Nocturnal Animals : Film Review

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Tom Ford’s long awaited follow up to A Single Man is a tale of heartbreak and revenge on an epic scale. Opulent, toxic and devastatingly dark, Nocturnal Animals’ double narrative unfurls with the slow-drip bitterness of the broken enmeshed with Ford’s mesmerising style, underpinned with a caustic derision of wealth and meaningless materialism.

For my full review in The London Economic see the link below:

Nocturnal Animals: Film Review

Ethel and Ernest – Film Review

 

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Based on the graphic novel by Raymond Briggs, Ethel and Ernest is a love song to his parents, to working class values and to a uniquely English way of life that belonged to a time now gone forever. Touching and deeply personal, the film follows the couple through their courtship in the 1920’s to their deaths in the 1970’s, with a backdrop of the tumultuous and rapidly transmogrifying twentieth century piercing through their suburban ebb and flow from the Great Depression and Second World War to technological inventions such as the car and television.

See the full review for The London Economic below:

Ethel and Ernest – Film Review

 

Snowden – London Film Festival Review

 

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No stranger to controversy, Oliver Stone continues his exploration of personal conflict enmeshed with the political in his latest film Snowden.

To read full review in The London Economic please see link below:

Snowden Review – London Film Festival

 

 

 

A United Kingdom Film Review

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At the London Film Festival press conference for  A United Kingdom, director Amma Asante said, that the story is told through ‘the prism of this couple’s deep love for each other’. This may go some way in explaining the film’s surprising levity in tone. But does this approach impact on the gravity of such a shameful episode in British history?

Based on the book, Colour Bar by Susan Williams, this true, love story between the heir to the throne of Bechuanaland (modern day Botswana) Seretse Khama (David Ayelowo) and English shipping clerk Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike) resulted in their ensnarement in post-war politics and the waning colonial carve-up intrigues in Africa.

From the outset a cavalcade of deceptions and manipulations are deployed by the British government in an attempt to prevent Ruth and Khama from marrying. When that fails, the might of the empire turns towards further dissimulation and statute, to block Khama’s succession to the thrown of Bechuanaland by enticing him out of his country, in order to banish him and impose direct rule. All this is gnawingly tense and nausea-inducing, and is perfectly pitched by Asante, as the pressure the couple are under is palpable and seemingly relentless. Their love and leadership of Bechuanaland poses by its very existence, a threat to neighbouring South Africa in the wake of apartheid and exposes the vested interest of the British government in supporting white South African supremacy.

Asante offsets the cold, calculations of the British with the warmth, humour and sweet intimacy between Ruth and Khama, tenderly portrayed by Pike and Oyewolo. This intricate oscillation works, revealing the source of the couple’s formidable strength in the face of extreme adversity. All this set against breathtaking African landscapes, filmed on location in Botswana, adds a captivating quality to the film.  There is a shift in tone however, in the film’s second half, where the sinister machinations of the British Government spill over, at times into light relief, with the British as pantomime villains in plumed attire, sipping sherry. When compared with Attenborough’s Gandhi, in its chilling handling of the brutal injustices of the fading might of the empire in India, the contrast couldn’t be more jarring.

The fault here is that satire of this sort is humorous in hindsight but detracts from what is, a truly remarkable David and Goliath story. Audiences do not need a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. The horrors of colonialism, the evil of ‘the man’, the corruption of power and the use of might in the face of change are well recorded and never more relevant than in our own culture of  globalisation and the invisible shifting sands of power . The beauty of this story is that Ruth and Khama, with the support of the people of this undeveloped country, were able to peacefully and intelligently confront the might of the British and win, forging ahead towards leading an independent and free democratic country. A United Kingdom whilst being enjoyable and well crafted, ultimately shies away from really confronting us with the shameful political reality which underpinned this powerful story.

A United Kingdom opens The 60th London Film Festival.

