Thursday 24 July 2014

Guardians Of The Galaxy Review

The Marvel momentum is showing no sign of abating. Some might have thought they had reached their peak with the mega hit Avengers Assemble, yet the last twelve months have seen them deliver three films in rapid succession which all met with commercial and critical success: Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World Captain America: The Winter Soldier... and now comes Guardians Of The Galaxy.

Guardians Of The Galaxy is their riskiest offering to date. Featuring some characters totally unknown to the public (and even my comic book fans friends knew little of them), with a cast of largely unknown (with the biggest names to be found in supporting parts or providing a voice-over), it is also an all out escapade in space, whereas their previous films, even Thor 2 and its different realms, remained largely Earth-centric. Add a gun-totting talking raccoon with an attitude (something the creators of Poochie might have dreamed of) and a humanoid tree among its lead characters, and this sounded like an impossible trick to pull. So have they succeeded with their seemingly impossible task? Yes, a resounding yes.

Friday 11 July 2014

Begin Again Review

Writer/director John Carney's major film calling card is the 2006 low budget big hit Once about a broken hearted Dublin musician who forms a musical partnership with a Czech woman and songs and potential romance filled the auditoriums. Carney's Begin Again could well be considered a first cousin to Once as we follow the story of Dan (Mark Ruffalo) New York based A&R man once the toast of the industry, now falling on tougher times and trawling through the mountain of new releases earnestly looking for talent.

Sunday 6 July 2014

That Scene, That One Scene... Mud

Sometimes there is a scene in a film that stands out, one that stays with you forever. And it is often the more understated and subtle ones which achieve this as far as I'm concerned. I'm thinking the short moment before Jodhi May is jumping off a cliff in The Last Of The Mohicans to join her loved one in death. I'm thinking Gerard Depardieu in Tous Les Matins Du Monde, in that scene near the end in which the spirit of music has finally inhabited him yet again and it is as if he is discovering it for the first time. And then there is THAT scene in Mud.

River Of Fundament By Matthew Barney

It is difficult to know where to start in trying to describe the tapestry of references that constitute River of Fundament, Matthew Barney's strange threnody for, and celebration of, the novelist and essayist Norman Mailer, who died in 2007. Perhaps the best place might be Idaho's Sawtooth Mountain Range, where this grand work begins and ends, and where Mailer's muse Ernest Hemingway once had a cabin.

Here, in the final sequence, we witness salmon swimming upriver from the Ocean to respawn over the corpses of their own dead, and a shift from the polluted industrial and urban settings that dominate much of the tripartite film's five and a half hours to idyllic (if not altogether pure) nature, even as Barney also returns us to Mailer's (literary) source. After all, this epic is obsessed with recycling, rebirth and resurrection - with the movement from life to death and back again running very much counter to the flow of the mainstream.