Wednesday, September 23, 2015

This is the part where I review 'Me and Earl and The Dying Girl'

The concerns start with that darn title. 

‘Earl’ shouldn’t be in there, for one. He’s too much of a cipher, just another supporting character among many. Then there’s the dying girl. The film’s relationship - and indeed the characters’ relationships - with the dying girl is problematic and worthy of analysis, but we’ll get back to that. ‘Me’, though? That’s totally accurate. It’s not as catchy - “One ticket to ‘Me’, please!” - but it more succinctly captures the message, themes and perspective of MAEATDG. Whether the film’s unquestionably intimate relationship is a productive or a destructive one? Let's have a chat about that...

Friday, June 12, 2015

The conflicts, contradictions and hypocrisies of 'Jurassic World'

It's hardly irregular for blockbuster films to fail to follow through on their ideas or high concepts – many films have surrendered depth as their budgets grew higher. Others simply struggled to make good on their deliciously promising, tricksy conceits. It is relatively irregular, however, for a blockbuster film to highlight and even critique its own limitations, while also failing to transcend the very traits it has expressed disdain towards. That's the unusual dissonance to be found in Jurassic World, one of the most self-aware and hypocritical Hollywood productions you're ever likely to watch.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The (moderately) feminist dystopia of 'Mad Max: Fury Road'

Relentless is almost the word. It's not an entirely accurate description as in Mad Max: Fury Road the motors do occasionally stop purring, and the characters do take moments to engage with each other in ways other than hyperviolence and generalised grunts. These moments are proudly fleeting, however, and for the most part the chase is also on, and the audience is advised to take a good deep breath when the Warner Brothers logo appears. Just in case.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Everything at Once: The Remarkable 'World of Tomorrow'

World of Tomorrow, Don Hertzfeldt, 2015
Image: Don Hertzfeldt / Vimeo
Sci-fi and comedy are regular bedfellows, but rarely do they meet with the sheer unrivaled passions that they do in Don Hertzfeldt's radical short World of Tomorrow. But to limit this sort of film to a mere meeting of two genres is a disservice to a film that flirts with all manner of moods, registers and ideas, and all in the time it takes most films to start maybe considering a second act.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

This Is (Not) A True Story - Notes on 'Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter'

This is a true story.

It's the text that opens Fargo, and it's the text that now opens Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter. But, obviously, it's text you shouldn't trust.

While Fargo plays a hugely important role in shaping Kumiko, there's another text that equally plays into the Zellner Brothers' feature. That's Paul Berczeller's La Jette-inspired This Is A True Story - a short film that deconstructs an urban legend that sprung up following the tragic death of a Japanese woman in Minnesota. Certain media outlets reported that Takako Konishi had died while hunting for the briefcase full of cash buried by Steve Buscemi in Fargo. Berczeller convincingly dismantles that myth, examining how a simple misunderstanding and language barrier led to a widely misreported – albeit considerable more attention grabbing - take on what actually happened. As Berczeller explains, the 'true story' was “altogether more ordinary, easier to understand but harder to forget”.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

National Gallery (Frederick Wiseman, 2014)

Eye of the beholder

Objectivity is a lie. Loud people on the internet can cry for 'objectivity' in reviews all they want, but said cries illustrate a fundamental misunderstanding of how criticism and the creation of art works. All writers have their biases: some can disguise them better than others, but it's almost impossible to abandon them completely.

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Films of the Year - The Entirely Pointless Film Ha Ha Annual Review 2014

Just another end of year list

Under the Skin
2014 was a relatively quiet year of film writing at FilmHaHa - not for lack of watching films, but more due to lack of time. While I did not always have time to write about them as much as I would have liked, I made sure to watch as many as I possibly could. Surprise, surprise: it was another year of filmmaking that was imaginative, brilliant, provocative, surprising, moving, entertaining, experimental (and so on).

You probably don't care, but here are some of my favourites from 2014, listed in no particular order. These are based on Irish releases, so a few technically '2013' films may have slipped in there: