Talking Movies

August 31, 2020

Tenet

Christopher Nolan’s much anticipated new film is an intricate and satisfying puzzle piece housed in a less satisfying blockbuster frame.

John David Washington is the protagonist who has a mysterious close shave with a bullet that seems to whip out of woodwork and away from him during a terrorist siege of the Kiev Opera House. Shortly thereafter Martin Donovan informs him that he has been recruited for an international mission involving Robert Pattinson’s British agent that will take them from Mumbai to London, Oslo to Tallin, and deep into the cold heart of Siberia trying to unravel the secrets of Kenneth Branagh’s vicious Russian oligarch arms dealer. An uneasy alliance forms with Branagh’s estranged wife Elizabeth Debicki, as Washington and Pattinson try to understand why an arms dealer is able to anticipate all their moves as if he already knew them, and why ‘inverted’ bullets may be the least of their worries as a wider more sinister conspiracy unfurls itself.

And so to ‘inversion’… Time travel, but not really time travel. If you liked cult Ethan Hawke flick Predestination then you will like this. If talk of closed loops, grandfather paradoxes, and the like makes your nose bleed then you will not like this. Nolan’s script features the same deeply satisfying feeling as Interstellar and Dunkirk when a piece of the puzzle slots into place and you understand that there was more going on than you apprehended first time around. But this satisfying feeling is surrounded by the scaffolding of a blockbuster that doesn’t truly stand tall when the scaffolding is kicked away. Crashing a large airplane into a building for real is great fun to watch, and the chase with cars driving inversely on a freeway is also entertaining, but there is no true knockout punch of a sequence.

Some of this is because this is less fun than Inception, almost as if Tom Hardy and JGL’s roles had been collapsed into one and Robert Pattinson (rediscovering his inner Cedric Diggory) couldn’t possibly deliver both those notes at once. Some of it is because this has less heart than Interstellar, with the Debicki/Branagh dynamic not humming as it ideally should as the emotional motor of the movie. Nolan regulars Hoyte van Hoytema and Nathan Crowley are present and correct but the largely Northern European settings are neither as crisply shot as one might expect nor as intriguingly designed; indeed the finale recalls the crumbling Russian industrial hellscape from Hobbs & Shaw. Jeffrey Kurland provides some notably sharp suits and elegant dresses for the ensemble, but Hans Zimmer’s replacement Ludwig Goransson struggles to impose himself with any truly memorable motifs.

Tenet does not reach the hoped for heights, but it is devilishly clever and always absorbing; one wonders if perhaps making it on a smaller scale, more noirish, less blockbusting, might have been wiser.

3.5/5

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/

August 4, 2019

Notes on Hobbs & Shaw

Fast & Furious spin-off Hobbs & Shaw was the film of the week much earlier today on Sunday Breakfast with Patrick Doyle.

The Rock and the Stath glittered in the ensemble of the Fast & Furious, but spun out on their own they are less stellar despite regular scriptwriter Chris Morgan being augmented by Drew Pearce. Morgan and Pearce tiresomely mine one vein of comedy for far too much of the movie, let us call it the grande cojones seam. It is a delight when Kevin Hart unexpectedly ends a protracted bout of this anatomical arguing with some character-based comedy, his Air Marshall is desperate to get back in the field with Special Forces and instantly tags the warring duo as spy and soldier. Except that it’s a trio – Vanessa Kirby is the Stath’s estranged MI6 agent sister, forced to go rogue after coming up against Idris Elba’s Black Superman. The casting of Statham and Kirby as siblings isn’t outside the realm of possibility, Vera and Taissa Farmiga prove that, but it makes their 1970s childhood flashbacks nonsensical.

Listen here:

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