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Oscars Postscript – Zettel. Don’t miss Sugarman

Tweet   Oscars Postscript – Zettel There was a pivotal moment, totally unremarked in this marathon, 3-hour Feast of Narcissus. A geeky little Swedish Director and a chubby American Producer picked up the Swede’s first and the American’s second, Oscar. Malik Bendjelloul’s English did not survive his excitement and the tiny delay that ensued led […]

Django Unchained – Quentin Tarantino

Tweet    Django Unchained – Quentin Tarantino Django contains the many strengths and several weaknesses of Quentin Tarantino. As with all his best movies, he takes a well-established generic form, here the Western, and develops its elements to farce; to absurdity; even finally to destruction. With scabrous dialogue, scandalous amorality and an almost childish determination […]

Hitchcock – Sacha Gervasi. Cinema’s master craftsman revealed

Tweet      Hitchcock – Sacha Gervasi I’ve always thought of Alfred Hitchcock as the master craftsman of cinema: meticulous in preparation, rigorous in execution and always controlled. His films seldom strayed outside the generic corridor of thriller, suspense or mystery. All demonstrate a respect for and careful control of story, character and plot. The […]

Lincoln – Steven Spielberg. The past is another place….

Tweet    Lincoln – Steven Spielberg “The past is another country. They do things differently there.” L P Hartley’s now almost proverbial opening lines of The Go-Between constantly resonated in the back of my mind throughout this powerful, accomplished, superbly acted film. With typical authority and characteristically meticulous attention to detail, Spielberg assembles to great […]

Les Miserables – Tom Hooper: Against all the odds – a triumph

Tweet        Les Miserables – Tom Hooper Against all the odds – a triumph: of conception, execution, and performance. Hooper has taken perhaps the most iconic post-war, quintessentially theatrical stage musical; successful beyond all expectation and initial critical reaction, and captured its spirit in the radically different aesthetic form of film. The assurance […]

The Artist – Michel Hazanavicius. Silence is Golden

Tweet        The Artist – Michel Hazanavicius A film that unites critics; but I suspect divides cinema-goers. I find myself with a foot in both camps. The Artist is almost entirely silent throughout its 100 minutes running time. Cleverly and I think effectively, Hazanavicius has created an impressive blend of form and content: telling his Singin’ […]

Avatar – Bambification of Aboriginal narrative

TweetFilm, performance, screenplay, art Technical, Effects, Art direction Avatar – James Cameron Avatar sucks: the bambification of an aboriginal narrative. A sentimentalised pastiche of a Native American stereotype. The Na’vi sound like Hollywindians and worship an Earth-mother who looks like a fibre-optic willow tree spiritually reified by tinsellated dandelion-seed-like Christmas tree baubles that slo-mo around […]

Aw c’mon guys, gimme an Oscar

Tweet Is Anybody There? – John Cowley Is there a nation on earth more contemptuous or contemptible about the old than the British? Politically and socially we under-resource shamefully large numbers of the elderly literally to the point of starvation; or we freeze them to death. Politicians with a toxic self-serving sentimentality exploit them. We […]

Oscars 2009 – Update: Bumblog Squillionaire cleans up

TweetOscar 2009 – Update Well my predictions just get worse. Glad I was wrong about Kate. Thrilled I was right about Man On Wire – if you haven’t seen it, make sure you do. Inspirational. I’m as disappointed about Benjamin Button as I was in 2006 when Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s masterly Babel was also virtually […]

BAFTA Awards 2009 – poverty-chic fable cleans up

TweetBAFTA – Winners 2009 A mystery: why is a film setting a ‘feel good’ fairytale in a Mumbai slum called “courageous”? I applaud the four technical BAFTA awards to Slumdog Millionaire; especially the award of best music to A R Rahman’s superb musical score. Editing, cinematography, sound – no complaints there either. But calling Slumdog […]