I'm still in the process of adding old film reviews to the Blog, just not very quickly, must try harder...


Film (70) Music (12) Photography (6) Television (1) Writing (3)

Thursday, 12 January 2012

The Mesmerising Mr. Nolan Works His Magic

Another masterful directorial outing for Christopher Nolan who has not put a foot wrong yet, The Prestige is sandwiched between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight and serves to once again highlight the wonderful diversity of his work. That he was overlooked for a directorial nomination for 'Inception' is to the eternal shame of the Academy.

The rivalry between Jackman and Bale's characters is loaded with intrigue at every mesmerising twist and turn, and they are supported by a superb cast of characters each presented with an engaging part that the audience cannot fail but invest in. But it is the story that is the true star, brought to life by Nolan, but beautifully imagined by author Christopher Priest.

The tricks are all explained but will enthral you nonetheless, as will this excellent film.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

What's That Coming Over the Hill?

Superb debut from writer and director Gareth Edwards, this is the kind of work that should give us all reassurance that there are some safe hands on the rise that will offer alternatives to the output of Hollywood that have great artistic integrity, genuine invention and will provide some new vocabulary for the language of modern cinema. Edwards beautifully captures the sombre and confused mood of a fictional near-future where aliens have arrived on Earth. The journey of his characters across this disorienting landscape is totally compelling due to Edwards’ deft touch with situations and dialog, and due to engagingly believable performances from his leads McNairy and Able. In these aspects ‘Monsters’ is in stark contrast to something like the effects heavy ‘Skyline’. Edward’s meagre budget and (necessarily) inventive filmmaking methods, and the wonderful outcome of his process, should be a lesson to big-bankroll directors and studios that truly substantive creation needs no budget to demonstrate its value. Superb filmmaking that you really should see if you have any interest in the future of cinema, well worth the rental.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

The Definition of Shift

I think that if you are going to try to create art with a camera the end result needs to be something that the eye cannot see unaided. As a result, pointing the camera and releasing the shutter is not enough in itself. Also, I've always been drawn to abstract images and so have, for some years, been trying to put these elements together. What I've come up with is not particularly clever in a technical sense, I'm no great technician when it comes to photography, I don't have the patience, but I think the results of my experimenting with movement of the camera are quite interesting.

This first image was taken in the Cannaregio area in northern Venice with my Sony, f/4, 1 second, ISO 320 (equivalent) and -0.7 step exposure bias.

The second image was taken on Olympiastrasse in Seefeld, Austria, Sony again, f/2.8, 1 second, ISO 320 (equivalent).

The Right One

Don’t let yourself be put off if you think that this is a vampire film, it most certainly is not. There may be some bloodletting involved and it could be considered to have horrific elements, but these are incidental, ‘Let The Right One In’ is so much more than what some of its constituent parts might suggest. A glowing recommendation from Guillermo del Toro should tell you what territory we are in here, and that Tomas Alfredson has crafted a thoughtful, intelligent, near perfect film from the source novel. The central performances from Kare Hedebrant, but particularly Lina Leandersson, are enthralling, beautifully capturing the tenderness and hesitancy of the relationship at the heart of the film. That Alfredson went on to create a definitive work like 2011’s ‘Tinker Tailor, Soldier Spy’ will not have surprised devotees of ‘Let The Right One In’, there can only be great things to come from this superlative filmmaker. If you are not overly sensitive, treat yourself to a delightful and moving filmic experience.

In The Camera Eye

How do you review a film about your all-time favourite band? Probably not very impartially, I think you would have to be a fan of Rush to seek this out, but it’s also well worth seeing for music fans who don’t know them. Rush and their music might be considered somewhat eccentric by some, but in my view Rush have, over the decades, conducted themselves with absolute decorum, through good times and hard times, concentrating on delivering the most stimulating, challenging and enthralling rock music that I have ever heard and (I strongly suspect) will ever hear. No one can do what they do, the power, the virtuosity, the insight, the passion, the sensitivity.

Intellectualism; compassion; virtuosity; heart; mind; soul; poetry; science; history; Earth; galaxy; universe; The Big Bang - Rush's canvas is the entirety of human existence. No theme is too big or too small. They are truly masters of the possible and the impossible. How well does this film capture that, well I think it is clearly an act of heart-felt tribute by the filmmakers, and the talking heads who have contributed are very impressive indeed. In the end it’s a pretty standard documentary about an extraordinary band, as a piece of archive work it is excellent, well worth seeing for those who know Rush and those who want to know them.