The Revenant

The utter domination of the male gaze over Hollywood.

This film is a convulsion of violence embedded in great natural beauty and accurately portrays the birth of a nation.

The great struggle for money, life and space is played out by groups of men: European and American colonisers and Native American tribesmen alike.

The Native American women who fleetingly appear are victims, supplicants, domestic drawers of water and, in the case of the protagonist’s wife, a ghost. The one woman drawn into the violence is, on being rescued, a vengeful castrator of the male tormentor.

And who can blame her? It’s the only way for women to get noticed in Tinseltown!

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Steve Jobs

Lazy thought that saves me burbling : I agree verbatim with Peter Bradshaw’s review in The Grauniad, even though I despair of their copy editors: Levis will NEVER have an apostrophe. My one caveat is that this is still a male dominated film. Director writer star conspire to do nothing whatsoever to dislodge the eternal narrative of A Man’s Gotta Do What A Man’s Gotta Do. 

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Brooklyn 

Don’t see it for the yards of extras, frocks, endless 50s vehicles chugging through frame.

See it for the way we linger on Saoirse Ronan’s face, exploring the meanings, depths and dilemmas between the lines.

A terrific film which does justice to the complex emotions of a young Irish  woman.

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The Lobster

I tried hard to dislike this film for being pretentious and a pale imitation of my hero Luis Bunuel but… the twisted sad logic continues to echo.

Unimaginative but if I failed the film’s central premise of finding love, I’d ask to be transformed into a black cat. Move over Alfie! 

 

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Irrational Man

Perhaps Woody should leave the ideas scribbled on yellow notepads locked in the drawer. This isn’t even A Level philosophy. It’s a blunt mind in search of a sharpener. Still, like the sucker I  am for anything with his name attached, I’ll go full of the same old hope and anticipation to Allen’s next when it emerges as inevitably as a migrating swallow. It’s starring Bruce Willis amongst others, so that’s got to be worth the price of a ticket.

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The lie that is five stars 

My regular go-to critics are Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian and Nigel Andrews in the FT. But I’m losing faith. The following quite disparate films are all given five stars or thereabouts: MISTRESS AMERICA, THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL, HARD TO BE A GOD and 45 YEARS. The first three are interesting but  by no means perfect (HARD TO BE A GOD is 177 minutes which in my book drops a star for a start!) I’m not being a philistine: I’m concerned that unless a film is an absolute classic for the ages, it cannot be granted such perfect status.

45 YEARS is actually a horrible movie, poorly acted, shot and directed with a denouement that would scrape by in a short.

It really should be harder than this to be a God!

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Low Expectations 

Where have all our expectations gone? 

MR HOLMES, yet another spin on a rehash on a tired story is merely adequate. The film that took the biggest box office ever in its opening weekend, JURASSIC WORLD is also another spin on a rehash on a… I need to lie down. 

The first film detracts from cinema by resorting to the safety of chocolate box storytelling and commensurate images. The latter detracts by submerging itself under such a welter of CGI that it looks like you’re watching a B movie on a bad telly in a ropey American motel room in the 1960s. IMAX only highlighted the problem.

Film deserves more.

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