Monthly Archives: June 2016
BBFC received 40 complaints about 12A rating for James Bond film featuring eye gouging and head drilling
A gruesome eye-gouging scene in Spectre helped make the latest instalment in the James Bond franchise the most complained about film of 2015, British film censors have said.
The offending scene, set in a villains’ conference room, shows a henchman banging his victim’s head on a table before getting to work on his eyes, and had been toned down before the film’s release on the advice of the British Board of Film Classification.
This absorbing film soberly reconstructs audio diaries that chart theologian John M Hull’s experience of becoming blind. It is moving and profound
Notes on Blindness is a filmic essay in biography in the verbatim-cinema style famously used by Clio Barnard in her 2010 movie The Arbor: a complex, imaginative, deeply considered adaptation of the 1990 book Touching the Rock by John M Hull, an Australian-born theologian resident at the University of Birmingham, who wrote about his experience of going, and then being blind. Hull created a huge personal diary archive on audio cassettes: not just his journal but also remarkable conversations with his wife, and even a kind of reportage of daily life.
It’s using a color-coded threat level system to determine how much danger the world is in. Please send help to America’s wizards because they are not well.
A by-the-numbers plot doesn’t stop the central duo of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart from hitting all the right notes in this good-humoured action comedy
Some films get very lucky with topical gags hitting the mark more effectively than the writers could have realised. The one about Taylor Swift here got a very big laugh when I saw it. This is a likable odd-couple action comedy from director and co-writer Rawson Marshall Thurber, who gave us Dodgeball. I suspect he has been influenced by Ivan Reitman’s Twins from 1988, with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito. (I even wondered if he had seen Dominik Moll’s black-comic classic Harry, Un Ami Qui Vous Veut Du Bien, from 2000.) It starts with that sine qua non of the modern studio comedy: the “anti-nostalgia prelude” sequence set in high school when the protagonists were hilariously naff. It’s wish fulfilment for comedy writers, of course, who need to reach back into their schooldays and right wrongs. Kevin Hart is Calvin, a hero of his high school and the guy most likely to succeed; Dwayne Johnson plays Bob, the fat loser who gets bullied – Calvin stands up for him, pretty much just out of pity. Twenty years later, with a reunion looming, Calvin is the loser with a boring accountant job, facing up to the fact that he peaked in high school. Out of the blue, Bob turns up, now a gym-built giant with a goofy, amiable air of friendliness, but he has a mysterious job, and he needs a favour from his old protector. Entertaining, good-humoured fun, with Hart putting on his squeaky, helium-voiced panic.
Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller probably didn’t realize the avalanche of discussion he set off when he first mentioned a black-and-white version of his award-winning film. We’ve chronicled
behind this version of the film in the past, but now it seems like it’s actually happening.
Elisabeth Moss and Katherine Waterston play a pair of friends locked in a dysfunctional relationship poisoned by resentment
Alex Ross Perry’s Queen of Earth drags the fingernails of its emotional pain down the blackboard. The atmosphere crackles with resentment: this film is exclusively and rather bafflingly populated by people who dislike each other intensely – even, or especially, people who are supposed to like each other.
It is a pungent chamber piece, starring Elisabeth Moss and Katherine Waterston, shot almost entirely in closeup, about two women locked in a dysfunctional friendship that has long ago been poisoned by competitive envy and resentment. Like Perry’s previous movie, Listen Up Philip, this is a film about unbearably entitled people, and once again there are Woody Allen influences, but no comedy now. This is the world of Interiors and the late-70s Allen’s interface with Bergman.
Emma Watson and Daniel Brühl star in this ropey drama about a sinister Chilean religious community founded by a Nazi émigré
Despite exploitative dodginess, plot-holes the size of Saturn’s rings and an ending pinched from Ben Affleck’s Argo, this movie deserves some points for addressing a little-known dysfunctional horror in Chile’s Pinochet era. Some time after the war, Chile had become home to the Colonia Dignidad, a spartan religious community founded by a German émigré: former Wehrmacht officer and Hitler Youth veteran Paul Schäfer. It was actually a prison camp with barbed wire fences and watchtowers enclosing a Teutonic cult-kingdom involving child abuse, which furthermore put itself enthusiastically at the service of the Pinochet regime, spiriting away its prisoners and torture victims – itself becoming part of the torture.
Florian Gallenberger’s well-meaning movie imagines a liberal German couple Lena (Emma Watson) and Daniel (Daniel Brühl) who get caught up in the events of 1973: pro-Allende agitator Daniel is tortured and sent to Colonia Dignidad under the rule of Schäfer (Michael Nyquist). Lena somehow finds out that it is possible that he has been sent there and with no more than this whispered grapevine guess, shows up posing as a would-be novitiate, intending to infiltrate the cult and find Daniel. Fortunately, her gamble is correct; then she deliberately draws attention to herself by rule-breakingly swimming naked so that a public punishment will alert him to her presence. More wild implausibilities follow. Very silly stuff: but of some value as a quasi-historical footnote.
Written and directed by its star Pierfrancesco Dilberto, this drama about growing up in 1970s Palermo is a winning and likable film
There’s an oddly sympathetic mix of sentimentality and black comedy in this larkily nostalgic coming-of-age picture about growing up in 1970s Palermo, home of the mafiosi, and some brave unsung guys who stood up to them. It’s written and directed by its star, Pierfrancesco Dilberto: known to the Italian TV public as “Pif”, a journalist and satirist.
