23/09/18 Filed in: Cinema
It's always good to watch a film that breaks new ground, in that the story here is told exclusively through the screens of mobile devices and computers. This, I believe, may be a first for cinema. The film itself is gripping, although if it had been filmed conventionally probably wouldn't be regarded as anything other than a competent thriller.
As somebody who has been into computing since the early 80s the approach was particularly interesting. I watched the early flashbacks through the screen of Windows XP and then name-checked the newer technology and apps as the story moved forward to the present day. After a while you can easily forget that you're seeing everything as a form of voyeurism. Unless of course your nerd factor is actively tuned to the technology, judging the veracity of what you're watching in terms of your own knowledge of the subject.
08/09/18 Filed in: Cinema
An African American cop infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s is hard to believe, but this is the plot of this film from Spike Lee. Ron Stallworth always wanted to be a cop, so he applies to the all-white Colorado Springs police force and convinces his interviewers to take him on, beautifully coiffed afro and all. His inauspicious start in the records archive soon starts to demoralise him, so he requests a transfer to the detectives. At first denied (surprise, surprise!), an opportunity arises when the department wants somebody to go under cover at a meeting being addressed by Kwame Ture, a national civil rights leader. This goes well, and also introduces Ron to Patrice Dumas, whose afro outdoes Ron's. She's president of the black students' union and becomes Ron's ongoing love interest.
Sitting with the detectives, and flush with his success at the civil rights rally, Ron spots an advert from the Ku Klux Klan for new members. So he phones the number and speaks to Walter, convincing him of his anti-black credentials. A meeting is arranged. Of course Ron can't go, for obvious reasons, but Flip Zimmerman, one of his fellow detectives, agrees to do the 'meetings', while Ron handles the telephone conversations. The fact that their voices are different, and that Zimmerman is a non-practising Jew, making him as much a target of the Klan as Ron, just adds to the mix of tension and humour.
08/09/18 Filed in: Amazon Prime
Although I’m including this as a French film, it is actually an Italian production set on Sicily. The two lead female actors are, however, French, and the dialogue shifts seamlessly between French and Italian depending on who is present in the scene.
Juliette Binoche’s Anna is mourning the loss of her son, Giuseppe, as we witness the sombre religious rites and a house blacked out from daylight with mirrors covered. She receives a call from Giuseppe’s girlfriend, Jeanne, who is due to visit, but she doesn’t tell her about Giuseppe.
Jeanne arrives while family members are still present, and is clearly confused by what she sees. At first Anna doesn’t want to see her, but when she does she says that she has just lost her brother. One gets the feeling that Anna sees Jeanne as a continuing link with her son, there being more than a touch of supernatural about this film.
26/08/18 Filed in: Cinema
Denzil Washington stars in this sequel to the 2014 adaptation of an 80s TV series. I enjoyed the earlier film and it must be said that this latest story is cast in very much the same vein. Critics reviews haven't been very favourable but it seems that audiences have been more inclined to have enjoyed what they saw. Denzil Washington is of course a big draw and despite arguably being too old to do what his screen persona Robert McCall does, the credibility factor doesn't seem to dissuade his fans.
As with many action films, the opening sequence has little to do with the ultimate plot, it being an introduction to McCall's penchant for taking up just causes on behalf of people with whom he has but a casual acquaintance. On this occasion it's the local bookseller, whose daughter has been abducted by her father. Cue the interior of a Turkish train, with McCall lightly disguised as some sort of religious elder having a conversation with the aforesaid father, as three mean looking henchmen sit in the background. We all know what's going to happen as McCall sets his watch timer to zero.
16/08/18 Filed in: Cinema
I didn't see the original Ant-Man film and am far from up to date with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so some of the plot references were no doubt lost on me. It appears that Ant-Man didn't emerge from Captain America: Civil War exactly smelling of roses, and he is constantly reminded of this during the film. His previous bad judgement has, however, resulted in him, as his normal persona Scott Lang, being held under house arrest with an electronic tag, where he seems quite content, especially when playing with his daughter Cassie. And, what's more, he only has days to go before the tag will be removed.
