of their ipads? Speaking of which, what the hell was with all the ridic apple product placement? And why did everyone keep referring to watching about Lost about five years too late?
I think it’s the suggestion that this is somehow the reality of being 40 that irritates me. This is the reality for a very select and affluent few. Leslie Mann’s body is like that of a 17 year old girl and we are invited to believe that she feels depressed seeing Megan Fox in her pants? She can afford a personal trainer, owns her own boutique, and lives in a frigging palace in LA. What was it that I was supposed to be empathising with again?
I will admit it did make me laugh, and yes, I was very excited by Chris O’Dowd knocking about but jeez, Judd Apatow needs to reign it in. A comedy like this has no right being over 90 minutes. There were about 3 completely irrelevent subplots he could have just shaved right out.
I say all of this out of love, because Judd Apatow can do so much better. It’s just no Freaks and Geeks.
8:10 am • 22 February 2013 • 2 notes
J I R O D R E A M S O F S U S H I
(2011) David Gelb
So, super bleary eyed and clutching a pint of hophead, after a very long and painful shift, I caught Jiro Dreams of Sushi at a late night staff screening one Tuesday a few weeks ago. I had predicted that 7 minutes in I would fall asleep and not wake up again for the duration of the film. However, while it had the odds stacked against it, Jiro Dreams of Sushi had me hooked (it must be admitted that the sweet 83 minute run time was in its favour).
A small, but perfectly formed documentary detailing the bizarre success of one man’s dedication to perfection, the film barely has a story to tell: Jiro set out to make the best sushi in Japan and - *spoiler alert* - he achieved it. But there is something gripping about the film, perhaps it is the rhythmic and repetitive shots of the chefs making sushi, or the beautiful and glistening close-ups of the fish itself. Who knows, but at two in the morning I was satisfied but craving salmon sashimi like nobody’s business.
9:39 am • 31 January 2013 • 2 notes
2 0 1 2
Hey gang, so this is shamefully late, and I’ve totally dropped the ball on updating BUT better late than never, so here is my top 10 from last year :
1. Sightseers - Ben Wheatley
2. Tiny Furniture - Lena Dunham
3. Searching for Sugarman - Malik Bendjalloul
4. Two Years at Sea - Ben Rivers
5. The Imposter - Bart Layton
6. The Master - Paul Thomas Anderson
7. Cabin in the Woods - Joss Whedon
8. Take Shelter - Jeff Nichols
9. Killer Joe - William Friedkin
10. Berberian Sound Studio - Peter Strickland
9:28 am • 31 January 2013 • 1 note
S I G H T S E E R S
(2012) Ben Wheatley
So I am developing this totally huge cinematic crush on Ben Wheatley. My growing feelings for him meant that my expectations for Sightseers was astronomically disproportionate to anything I feared the film could actually deliver. But hey! Don’t worry, this post has a happy ending: it was just great.
With Kill List Wheatley took on the horror genre, twisting it into something dark (or darker anyway) and questioning our never ending appetite for violence in the cinema. Taking a similar track with Sightseers, this time he grapples with the outlaw couple movie, relocating it from California to Yorkshire. It was just so depressingly (in the best way) English.
9:01 am • 15 December 2012