Talking Movies

January 27, 2019

Notes on Vice

Postmodern Dick Cheney biopic Vice was the film of the week much earlier today on Sunday Breakfast with Patrick Doyle.

Vice, perhaps fittingly, stands in relation to writer/director Adam McKay’s The Big Short as George Bush Jr stands in relation to Jeb Bush; not nearly as competent but more likely to be showered with unearned prizes. The Big Short was sprawling, but, despite following three storylines; Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling, Finn Wittrock and Brad Pitt, and Christian Bale; was surprisingly focused in explaining the housing bubble and credit crunch they were all betting on. You would think that following just one character, Dick Cheney, would make for a tighter movie. And you would be wrong. This is a ramshackle mess; exemplified by its opening in 1963, purposelessly jumping forward to 9/11, and then back to 1963 again, followed by opening credits that feel like they belong in an early 1970s crime movie, about 15 minutes in.  There’s another two hours to go after that conceit and McKay has here achieved the unenviable and baffling feat of making a film that is both far too long yet also doesn’t go into enough detail on anything.

Listen here:

Advertisements

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 10:40 pm

.

Miscellaneous Movie Musings: Part X

As the title suggests here are some short thoughts about the movies which aren’t quite substantial enough for each to merit an individual blog posting. What a week it’s been in the continuing cultural meltdown two tribes go to war turn it off and on again freakout of Trump’s America…

Playing a Trump Cad

I have recently fallen into the seductive but dangerous trap of watching the movies I recommend as TV choice for the week on Sunday Breakfast with Patrick Doyle. And so yet more of my free time enjoyably disappeared re-watching Speed for the first time in a while. As I mightily enjoyed Dennis Hopper’s villainy; whooping it up as he snarled Joss Whedon’s quotable dialogue at Keanu Reeves; and sat thru numerous TV spots for Christian Bale in Vice, I had a light-bulb moment. The perfect actor to play Donald Trump is the late, great Dennis Hopper. His performance in Speed, notably the comic timing, the sneering and taunting, along with notes from his sinister turn as the unpredictable, childishly explosive, sexually aggressive Frank in Blue Velvet, would provide an admirable palette for portraying President Trump in the Oval Office. Were it not for the fact that we are talking about the late, great Dennis Hopper. I’ve previously sighed over Michael Shannon’s comments about his aggressive lack of interest in playing Trump, even as he is happy to portray Guillermo Del Toro’s latest one-dimensional villain. Trump’s speeches are rarely played uninterrupted on Sky News for as long as Obama’s were, but one of the rare occasions they gave him some airtime I was taken aback at what it reminded me of – for all the world he was performing the opening monologue on a late night talk-show. His satirical invective was aimed at very different targets, but the madly free-wheeling style following the ebbs and flows of audience feedback was like an improv comedian ditching his script to go after the trending topics on Twitter. The ad hominem attacks of Trump aren’t so dissimilar to Colbert mocking Trump’s Yeti pubes or Meyers mocking a Trump’s aide receding hair. That bullying joy in cruelty, aligned with the obvious insecurities that drive Trump, seems like fertile ground for any actor. But especially for an actor who used his magic box of memories for any number of undesirables; determined to find motivations that made monsters someone whose skin he could inhabit.

 

The means defeat the ends: Part II

Back in September I pointed out the commercial shortfall of the Hobbit trilogy owing to the artistic shortcomings justified in the name of making it … commercial. It turns out that I took my eye off the ball since then and have only just noticed another example. Back in 2011 the studio was volubly unhappy with David Fincher spending an unconscionable 90 million dollars on making The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. They felt that for what it was, an R-rated thriller, it could have cost a lot less. An awful lot less, especially if directed by somebody else who wouldn’t shoot every scene about 60 damn times. So Fincher was thrown overboard, and with him Rooney Mara and Steve Zaillian (and possibly the non-committal Daniel Craig), and Fede Alvarez came onboard, but not, as initially assumed, Jane Levy. Instead Claire Foy took over as Lisbeth Salander, and, with the budget being watched like a hawk, the movie came in at only 43 million dollars. See, Fincher?! SEE??!! That’s what line-producing looks like. And then The Girl in the Spider’s Web only made 35.1 million dollars worldwide. As opposed to Fincher’s effort netting 232.6 million worldwide… Oops. So that’s a profit (sic) of 142.6 million dollars being replaced by a loss (sic) of 7.9 million dollars in the quest for greater profit. Once again the studio confused shaking the cash tree with cutting down the cash tree. As my sometime co-writer John Healy noted he wouldn’t have even have watched the first one if Fincher hadn’t been involved. The ends (making mucho money) justified the means (firing Fincher, Mara, Zaillian, and trimming runtime and budget). And, the ends, of making mucho money, were defeated by the means employed.