Enter Dr Hank Pym, or to be more precise, his daughter Hope, aka The Wasp. Pym is a scientist at the forefront of quantum physics, which those of you who saw the previous film probably already know. He and his wife, Janet, were pioneers on the ant-person scene, and in one 'save-the-world' exploit Janet reduced herself into the sub-molecular world and consequently became trapped in the sub-atomic quantum realm. Back to Scott, who has a very vivid dream featuring both Janet and a young Hope. Pym and Hope recognise this as possible quantum entanglement (reading up on quantum physics may help you here) between Scott and Janet, proving that she is still alive. So Wasp kidnaps Scott, who is far from happy as it could violate his parole. But Scott and Hope have a bit of a thing going, so he's probably not totally unhappy.
13/08/18 Filed in: Amazon Prime
This film is categorised as a comedy, and for the first half one can believe it is. But as things progress it becomes very cynical and while comic elements remain, the unfolding events are far from funny. It is based quite closely on the novel Les Bottes Rouge by Franz Bartelt.
The title is a play on words from the title of the poem ‘Le Dormeur du val’, penned by Arthur Rimbaud in 1870. Rimbaud was born in Charleville-Mézières, a town on the River Meuse close to the Belgian border and the setting for this film. The film’s director, Manual Sanchez, was inspired by this poem, and another by Rimbaud entitled Ophélie, and you will see the clear influence of the latter from the image above.
08/08/18 Filed in: Cinema
The latest Mission Impossible, which is number 6 in the series, certainly doesn't disappoint. In fact it could be the best to date. Tom Cruise, as Ethan Hunt, teams up with Luther and Benji to save the world from the Apostles, a group reformed from the remnants of the Syndicate following Hunt's capture of Solomon Lane. Isla Faust is also here, of course, but on this occasion she's not actually with the team. Her mission is somewhat different, and also so secret as to be kept from Ethan.
The mission is also complicated by CIA chief Erika Stone's insistance that one of her operatives, August Walker, joins the IMF team. This is ostensibly because in the opening sequence of the film we see Ethan missing the opportunity of recovering three plutonium-filled capsules because he put the life of Luther above that of the mission. Walker, we are assured, would not have been so sentimental.
18/07/18 Filed in: Cinema
We saw the first Incredibles film back in 2004 and, besides enjoying it immensely, we were amused that the two heroes, Bob and Helen, shared the same names as us. Naturally with the release of the sequel we had to see it and we went last Friday on its release date.
Superheroes have been made illegal, or at least their superhero activities have. So when Bob and Helen leap into action to stop the Underminer robbing the city bank, causing an immense amount of collateral damage in the process, the government shuts down the Superhero Relocation Program, leaving them and their three children without financial assistance. Their superhero friend, Lucius Best (Frozone) tells them about an offer he's received from Winston Deavor, a super-rich superhero fan. Deavor's idea is to arrange a publicity stunt that will rekindle the public's support for Supers.
12/07/18 Filed in: Amazon Prime
Not to be confused with the 2000 film of the same name starring Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche, this is in fact the story of Rafael Padilla, a Cuban born negro who became a celebrated clown in Paris at the turn of the 19th Century. Omar Sy plays the clown Chocolat, a name he comes to despise because he finds it denigrating. But ,unfortunately for him, the attitudes of the time towards coloured people were unlikely to change simply because he rejected his circus name.
The makers of this film have significantly changed some of the historical details but the thrust of the story remains true. In his association with the clown George Foottit, a Parisian star, the duo become great favourites with audiences. Chocolat is Foottit's knockabout sidekick, who endures his somewhat demeaning role with a smile. Until, that is, he starts to resent his treatment while at the same time aspiring to greater things, such as playing Othello! But are the Paris audiences ready for this?
27/06/18 Filed in: DVD
This film didn't appear at our Cineworld on its release, so we had to wait for the DVD. Helen has a keen interest in couture and we both recognise the brilliance of Daniel Day-Lewis in the way he completely inhabits the characters that he plays. Added to this were some extremely strong reviews, although it probably wouldn't be to everybody's taste.
Day-Lewis plays Reynolds Woodcock, who in 1954 London creates haute-couture for the select few who can afford it. A perfectionist, he is fastidious and totally absorbed in his craft as he manages The House of Woodcock. He is helped by his sister, Cyril, who often acts as a mediator at times of his peak irascibility. It seems that women pass through his life, providing inspiration and companionship, but he remains a confirmed bachelor, believing that marriage would inhibit his creativity.