THE HATEFUL EIGHT directed by Quentin Tarantino (USA, 2015)
Pretty well every Tarantino movie has been accused of being gratuitously violent. By now viewers should know that at some point there’ll be some splatter.
Get used to it or stay away, I say.
But his 8th movie is hateful for other reasons. I found certain scenes distasteful because the sadistic elements were so plainly included for shock value alone.
I’m thinking in particularly of the flashback scene [spoiler alert] near the end. Continue reading
HAMLET directed by Laurence Olivier (1948)
HAMLET directed by Franco Zefferelli (1990)
How about this as a summary of Shakespeare’s most famous play turned movie?:
“This is the tragedy of a man who could not make up his mind.”.
If that seems too reductive, how about this:
“A guy comes home from school to discover that his father’s dead. To top it all off his mother is horsing around with his uncle. Add to that, the ghost of the old man comes back to tell him that it was his uncle who knocked him off so he could run off with the Queen. The guy goes off his nut”.
The first is Laurence Olivier’s voiceover before the main action begins.
The second is from an interview with Mel Gibson included in the extras on the DVD of Zefferelli’s film.
Frankly, neither really cuts the mustard but both are obviously aiming to pitch the story in an accessible fashion. Continue reading
INTIMACY directed by Patrice Chéreau (UK, 2001)
Sex in movies or music videos is mostly more concerned with titillation than realism while in porn its primary function is stimulation.
The makers of Intimacy, based on a short story by Hanif Kureishi, adopt a less glossy and therefore more adult perspective.
In the movie, scenes of coupling are explicit, including un-simulated fellatio. Little is left to the imagination but, equally, nothing is particularly arousing.
On the contrary, the sex act is reduced to the level of a basic human need (like eating and sleeping but more energetic).
This is fucking not lovemaking and seems more akin to an act of penance than passion. Once the desire is satiated, words are unnecessary and the two go their separate ways arranging only to meet again the same day (Wednesday) the next week. Continue reading
Not surprisingly, the creators of the National Youth Theatre’s cancelled production of Homegrown smell a rat.
The official explanation given by the London-based company is that the play was not ready and would have failed the meet the theatre group’s high standards. The fact that neither director Nadia Latif nor playwright Omar El-Khairy were given prior notice of this decision means that this seems more a case of censorship than quality control. Continue reading
BIRDMAN (OR ‘THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE’) directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu (USA, 2014)
From the stylish opening credits and free-jazz drumming of Antonio Sanchez’s unorthodox soundtrack, this is a movie that is keen to make an immediate impression.
It is the kind of derring-do which could so easily have backfired and then been dismissed as nothing more than brash arty-fartiness. Yet Birdman postively revels in its showiness and having a excellent supporting cast, that includes Naomi Watts and Edward Norton in prime form, means that all the risks are calculated ones.
The story revolves around Michael Keaton as Riggan Thomson, one time celluloid superhero who now feels all too human as he approaches the third age. By adapting a Raymond Carver story for a Broadway show he wants revitalise his flagging career and, in the process, demonstrate that 60 is the new 30. Continue reading