After all, it's just a ride….

Film

The Secret World Of Foley

Ever wondered what one of those strange sounding Foley artists are in a movie’s credits? What, how does an award winning short sound?


Baby Driver (2017) Trailer

New Edgar Wright, looks like he’s been gorging on a Walter Hill season. Some impressive looking stunts eh?


Malick Muses…..

Apologies for the quality but I think you fellow cinephiles will understand, that we are definitely in the midst of an end times scerario. I expect to see Pynchon on Fox news next week;


The Void (2017) Trailer

This has been slowly garnering some brutal buzz, as a modern Lovecraft interstellar eldritch horror in the vein of early Carpenter or Cronenberg. Pun intended;


 


Logan (2017)

logan1It’s a time weary, sobering thought that Huge Jackman has been playing the popular Marvel comic book character of Wolverine for 17 years. Through something like eight films, since the initial inception of this titanic cycle of millennium activated Superhero franchise movies that have dominated modern Hollywood cinema his cameo appearances (I can’t be bothered to research the specifics at this point, we have bigger prey to pursue) and starring roles have forged an indelible association between an actor and a vivid popular culture character, although I think he has managed to evade the typecasting that usually shadows such symbiosis. Being some sort of twisted  wreck I quite liked the last Wolverine picture, it worked as a molecular mustering of comic book yore, rather than an automatic feed of the franchise beast which director James Mangold has returned to for this serrated swan song that definitively closes this  curious cinematic cycle. That said I wasn’t particularly enamoured of this film from it’s previews, I like Jackman in the role that he has inhabited with a necessary ferocious intelligence for almost two decades, but since I have enjoyed previous issues and with time to kill before another exhausting stint at the BFI I thought I’d see what all the fuss is about. Bub.

logan2Good Galactus groaned grief true believers, what a sombre and glum film, where the marginalised and oppressed are yearning to flee America rather than seek their freedom under liberty’s enveloping wing, make of that what you will under the current Asmodeus attuned administration. Professor X (Patrick Stuart) is writhing in the middle stages of dementia, nursed by glum albino Caliban (Stephen Merchant, surprisingly effective) in a scorched Mexican industrial estate, complete with oppressive Border barricade, while Logan works as a Chauffeur to fund the acquisition of the black market pharmaceuticals that can dilute his mentors murderous mania. Logan has his own demons to grapple with, he’s drinking like a docker on a December pay-day, while his own healing power appears to be waning in what is subtly suggested as a 2029 future world where the mutant threat has been slowly extinguished via some slow, yet irrevocable epidemic.  The antagonists are engineered by a secretive government cabal known as The Reavers whom are intent on capturing their incendiary intellectual property in the form of Laura, an advanced future generation X-Weapon (Dafne Keen, deviously destructive) whose paths cross with Logan during a particularly clumsy screenwriting symbiosis. Prof X sees her as a potential saviour, Logan ain’t convinced and resists the initial mission, with the inevitable thawing of treatment….

logan3Once this future world is uncertainly established Logan cantors through a quest narrative, of reaching that elusive El Dorado sanctuary with the villains nipping at our heroes heels, so as such it is evidently a Western graced with a superhero simile, rather bluntly blasted through images of texts such as Shane and other traditionals of the Western genre grammar – a saving of the innocents, navigating new  moral and mortal pathways, an inevitable, saviour sacrifice along the pioneer path. This blunt force narrative trauma aside I did admire how the attention was focused on character and development rather than somersaulting a script through to the next set-piece carnage, and tellingly the villains are non-descript (this is a Marvel picture after all) as the emphasis is firmly placed on the dying of the light, with a new generation of mutants, of ‘others’ being shepherded to solace, and the sacrifice required by the current generation in achieving a new nirvana.  Still, Logan was however rather jagged and erratic in its storytelling in the early acts, a little uncertain and uncomfortable so I was much more exasperated than excited in seeing where this story – which instantly reminded me of one of those one shot What If Marvel series rather than canon cemented certainties – could do justice to these characters and their complex histories. Seeing a damaged, fractured Prof X and Wolverine engaged in a smaller, focused, daily domestic struggle is quite another experience than the usual world threatening melee of this genre, and curiously works far more emotionally due to its smaller intimacy.

