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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 […]

Dawn of the forlorn Prawn

Tweet District 9 – Neill Blomkamp The science is risible: the fiction banal. District 9 is a good B movie with pretensions; and like all good B movies, it rattles along at a pace fast enough for you to almost forgive the cheap n’ cheerful costumes, make-up, special effects and frequently clunky dialogue. A docu-drama, […]

Gran Torino – stereotypes, old, Asian, ethnic meet Dirty Harry

Tweet Gran Torino – Clint Eastwood Dirty Harry got to be old. And mean. I guess we expected that. Curmudgeonly, cranky, rollie-smoking, beer-drinking – a can and by-the-neck man, nary a glass in sight – ex-Korean War vet Walt Kowalski isn’t actually cop Harry Callaghan, just a kind of alter ego ‘with-no-name’ grown old, prejudices […]

Pride and Glory – Obama, ‘5/11’, and ethnic stereotypes in movies

Tweet Pride And Glory – Gavin O’Connor Barack Obama’s election to the Presidency is likely to influence American society in profound but as yet unpredictable ways. It will be fascinating to see how Hollywood embraces the new New World. Which director in which film with whose screenplay will be the first to portray deep racial […]

Ray – in the land of the blues – this blind man was king

Tweet Ray – Director Taylor Hackforth London. Astoria Theatre, Finsbury Park. 1960. A young, white, Suffolk teenager sits, front row circle, with a 20 year-old ‘chaperoning’ mate, having somehow wangled a couple of tickets from the promoters of Ray Charles’s first ever London gig before they even went on sale. Two white sore thumbs in […]

Blood – Poem: blood-line, in the blood, blood feud, of one’s blood

TweetBlood In blood and sinew nerve and bone we are born In that first unwilled gasp of life the myth of blood is incarnate an afterbirth of superstitious dread progenitor of hate My blood is up at transubstantiated lies blood brothers washed in the blood of Jesus soaked in the death of other forms of […]

Far From Heaven – Douglas Sirk’s form but not his substance

Tweet Far From Heaven – Todd Haynes Spoofs of James Bond movies never seem to work because they play off a genre which itself lives on the very edges of credibility. The problem for me with FFH is similar in that its director, Todd Haynes, tries faithfully and lovingly to recreate the already emotionally florid […]

An American Gangster – sentimentalising gangsters, fetishising guns

Tweet American Gangster – Ridley Scott Sentimentalising gangsters and fetishising guns are twin cancers at the heart of American culture. Each feeds off the other to create a moral landscape that can be obscenely equivocal and cumulatively corrupting. I have been corrupted enough over the years to enjoy the tension and excitement of conflict in […]

Crash – racism as product

Tweet Crash – Director Paul Haggis Art and Architecture have one key thing in common: both need foundations. The bigger the building, the deeper and stronger the foundations it needs. Crash is like a complex set of card houses: eight overlapping linked structures are fashioned with great skill into a neatly integrated whole. But it […]