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Internet potpourri with Peter Allen

A bowl of fragrant internet opinions

Thoughts on Wonder Woman (2017).

Having tossed the question about in my head whether or not I wanted to go see the the new comic book adaptation from Warner Brothers, I had to consider two things:

Did I want to risk paying good money to see another Batman v. Superman train-wreck?

And,

Do I want to let the negativity of the internet war of words between third wave feminism types and the counterculture that opposes it, stopping me from watching some film.

In the end, I decided I was in the mood for a cinema trip. The film that presented itself to me was not worthy of either my distaste of previous D.C film efforts or indeed of the hype that has been given to this film by anti/pro third wave feminist movements.

Turns out that if you keep Zach Snyder in a corner far out of the way, you can achieve a 92% rated fresh on Rotten tomatoes. The notion that this is an overtly feminist film is also laughable, its a very womanly film E.G. Wonder Woman sees baby, gets exited. Wonder woman sees Chris Pine, gets exited.

This is the work of director Patty Jenkins of ‘Monster’ fame, Wonder Woman the character needed to be relate-able on some level as a woman for that female audience in the theater to enjoy her. The character in this film is just a woman, far from a man hating archetype. In fact I think all of the contraversy, if you could call it that, is just a hang over from ‘Ghostbusters 2016′ which arguably did have aura of contempt for men both under the surface of the film itself and in its marketing.

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On to the film itself, the plot is a very standard power fantasy. Start off as a mere human and rise to become something more, nothing particularly female-centric to this power fantasy considering the fire and brimstone nature of the violence here within contained in Wonder Woman.  The action itself is perhaps the weakest aspect to wonder woman, speedboarding as a visual technique sees a lot of use here, surprising due that particular technique is no longer even used by its most voracious advocate Zach Snyder.

If one were to level a petty complaint concerning the action, it is who it is acted against. WW1 Germans are not evil SS men from WW2, they are just honest to god men fighting for country and Kaiser. Although seeing a high production value campy interpretation of ‘World War 1’ which has real historical figures and events co-exist with laughable historical inaccuracy, is perhaps a side effect of those events and figures being from a time sadly not known or remembered by most of Wonder Woman‘s audience. World war one may as well be fantasy.

Although the script is slightly hackneyed in some ways, there are clear goals for our heroes and interesting scenes along the way to the climax. The characters and how they are handled is actually a real triumph, just like in say Kelly’s heroes they are a band of merry men to accompany Wonder Woman. They are strangely memorable due to their mannerisms and dress, even though they are rather thin in regards to backround. It was fantastic to see Ewan Bremner in such a big role and all the supporting cast was top notch including Chris pine who brought a great sense of levity to the whole ordeal. Gal Gadot, although an actress with limited acting range, does give a good fish out of water performance, to her credit.

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The production design and costuming was notably above average with fantastic era appropriate clothing and uniforms really adding sex appeal for people interested in early 20th century aesthetics like myself, the renditions of no mans land and other famous culturally ingrained vistas were great, to the credit of the tradesmen, craftspeople and animators who worked on the project.

Those animators though were allowed to get carried away at the climax, leading to a rather muddled end altercation which gave me slight flashbacks to BVS and the Doomsday fight. Really as a power fantasy this sort of thing had to happen, I just wished the film had ended in a quieter and more cheerful way.

In conclusion to this review: I am glad that this film turned out well despite the clear worry that it would not break the low expectations set for it by moviegoers. I can say that I still have those low expectations for future D.C efforts, especially those helmed by Snyder.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

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Star Wars 2017. How should a fan think about the franchise these days?

It is now nearly 5 years since George Lucas sold the Star Wars licence to Disney. The result of that transaction was the canon discontinuation of the mixed bag that was the extended universe of novels, comic books and video games that made up the bulk of the nerdy lore of Star wars. Years of fan disenchantment after the prequels have made that era particularly untouchable for fear of resurfacing repressed memories of crushing disappointment. Even though some of these old stories are being tentatively reintroduced, like the intriguing Admiral Thrawn, the works we are seeing coming out now; represent a new fourth wave of Star wars.

