Boardwalk Empire may have been set in the 1920s but what it has to say about megalomania and wheeler-dealing has strong resonances in today’s squalid political climate.
One of my favorite quotes (in Season 3) is when industrialist, banker and US ambassador Andrew W. Mellon (James Cromwell) takes the stand at a Senate hearing and is asked whether it’s gross incompetence or widespread corruption that’s making prohibition a legal joke. Mellon replies deadpan: “It is my experience that human nature leaves ample room for both.”
TONY ROBBINS – I AM NOT YOUR GURU directed by Joe Berlinger (USA, 2016)
Why do people need personal trainers and life coaches?
In a gym, once you have been shown how to use the equipment safely you should, in theory, be able to organise your own workout. Instead, many like the reassurance of being monitored by an ‘expert’.
As it is with bodies, so it is with emotions.
We all know in our hearts, what diets, habits and relationships make us feel good. So why do we still crave for someone else to show us the way?
Low self-esteem and general lack of confidence make us look to others for help even though we all have the capacity to succeed in whatever we set out to achieve.
Tony Robbins is a self-made man who has built a personal fortune as a life coach for the rich and famous. This Netflix documentary purports to show how he would like to share his insights to all and sundry regardless of age, gender, social status or level of income. As the man might say himself: “Anyone who believes this, say AYE”! Continue reading
THE CROWN Season 1 – Netflix TV Series written and created by Peter Morgan (UK/USA, 2016)
If you ever get me on the subject of the Royal Family it won’t be too long before you hear words like ‘leeches’ and ‘parasites’ or me expressing the view that The Sex Pistols’ ‘God Save The Queen’ would make a better national anthem for the UK.
My wife and I therefore began watching season 1 of The Crown on Netflix more out of morbid curiosity than out of any real expectation of viewing pleasure.
I was waiting to see how many layers of superficial dross and gloss would be applied in order to present HRH in a positive light. But the opening scene of King George VI coughing up blood (red not blue!) signals that creator Peter Morgan has something else in mind. Continue reading
HAIL CAESAR! directed by Joel & Ethan Coen (USA,2016)
Friends, Romans,countrymen, lend me your ears. I come to bury Hail Caesar!, not to praise it.
We all love the Coen Brothers, and not without cause, yet I am sad to report that this is one mess of a movie.
It’s as if the siblings decided to do a cut and paste job based on ideas left over from earlier films, then phoned round all their favorite actors to see who was available for a two hour love in.
There are some clever and amusing scenes but none of them lead anywhere because there is no coherent storyline to tie them together.
Along with the equally dire Burn After Reading from 2008, it is plain that what we have here is an ensemble cast that had more fun making a movie than the audience have watching it. Continue reading
SUBURRA directed by Stefano Solima (Italy, 2015)
If, this year, you had been inclined to follow the age-old advice to do in Rome as the Romans do you might have attended a Mafia funeral, joined those protesting against travel disruption or become embroiled in one of the numerous corruption scandals.
2015 has been a veritable ‘annus horribilis’ for the Eternal City.
In this context, the movie Suburra looks less like a work of fiction and more like an depressingly realistic depiction of current events.
The title takes us back to ancient times, referring to the notorious red-light district of the city. The 21st century equivalent is an equally squalid world where prostitution, institutionalised crime, violence and general levels debauchery are routine. Continue reading