Filed under: Arts, creativity, movies | Tags: blue valentine, Bradley Cooper, Derek Cianfrance, ryan gosling, the plave beyond the Pines
Sorry ladies. Although Derek Cianfrance’s (Blue Valentine) latest movie again features Ryan Gosling he spends the vast majority of it fully clothed – the vast majority that he features in, that is, because by the end of the first act we see the last of his presence as Bradley Cooper moves into centre stage for Act 2. He too largely disappears from the action for most of the third Act, to be replaced by his and Gosling’s onscreen sons.
This is nearly an excellent movie.
Although it’s long, the final third is spoiled by trying to cram too much action in and ends up becoming not just implausible but slightly confusing – not helped by the ludicrous “in the hood diction” of Emory Cohen who is decidedly outplayed by his nemesis Jason, played brilliantly by Dane DeHaan.
Gosling plays a wheel of death motorcyclist who, becoming disaffected with the touring life, stumbles upon an ex-conquest Romina, played by Eva Mendes (Gosling’s real life partner). In discovering that Mendes has borne Gosling’s son but is shacked up, alongside her mother, in the home of new fella Koli (Mahershala Ali – convincing and understated performance – one to look out for) Gosling first goes all doey eyed then sets out to stake his claim on his son Jason.
Being penniless (he’s jacked his job in remember) he has to earn some dough to impress Jason’s mom and so begins a short and haphazard spree of bank robbery alongside doped up partner Robin (a star of the show turn by Ben Mendelsohn).
This inevitably ends up going wrong and introduces us to a new main character, the copper with a conscience, Avery, played by Bradley Cooper. Cooper is gradually emerging as a Hollywood A lister after his Oscar nomination for Silver Linings Playbook and The Hangover. And in this he is excellent; studied and calm as the stool pigeon at the centre of a police corruption ring. Bent cops? Who should we cast? Ladies and Gentlemen let’s invite Ray Liotta, the face of supreme evil, in for a brilliant cameo.
So unfolds what is almost like a second movie. One in which codes of morality, trust and integrity cement the movie’s philosophy. He neatly challenges our ideas of who the good guys and the bad guys are and this is what propels us into Act 3.
As if these grand themes and this strong narrative drive is not enough Cianfrance is not over. In the third reel he moves the action forward 15 years to show that what goes around comes around and Cooper and Gosling’s sons run into one another in unlikely circumstances. Now we really do start to question who, if anyone, can claim moral superiority.
It’s an ambitious movie mostly well directed but without the taughtness of Blue Valentine. Gosling and Cooper appeal greatly and between them have a great deal of screen time. Mendes slips in and out quietly and unremarkably and Liotta and Mendelsohn do their best to upstage the stars. Ultimately though, my feeling is that Cianfrance has bitten off a little more than he can reasonably expect to chew, which is a shame because there is much to commend about this movie. It certainly represents value for money and is recommended despite its obvious flaws.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, family, humour, life | Tags: fct, forth childrens theatre
Instead of doing my work this morning I made this instead. It’s an FCT in- joke but it made me laugh doing it. I hope you enjoy it.
I hope no-one takes offense. None intended.
Filed under: Arts, bbc, creativity, music | Tags: David Bowie, Life on Mars, Mick Rock, Mick Rock and David Bowie
This video, shot in 1973 by Mick Rock, is as good as anything you’ll see today. I hadn’t seen it myself until I watched the superb David Bowie documentary of Bowie on the BBC last week.
The song’s even better. Immense.
Filed under: Arts, books, creativity, movies | Tags: filth, irvine welsh, james mcavoy
When did you last see a film poster that had an “idea” in it.
James McAvoy going to extremes in Irvine Welsh’s Filth.
I love the career ladder made up of Cocaine.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, music | Tags: daft punk, disco, get lucky, nile rodgers
And with Nile Rodgers on guitar too.
Brilliant. This summer’s smash. And I’m seeing Nile Rodgers at Glastonbury too…
Me and my kids have tickets and it was worth the speculation.
The Rolling Stones headline on Saturday night. That will be a once in a lifetime experience.
But there’s much more than that. Portishead, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Elvis Costello, The Vaccines, Chase and Status, The XX, Tame Impala, The Foals, Chic, Tom Tom Club, I am Kloot, The Hives, The Orb, Jessie Ware, Crystal Castles, Martin Stevenson and the Daintees, Alt-J, PIL, Frightened Rabbit, Django Django, The Proclaimers, Martha Wainwright. I wanna see them all.
