Talking Movies

April 26, 2020

Cultivate the Interior Life

This very day last month Andrew Ferguson proclaimed in the Atlantic that the days of self-isolation would be springtime for introverts. That hasn’t quite happened.

I suppose it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise that extroverts really just can’t stop. And they can’t stop being enabled either. After all, it was not for nothing that Ferguson invoked Susan Cain’s seminal book Quiet:

“Introversion,” Cain wrote, “is now [considered] a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology.” Her book was a catalog of the ways in which society is designed around the pleasures and benefits of the extroverted: open floor plans in the workplace, team-building exercises everywhere, office calendars that let the boss and co-workers track your every move. Our culture’s heroes on the screen or the athletic field are always extroverts, our weirdos and deviants invariably portrayed as introverts”

If you want evidence of that last point just look at how SEAL Team portrayed it as a radical and counter-intuitive choice to recruit a quiet frogman into Bravo rather than yet another blustering alpha male, in order to avoid a total echo chamber of gung-ho decision-making. And yet the show then reversed itself within episodes to reveal said quiet frogmen as, well, a devious soul willing to throw a brother under the bus to save himself. Those sneaky introverts, so quiet…

The lockdown has done away with team building nonsense, made group meetings easy to escape by faux freezing, revealed the idiocy of open plan houses and endless commuting, and its aftermath may well also do in the idiocy of open plan offices as people demand walls, doors, and their own personal easily sanitised and secured space. And yet the ongoing war on introversion (which after reading Cain’s book I realised to my regret I had been complicit in as a tutor owing to grading guidelines) has not lost a step. You would think that being ordered to stay indoors, and being thrown back on their own internal resources, people might cultivate the interior life. Not a bit of it. Everything has to be shared, everything has to be performed for an imaginary audience, everything has to be broadcast to the world. This is the true pathology: Man alone with himself – desperately turns to social media and dances a quick step with his long-suffering dog, desperate for likes.

I thought about writing some content specifically for coronavirus – the usual drivel, appropriate movies to watch, long books to read, music to listen to – and decided not to. Calvin Coolidge said National Education Week did not need his imprimatur, it could get along just fine by itself.

March 22, 2020

You Have Been Listening To… : Part IV

As we hunker down and wait for the inevitable lockdown to finally be announced the radio show is on a slight hiatus. There has been a lack of reviews by me of new releases on 103.2 Dublin City FM this year, and what was personally an injury-enforced sabbatical from studio and cinema has now been made a general cinema sabbatical for all. But if you’re eager to explore the back catalogue here’s a round-up of links to editions of Sunday Breakfast with Patrick Doyle and a list of the films we discussed since our Christmas countdown, as the segments morphed into an A-Z of Great Moments in Film that attempts to tip the hat to films that have an anniversary of some kind in 2020.

 

December

Review of 2019 (Free Solo, Non-Fiction)

Review of 2019 (The Mule, Apollo 11)

 

January

Review of 2019 (Balloon) + That Was The 2010s

Preview of 2020 (Tenet, Fast & Furious 9, The French Dispatch, Bergman Island)

TV Choice Terminator 2 + Classic Thunderball

TV Choice American Made + Classic Rebecca

 

February

Great Moments in Film – Groundhog Day

Great Moments in Film – Spartacus

Great Moments in Film – All About Eve

 

March

Great Moments in Film – Back to the Future

Great Moments in Film – Cast Away

Great Moments in Film – Les Diaboliques

Great Moments in Film – The Empire Strikes Back

February 7, 2020

Miscellaneous Movie Musings: Part XXV

As the title suggests, so forth.

The Golden Age has passed

Alas, Kirk Douglas is dead. As plans for this week’s Sunday Breakfast with Patrick Doyle quickly change to pay tribute to the last great of Hollywood’s Golden Age something that’s occurred to me is just how vivid and indelible Kirk Douglas’ performances were. When I caught up with At Eternity’s Gate recently I kept faulting Willem Dafoe for not capturing Vincent Van Gogh in the way that Kirk Douglas did, though it had been over 20 years since I’d seen Lust for Life. When I finally saw My Darling Clementine a couple of years ago I kept inwardly (and occasionally outwardly to the exasperation of the Engineer) sighing that Victor Mature was not measuring up to the Platonic Ideal of the nervy, doomed live-wire Doc Holliday, which was of course Kirk Douglas in Gunfight at the OK Corral which I hadn’t seen for a decade.

January 20, 2020

That Was The 2010s

The first Sunday Breakfast with Patrick Doyle of 2020 unveiled the pick for best film of 2019 as well sober reflections on the changing meaning of cinema in the 2010s.

511ec57c414ae_gandalf_green

I remember when this was all forced perspective sets

If you regard The Dark Knight as being the last great film of the 1990s, owing to its use of CGI as building upon spectacular practical special effects shot in real locations, then there are few better indicators of how the 2010s shook itself free from the 1990s than comparing The Lord of the Rings with The Hobbit.  The Lord of the Rings began production in the 1990s and so had location shooting, armoury and costumes and prosthetics by the truckload, and huge miniatures to complement CGI on top of these practical special effects. The Hobbit did not, as the above picture shows.