Fans often talk about ‘dark ages’ when it comes to output of the things they like; Star Trek is kind of in a dark age of sorts right now, and Star Wars had some fairly fallow years during the nineties that was only broken by home video releases of the original trilogy and the huge wave of excitement in 1999 for The Phantom Menace. Those fallow years had left people gagging for more Star Wars so George gave it to them, it just turned out to not be the thing they actually wanted or expected. After the prequels were done, George had some video games made and the sometimes quite good Clone wars cartoon had 6 seasons to draw a cult following. Picture-6.png

However, these post prequel years too were not dense with Star Wars content. In fact, fan works such as RedLetterMedia’s Plinkett reviews of the prequels and documentary films like The people versus George Lucas were the most interesting things to come out of that time. Generation X’s frustration found focus with the unified dissent of anti prequel thought. So now the fandom finds itself in this fourth wave that gives most of the fanbase exactly what they want, a dopamine injection in the form of pure nostalgia.

My excitement for episode seven was palpable, I rewatched the trailers every day, played battlefront, watched the old films again and generally enjoyed the happiness that comes with having something to live for. After all this I went to see the film twice in cinemas and enjoyed myself thoroughly, it met my expectations.

As great as this is, coming down off the Star Wars high was rough. Daily shots of Star Wars Rebels or rewatching old material was failing to invigorate me any further in real life. When Rogue one came out  I did not rush to the cinema by any means and though the average Joe such as me enjoyed the ride that was that film, it was really just Star Wars porn for bearded fat guys to jack off to. I know I found the battle scenes in the third act especially stimulating.Rebel_Fleet_above_Scarif

So here we are now with a trailer for episode 8 that ultimately has a little too much poetry, a little too much it rhymes. The film threatens to give me exactly what I want with training montages, At-Ats attacking the rebel base and a darker tone. Not that I am complaining, but a little bit of risk might be necessary sooner rather than later. The old republic stories are ripe for picking, and are largely not known about in general Star Wars parlance. Instead of another homage to the original trilogy, it might by wise to prove that Star Wars as a licence; is more than an aesthetic.

So as my feelings towards Star wars border on contemplative heureux rather than the blind devotion that was exactly what I needed 2 years ago; I only hope that Star Wars can truly excite and even surprise me again in the future.

Thanks for reading.

 

A review of Beauty and the beast

On the weekend where the Irish celebrate our welsh, snake banishing patron saint by getting blind drunk, what movies does one go to see? Turns out Hollywood’s answer is a little underwhelming, a remake of a Disney classic, a remake of King Kong from the thirties and a movie by American comedian Jordan Peele.

Beauty and the beast is the latest live action film from the super media conglomerate known as Disney. Despite George Lucas giving the company the title of “White slavers” they have continued to find success in their recent string of live action remakes of their vast library of classic animated feature films from the 20th century. The move away from kitsch subject matter like The lone ranger and into adapting old classics like Beauty and the beast has opened up a far more viable audience of young children and middle age women who are often under-served by a Hollywood that continues to chase the young male demographic.

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Watching the film with its target audience gives an interesting insight into the film’s appeal to families and nostalgia seekers, it kept them from screaming and running around or looking into their phones. Instead they seemed to be mostly enthralled by the singing and over the top visuals. For me though, I would prefer a far more creatively impressive fusion of live action and traditional hand-drawn animation as seen in Who framed Roger Rabbit. Yet another CGI driven film where Emma Watson struggles to interact with all the green-screen characters she cannot see, is not something that could be given top marks for effort. However there is some great voice acting talent such as Ian Mc Kellan and Ewan McGregor, who give life to their inanimate characters.

