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Posts under ‘On movies’

“Darkest Hour” is quite bad

Posted by RDN under Mind & body / On movies / Politics & campaigns on 26 January 2018. No comments.

The latest Darkest Hour movie is enjoyable and has high production values. It is, as lots of people say, rather a good flipside to the blockbuster Dunkirk. But whilst Dunkirk had merely a few absurdities amongst its conceits, Darkest Hour is, I declare, positively unethical in important parts of its story-telling.

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Jack Reacher: Mythic hero who travels by bus

Posted by RDN under Mind & body / On books / On movies on 17 September 2017. No comments.

This has been been the sunny season when I lay on a lounger and read something like three-quarters of the 20-some Jack Reacher thrillers produced by the Englishman in New York, Lee Child. I think Reacher is a rare – possibly unique – type in the detective thriller, though it is quite common in Marvel comics and movies. In written form it is a story from over 3,000 years ago. It deploys the epic manner in telling stories about a mythic, and partly divine, figure.

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The Jungle Book (2016 movie)

Posted by RDN under On movies on 24 April 2016. No comments.

This may well be a great movie: I know that I came away from it very willing to see it again soon. It had several jobs to do, and seemed to tick almost all the boxes. It is, perhaps first and foremost, a successful update of and homage to the previous Disney account, which has been loved by generations. Secondly, one supposes its makers wanted it to be a fair account of Rudyard Kipling’s original book, and it is that. Thirdly, it had to be worth making: that is, it had to do something which can be done now which could not be done before, and it does. The fourth ambition was expressed by one of the team who made it: the storytellers should not get in the way of the story. Again, this movie succeeds. More »

Mr Turner’s inaccuracies

Posted by RDN under On art / On movies on 17 January 2015. No comments.

Mike Leigh’s film of Turner’s later years is almost always lovely, occasionally very touching,  and often instructive. But some of its assumptions and presumptions are amazingly and even ruinously impertinent…… More »

Interstellar (vs Gravity)

Posted by RDN under Mind & body / On movies on 11 November 2014. One comment.

There’s a lot to like in Interstellar, and much of it has been caught by professional reviewers. I think there are several dimensions (oops) one needs to reckon with. One: is the story a convincing human – personal – drama? Two: is it a good morality tale? Three: is it a good cinematic theme park ride? Four: is its science robust? If you’ve the patience here’s my unpick of some of those, below the fold.

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Jessica Chastain’s “Salomé”

Posted by RDN under On movies / On theatre on 22 September 2014. No comments.

Al Pacino’s Salomé efforts are really wonderful and  I want to rattle on about all three: the film of the play; the documentary about the filming of the play; and the Stephen Fry Q&A on Sunday 21 September at the BFI. My main point is that Jessica Chastain was the star of all of them. More »

“Out of the Furnace”: *****

Posted by RDN under On movies on 7 March 2014. No comments.

Yes, I am sure Out of the Furnace is that good. I think most of the comment from its creators is very interesting, and reassuring in the sense that what they aspire to seems to be what one warms to and feels to have been delivered. The one big reservation one might have is also overcome… More »

“American Hustle”: ****

Posted by RDN under On movies on 3 February 2014. No comments.

Yes, it’s a doubtful four stars – a tentative, deniable accolade. But there was lots to like about this movie… More »

“Shady Lady” (2012): a brilliant low-key movie

Posted by RDN under Military Covenant / On movies on 25 January 2014. No comments.

This summer, I saw Shady Lady: Mission accomplished… running on empty at the Chichester Film Festival and thought it marvellous. I nabbed a DVD of the film on my way out, and some others from Fact Not Fiction Films, and settled on a stormy British winter afternoon to be transported to 1943 and the longest range bombing mission ever then attempted, from Darwin, to  Balikpapan, on the island of Borneo, 1300 miles away. More »

“The Railway Man”: Oddly unconvincing

Posted by RDN under Military Covenant / Mind & body / On movies on 17 January 2014. No comments.

Most middle-aged people with any sense of history have had plenty of opportunities to try to get to grips with the horrors of the Japanese exploitation of their prisoners of war. On the face of it, the extraordinary real-life story of Eric Lomax’s journey from victim to forgiveness would have made a wonderful film. But it hasn’t, I think…. More »

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