Nigel Floyd rewatched
An extraordinary story, persuasively told. I'm not convinced that the music itself deserves the praise heaped upon it, but Rodriguez himself is a fascinating figure. Illuminating contributions, too, from those closest to him. Best seen knowing little or nothing about the subject matter.
Nigel Floyd rewatched
A gripping, emotionally engrossing and socially authentic 'sins of the fathers' drama from Derek Cianfrance, the writer/director of Blue Valentine.
A lot of people feel that the film's first act, which focuses on Ryan Golsing's carnival stunt rider, is by far the strongest, and that the film never recovers from the anti-climax. Watching it again, the second act, featuring Bradley Cooper's rookie cop, seems to em the strongest, in part because it cements and broadens, all the themes set-up by the first act. The third part of the film is the weakest, which centres on the sons of these two fathers, ad the way their fathers' sins are visited upon them, is undeniably the weakest. Yet it further explores the film's core theme in an intelligent and slightly surprising way. The resolution, in particular, makes some bold and unexpected choices.
Visual evidence of Ms Debicki's 1920s-style beauty here: edenliaothewomb.tumblr.com/post/47479867744/elizabeth-debicki-as-jordan-baker-for-baz
Me neither, Robbie. Oddly, the hair styles and make-up just don't suit her slightly pug-like face. Elizabeth Debicki, on the other hand, has the chiseled cheek bones that suit the flapper look. Her role as the tall, elegant golfer Jordan Baker is a star- making supporting turn: www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/15/elizabeth-debicki-great-gatsby_n_3276671.html?utm_hp_ref=books&ir=Books
The cinematic equivalent of a Jack Vettriano painting, with a psychological depth to match.
Tobey Maguire's voice-over (as Nick Carraway) almost saves it, but his and the other actors' stilted dialogue delivery, together with an insistence on spelling out or repeating every significant line, kills F Scott Fitzgerald's deathless prose stone dead.
Leonardo DiCaprio is adequate but insufficiently enigmatic as Gatsby; Carey Mulligan is not beautiful, brittle or vapid enough as Daisy; Joel Edgerton's Jack Buchanan is too one-dimensionally brutish.
The crucial scene in which Daisy in invited to tea at Nick's, so that Gatsby can see her again after five years of obsessive romantic yearning, is played as broad, almost farcical comedy. This is typical of the film's myriad misjudgements of tone and meaning.
Everything that should remain elusive and ambiguous is explained as if to an eight-year-old child (or an American multiplex audience). This destroys the book's pervasive sense of mystery and renders the entire cinematic project pointless.
The one saving grace is that the ubiquitous use of CGI imagery exacerbates the sense of physical and emotional artificiality.
3D? What 3D?
Reviews embargoed until day before UK release, 31st May.
Here's a link to the trailer: www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=h78L6eqif2o
Star rating is nominal. Full review to follow.
Mira Nair's adaptation of Mohsin Hamid's 2007 novel starring Riz Ahmed, Liev Schreiber, Kate Hudson and Om Puri.
My review for the Film 4 web site is here: www.film4.com/reviews/2012/the-reluctant-fundamentalist
My Time Out review of Rob Zombie's latest horror offering: www.timeout.com/london/film/the-lords-of-salem-2012
Although the Joss Whedon-scripted 'Cabin in the Woods' recently eviscerated the eponymous sub-genre, exposing its glistening innards and its inner workings, this re-boot of Sam Raimi's infamous 'video nasty' exhumes its disembowelled corpse. Yet despite abundant old school splatter, it's seldom frightening and oddly humourless. The only hint of the 1981 original's cartoon-ish sado-slapstick lays in sly glimpses of the implements (hypodermic needle, nail-gun, chain-saw) that will later pierce, puncture or tear through flesh and bone.
The first to be possessed by demons, unleashed by ill-advised readings from the Book of the Dead, is David's heroin-addicted sister Mia, who rapidly transforms from cold turkey to scalded demon. Caught up in maelstrom of gruesome horror and deep-rooted emotional tensions, David, his new girlfriend Natalie and Mia's old friends Eric and Olivia turn on one another as they battle to stay alive.
Eschewing CGI, Uruguayan director Fede Alvarez gleefully stages the scenes of over-the-top gore; yet the most stomach-turning moments are those of calculated self-mutilation: a tongue sliced in two, an infected arm messily severed with an electric carving knife.