Filed under: Arts, creativity | Tags: architecture, art deco, Arts, best cinema in scotland?, boness, cinema, entertainment, scottish classic cinemas, the Hippodrome bo'ness
Tonight I finally got along to see a movie at The Hippodrome in Bo’ness. If you live anywhere within 20 miles of this magnificent establishment I urge you to make it your first choice cinema.
It is simply beautiful. All red velvet, art deco signage and great strip lights in the floor, not to mention the star spangled ceiling (an utter delight in itself).
At 102 years old it is the oldest purpose built cinema in the land but has been lovingly refurbished and kitted out with the latest digital technology.
The seats are comfortable.
It has, wait for it…a Balcony!
The ticket price is affordable (only £5.85). And they do Orange Wednesdays.
The drinks and ice creams are remarkably cheap. Wine and coffee for about a fiver.
The staff are charming.
There’s free parking
But the best thing is, it’s like you’ve gone back in time to how cinema ought to be.
The find of the year by far, so far.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, humour, liberal, life | Tags: Ben Lewin, catholic guilt, dignity, disability, disability in the movies, disabled sex, Helen Hunt, iron lung, John Hawkes, oscars, polio, quadriplegic, religion, religious barriers, sex before marraige, The Sessions, William H macy
This is a remarkable hidden gem of a movie directed with grace and understatement by Ben Lewin, a 67 year old director whose career has little in the way of highlights or recognition. Until now that is.
His main protagonists, John Hawkes who was Oscar nominated for Winter’s Bone, Helen Hunt (who won one for As Good as it Gets) and William H Macy (Fargo nomination) tell a story as touching as any you will ever see that tries to make sense of whether sex out of wedlock as a (disabled) Catholic can be tolerated by those of great faith.
The good news? It can.
What makes this trio of understated performances so remarkable is that they are all so extreme, yet constrained.
Firstly, John Hawkes (Mark) plays a 38 year old quadriplegic (a consequence of childhood polio), with a fine sense of humour, who lives 21 hours a day in an iron lung and desires nothing more than to have full penetrative sex and yet does not turn the role into a freakshow.
Secondly, Helen Hunt spends much of the movie completely naked (as brave as it gets at 49) teaching Mark how to suck her nipples effectively, perform passable cunnilingus and generally satisfy her and himself – she’s a sex therapist.
And thirdly, William H Macy plays a cool dude Catholic priest that assumes the role of God, granting Mark the dispensation to get his rocks off free from the guilt of mortal sin.
What’s more, the supporting cast all put in excellent and mostly touching shifts that add to the overall quality of the movie.
It’s in places hilarious (although Seth MacFarlane would hardly agree), breathtakingly taboo (without offending anyone – including the four pensioners sat behind us) and moving.
What makes it work so wonderfully is what it doesn’t do or say. Whilst issues surrounding morality must sit full square at the centre of the (based on true) story it’s not hammered home. It makes no judgement and that’s in no small part down to the skill of director Lewin.
Very few people have seen this movie, more’s the pity, and the screening we saw was achingly badly attended. Nonetheless it cost only $1m to make and grossed a modest (but profitable) $5m in the US. I think it’s a sleeper of potentially Sideways proportions that will, over time, make the funders very large returns as its absolute honesty and sincerity wins it advocates like me.
Anne Hathaway is unbettable for Best Supporting actress at this year’s big hooley and she is by a distance the best thing about Les Miserables, but it’s a cameo role. This, on the other hand, is a career defining moment for Hunt who would win every day in my book. And I may indeed have a small wager on her at 25/1.
Filed under: Arts, creativity | Tags: 9/11 history, afghanistan conflict, American politics, Jessica Chastain, Kathryn bigelow, modern history, osama bin laden, pakistan, torture, torture porn, UBL, water boarding, zero dark thirty
Jessica Chastain’s performance as “Agent” Maya is as restrained as Kathryn Bigelow’s direction of one of the most monumental moments in detective and military history.
It’s so restrained (as is the direction) that one almost thinks it’s for real.
I honestly can’t imagine how two men could have taken the story of UBL (Osama Bin Laden) being meticulously hunted down and killed and made it as restrained and yet still menacing as this absolute triumph of a movie. But Bigelow and Chastain do just that.