In fact the film reeks of the smell of ‘Passable’. It is a very faithful adaptation of a classic story. The story itself is perhaps the most unassumingly odd thing about the film, an allegory for the process in which women should be attracted to wild and unruly men so they can soften and tame them. This is not a message that really melds well with the female liberation slant that shows its head from time to time in the film. Whether the writers knew about about the allegorical meaning of “Beauty and the beast” is inconsequential. What does matter is that the media did not care and decided the film was automatically politically correct for having a gay male caricature for comic relief, in the foreground of the film’s plot.

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In conclusion to this review, Emma Watson was foolish to pass up La La Land for this. I doubt she had more fun on this set than she would have in Damien Chazelle’s camp, however I do not doubt she was paid a pretty penny to do this picture. As for recommending this to the regular viewer, go see “Get out” instead which I will talk about at some stage but not before I talk about  John Carpenter, who I think Jordan Peele copies and builds upon in many ways. Finally, for families; go watch the original animated film first before seeing this.

Thanks for reading.download

True Romance: A look back at Tarantino’s real second film project.

True Romance is a film that is fun to watch and well made, yet resigned to the mainstream sidelines. The definition of a cult classic, being a box office failure upon its release. To people who have seen it and continue to champion it, the characters of Clarence and Alabama in this Bonny and Clyde style caper are role models for what the basis of a romantic relationship should be.

The fact that Alabama was a call girl, only doing her job, when approaching the unassuming Clarence watching a Sonny Chiba Kung Fu film, is inconsequential to Clarence. What matters to him is that they met at all. The fact Clarence in a bout of gung-ho mascalinity, kills Alabama’s former pimp, and accidentally steals a suitcase of cocaine from the mob is inconsequential to Alabama. What matters to her is the gesture, in fact she finds it romantic

Patricia Arquette as Alabama. Credit:Warner Bros.

 

Clarence and Alabama do not expect each other to be perfect, and with self awareness comes the ability to forgive the flaws of other people. We are our own devils, but no one is beyond being loved.

As the story continues to get darker, our two heroes relationship grows stronger. True Romance says one can find love in the space of hours, get married the next day and live happy ever after. The real world increasingly says one will find love, and get married later, but it will all eventually end in tears and a day in court over who gets the dog.

This dichotomy is always in the back of one’s mind while watching something like True Romance. The film’s confidence in the strength of relationships can come across as naive to the likes of me. But it turns out that that the films tone was a mistake of sorts.

Quintin Tarantino had just broken into the industry at the beginning of the nineties, True Romance was the first script he ever finished, which he proceeded to sell to the studios. The movie we got was directed by the late Tony Scott who saw the word ‘romance’ and ignored the word ‘true’ resulting in the super upbeat tone permeated by what would become the Tarantino filmic style of relatable, witty dialogue and absurd cinematic violence.

Christian Slater making his best'angry'face. Credit:Warner Bros.

When you listen to the various interviews Q.T gave concerning True Romance, a different movie comes to light. A film that had a Pulp Fiction style Non-linear narrative and a much darker characters complete with a different ending. Instead of Both characters escaping to mexico with the cash and the wonderful man-tear inducing final monologue, it would have come to light that Alabama was only using Clarence. She would have fucked him over and left for mexico alone with the cash.

In a lot of ways the character of Clarence is a caricature version of Q.T. An introverted pop culture enthusiast working in a store selling the objects of many a nerd’s infatuation, with no close family and little money. Q.T knows that if suddenly your dream girl spills their popcorn all over you and you proceed to spend the night hanging out with her like you’ve known each other forever, then it has to be too good to be true. The young Q.T knew that she would probably leave you dying on the floor rather than pick you up and patch up your eye wound with an awesome eyepatch.

I feel some of this pessimistic attitude at times, and I think it affects a specific type of early twenties male. If Q.T had directed the film as originally intended I would have been forced to agree with the more melancholic depiction of the reality of having personal relationships with other humans. That reality being that there will always be a conflict of interest between two people, and then a betrayal of some kind, a classic mean spirited ‘to have loved and lost’ narrative.

