Saturday, December 29, 2012

Twenty Films for Twenty Thirteen

Announcing a Series of Old Films for A New Year

I don't really do New Years Resolutions. No particular reason, but it's just one of those many social phenomena I've never really subscribed to. I do, however, have a ludicrous amount of 'important', acclaimed or cult films I have shamefully yet to get around to. 2012 proved a fruitful year for working through some of these films - from shameful omissions (I had only seen the first half of The Searchers until a month or so ago) to theatrical re-releases (from Laurence of Arabia to Husbands) and belated DVD / Blu-Ray restorations (from Passion of Joan of Arc to The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums).

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Entirely Pointless Film Ha Ha Annual Review 2012

Part Two: The Best of Miscellaneous 

Best Actor: Denis Lavant - Holy Motors
What can be said about this miraculous, shapeshifting performance? Lavant is absolutely, hypnotically committed to his role as Oscar - a mysterious figure riding around Paris in a limo and adopting various personas throughout the night. From his bizarre slow-motion motion-capture ballet to the return of that flower-munching beast known only as Merde, Lavant doesn't only provide this year's best performance - he provides the best dozen performances.
Best of Teh Rest:
Joaquin Phoenix - The Master
Jean-Louis Trintignant - Amour
John Hawkes - Martha Marcy May Marlene

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Films of the Year - The Entirely Pointless Film Ha Ha Annual Review 2012

Listomania, Part One

What a year, as ever. 2012 provided a veritable avalanche of interesting, intelligent and entertaining cinema. Personally, I've never had a year so chock full of cinematic offerings. I was lucky enough to attend a range of film festivals, both local and international. I was gifted with the exciting opportunity to attend my first 'major' fest in the form of Berlinale. I started writing for Film Ireland magazine, gaining access to a range of films from the intriguing to the awful (watching a bad film only assists our appreciation of the good ones, after all). Add to that all the general visits to the nickelodeon, and I fear to count how many hours I spent in a darkened theatre this year. Still, the treasures were many.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Laurence Anyways

(Not) Just Another Love Story?

Laurence Anyways heralds the third feature from young Canadian director Xavier Dolan. It’s the dawn of the 1990s in Montreal, and Laurence (Melvil Poupaud) and Frédérique (aka Fred, played by Suzanne Clément) are, on the surface anyway, as happy a couple as can be. Everything changes when Laurence reveals that, feeling overwhelming and uncontrollable urges, he’s planning a sex change. Fred is taken aback, but after deep consideration decides that she’s going to stick with Laurence through his transition and beyond. Unfortunately the relationship grows increasingly strained, and Fred suffers a mental breakdown as a result of professional and personal stress. The two ultimately part ways after Fred has an affair. That’s not the end of the relationship, though, and over the decade that follows it seems that Fred and Laurence just can’t let each other go.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Hobbit Has 99 Problems...

... and HFR is Just One (or 48).

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey arrives on screens pre-empted by hype it could not possibly live up to. And yes the film itself is an unwieldy monstrosity - the film's moderately enjoyable last hour barely makes up for the preceding levels of insufferable lore, exposition and general lack of focus. But this isn't a review of that stuff. Instead, I want to discuss the film's tech specs, and why for a variety of reasons The Hobbit emerges as one of the least cinematic and downright ugly films I've seen in recent times (although, unlike The Expendables 2, the cameras were at least in focus).

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Hunt

Small Town Blues

Ever since 1998's remarkable Festen - potentially the most exhilarating realisation of the Dogme 95 manifesto - Thomas Vintenberg has threatened to live up to his obvious talent, but hasn't quite got there. It would be remiss to accuse him of laziness or lacking in ambition in the interim, though. His English language efforts It's All About Love and Dear Wendy were a noble failure and a semi-successful experiment respectively. Returning to Northern Europe, his last feature Submarino (which, alas, never received any significant attention outside the festival circuit) was getting there - an intense, relatively uncompromising character-driven drama. With The Hunt, however, Vintenberg has - arguably for the first time since Festen - made something special.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Karate-Robo Zaborgar


There's a lot of filmmakers out there laden with a nostalgia for absolute crap. Some have tried, with varying degrees of success, to actively channel this youthful enthusiasm for B and Z-Movies. For every Tarantino joint, there's likely dozens of misguided genre homages relegated to the ugliest realms of DTV purgatory. They can stay there.