Chastain, hard as nails, yet soft as silk, throughout, carries the movie with so much ease it’s like she isn’t actually acting. She is miraculous. But only because Bigelow affords her the space to breathe, the edit to breathe, the whole idea to breathe with such subtlety that it’s almost as if there IS NO DIRECTOR.
Is this documentary or drama?
There’s been much made about the depiction of torture (especially water-boarding) in the first reel that it sounded to me like I was about to embark on a torture-porn outing. Believe none of that. This is no torture porn movie. The only porn is what inspired it. Yes, the beginning is uncomfortable, but it is considered, restrained and important in the storytelling.
For two hours this astonishing piece of film does next to nothing other than scratch away at the forensics of tracking down the most untrackable mass murderer in history before exploding into the dimmest lit, scariest half hour of action you’ll see in any action movie. And you know the outcome. Weird.
It IS a documentary really.
Character development is minimal and storytelling is at best sketchy, off camera, challenging to the viewer (but that’s what’s so involving about it).
It’s pindrop territory – I don’t think I’ve ever heard such a quiet cinema audience. Popcorn eating would have incited a riot in our multiplex.
James Gandolfini makes his second cameo performance this year in an Oscar nominated movie (after Argo) and it shows that he is politically connected and wise of late career choice. Soon, perhaps, we’ll see him in full-bodied, lead role political material.
Two hours in, the first bars of music creep into the soundtrack. The effect is electrifying. It almost immediately disappears before re-emerging in the credits. It’s that kinda film where music seems unimaginable, yet Alexandre Despal’s contribution is vital.
The final scene sees Chastain reflect on her achievement. Her tears were echoed by mine.
A monumental achievement in cinema.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, music | Tags: Beyonce, destiny's Child, superbowl
She certainly proves the point that she’s the best looking one in Destiny’s Child!
Filed under: Arts, creativity, movies | Tags: ang lee, bengal tiger, christianity, hindu, is there a god, life of pi, muslim, oscars richard parker, pi, religion
I'd be tempted to give life of Pi this score out of 3 (3.14159265 358979323846264338327950288419716939937510582097494459230781640 6286208998628034825342117067982148086513282306647093844609550582 23172535940812848111745028410270193852110555964462294895493038196 44288109756659334461284756482337867831652712019091456485669234603 48610454326648213393607260249141273724587006606315588174881520920 628292540917153643678925903600113305305488204665213841469519415116 09) but it so annoys me when people talk about giving 110% that I just can't do it. So, instead, I'll just have to settle for an old fashioned 9/10. Now, let's get this straight. Life of Pi has just shown that there is life left in 3D. It may be, on the whole, a gimmick but the exception can still prove the point. Only two movies have made the 3D entrance fee worth the extra IMHO, Avatar and this. It's a tough movie for bibliophiles to even want to see because the book is so magnificent (in my all time top ten probably) and many I've spoken to who love it equally are just downright scared that Ang Lee was going to blow it. The odds were strongly in favour of that happening because it's a pretty full on philosophical workout. So full credit has to go to Fox pictures for shelling out $120 million on the ultimate movie gamble. How Ang manages to retain the existential angst of the book AND make a blockbuster movie that holds the attention from start to finish (yes, including the pretty turgid first 100 pages) is not only anyone's guess but a cinematic achievement of considerable merit. It's the storytelling that wins the day but it's wrapped up in cinematography of the very highest order. So many times one gasps out loud at what's on screen that it's like a day out in a theme park. Surely the Oscar for this is certain to go to Claudio Miranda (Fight Club, Se7en, Zodiac, Benjamin Button). The acting is universally good but it's the tiger, Richard Parker, and his four legged companions that really steal the show. CGI has never, ever been this good. This might sound like it's the technology that carries the movie but don't think that. It's an honest, stunning exploration of the true meaning of life, religion and truth and it’s an absolute must see. I would not discount it winning best movie come early March and I certainly wouldn't grudge it. Ang Lee's finest hour.
Filed under: advertising, Arts, business, creativity | Tags: @CreativeEdin, brew-Lab, creative circles, Creative Edinburgh, Creative Industries in Edinburgh, Ed brooke, Edinburgh Creativity, Fi Milligan Rennie, Jannica Honey, mark gorman, mark gorman think hard, the leith agency, think hard
I bet you’d enjoy this. But you can’t, because you were too slow off the mark.