As the decade wore on the voice that spoke up for practical effects disappeared. It was unusual when George Nolfi decided to build a men’s bathroom in a baseball stadium in The Adjustment Bureau rather than use a CGI backdrop for when Matt Damon and Emily Blunt use a magic fedora to transport from one location to another. By the time we got to the fiasco of Cats there was no left to ask – why can’t we just use make up and costumes like the stage show?

As cinema ceased to be photography of actors in real locations or dressed sets with practical effects to be projected on a big screen in the dark for a communal experience with an audience of strangers gathered for a two hour experience did the term cinema cease to exist in continuity with a century of development?

December 8, 2019

You Have Been Listening To… : Part III

It is time to discreetly begin to draw the curtains for Christmas. There will be no more reviews by me of new releases on 103.2 Dublin City FM this year. But here’s a round-up of links to the previous editions of Sunday Breakfast with Patrick Doyle and a list of the many films we discussed since June if you’re eager to explore the back catalogue.

JUNE

X-Men: Dark Phoenix + Classic Ghostbusters II + Classic The Matrix
https://www.mixcloud.com/patrickdoyle/9619-the-sunday-breakfast-show-with-patrick-doyle/
Balloon + TV Choice The Accountant + Classic Dr Strangelove
https://www.mixcloud.com/patrickdoyle/16619-the-sunday-breakfast-show-with-patrick-doyle/
Brightburn + TV Choice Dial M for Murder + Classic Mean Girls
https://www.mixcloud.com/patrickdoyle/23619-the-sunday-breakfast-show-with-patrick-doyle/
Yesterday + TV Choice Casino Royale + Classic Superman II
https://www.mixcloud.com/patrickdoyle/30619-the-sunday-breakfast-show-with-patrick-doyle/
JULY
Apollo 11 + TV Choice Bullitt + Classic Rear Window
https://www.mixcloud.com/patrickdoyle/7719-the-sunday-breakfast-show-with-patrick-doyle/
Stuber + TV Choice Jaws + Classic Ma Nuit Chez Maud
https://soundcloud.com/patrickseandoyle/the-sunday-breakfast-show-film-review-14719
The Current War + TV Choice Arrival + Classic Gone with the Wind
https://soundcloud.com/patrickseandoyle/the-sunday-breakfast-show-film-review
AUGUST
Hobbs & Shaw + TV Choice The Guest + Classic It Happened One Night
https://soundcloud.com/patrickseandoyle/the-sunday-breakfast-show-film-review-1
The Art of Racing in the Rain + TV Choice Patriots Day + Classic Phase IV
https://soundcloud.com/patrickseandoyle/talking-film-on-the-sunday-breakfast-show
Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood + TV Choice Dirty Harry + Classic Army of Shadows
https://soundcloud.com/patrickseandoyle/talking-film-on-the-sunday-breakfast-show-1
Pain and Glory + TV Choice White House Down + Classic Little Women

 SEPTEMBER

Crawl + TV Choice Gone Girl + Classic Whiskey Galore!
IT: Chapter 2 + TV Choice X-Men: Days of Future Past + Classic The Italian Job
https://soundcloud.com/patrickseandoyle/talking-film-on-the-sunday-breakfast-show-2
Extra Ordinary + TV Choice Batman Begins + Classic Ghostbusters
https://www.mixcloud.com/patrickdoyle/15919-the-sunday-breakfast-show-with-patrick-doyle/
Ad Astra + TV Choice Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me + Classic The Godfather: Part II
https://www.mixcloud.com/patrickdoyle/22919-the-sunday-breakfast-show-with-patrick-doyle/
Ready or Not + TV Choice L’Avenir + Classic Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
https://www.mixcloud.com/patrickdoyle/29919-the-sunday-breakfast-show-with-patrick-doyle/
OCTOBER
Joker + Judy + Classic White Heat
https://www.mixcloud.com/patrickdoyle/61019-the-sunday-breakfast-show-with-patrick-doyle/
Gemini Man + TV Choice Now You See Me + Classic Fight Club
Dark Lies the Island + TV Choice Good Night, and Good Luck + Classic Crimes & Misdemeanours
Countdown + TV Choice The Shallows + Classic Them!
https://www.mixcloud.com/patrickdoyle/the-halloween-show-with-patrick-doyle/
NOVEMBER
Doctor Sleep + TV Choice Kingsman: The Secret Service + Classic Girl, Interrupted
https://www.mixcloud.com/patrickdoyle/101119-the-sunday-breakfast-show/
Le Mans ’66 + TV Choice Funeral in Berlin + Classic Rio Bravo
DECEMBER
Marriage Story + TV Choice World War Z + Classic Field of Dreams
https://www.mixcloud.com/patrickdoyle/

Notes on Marriage Story

Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story was the catch-up film of the week much earlier today on Sunday Breakfast with Patrick Doyle.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Michelle Quance/VARIETY/Shutterstock (10404629aa)
Noah Baumbach and Adam Driver
Variety Studio at Toronto International Film Festival, Presented by AT&T, Day 3, Canada – 08 Sep 2019

Adam Driver’s fourth collaboration with Baumbach this decade is a film that is very good, and yet also very hard to recommend. It is a film which will stay with you, from the unusual narrated opening montages, to Driver’s astonishing one-take delivery of a Stephen Sondheim song, to the absurdity of a court appointed observer silently judging a parent without ever having observed how parents handle raising their children. When it is funny it is hilarious, but the emotion and financial agony of a divorce is represented in excruciating detail where throwaway comments are weaponised and Driver’s character ends up accepting the fiction that he has always lived in LA when he has never lived in LA because that’s the narrative the court wants to hear.