To someone who can read the language of film, True Romance flip flops between speaking perfect Tarantino and perfect Tony Scott with long intervals where the film speaks the broken hybrid language of both. This lead Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert to write off the film as Jumbled and thrown together, back in the nineties. However, this holy union is always consentual and positive, unlike “Natural born killers” with which Q.T ended up claiming his script for the film was bastardised by the director. Tarantino saw the different ending for True Romance and conceded that it was better, for the film that had ended up being made. Tarantino had perhaps escaped his pessimistic tendencies when he found professional fulfillment, so why can’t his theoretical past self find romantic fulfillment also?

Warm Sake? Very Gooood! Credit:Warner Bros.

Even with my bias towards the infectious style of Tarantino, I am ultimately glad to have experienced the roller coaster ride that is the Tony Scott version. Scott was a very visual director and Q.T’s wonderful script and character dialogue is the skeleton upon which Tony Scott builds the visuals, the giant chain lamp in Dreskyl’s brothel is pure Tony Scott brand cinema, how is something that looks so silly presented so threateningly? Tony Scott can just do that.

True romance is not a light hearted film in truth, people die, sometimes good people die, all so our heroes can find their own happiness. However there is something forever charming about a film that starts in downtrodden Detroit and ends on a Mexican beach topping off an ultimately positive tale about how love at first sight for two dirt poor individuals might not end in tragedy, and instead with True Romance.

Thanks for reading. This was a re-upload from another blog I have.

Credit: Warner Bros

Taxi Driver: A retrospective of the 1970’s Hollywood classic.

The sociopath is often times a very compelling character in fiction. However it is almost always a destructive mindset in real life. However, nowadays we have safety nets with which extreme cases can be identified and hopefully assisted with their condition. However at the time and setting of Taxi Driver (1970’s New York), acquired mental conditions such as PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) were only recently getting attention and medical research due to veterans of the war in Vietnam coming home displaying symptoms, one such Vietnam veteran being Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro).

Travis has clearly been through traumatic experiences as this fantastically intricate film shows us, his upper torso is disfigured and he cannot sleep at night. His honourable discharge coupled with his injury suggests he faced heavy combat at least once, and he has clear ability with firearms. He was a soldier, but like so many others, he had to re-adjust to civilian life, so now he is a taxi driver.

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A side character states to Travis that you are what you do, but it seems you can take the man away from Saigon, but not Saigon out of the man. Travis cannot interact with other people properly. This was a well documented problem with how Americans treated their fighting men coming back from the war, the shift to liberalism, at the time, drove the population to treat the veterans unfairly, somehow blaming them for for unethical military policy in Vietnam. Disenfranchisement with the America they came back to was par for the course for many veterans returning home to a seemingly thankless American public.

So, the movie shows his attempts at civilian life, he charms a woman to come on a date with him in a rather awkward fashion. He does what he can to tell her what she might want to hear, to like and support the same things. However he has been away a long time, he admits he has no great knowledge of anything. So he takes her to a cinema that shows porno movies, the few avenues of entertainment that would have been found in the service. This is too much for her so she leaves, Travis can’t interpret what went wrong and pursues her later, being turned away once again.

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This is where the psychosis begins to show, literally even. Martin Scorsese and his editor,in a stroke of genius, set the president for how psychosis would later be portrayed in the visual mediums. They use an editing trick where they loop footage back and forward for a second or two, with some kind of sharp sound effect to accompany it. A look at the character’s warped perception of what is happening. A nod to the acting brilliance of Robert De Niro is necessary at this point, he delivers a truly damaged character with mannerisms that reflects the mental state of Travis perfectly.

Travis thinks, with no malicious intent, that women are objects that need to be saved from the filth he sees in every alleyway and at each street corner. So he rejects civilian life again, throws on his iconic marine corps jacket, buys a bevy of handguns from a traveling salesman and sets to work preparing for his new role as a vigilante.

The film makes a shift in tone from here on in, up to this point the film has been stifling the watcher with the uncomfortable character that is Travis, I sympathise with him deeply, but his life and his interaction with the world around him is always off putting. The lighting is almost always dark and the cinematographer lingers on silences and distressing images, helping to keep my stomach churning.