It’s the latest Creative Edinburgh event tonight on The Leith Agency’s Mary De Guise Barge.
As our membership grows (it’s well over 500 now) our events are getting more and more popular. That’s why this one’s sold out.
Keep an eye on the Creative Edinburgh website for our future evens (we’ve planned hosting and curating of over 50 already this year)
Filed under: Arts, creativity, music | Tags: debut album, Facing West, staveley, Staveley-Taylors, the staves, Watford music
The Staves (Watford sisters; The Staveley-Taylors) are an English folk rock trio. Their debut album was released in November and is attracting critical acclaim.
Check them out. This is the single on rotation on BBC6 Music.
Filed under: advertising, Arts, business, creativity, life | Tags: cannes, Chipotle TV ad, entertainment, expedia, Expedia lesbian TV ad, gaming, http www youtube, The Guardian 3 little Pigs, video
I’m looking at a lot of interesting advertising at the moment because I’m teaching a module at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s BA Digital Film and TV degree course.It’s required me to look for examples of old classics and new.
I’ve been struck by what’s winning the gongs these days.
Nothing, but nothing is short.
And a lot of it frankly isn’t really that good.
The most awarded ad in the world last year was this one for Canal +.
It’s OK. And it’s only 60″ (that’s short)
This is good mind. The Guardian’s 3 Little Pigs (120″)
This is great. It’s for Chipotle (and their sustainable/organic farming approach to sourcing – if you believe it) and takes a Coldplay song and covers it by Willie Nelson. It’s 2 minutes 20″ long.
Metro Trains from Melbourne have made this 3 minute monster. And it’s garnered 38million YouTube hits so far.
But this is the one. This is the absolute king of the pack. It’s for Expedia and it brought a tear to my sorry old eyes. It too is a beast weighing in at 3 minutes 20″
What though, happened to 30″ spots?
Filed under: Arts, creativity, movies | Tags: 1949 LA, gangster squad josh brolin, Ganster movie, la, ryan gosling, Sean Penn
Oh dear. Why did I go to see this when one could see very clearly that it was likely to be guff?
I know, it’s because my wife and daughter wanted to drool at Ryan Gosling. They needn’t have bothered.
But I can help you, dear reader, to avoid the same mistake. If you’re reading this after its theatre release and preparing for an evening viewing it on TV, don’t, watch a programme about paint drying instead.
Shot throughout as if it’s an Instagram it’s very obvious that style is more important than substance, yet Zombieland, Ruben Fleisher’s, 2009 movie debu,t was cracking and hilarious.
This is neither.
Why Sean Penn (who nearly pulls off the role of “ruthless mob king, Mickey Cohen” in 1949 LA) chose to take on this role is anyone’s guess. It’s certainly not a career high. and Ryan Gosling has finally blotted an almost pristine CV by camping it up as a very dodgy philanderer.
Avoid at all costs.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, humour, movies | Tags: african american slavery, black slaves, Django unchained movies, entertainment, ku klux klan, oscars, quentin Tarantino, Samuel L Jackson, spaghetti western
I’m not qualified to comment on the historical authenticity of Quentin Tarantino’s fully committed depiction of black American slavery in 1858 but I’m as qualified as anyone else to share with you why I, personally, think this is another significant contribution to one of the greatest movie directing careers of all time.
With Django (the D’s silent you know) Tarantino cements his position in the top 10.
This is epic, just as Kill Bill (1 and 2) was, and proves that long movies don’t have to be padded out indulgences. It grows in its impact with every scene and ends up a classic.
Spike Lee has problems with the depiction of slavery and I have to respect that as I, like Tarantino, am Caucasian. At times it does seem to mock the plight of America’s black slaves but I feel sure that Samuel L Jackson (virtually unrecognisable) and Jamie Foxx saw more than a wage in choosing to star in it and I’m sure too that the judges of the Black Reel Awards which have given it six nominations are qualified to judge it on its merits as opposed to its politics.
Although described as a (spaghetti) western this is really a movie about slavery and not since ‘Roots’ has African American slavery been so prominently featured on screen. Tarantino does not shy away from the subject matter or the vernacular of the time. “Nigger” is used over 100 times in the script and not just by the slaves. I had to refer to my copy of Filthy English: The How, Where, When and What of Everyday Swearing by Pete Silverton to establish whether or not MotherF@£$%er was currency in 1858 but there is evidence that points to its validity. Just as well, because Samuel L J can’t really get through a movie without saying it repeatedly and he does so again, liberally.
