Before man first landed on the moon, the lunar surface was ripe for colourful interpretation. It has been the source for endless fascination for storytellers since nursery rhymes sang of it being made of cheese. “The moon, my dear, is by nature a curious place,” says one of the curious travellers of Karel Zeman’s space oddity. The Fabulous Baron Munchausen doesn’t stay on the moon for long, but it brings that curiosity back down to earth.
Continue reading “Criterion Reviews: ‘The Fabulous Baron Munchausen’”
Capturing the rave scene in Scotland in its dying days, Brian Welsh’s spirited Beats is a slice-of-life portrait of the kids that won’t go down without a fight. It’s 1994, and best friends Johnno (Cristian Ortega) and Spanner (Lorne Macdonald) are on the phone chatting excitedly about the new EDM track they’ve discovered. “I waited two days on the radio to tape it,” Spanner says, immediately evoking a nostalgic romanticism when music was discovered like treasure.
Beats is propelled by an old fart piece of legislation: Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill which sets a ban on “gatherings around music characterized wholly or predominantly by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats.” Characters will spit this phrase at several moments, tutting the T’s like a sort of battle cry. No stuffy laws will subdue the freewheeling spirit of kids just looking to escape from the West Lothian grey. The bill is only fuel for the fire.
Continue reading “Glasgow Film Festival ’19: Festival Closer ‘Beats’ is a Vibrant Look at Scotland’s Rave Scene”
“He is the most attractive man in the world,” says Eve (Lily Rose-Depp) at one point about Abel (Louis Garrel), the man she’s had a crush on since childhood. Usually, I would think this is narcissistic—after all, this is a line written by Garrel (and legendary screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière) about a character that he plays. But, let’s be honest, is he actually wrong? ‘Write what you know’ is the old saying, and what Garrel knows is: 1) he’s very good-looking and 2) how to write a charming film of a decidedly very French variety.
Continue reading “Glasgow Film Festival ’19: ‘A Faithful Man’ is a Very French Sparkling Gem”
You have to give it to Netflix – I’m not sure another studio would’ve had the guts to fund a film as original and ridiculous as Velvet Buzzsaw. Part satire-part supernatural slasher flick, Nightcrawler director Dan Gilroy reunites with Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo to make a mockery of the LA art scene. It’s a world that’s ripe for parody, from the money-hungry agents to the pretentious critics and the assistants trying to get a foot in the door. There’s a lot of material to cover – and that might just be the problem.
Continue reading “The Insightful Satire of ‘Velvet Buzzsaw’ is Lost Behind its Broad Brushstrokes”
I should start by saying Julie Andrews’ films were the foundation of my childhood. Mary Poppins, The Princess Diaries and The Sound of Music provided the soundtrack to the Abu Dhabi flat I shared with my family. It wasn’t until last year that I learned that the latter is almost three hours long — so entranced I was with Andrews’ balancing act of proper lady and free spirit, time seemed to melt away. So I entered the sequel to one of my formative films with measured expectations. Rob Marshall’s Mary Poppins Returns is certainly charming in the moment —its bright colours and jaunty musical numbers can make the feet of biggest skeptics tap— but after awhile the spell dissipates. On the drive home, I listened to the soundtrack — not to Mary Poppins Returns, but to the original film. Julie Andrews’ spoonful of sugar goes down much smoother.
Continue reading “‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Loses the Magic of the Original”
Suspiria is the devil dressed in tights and leotards. She allures and intrigues, disturbs and horrifies. Her body contorts into an array of grotesque positions. Limbs bend and break, bones protrude from taut skin. Yet the dance she performs is visceral, so fascinating it’s impossible to look away.
A remake of Dario Argento’s horror classic seems like an unexpected choice for Luca Guadagnino’s follow-up to Call Me By Your Name, but it’s a welcome change of pace. Mostly known for making movies about rich people lounging around pools in Italy, Guadagnino has instead transported us to 1970s Berlin. Though it should be said that this iteration of Suspiria is less a remake and more like the creepy cousin no one wants to talk to at the family gathering.
Continue reading “‘Suspiria’ is an Unholy Concoction of Blood and Guts”