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Posts under ‘On movies’

Redford, Hanks and Bullock fight it out alone

Posted by RDN under On movies on 4 January 2014. No comments.

Now we have had Redford, Hanks and Bullock battle it out, alone in a survival capsule. Yes, Sandra Bullock has George Clooney in tow for some of her trip, and Tom Hanks has some Somalis to deal with, and as a sort of company. But Captain Phillips casts the Somalis as a sort of buzzing pestilence, more a plague than a set of personalities; and George Clooney has a presence which is  absently jokey when it isn’t positively ghostly. Which is the winner?  More »

“Saving Mr Banks”: Disney cubed

Posted by RDN under Mind & body / On movies on 3 January 2014. No comments.

As Victoria Coren noted in her TV documentary, Saving Mr Banks is a moving film, and is so even if one supposes that it Disneyfies the creation of Mary Poppins the film, and probably its real creator Walt Disney and possibly the books on which it is based, and maybe even the books’ author. Layer upon layer indeed. More »

“Gravity”: *****, all in HD 3D

Posted by RDN under On movies on 8 November 2013. No comments.

This movie has some of the make-do-and-mend of Apollo 13, and much of the interiority of Castaway. It has the great merit of not being sci-fi: it has homelier messages. It is built on a very big scale but you seldom feel it is big or even loud for the sake of it. I thought it amazingly believable. It is also beautiful: the spacecraft’s parachute, especially, takes on a life of its own. The garrulous old-timer played by George Clooney is a proper old-style hero, and the sad, tough, clever scientist played by Sandra Bullock hardly ever shrieks or hyper-ventilates. More »

“Le Weekend”: a ho-hum *** movie

Posted by RDN under Mind & body / On movies on 31 October 2013. No comments.

I wanted to love Le Weekend. It had been discussed as not being a feel-good rom-com or Gerry-romp (even one as good as The Exotic Marigold Hotel, let alone as bad as Quartet), and wasn’t. It seemed likely to not make its middle-aged actresses shriek (as in Mama Mia and It’s Complicated), and it didn’t. But it was dangerously adolescent anyway…. More »

“Blue Jasmine” & others on the verge of breakdown

Posted by RDN under Mind & body / On movies on 25 October 2013. No comments.

Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine is a stronger film than most reviewers seem to allow. Indeed, it bears comparison with Girl Most Likely, of which more in a moment. Blue Jasmine has been criticised as being too Woody and not Woody enough. I’d say it is nicely not Woody-self-obsessed, or Woody-neurotic, or Woody-Jewish: it doesn’t channel Woody. But it is a convincing and frightening account of a woman’s decline, and might have been made by plenty of good directors, or written by plenty of good novelists. It is a particularly American theme, I think. More »

“Hannah Arendt”: a fine movie

Posted by RDN under Mind & body / On movies / Politics & campaigns on 23 October 2013. One comment.

This is tricky. I have spent  no  more than half an hour, ever, reading Hannah Arendt and none at all reading about the contemporary reaction to her “banality of evil” pieces in the New Yorker. Nothing daunted, I will risk riffing on the similarities between Hannah Arendt and Ayn Rand, partly because they were contemporaries; partly because both are the subject of bio-pics; but mostly because they seem to touch on the same verities. More »

Bob Marley enigmas & two new movies

Posted by RDN under Mind & body / On movies on 27 August 2013. No comments.

Kevin MacDonald’s  Marley (2012) and Esther Anderson & Gian Godoy’s Bob Marley: The making of a legend (2011) don’t really add a lot of new material to the Marley story, I imagine (speaking as an observant fan rather than an informed Marley-sleuth). But the passage of time and advances in two debates – about race and about globalisation – make it easier to discuss the sorts of things which have always lain a little beneath the surface in discussing the man. They would also have forced or encouraged change in Bob Marley himself. More »

“Le Havre” (2011): ****

Posted by RDN under Mind & body / On movies on 13 February 2013. No comments.

Watch out: this film is brilliant but you may pass on it on the basis that it is “charming”, “deeply humane”, “a glorious hymn to the struggles of the working man” and so on, as it is routinely blurbed by admirers. Le Havre is rather better than its fans and possibly even its creators wanted. More »

Margaret (2012): 5 star movie

Posted by RDN under On movies on 16 November 2012. No comments.

This is a marvellous movie with all the zippy conversational smarts of a better Woody Allen but some of the florid psychological glamour of an Almodóvar. This if possible trumps Juno. We meet probably the best ever portrayal of a teenager growing into her intelligence and feeling as she plunges into a proper nightmare of circumstance. Don’t worry, it’s a comic masterpiece too, even if there’s barely a belly-laugh in the whole 150 minutes. (The time flies by, contrary to reports that the film is overlong.) More »

“Killng Them Softly” (2012): Four star

Posted by RDN under On movies on 26 October 2012. No comments.

Lazy or abstracted, a bit of both, I hadn’t researched Killing Them Softly before I schlepped round to a late-evening screening in Belfast. It was a revelation. A little bit The Driver, and a little bit anything by Scorsese (but less posy) and somewhat Gomorrah. More »

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