There’s an early scene in which predecessors of the Ku Klux Klan hunt down Jamie Foxx, the freed slave and “black man on a horse!” who is bounty hunting with ex Dentist, Dr King Schultz (played entirely idiosyncratically by Christoph Waltz), their depiction is so funny that one has to question whether or not it’s really acceptable to laugh so uproariously at a subject matter so taboo; but that’s Tarantino’s gift. It’s also his gift to spoof genres, mock convention (and history) mount lavish killing sprees and generally have a grand old time no matter the subject matter and that’s why we love him so.
Django is great fun, some say it’s too long but for me the movie simply got itself into a place (a little slowly I’d say) that fans of Tarantino would want to stay for hours.
Leonardo Di Caprio has not been this good since The Departed, (strangely not an Oscar nomination) and Jamie Foxx acquits himself well in a low-key, black Eastwood type performabnce. But it’s Waltz that dominates in the acting stakes and his Oscar nod is fair reward. There’s only one Chrisoph Waltz that’s for sure (and there’s plenty of it if you care to look – 101 acting roles to date to be precise.)
So, a little flawed (the start fails to quickly engage in gear) but unique and brilliant. Go see it and forget the politics. It’s a movie.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, movies, music, Rants | Tags: anne Hathaway, les mis, Les MIserables, Tom Hooper, Victor Hugo
I’ve seen Les Mis twice on stage. It’s too long. Fact.
But I was interested in what would happen on screen and hoped that Tom Hooper’s horribly fussy direction of the King’s Speech would not follow him into this. I hoped but my wish was unfulfilled.
Tom Hooper puts the blown into overblown in everything he does. The Damned United wasn’t a patch on the book, The King’s Speech is simply the most overrated movie of the past few years and this, well put it this way, if Anne Hathaway hadn’t been in it I’d have been asking for my money back.
Let’s deal with the positives first (shouldn’t take long).
Anne Hathaway’s performance, as Fantine, is mesmerising, especially in her death scene at the end of the first reel. It’s a shame because the movie dies with her. And it’s all the more remarkable that Hooper will have two Oscar winning performances under his belt from two lousy movies. As I said; remarkable.
In places (Hathaway’s death scene in particular) the hand held camera work with a LOT of focus pulling (necessary because of the narrow depth of field and low light) works magically. It’s incredibly intimate, yet at others it’s just plain annoying (and repetitive).
Next the sound. I could hear every lyric from start to finish which meant that, unlike the stage play, it was easy to follow the (turgid and unlikely) story easily.
But the sound is actually one of my biggest gripes. Yes it was brave, and in parts very good (Hathaway) to make the actors perform the numbers for real, but by focusing on clarity of audio the incidental sound had to be dropped with the result that almost the entire movie sounded like it had been recorded in a recording studio and consequently appeared entirely fake.
Now the rest of the bad news.
The sets are horrible. Entirely unconvincing from start to finish.
Hugh Jackman is unbearable to watch (his singing voice is unlistenable).
Russell Crowe is appalling, but not as bad as the double act that is Helena Bonham Carter (surely her worst performance ever) and Sacha Baron Cohen who just plain sucks.
Eddie Redmayne left me totally cold but I’m sure the ladies will like his boyish good looks. But nah. He sucks too.
The direction is mawkish in the extreme which makes the child parts nauseous and heavy handed.
I could go on but I don’t want to bore you and I know that nobody will like this review on IMDB because nobody likes critical reviews on IMDB. Ah well.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, football, humour, life, Scotland, sports, stories, Uncategorized | Tags: arthur seat, celtic fc, Chips'n'cheese, easter Road stadium, Edinburgh, Edinburgh View, Edinburgh's Greatest Football Team, Hibees, Hibernian FC, Ian McAteer, Leith, Sunshine on Leith, The Bhouys, the hoops, the union
Advertising supremo, Iain McAteer, of The Union was climbing Arthur Seat on a chill but not Arctic New Year’s day.
The hike was an attempt to wash the bitter taste of the defeat (and too much red wine) of his beloved Chips’n'cheese-eating, potato picking, football team to the (ex) purveyors of the beautiful game, the mighty Hibernian FC from his mouth.