Listen here:

November 17, 2019

Notes on Le Mans ’66

Le Mans ’66 was the film of the week much earlier today on Sunday Breakfast with Patrick Doyle.

A more accurate title would be The Road to Le Mans ’66 and in America rather than Ford v Ferrari it should be Ford Middle Management v Shelby Racing.

Le Mans ’66 starts promisingly with a startling recreation of racing Le Mans at night, mist obscuring a dark country road interspersed with fast cars being handled recklessly. But at 2 hours 34 minutes this is more accurately The Road to Le Mans ’66 as it is a good 1 hour and 42 minutes into the film before Bale sets foot in France. The script by the Brothers Butterworth and Jason Keller is fairly rambling, and leaves a distinctly bitter taste in the mouth after the epic run time. Bale’s performance is a curate’s egg: the showy weight loss, the Brummie accent that frequently hits Liverpool, the nervous tics and arrogant mouthing off like Liam Gallagher crossed with Bale’s meth-head in The Fighter. His quietest moments are most effective, so you wonder why Mangold sanctioned this way of playing Miles.

Damon is on far surer ground as Shelby, a man continually trying to find his footing as the world keeps changing on him. Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders devolve into generic Zimmer for the finale at Le Mans, but prior to that provide an interesting score inflected with the jazz of the time; with numerous delicate touches of rich double bass and whispering drums. Mangold’s semi-regular cinematographer Phedon Papamichael provides some dizzying shots of high-paced vehicular mayhem, but you yearn for an artsy long-take from a low-mounted camera to really capture the feel of the perfect 3:33 lap so often mentioned. Ultimately this isn’t really Ford v Ferrari, so much as a battle of wills between talented people who are experts in their field and just need money versus people who are complete idiots but for egregious reasons have money.

Listen here:

November 10, 2019

Notes on Doctor Sleep

Doctor Sleep, the very belated sequel to The Shining, was the catch-up film of the week much earlier today on Sunday Breakfast with Patrick Doyle.

Rising horror maestro Mike Flanagan attempts to reconcile the book of The Shining with the movie of The Shining while at the same time making a sequel that is nothing like The Shining. No wonder this is 2 hours 30 minutes. And yet it is above all things a leisurely movie. If it were better one would compare it to how David Fincher let The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo breathe by burrowing into character and mystery. But such a comparison is unearned, instead there is a more apt (and dreaded) comparison to Ready Player One. Spielberg recreated the Overlook Hotel in CGI, and Flanagan resurrects a gargantuan set, but in both cases once the initial thrill wears off you realise you are essentially on a ride at a nostalgia theme park – the recognition is all, nothing of great pith or moment or heavens preserve us originality is going to happen here. Besides which Doctor Sleep is not very scary for most of its running time, it’s perfectly agreeable but as it goes nowhere goodwill evaporates afterward.

Listen here:

October 31, 2019

Notes on Countdown

Countdown was the film of the week for a special PG-13 horror Hallowe’en edition of Sunday Breakfast with Patrick Doyle.

It’s almost hard to believe that Countdown wasn’t produced by Jason Blum. There is a certain Happy Death Day quality to proceedings, although this is far darker in tone; pushing the PG-13 rating to the limit with its demon CGI FX. The cold open certainly puts one in mind of Scream, sketching in the plot and tone of the film with great economy. The dread it generates is replicated numerous times before it starts to lose its effectiveness. Meanwhile Elizabeth Lail continues the odd flashback vibe as she seems to be channelling Kellie Martin’s ER role.

Listen here:

 

October 20, 2019

Notes on Dark Lies the Island

Dark Lies the Island was the Irish film of the week much earlier today on Sunday Breakfast with Patrick Doyle.

A Film with me in it director Ian Fitzgibbon teams up with author Kevin Barry for a feature film spun out from characters in Barry’s short story collections Dark Lies the Island and There Are Little Kingdoms. A top Irish cast is assembled for this tale of family feuds and criminal mysteries in the Northwest. The fictional town of Dromord is presided over by Daddy Mannion (Pat Shortt), and the inhabitants have a nasty habit of chucking themselves in the lake because of existential despair. Daddy’s wife Sarah (Charlie Murphy) is worried that her alienated daughter Saoirse may be next in line for this. But as she continues an affair with her step-son Martin (Moe Dunford), while continuing to care for her ex-boyfriend, her other step-son Doggy (Peter Coonan), it may be less a question of who throws themselves into the lake than who gets thrown into it to suffer the green bloat.

Listen here:

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