Talking Movies

January 19, 2020

Top 10 Films of 2019

10) Velvet Buzzsaw

Bad art kills people

Bad art reviews kill people

Or maybe it’s both

9) Nomad

Bruce Chatwin: A life

People, places, and writings

By his friend Werner

7) Shaft

Sam L is the man!

Richard Roundtree is the man!

So much fine hokum!

7) Ready or Not

Meet the in-laws, dear

The cost of losing is dear

Fun for all the fam-

6) A Private War

War correspondent

She must seek and speak the truth

A Greek tragedy

5) Free Solo

Alex can’t look down

Cameraman can’t look up

We can’t look away

4) Non-Fiction

Assayas returns

to skewer pretension and

patch some broken hearts

3) The Mule

Clint’s OAP Mule

Safely outruns the police

And  gives them sage words

2) Apollo 11

Just NASA footage

Cinema verite set

to soaring synth score

1) Balloon

Stasi Kretschmann hunts

daring young East Germans bent

on hot air escape

August 25, 2019

So tonight I’m going to party like it’s 1999

It’s now twenty years since I passed on the Pierce Brosnan remake in the cinema because I’d recently seen and not loved the Steve McQueen original, and because I found it disquietingly salacious how much of the publicity focused on fortysomething Rene Russo’s bare breasts.

Having recently got round to watching it I was struck by how I would never have thought the director was John McTiernan, above all because of the boring opening to get to what we already know. It strikes me that this film suffers from this more than anything else I can recall, and I think there might be three reasons for that. It is a remake so we all know that Mr Crown is a dilettante criminal. It is clear from the trailer that Mr Crown is a dilettante criminal, that is the reason to see Brosnan play the role with his customary insouciance. It takes damn near twenty-five minutes to reveal that Mr Crown is a dilettante criminal, that is too long in a film under two hours to faff about structurally on something the audience already knows twice over.

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