He turned to take in the glorious view and was rewarded with this stunning vision.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, movies, stories | Tags: American Hostage crisis, Argo, Ben Affleck, Brian Cranston
Before today I honestly can’t think of anything I would have had to say about Ben Affleck, good or particularly bad. He’s one of those Hollywood A-Listers that just doesn’t feature on my radar. Dunno why, he’s been (starred) in enough half decent movies to make an impression. And a lot of turkeys. A journeyman pro I guess would be my description.
Not any more.
Because Ben Affleck can direct. Boy can he direct.
Argo is tight as a drum from start to finish, features one of the most suspenseful scenes (more of a reel than a scene) that I’ve ever seen and he commands the screen as the movie’s star in such a low key way that he’s almost not there. And yet he is. Resoundingly.
Argo is almost immaculately conceived, scripted, edited, sound-tracked and acted. There are laugh out loud moments and moments of such supreme tension you just can’t bear to watch. The resolution is extraordinarily moving for two reasons. It’s majestically underplayed and the music is perfectly pitched.
The ensemble cast of six hostages, Affleck, John Goodman (back on form with some right good lines), Brian Cranston (making a bid to be America’s oldest acting superstar), Alan Arkin (really? really is that Alan Arkin?) and a bunch of smaller parts play their parts universally well.
But this is all about Ben Affleck at the end of the day. His third director’s role proper has nabbed a Golden Globe nomination for best Movie, director, supporting actor (Arkin), and screenplay; of these surely Director is within range and maybe best movie.
Anyway, my advise is, go see it and make your own mind up because IMHO this is an outstanding movie only equaled by The Master and End of Watch in 2012 (that I’ve seen).
Everything that The Master lacks in plot terms Argo delivers in spades. Argo doesn’t have the impact of a Seymour Hoffman or Joaquin Pheonix performance but it is none the worse for it.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, humour, life | Tags: gay music, kate McGarrigal, Krystle warren, pop, rufus wainwright, teddy thomson, Usher Hall edinburgh
Jeana and I saw Rufus Wainwright at the Usher Hall last night and he was very good in parts. His piano based torch singing always hit the mark but the sound for his full band numbers was sometimes mixed a little to murkily losing the power of his vocals. Anyway the highlight of the evening was the performance of two Kate McGarrigal numbers by members of Wainwright’s backing band as a tribute to his departed mother.
One by the uniquely voiced Krystle Warren.
The other by the imperious Teddy Thomson (son of Richard and Linda).
The night ended in a Bacchanalian gay orgy involving members of the audience angels, death, Wainwright in a togo all lubed up and a singing sandwich. You had to be there. Terrific fun. For me this number was the highlight of Rufus’s set.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, politics | Tags: david ayer, end of watch, jake Gylenhall, la crimme scenre, michael pena, Studio canal
I wasn’t expecting all that much having turned up for a mid Monday afternoon showing of a cop movie by a director I didn’t know.
Mid November. The Auditorium was nearly full! I was taken aback. And then perhaps 2012′s movie of the year unfolded. (A good starting point was that it was Studio Canal funded. I always like that.)
What follows is 2 hours of engrossing cinema without peer this year. The relationship between Jake Gylenhall and Michael Pena has to be seen to be believed (it maybe even challenges that of Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquim Pheonix in the Master). It has similarities to The Master in that the plot is, at best, loose but it matters less here because one is so utterly absorbed in the unfolding relationship between the white and Latino “brothers” and “heroes” that Gylenhall and Pena become.
The movie is episodic. Each building the picture of two committed cops who live for the badge but have a life beyond it. And set in a horrifying community of black and Hispanic (specifically Mexican) warfare and bad Mutha’s. (If bad language offends you I’d give this movie a swift sidestep.)
Shot hand held, with a slightly ropey reasoning for this, it feels as real as a documentary and that’s really the strength behind it. Because you are drawn into the characters’ reality. A reality that revolves around a range of truly harrowing day to day high(low)lights to buddy chat that’s hilarious in a South Central LA that is scary. Real scary because the bad ass men (and women) in this movie are baaaad aaaaass.
It’s brilliantly directed from the off by David Ayer (better known as a writer) and the early scene in which Gylenhall and Pena cruise the streets of LA to the soundtrack, super-loud, of Public Enemy’s “Harder than you Think” really does set the scene.