logan4Being an R rated film – again kudos to Jackson, Mangold and the team who insisted on the more adult attuned algorithms which one assumes wouldn’t have melded with the studio until the international success of Deadpool – the movie is fairly ruthless on the impact of admantium claws on mere mortals, with all the beheadings, eviscerations and chaos soaking the carefully coloured set pieces like  a crimson chaffed grenade chain detonated in a charnel house. When little Wolverine gets to  strut her stuff, a genetically manufactured cyclone of aggression I was amused, with no lip service paid to the catastrophic carnage that her quest leaves in its wake – the young are understandably aggravated. Finally, there is one little touch, a little moment which was very nicely done, just a little adjustment which made me grin as it respectively mourns the symbolism of the past 17 years of character lore. Some UK Marvel fanatics have had their noses punched out of joint due to the lack of the post credit Marvel stinger which has been excised from the European cut – I didn’t see it either at this screening – but please, get a fucking life, as expressed through this picture, is too fucking short. Heck, I’m quite surprised I’ve wrangled an entire review out of this, I wasn’t particularly engaged through 65% of this movie, but as I’ve put this together I’m more appreciative of Logan’s ambition and final resolution of this phase of Marvel’s cultural continuum. Recommended, but not Xssential;


Deadpool 2 (2018) Teaser Trailer

More trailers as the film reviews continue to mount, I saw Logan today as a timekiller before a full day of further BFI activities – this is getting ridiculous and I really need to clear this backlog next week. Anyway, I surprisingly enjoyed the original so more of the same seems filthy fun;


Five Came Back (2017) Trailer

Beyond happy that they have produced a documentary of this fantastic book which I read a couple of years ago. It’s an apt reminder of what cinema can do in difficult times, and the influence the experience had upon the five when they returned to the industry is fascinating as a historical and artistic document – their work and the world they operated in was never the same;


Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 (2017) Trailer

There is clearly something in the water as the full trailers for this years nervous franchise holders are dropping thick and fast, and this looks several parsecs more entertaining that Alien 8. Still, not sure they had to crowbar in that fairly major spoiler;


Alien – Covenant (2017) Full Trailer

Jesus Christ on a xenomorph this is looking increasingly wretched – maybe like how Promethea had a great trailer and was bad, this has a bad trailer and is….good? Yeah, I know, I’m clutching at interstellar straws. The casting doesn’t help either, I just can’t take Danny McBride nor James Franco seriously in this universe, and nice to see the fate of one character spoiled already. …yes I’m there opening weekend ’cause its Alien, but it will be be arms firmly folded and legs crossed, awaiting to be impressed;

Oh, and that whole ‘post-credits-sting-action-beat’ technique thing can also go fuck a duck….


Academy Awards 2017 Results

osc17So here we are again dear reader, here as we approach the end of all things. As is my idiom I have made a faint gesture to catch as many of the nominees as possible, but haven’t mustered the effort to craft full reviews for all of the films. This is mostly due to a paralysing inertia concerning some of the films qualities, or lack thereof, and a slowly diminishing Scorsese sized mountain to climb plus a Leone lensed  masterpiece that I managed to see at the BFI this weekend. On to the nominees Lion was quite effective and powerful, mostly it emotionally gripped me, but it is quite manipulative and hamstrung with some terribly underwritten characters. Jackie was quite the oddity, I’ve read some conflicting reports but I quite liked it, it is one part history lesson and a glimpse of the ‘Camelot’ White House which can’t help resonate differently in 2017, while Portman’s poised performance was quite different from the style that actresses seem to craft these days. On the negative side Hacksaw Ridge was predictably horrendous, one part Hallmark movie of the week, aching for some perfect 20th century pastoral America which never existed before diving deep into war pornography, replete with all the clichés you could possibly imagine, further poisoned with some hilariously overwrought religious iconography. I missed Loving despite being a big fan of Jeff Nichols as it vanished from screens after a week. Alas, I couldn’t face Fences as it looks too much like filmed theatre to me, but I did manage some of the documentaries and the likes of Deepwater Horizon from the technical nominees, not a great film but certainty worthy of that sonic and CGI nod. So as always the rules were to bold the films I’ve seen, italic the films I think should have won, left underlined my predictions, and greened the actual winners. Yes, as I have the opportunity I am staying up this year to consume proceedings, so apologies in advance for ill formed opinions, speeeling erors,  and associated misconduct…..