Sausage Party Review 3/4

 

 

 

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An edible, ballsy, irreverent, sex romp with a surprisingly philosophical core. If Sid Vicious did animated produce it would probably have looked something like this. But if you’re devoid of anarchic sensibilities you may well spontaneously combust, as NOTHING is sacred.

The full review and trailer can be found in The London Economic provided in the link below:

Sausage Party: Review

 

 

Harold and Maude Review (Ashby,1971) 4/4

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Who is to say what love is and what it should look like? And Hal Ashby’s vital Harold and Maude is a love story in the truest sense of the word. Encapsulating the spirit of the 60’s in essence at the turn of the decade, the film thrums along to the songs of Cat Stevens adding an intrinsic rhythm and levity akin to the rough poetry of Leonard Cohen’s soundtrack in McCabe and Mrs Miller of the same year. We dance along with it, but there is a universality to Harold and Maude, so often overlooked.

Harold (Bud Cort) is privileged and depressed.On the brink of manhood, materially he has it all. Emotionally – nothing. His mother is icy, narcissistic and conventional, embedded in the banality of wealth and the rituals of high society, seemingly lacking any maternal or let’s face it, human emotion whatsoever. Harold mocks her contemptuously with a series of increasingly theatrical suicide attempts, all delivered tonally with the surety of deadpan hilarity by Ashby. His increasing morbidity is assuaged by driving a hearse and attending funerals, which is where he meets Maude (Ruth Gordon), also a frequenter of random  funerals, though for altogether different reasons;  a lover of life in all its stages, she simply enjoys them. Maude latches onto him and bewildered, Harold goes along-at first. She’s a free spirit, irreverent to the laws of the land – she ‘borrows’ cars, smokes a Hookah and is a nude model; she’s also on the cusp of her 80th birthday. One thing’s for certain, Harold’s never met anyone like her and his life is irrevocably changed.She teaches Harold to ‘aim above morality’ as the path to enjoying a full life.  The miracle of Maude is infectious and as she touches the heart of Harold with her warmth and tenderness, an unfolding intimacy ensues; he begins to bloom, his pallid complexion takes on an altogether new hue as gentle laughter breaks out across his severe, unloved face.

Why does Maude reach out? A tattooed number on her arm reveals the roughest rite of passage towards her now unquenchable joie de vivre. Perhaps sensing this mournful young man’s suffering, she feels drawn and wants to know more. The outcome though, is a compassionate stealing of him, from his toxic, deadening world, replanting him in richer soil – as she does with a dying sapling on a polluted city street, for no other reason than to let it thrive and grow. But with Harold it’s reciprocal. As their intimacy deepens, so Maude transforms also: We have the privilege of seeing her through Harold’s eyes; an ageless, incandescently beautiful woman whom Harold loves. Their tenderness, at times disarming, envelops them and us, rippling out, as all love does, permeating their humble surroundings. A reality no one else can see.

And as all great loves must end, when the time comes for them to part Harold clings, saying: “I love you. I Love you” Maude joyfully answers: “Oh Harold, that’s wonderful. Go and love some more”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jupiter Ascending – Film Review

Queen bee: Mila Kunis is high and mighty in Jupiter Ascending.

“I have more in common with a dog than I do with you” Caine (Channing Tatum or should it be Canine?)

The blunder bus has arrived. There were EU food mountains less criminally wasteful than the Wachowski’s latest film, a lavish effrontery to the sci-fi genre and filmmaking in general. Epic both in length and the endurance it takes to sit through it, it’s a crushing disappointment from The Matrix team. Visually magnificent, the film is crafted with such filigree detailed perfection, that it is as scintillating to the eye as it is to the mind and spirit and what a spectacular betrayal to render it worthless due to a crassly written script, appalling cringe-worthy nonsense dialogue and the kind of clunky hammy acting indicative of actors who don’t believe the crap they’re saying either.

To read more rant written for The London Economic, click the link below:

http://www.thelondoneconomic.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=9984&action=edit