Later, but early in the development, the boys do a raid on a house, seemingly innocent, the discovery (one of many) that follow actually chills the blood. It’s a jaw dropping moment. And one I won’t forget in a long time . And what’s more, it felt like you were there in the building with them.
This is great movie making. Completely shocking, utterly beguiling. Hard and yet soft. Loving yet hateful.
It’s 2012′s Drive without the gloss.
It’s a 9/10 must see.
If you dislike hand held camera work stay away.
If you dislike child led philosophy stay away.
If you dislike the American Dream stay away.
If you dislike fantasies stay away.
If you dislike originality stay away.
If you dislike cinema in which your brain needs to engage stay away.
If you think cinema is great art on occasion and can make a difference from time time to time see Beasts of the Southern Wild. (****the Oscars).
Filed under: Arts, creativity, humour, movies, music | Tags: (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), 007, adele, Ben Wishaw, bond, Bond 007, Bond Skyfall, daniel craig, james bond, Javier Bardem, Sam Mendes, Skyfall
To begin with I must state that I am NOT a Bond fan. But I have an open mind and of all the Bond movies I’ve seen in my time (many) I have to say that I thought Daniel Craig’s Casino Royale was probably my favourite. I chose not to see Quantum of Solace; a movie with a name as ridiculous as that had to be hiding something and it seems my gut feel was right given its poor reviews. But Skyfall seemed different. Certainly the advance reviews have been excellent and so I turned up on opening weekend willing to be impressed.
This is, by some margin, the finest Bond film I’ve ever seen. Although it has its faults (it’s a little too long) it scores points in nearly every department; the acting is universally excellent, The plot and script suitably overblown but flecked with humour and humanity throughout. Outrageous chases and set pieces (the rooftop motorbike chase just about winning price for most audacious chase scene I’ve ever seen).
But it’s what lies at the soul of this film (and it really does have a soul) is the cast. In particular we see the cloth lifted on what motivates Bond, his back story and in particular his upbringing. It’s this that starts to flesh out his (and more unexpectedly Javier Bardem’s) relationship with M who although as feisty as ever actually develops into quite a sympathetic and interesting subplot.
The film is excellently directed (by Sam Mendes!) with a theme (yes a Bond movie with a “theme”) about age and the battle between tradition and modernity running through it like a stick of rock (occasionally clunkily so). This allows the production team to have great fun with old Bond gadgetry (and music) alongside the very latest in technology – an obfuscated living data network being at its centrepiece which allows a new and ridiculously young looking (he’s actually 32) Q to be introduced in the shape of Ben Wishaw (Perfume).
But its Daniel Craig’s complete mastery of Bond as a character that is setting the movie industry into overdrive and not surprisingly. In the movie, in tune with the theme of age and aging, he’s almost not fit for purpose having “taken one for the team” possibly once too often. He’s on the verge of breakdown at the movie’s outset and takes the requisite, and to be expected, barrage of beatings as it unfolds, emerging at its denoument just about in one piece and ready for action with whatever lies in store in the next instalment. It’s an interesting dimension and works well with Judi Dench’s excellent central performance as M.
Craig is the complete Bond. Rugged, handsome, athletic, suave but with more steel than any since Connery and, to my mind, he’s a better actor than Mishter Cool himself.
As the face of not one but two major film franchises (The Girl with…) he’s solid gold and, for my money, worth every penny of it.
I also like Adele’s theme music.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, music | Tags: Alt J, barclaycard Mercury Prize, Django Django, Jesse Ware Ben howard, mercury prize, Richard Hawley
With The Mercury only a few days away here’s my form guide to the shortlist..
Alt-J – ‘An Awesome Wave’
Odds on favourite; surprisingly. It’s a good record but a bit geeky so I don’t think it will win. And anyway Django Django’s the better of the geek stuff.
Richard Hawley – ‘Standing On The Sky’s Edge’
Hawley’s best yet and a strong contender. Love it.
Plan B – ‘Ill Manors’
Not a favourite with the bookies but I think it has a real chance.
Sam Lee – ‘Ground Of Its Own’
Folking no chance.
Lianne La Havas – ‘Is Your Love Big Enough?’
A really nice soul record, but released on Nonesuch records in the US does not sound like a Mercury Prize winning combination to me.
Django Django – ‘Django Django’
The years best reciord and should win. I think it will.