The tonal shift announces itself, as Scorsese films often do, with a explosive outburst of violence. Travis shoots a man who happens to be robbing the store he frequents. This is somewhat of a justifiable killing if you are that way inclined, but is Travis a hero? Travis failed a hooker who earlier tried to get away from her pimp in his taxi once before, he must track her down so he can atone for his earlier inaction.

And that he does, pays her for her service and she takes him to a nearby motel. However, Travis has no interest in the sex that he paid for, its questionable if he knows what emotional function sex serves at all. He thinks this young woman needs to be rescued from evil men. She insists she does not need saving, her employers are shown to be rather pleasant, for criminals. But the vitriolic disdain for everyone, even the hooker he wants to ‘save’, manifests itself further into his delusional new ego as a vigilante. There will be blood.

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So, he kills the pimps in a mighty tension-releasing bout of gunpowder and adrenaline fueled violence, with the poor young woman bearing witness to it all. In the end he lies wounded as the police crowd in, shocked at what lies before them.

Travis survives, somehow. Newspaper clippings on Travis’s apartment wall proclaim him a hero, surviving his mortal wounds. A letter from the young woman’s parents thanks him for saving their child, with no excerpt of how the young woman feels about all this. I got an impression she is not necessarily better off now, she is still trapped, but in a more socially acceptable sort of way.

Socially acceptable, what does that mean anyways? Travis goes back to his civilian job, his vapid friends. The woman he was infatuated with earlier comes back to him, but he flips her off. Perhaps she was a figment of her imagination so he could continue his paranoid viewpoint of people, perhaps the whole film was a fantasy played out within his damaged mind.

When he loses the ability to interpret reality, and his empathy is lost, can anything the psychopathic Travis says or does be taken at face value? Am I in anyway like Travis? Is my moral compass pointed in the right direction? Is my sense of righteousness tainted by contempt?

I believe there is a bit of Travis in all of us, and that is why I think Taxi Driver is such compelling viewing. It lets us indulge in our least civil thoughts. In any case, this is one of the pinnacles of the silver age of cinema, a must see. Thank you for reading.

This was a reupload from another blog I have with a friend, ditto for for True romance.

credit:Waxwork Records

Fighting the future.

When I was on the cusp of finishing secondary school and I was forced to consider what I wanted to do next, I found myself to be out of my depth.

I had spent all my free time of the past few years assisting my father in his work as an electrician. That is very much my most valuable experience of work, I know what the job is about. Its about putting up scaffolding against a wall so you can fit a vent for a fan, on a cold windswept January morning. Its about putting together twenty fluorescent fittings before even thinking about fitting them to the ceiling of a shed. Its about crawling about in confined spaces, like hot attics.

So, as a teenager, still in school, of course I was not all that keen to work 8 hour days in such environments. I grew resentful sometimes, I don’t claim to be perfect. I never asked for money, considering I knew what the financial situation was like for us at the time. Even when things got better I still never asked for money, often times just been given 50 euro after a couple days, sometimes I took it, other times not. Most of the time I was just happy to help my increasingly weary father.

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However, becoming a tradesman has been stigmatised by what happened during the building boom, when many young men went into the trades because of the excellent wages it offered for fairly low entry requirements . This led to mass unemployment and emigration when the bubble burst. Trades have been seen as risky and treated with a certain amount of vitriol by Irish people ever since.

Almost everyone I know complains about their job, that is just the nature of things. Most of the tradesmen I have met though, overwhelmingly feel undervalued and disrespected, relics of a once more vibrant industry. You wont see many from my age group touching these jobs any more, meaning you will be vastly younger than everyone else if you joined the ranks. People seem to think tradesman are uneducated, however I have met many who have plenty interests and views.

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This is good, in a sense. Because no one new is being trained, the workforce is getting way too old to sustain any future upsurge in building. Meaning there will be opportunities for people who do come in. But the real world is pretty scary, and I feel like a gormless moron out in it.