January 23, 2019

An Engineer Imagines headed to cinemas

An Engineer Imagines, a cinematic tribute revealing the monumental legacy of Peter Rice, has announced a national cinema release from March 1st.

Many of the world’s modern architectural treasures including the Sydney Opera House, the Lloyd’s Building in London, the Inverted Pyramid at the Louvre and the Pompidou Centre in Paris were made possible through the innovation of Irish engineer Peter Rice. A genius who stood in the shadow of architectural icons. Until now.

New Irish documentary An Engineer Imagines, traces Rice’s extraordinary life, from his humble beginnings at 52 Castle Road, Dundalk, through his studies at Queen’s University Belfast and on to London, Sydney, and Paris. Considered to be one of the most important engineers of the 20th century, Rice was awarded the Royal Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) shortly before his untimely and tragic death in 1992. Rice simultaneously pushed the boundaries of art and science to achieve the unimaginable. With their revolutionary use of materials and sometimes impossible-seeming structural elements, Rice’s buildings exposed and celebrated the structural elements that underpinned them. Directed by 2014 BAFTA Award-winning cinematographer Marcus Robinson, An Engineer Imagines is a visual celebration of a visionary designer. Boasting Robinson’s trademark, spectacular 35mm time-lapse photography, the film stunningly captures Rice’s inspiring creations, while the man himself is vividly brought to life by conversations with his family, collaborators, and his own writings.

Director Marcus Robinson describes the filmmaking process, “Filming and directing this homage to one of the world’s greatest structural engineers has been a moving and life-affirming experience. It is as though at every step of the way, we have been guided by the transcendent spirit of Peter Rice, brought to life by the loving words of those who knew him best and by the extraordinary buildings that bear his innovative touch.” Producer Brian Willis recalls seeing the exhibition which inspired the film, “I was drawn to the story of Peter Rice when I went to an exhibition celebrating his work back in 2013. I couldn’t believe that here was someone who was world-renowned in his field, working with the world’s top living architects, and I didn’t know about him. I thought, I should do something about that. This was a story that deserved recognition from a much wider audience.” Robert McCann Finn of Sentioar the distributor of the film commented “We are delighted to be working with Fine Point Films and Igloo Films in bringing Marcus’s incredible cinematic vision and craft to cinema audiences across Ireland. Peter is one of the forgotten cultural giants of Ireland’s modern history and we hope audiences and the wider public will be as mesmerised as we were when we first saw An Engineer Imagines.”

An Engineer Imagines will be on limited release in Irish cinemas 1st March.

The IFI will present an Opening Night Screening + Panel Discussion on 1st March. Tickets are available here.

QFT Belfast will present a Special Preview +Panel Discussion on 26th Feb with further screenings from 8th March.

January 20, 2019

Notes on Glass

M Night Shyamalan’s unorthodox sequel Glass was the film of the week early this morning on Sunday Breakfast with Patrick Doyle.

And an unorthodox but pithy and accurate review would be that Glass is never boring but is utterly pointless. Shyamalan has, after patient coaching by producer of our times Jason Blum, clearly got his confidence back. But that might not necessarily be a good thing. Lady in the Water after all was clearly the the work of a supremely confident auteur, a man in any way insecure would never stretch 30 minutes of material into a feature movie. The Happening, when the wheels really fell off the wagon, was when Shyamalan was clearly unsure of his material and this infected his actors; as I noted at the time, the difference between the strained marriages in Unbreakable and The Happening is what happens when the actors no longer believe what they’re saying because they sense the director no longer believes. That is not a problem here. The always wonderful Sarah Paulson commits with every ounce of her being to a very silly role in much the same manner that Maggie Gyllenhaal did in White House Down.

Listen here:

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 10:19 pm

,

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 10:19 pm

.

January 13, 2019

Notes on Stan & Ollie

Oscar-bait biopic Stan & Ollie was the film of the week much earlier today on Sunday Breakfast with Patrick Doyle.

This drama follows a faded Laurel & Hardy’s farewell tour of theatres in Britain and Ireland in the early 1950s. Steve Coogan nails the voice but not the look of Laurel, while John C Reilly simply vanishes as Oliver Hardy rides again in look and sound. And yet for a film about two comedians it isn’t really that funny… Perhaps it is the photocopy effect, that which stripped all emotion from the end of Star Trek: Into Darkness. Watching Reilly and Coogan pretend to be Laurel and Hardy doing their slapstick routines on stage that the audience knows from their films puts so many removes between the routine and its reception that it ceases to be funny. As a result the limelight is stolen by their promoter in England (Rufus Jones) who shamelessly makes them do publicity stunts for free without ever actually asking them, and Stan’s wife Ida (Nina Arianda) who blows thru the film like a force of nature spewing insults and repeatedly, pointedly refusing to sit beside said promoter in any venue.

Listen here:

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 9:37 pm

..

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fergal Casey @ 9:37 pm

,

Next Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.