CULTURE & CONVERSATION

Posts from the ‘Film’ category

Lunchbox

Fine cuisine

Some actors carry an entire movie on their shoulders. Irrfan Khan carries The Lunchbox on his face. His beautiful, supple, gentle, forlorn, intelligent, bereft face.

oldboy

Out of joint

FILM: OLDBOY, DIRECTED BY SPIKE LEE. Ever since rumours of a Hollywood remake of South Korean classic Oldboy surfaced – at one point mind-bogglingly involving the names Steven Spielberg and Will Smith – fans of the ferociously inventive thriller have reacted like its anti-hero Dae-Su on hearing his worst fears come true.

beauty

Dionysian melancholia

FILM: THE GREAT BEAUTY. From the moment that actor Toni Servillo enters the stage with a dastardly grin you know that Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty will be a wild and wonderful ride.

divine

Divine memories

FILM: I AM DIVINE. And there he was: Divine was wearing sweat pants, and hadn’t shaved (no photos, I was told). But he was full of vigour, fantastic anecdotes and ready to talk to me just as if I was Barbara Walters.

dark

Darkness abides

FILM: DARK LULLABIES. It is a search for answers as to how many German officers and administrators could contribute to the horrors of their jobs, while at home they were often pleasant, cultured family men with kind hearts.

Celtic tigers

Life’s A Breeze opened the 2014 season of my favourite film festival, Cinegael. Now in its 22nd year, it has shown a wonderful array of Irish related films…

A gentle powerhouse

The only Canadian feature film in the official selection of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, My Prairie Home was enthusiastically received in Park City, Utah. In…

Be mine

Her is the strangest confluence of films. On the one hand, it is a science fiction film that predicts the arrival of hyper-intelligent AI operating systems. On the other hand, it is a film that is paradoxically rooted in human emotions and the deeper core of our inner selves.

Who’s hustling who

Running strong off the success of both The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook, David O. Russell delivers another knock out success with American Hustle — loosely based on the notorious ABSCAM operation of the 1970s.

Out of the Furnace, Into the Mire

As we approach Christmas, the big Oscar contenders are beginning to trickle out. With all the buzz that surrounded Cooper’s last film, Crazy Heart, it’s obvious that Out of the Furnace was meant to be a tour de force follow up, garnering accolades and prestige. Unfortunely, despite stellar performances and skillful direction, a woefully broken screenplay leads to the film’s ultimate demise.

The golden ticket

Alexander Payne’s new film Nebraska is what American art-house cinema would look like if it was directed by Frank Capra. It is a perfect blend of aesthetic refinement and classic Hollywood sentiment which elevates its rural setting while grounding its characters with heart.

MontrealNewSkidsOnTheBlock

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

In 3-inch heels, a bustier and cufflinks, Plastic Patrick takes care of the play by play. Smack Daddy sends Miss Tea Maven to the floor in a backwards shove. But Suzy Hotrod breaks through the scrimmage and wins the day for the New York City Gotham Girls. The audience of thousands goes wild. Arch rival team New Skids on the Block have to wait another year to vie for the world championship. Welcome to roller derby.

No country for criminals

When we talk about the success or failure of a film, all too often we are implicating the strength of the script — the narrative choices made within the film and the effectiveness of the dialogue. In this auteur-driven age, we are apt to place the burden of responsibility on the shoulders of the director. However, most directors are simply craftsmen confined by the parameters of the script. In light of this, it is surprising that, aside from Charlie Kaufman and a precious few, screenwriters are a generally undervalued group. The Counselor is an excellent example of the difference a scriptwriter can have on a film.