Tom “Draco Malfoy” Felton will be a series regular on The Flash when it returns in the fall, as one of Barry Allen’s new co-workers at the Central City Police Department. Will he play a villain? (Does he ever not play a villain?) And what will his role mean in the season three’s Flashpoint storyline?
One of the best feelings in nerd culture fandom is the thrill of watching a grand tapestry of imagination unfurl before you. Descender is killing it in this department, pulling readers into a universe where the stakes feel deliciously high from all ang… Continue reading
Baby products have always been part of a predatory industry that feasts on the paranoia of new parents. But it’s gotten worse in the last few years with the wave of baby-tracking tech. Now Nest—which makes a camera which is one of the top-rated baby monitors—is proposing a smart crib, according to patent documents filed by Google.
In early June, Vanity Fair ran a lengthy excerpt
of Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley, a purported tell-all from Antonio Garcia Martinez, a former Facebook employee who was fired after two years at the company. The book was finally released on June 28th, and there’s a fair heap of dirt to be found amongst Martinez’s 528 pages chronicling his time at Facebook and his broader experience of working in Silicon Valley.
Here’s a fun idea: if you’re writing a book where the protagonists are children, maybe consider not having them marry each other later in life.
The funniest comment I read about Batman v Superman was when someone said they loved the scene in the movie when Wonder Woman sat down and watched the trailer for Justice League. Thanks to that scene—and a new behind-the-scenes featurette—we finally have a closer look at Aquaman and Cyborg.
Harry Potter creator JK Rowling seems to be hedging her bets, mixing European-style fantasy beasties with monsters based on Native American mythology
The Harry Potter books inspired millions of wannabe Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs to go check out the movies. But with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them based on an original JK Rowling screenplay, fans looking to flesh out the New York-set period fantasy with oodles of whimsical backstory will need to find new sources of reading.
Luckily Rowling herself has been sprinkling her Pottermore site with magical fairy dust in the form of short stories and “historical” notes about this brave New World of witchy wonders. The latest piece is titled Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and reveals the origins of the US version of Hogwarts. So what does it tell us about the American wizarding world that’s set to begin casting its spell on us all over again this November?
Andy Muschietti is best-known for the Jessica Chastain-starring horror movie Mama, but that will surely change once his two-part adaptation
of Stephen King’s It is released. The director has been posting behind-the-scenes snaps to his Instagram, including a possible peek at the story’s most-feared character.
A Hollywood fixture from Tarantino to Pixar movies, the one-time Black Panther is now getting political in The Legend of Tarzan. He talks about how getting sober led to non-stop work and stardom
Everyone thinks Samuel L Jackson is about 15 years younger than he really is. It’s the hair, probably, or the absence of it. I think we’ve all come to accept that Jackson keeps a rotating carousel of different movie wigs somewhere at home, and that none of his movie hair is ever real. No steady progression from dark to grey to white means the ageing process seems almost to have halted itself, and the man before me today, shaven-headed, tall, enviably lean and energetic, talkative and affable, could pass for a fit 45-year-old. Except he’s 67.
Jackson’s latest role, in The Legend of Tarzan, is a real-life figure inserted into a fictional universe, George Washington Willis, who achieved things in his lifetime that one is shocked and pleased to learn were achieved by any black American in the latter half of the 19th century. For a historically minded man such as Jackson, whose teenage years coincided with the optimistic height of the civil rights struggle, and who was a young Black Panther in the bleak and treacherous COINTELPRO years, the role probes some unfamiliar backwaters of the African-American experience.
Pixar redrew the rules of animation with its groundbreaking CGI – and the gorgeous visuals are matched by lovable characters and thrilling storytelling
By the time the credits rolled on Pete Docter’s boisterous existential satire, it was easy to imagine that we all have a Star Trek-style “bridge” inhabited by colourful motivators representing different aspects of the human persona, from Joy and Sadness to Anger and Disgust, inside our minds. Pixar’s ingeniously simple idea smartly reimagined a child’s inner turmoil as an epic white-knuckle ride through conflicting emotions and memories, as 12-year-old Riley Andersen desperately tries to adjust to strange and terrifying new experiences (such as broccoli infested pizza and hipster California classmates) with the help of the funny little people in her head. The sublime anarchy of the human condition beautifully rendered in dazzling primary colours. ★★★★★
It was meant to be a documentary about a politician redeeming himself after being caught sexting. Then, as Anthony Weiner was running for New York City mayor, he was caught out again …
What makes a sex scandal stick? How come some politicians philander then flounder, while others get a free pass? Gary Hart, the Democrat who was a shoo-in for the 1987 Democratic presidential nomination, was caught in an affair and had to quit. Similar allegations dogged Bill Clinton in the 1992 race. He ducked, weaved and made it to the Oval Office, where apparently some other shenaniganstook place.
Today those scandals – despite all the hurt, the betrayal, the dry cleaning costs – feel quaint. They were played out in an era when TV news still had time slots, when the world’s first website was only a few months old. The stories developed, the details emerged, slowly.