The Maccabees – ‘Given To The Wild’
Much loved by Radio 6 but not the record buying public. I think not.
Ben Howard – ‘Every Kingdom’
Cack. Won’t win.
Jessie Ware – ‘Devotion’
A genuine outsider. Lovely record, consistent throughout. I give it a chance.
Roller Trio – ‘Roller Trio’
It’s Jazz. Need I say any more. I have nothing against jazz but the Mercury Prize does. Tokenism.
Field Music – ‘Plumb’
Not as good as their earlier work. I’d be surprised if this won.
Michael Kiwanuka – ‘Home Again’
Better than Ben Howard but pretty bland. I doubt very much if this will win.
So my shortlist is Django Django, Plan B, Richard Hawley and Jessie Ware. My money’s on the Djangoes with a touch on Hawley and Jessie.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, life, movies | Tags: Arts, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, entertainment, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Looper, Looper timeline, sci fi, transportation
Let’s get this straight. Looper is not, as many say, “the Matrix of the 21st Century” it’s “Sliding Doors with Guns.”.
It’s a clever attempt to play with the concept of ‘what might have been’ on a very grand scale (although, interestingly, not, as I was expecting , on a mind boggling scale).
It’s a big movie but it’s not one that, had it failed would bring the studio to its knees and I kind of liked that. Clocking in at $30,000 ain’t really that big a deal.
It’s set in 2047 in a now ragged USA with China having taken ascendancy in the world. I liked the fact that director and writer Rian Johnson (Brick) doesn’t turn it into Blade Runner but adds a few neat sci-fi tricks (like flying motorbikes). Loopers are “disposal men” of their future selves who are sent back from 2077 for, well disposal,. They are called Loopers because the film is all about time loops. 2044′s Loopers are disposed of 30 years hence (and they know it) by themselves hence “Closing the Loop”, but occasionally it goes wrong such as here where Joe (our Hero played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has to close the loop on himself (Old Joe played by Bruce Willis). But it all goes Pete Tong and so we now have two Joe’s on the go.
You can skip the next para if you’ve not seen the movie because it’s a spoiler.
Personally, my view is we have three because Cid, the child that young Joe encounters in the second half of the movie is, in my opinion, his younger self. Which makes the sex scene he has with Sara (Emily Blunt – Cid’s Mum) interesting because that means he’s having sex with his own mother.
OK, back to the review.
Young Cid (a remarkable performance by 5 year old Pierce Gagnon) has Telekinetic powers and a temper that makes Linda Blair look merely snippy in The Exorcist.
I could go on but won’t because there’s a lot of detail to consume.
Suffice to say it all pans out cleverly; the various loops are closed in perhaps unexpected ways and we are left with a movie that is clever, well acted, slick and genuinely original.
It’s a definite recommendation. 8/10.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, humour, life, music | Tags: glasto, glasto line, glastonbury, glastonbury line up announced
Credit to @TechnicallyRon on Twitter
Filed under: Arts, creativity, humour, movies | Tags: comedy, drama, entertainment, gaming, society, Ted
I’m not going to dwell on this .
Ted is so funny you actually have to look behind you to check if anyone else in the cinema is actually phoning the police to report you for having thoughts that are
c) socially unacceptable
The good news though is that between the bits where it is so funny that you should actually hand yourself in for treatment/councelling it’s really rather dull.
So as the film progresses you’re like “this is a ten man” to “this is a two man” (ah, only if you are sad as me that I think in IMDB mode at every movie I ever see.
So it’s like 10, 2, 10, 2, 2, 2, 9, 5, 10, 2, 2, 2, 10, 9, 2, 2, all the way through and the average of that is about 6 so I’ll give it a 7.
It’s really funny (but boring).
The “I can smell your wife’s pussy from here” by a Teddy Bear in a job interview gag is outstanding.
Filed under: Arts, creativity | Tags: desert island discs, entertainment, I light the fire, mongolian throat singing, throat singing, veronica Oucholin
I heard this “song” on Desert Island discs last week and I thought it was incredible. It is by a 12 year old Mongolian girl and is known as throat singing. See what you think.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, music | Tags: african music, Classica Orchestra, classical jazz, classical music, entertainment, fela kuti, jazz, world music
I discovered this record in Italy. It was produced there and that maybe explains why there are no reviews to be found in Google. But take it from me if you like African music you will surely love this classical/jazz take on the work of Fela Kuti.