So bringing conversation back to me, I had got into a college course for my other main possibly sale able interest, writing, having been told by my guidance councillor and everyone else that I may as give it a shot, being that it was not going to cost me all that much where I live. So here I am, not all that happy with college life or how engaging I find the course, wondering if I should come back next semester or do something else. I could definitely do the 3 years, turn around and pursue an apprenticeship or whatever. Although chances are I would spend that time being dissatisfied with life, missing my parents and best friends.

I could move closer to my home town, find a college course in my most local city, but I don’t know what I could really do, I’m rather unimpressed by colleges anyway. The internet says Journalism in all forms is dead or dying, and I have seen nothing credible that says otherwise. I am also unwilling to buy the “STEM: gateway to the land of milk and cookies” meme that has been floating around the past few years, chances are I would struggle to pass such a course anyways.                                       .

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So this where I am at, what do I do? It seems if your interests don’t involve coding, engineering or business, well you’re out of luck mate. I have been told I am my own worst critic and that like every other 19 year old, should be spending my time blind drunk and winging it along the way. I seem incapable of letting myself do that though. Thanks for reading.

 

So bad it’s good: Krampus unleashed.

So bad its good: When a filmmaker creates a film unaware of the fact it is bad film. However this scenario often leads to a film with camp or shlock value, with hilarious results. Well known examples being The Room and Troll 2.

Krampus Unleashed is some of the best fun I have yet had this year. And that is quite strange as Krampus Unleashed is a rip off of Krampus 2015, which is a good horror film. In fact when I was browsing through a totally legal free movie streaming site, I though Krampus 2015 was the one I was clicking on to watch, but to my shock I got Krampus Unleashed.

So it is a cheap knockoff made to cynically make money of the good name of Krampus 2015. But my god, it is such a funny film. Every character is an archetype, you have the moody jackass kid, the jerk brother in law, grandpa and grandma, sasquach hunters and more. However I found the writing funny in a genuine way. The characters bounce off one another quite well with witty dialogue. The Actors are all amateurs of course, and it shows sometimes, however it adds to the campy charm when an actor mumbles a line or delivers it in a unorthodox fashion. In fact it reminded me of Bruce Campbell style acting in The Evil Dead, which is actually a great Horror film because it is so creative, elevating it above this shlock garbage.

The use of practical effects is actually quite impressive, they’re fake as hell of course but the guy in the Krampus suit looks fun. Krampus sneaks up on people and proceeds to punch their head off, sending a rubber dummy head flying, then he will eat their guts or something. He even cuts a guy clean in half once. All of this silly gore is hilarious of course, and is not one bit scary. The setting of christmas in a rural desert village reminds me of Tremors, and it adds to the oddness of this film.

The movie is also shot in a weird way, go pros are used and you get the fish eye effect from that, and there can be a little too much shot reverse shot. But besides those minor roadblocks to enjoying this film, there are too many hilarious moments to not enjoy this film. Especially a moment a third of the way through where a woman apprehends a peeping Tom, you will be crying out, wondering what the hell is going on.

I heartily recommend Krampus Unleashed. Thank you for reading.

The Krampus himself. Credit:Redbox.

Toni Erdmann: A review of the Oscar nominated German Comedy/Drama.

If stereotyping as a concept truly held up, a truly funny comedy film coming from Germany should not be something that should ever happen. However, here we are with the “Most embarrassing” film at last years Cannes film festival finally showing in my local backwater.

This film felt rather unorthodox in one way early on, and that’s the fact the characters use both German and English, sometimes in the same conversation. This is quite strange to see in any film, as most film scripts choose one language and stick with it. However this approach depicts the largely multilingual mainland European urban population, in a realistic manner. However, us Anglophones can safely rely on the subtitles, which serve their purpose well. Although, I reckon some select small references and jokes went over my head because I don’t know a whole lot about German pop culture.

So lets take a look at the trailer.