osc201Here is La La Land as directed by Lynch. Was this as political as some other awards shows have been recently? I’m halfway through now  and this is as tepid a response to recent events as expected, not that the Academy has ever been renown for rocking the boat, and the host is as tepid as a puddle of a  puddle. The in memorial sequence was particularly brutal with Carrie Fisher and the John  Hurt inclusions really hitting home, welcome to 2017 and I’m sure more to depressingly come. Finally it’s been a mixed event, as always we know this is only a travesty maintained by the tedious procession of pomp and ceremony, mostly irreverent – but you can always applaud the winner guaranteed 40% up lift on their box office positions. So it goes….and I might have achieved my best prediction quota ever;

Best Picture

moon1

DID I GET IT RIGHT? No

It’s nearly 6Am here and London and I don’t even care who has won any more, what a clusterfuck of a fiasco of a joke, although at least the better film won out ….

Arrival
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight

Best Director

la-la-3

DID I GET IT RIGHT? YES

 Heh. Ridiculous of course. Yeah you’ve started something, and could do something but when I look at your achievements in comparison, well no. Thank god it wasn’t Mel though, and the fact that Gibson was even in this race is a travesty…..

Arrival – Denis Villeneuve
Hacksaw Ridge – Mel Gibson
La La Land – Damien Chazelle
Manchester by the Sea – Kenneth Lonergan
Moonlight – Barry Jenkins

Best Actor

casey

DID I GET IT RIGHT? YES

Yup, worthy of the celebration so good for him – a good tip and celebration of Manchester’s numerous achievements;

Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling – La La Land
Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington – Fences

Best Actress

la-la-1

DID I GET IT RIGHT? No

No, wrong. She was up for this but this simply wasn’t a performance of the breath and depth that deserves such kudos, especially when compared to her peers, especially Elle and those definitions which are unsurpassed.  I’ll look forward to see what else she can achieve, she was better in one scene of Birdman than the entiret of her peers but this….no….

Isabelle Huppert – Elle
Ruth Negga – Loving
Natalie Portman – Jackie
Emma Stone – La La Land
Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins

Best Supporting Actor

moon2

DID I GET IT RIGHT? NO

Pretty flat and gag free opening, although the repeated mantra of no-one seeing the films that have been nominated seems…odd. Good for Ali, he was a central crux of that film, in true supporting action fashion, and a good start for Moonlight, maybe …..

Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges –  Manchester by the Sea
Dev Patel – Lion
Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals

Best Supporting Actress

fences

DID I GET IT RIGHT? YES

Rylance nails his speech and projects his expected manner, he’s come a long way from that long resistance of being involved in any ‘Hollywood’ film over the past few decades. But back to the matter of hand, I haven’t seen the Viola film so cannot comment, but this celebration seems like another incremental step of progress and I look forward to seeing the film. And another win for me.

Viola Davis – Fences
Naomi Harris – Moonlight
Nicole Kidman – Lion
Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea

Best Adapted Screenplay

lion2

DID I GET IT RIGHT? NO

Superb, can’t fault this one as the winner is worthy;

Arrival
Fences
Hidden Figures
Lion
Moonlight

Best Original Screenplay

manch

DID I GET IT RIGHT? YES

Yes, and a hope that similar material will optioned to come….