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Anyways, it is safe to say that this was my favorite comedy film of recent years. The comedy style is reminiscent of The Inbetweeners and The Office in the way it copies the humour through awkward moments approach. The humour stands in stark contrast to other recent comedy films, this film actually respects the audience’s intelligence. Its characters deliver the fantastically written and set up jokes in a deadpan fashion which reminded me of the 1984 classic Ghostbusters. The humour is often endearing as Winfried is the kind of guy who employs a lot of Dad humour, but later takes it to such extremes that his jokes whether practical or not, achieve belly laugh proportions.

Do not be shocked to find this is also a very competent dramatic film. There are long down periods of drama between the regular comedy bits which serve to accentuate and enhance the humour when it finally comes. The film has a lot to say about life, Ines is a workaholic and leads kind of an artificial and unsatisfying lifestyle as a constantly travelling woman of business. Her father sees this and believes the best way to intervene is through taking her down a notch and showing her how to take life less seriously. Staying with her on holiday for a month at her workplace in Romania.

Ines eventually recognises the value of her father and his way of trying to light up her life. Something most of us can relate to as often people don’t appreciate their parents trying to make them laugh, and like Ines, find it insufferable or embarrassing. The film also brings up the mantra that ‘the older you get, the less you care about other peoples opinion of you’ and Winfried personifies that, Ines starts to realise this too and attempts to find out who her true friends are in perhaps the funniest scene of the film.

Greatest love of all. Credit:Indiewire
Greatest love of all. Credit:Indiewire

This beautiful Father – Daughter story is a masterpiece in the way it makes such endearing characters connect on screen. It gave me an emotional reaction not felt since 2013’s The Last of us. It is the kind of film which makes you want to appreciate life andtime spent with loved ones more. A short note on the technicalities, The unlikely mixture of drama and comedy is optimised by narrative pacing that gives us a good taste of both elements at regular intervals. The cast are all fantastic and the mostly naturally lit scenes all look elegant in presentation.

That all being said, it is difficult to find a screening. But please do find a way to see this film, it is worth watching. Thank you for reading.

ELLE: Paul verhoevan’s newest film reviewed.

Paul Verhoevan is one of the most notable filmmakers of the late 20th century, there I said it. He is of Robocop, Starship Troopers and Total Recall fame. However after his unbroken run of cult classic science fiction films he moved on to other genres bringing his risque mix of sex and violence with him, with mixed results. Showgirls being the most notable flop from this shift in genre focus.

However, the man is 78 years old and he is still directing films. Unfortunately, Hollywood appears to have spurned him. So he has taken his decades of expertise and knowledge to the French film industry instead. And whilst there, he has made this wonderful character driven film about the impact of rape on victims, power balances in various relationships , the nature of denial and also a stark depiction of social life in France. Let us take a look.

So to start off, don’t be put off by the fact the people on screen aren’t speaking English, the subtitling is perfectly adequate for even morons like me who have only basic French, to get by and enjoy themselves. Besides, very little of a film’s quality is lost through subtitles, in my opinion. Fact is, this film is one of the best to come out in 2016, up there with the Korean Fingersmith adaptation known as The Handmaiden and all the great western films to come out last year.

The main character played by Isabelle Huppart, runs a game development studio. She leads a very messy social life with strained relationships with her family, and she also messes around with her friends husband. All of this comes to a head when she is assaulted and raped in her own home by a malicious masked stranger. She must come to terms with her lifelong denial complex, due to her hardened nature caused by very traumatic past events in her life.

All the actors are excellent, and an air of intrigue is held up by the slow burn pacing of the film’s narrative. The violence is visceral as one would expect from this director, however a certain amount of tact and restraint in comparison to something like Robocop is evident in this film. Verhoevan still has an eye for finding the optimal composure for shots presenting two people sitting and talking, rivalling even Tarantino in that regard.

So its safe to say I have to say little more to express that this is a great film, deserving of all the awards and critical praise. It may be uncomfortable at times due to the subject matter, but soldier on and you will enjoy it. That is if you can find a screening in the first place.

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