Hell or High Water
La La Land
The Lobster
Manchester by the Sea
20th Century Women

Best Animated Feature Film

moana

DID I GET IT RIGHT? YES

Not exactly my specialised area so I’m happy with an educated guess. Awards are coming thick and fast now so it is gets tricky……

Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
My Life as a Zucchini
Zootopia
The Red Turtle

Best Cinematography

la-la-1

DID I GET IT RIGHT? YES

No, having seen Moonlight that was the real winner, the real marriage of space, culture and character, all in service of the final film. Still, I got lucky…

Arrival
La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Silence

Best Documentary Feature

oj

DID I GET IT RIGHT? YES

Ah, cool, to bring out a real hero, Catherine Johnson who was instrumental in NASA history. And my first hit……for BBC denizens its on iplayer I think so give it a watch as it moves beyond the obvious…..

Fire at Sea
I am Not Your Negro
Life, Animated
O.J. Made in America
13th Hour

Best Documentary Short Subject

DID I GET IT RIGHT? YES

Ah cool, and a it’s been brooding some momentum recently so I hope this helps…

Extremis
4.1 Miles
Joe’s Violin
Watani: My Homeland
The White Helmets

Best Original Score

lala.png

DID I GET IT RIGHT? YES

Should they even bother opening the envelope? Its 4:16 at this point and OK, oh, here’s Scarlett;

Jackie
La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Passengers

Best Original Song

la-la-5

DID I GET IT RIGHT? YES

As above, and now we are rocking before the arrival of the sad in memodioium sequence;

“Audition” – La La Land
“Can’t Stop the Feeling” – Trolls
“City of Stars” – La La Land
“The Empty Chair” – Jim: The James Foley Story
“How Far I’ll Go” – Moana

Best Foreign Language Film

edrmann

DID I GET IT RIGHT? NO

Well, this is shock. Evidently we must track this Salesman picture down. Still, the winners managed a solid speech. A succinct speech . Oh no, not fucking Sting….Jesus….

Land of Mine
A Man Called Ove
The Salesman
Tanna
Toni Erdmann

Best Animated Short Film

DID I GET IT RIGHT?  NO

Blind Vaysha
Borrowed Time
Pear Cider & Cigarettes
Pearl
Piper

Best Live Action Short Film

DID I GET IT RIGHT? NO

Yeah, great, whatever. There is a genuine lack of thunder at this point. Jesus I didn’t expect much but c’mon….

Ennemis Interieurs
La Femme et le TGV
Silent Nights
Sing
Timecode

Best Costume Design

jacks

DID I GET IT RIGHT? NO

And we are three for three, as in a immediate trilogy of failure –  . Colleen Attwood is great though, she has worked with some of the best (look her up, off the top of my head and without resorting to other sites she did has worked on some genuine classics) so I can’t complain too much;

Allied
Fantastic Beasts
Jackie
La La Land

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

suic

DID I GET IT RIGHT? NO

Suicide Squad, a dreadful film, can  capture this nod? Well, the art of making movies is not a effort without different dimensions, and the various elements arnt without succeeding independent of their peers. This is stil worst nominee, although the nominees weren’t exactly outstanding…

A Man Called Ove
Star Trek Beyond
Suicide Squad

Best Sound Editing

human

DID I GET IT RIGHT? YES

This  seems like a very stilted production, the Oscar show that is. But this is a superb result, so I’ll take it…hoping for the next one to complete the duo…..

Arrival
Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Sully

Best Sound Mixing

hack

DID I GET IT RIGHT? YES

Got it right…action and combat films usually do well in this category,  and so here we are. Terrible film though;

Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land/
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
14 hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi/ Oh yeah. Hmmmm

Best Film Editing

/ arrival

DID I GET IT RIGHT? NO

Dreadful, dreadful decision, losing the will to live at this point. No offence to the winner but what exactly did you manage to bring to the art form? Nothing than assembling a very, very poor film…;

Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Moonlight
La La Land

Best Production Design

hail

DID I GET IT RIGHT? YES

Yeah, sure, great. whatever,  I’m a little drunk and catching up Another map to the  old-school Hollywood vibe, so predictably great …

Arrival
Fantastic Beasts
Hail, Caesar!
La La Land/
Passengers//

Best Visual Effects

deep1

DID I GET IT RIGHT? NO

The Jungle Book was amazing I have to say, they really pushed the whole animal reproduction to another level. And nice to see a non SF film win for a change……

Deepwater Horizon
Doctor Strange
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story