Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs is set in the fictional town of Megasaki in a Japanese archipelago of the near future, where the outbreak of dog flu has led the dogs of the city to be quarantined on the abandoned Rubbish Island. But is the director’s latest release a celebratory homage to Japan or just another western-centric indulgence, utilising cultural stereotypes as a backdrop for his own ends?
As a great lover of horror movies, it was with a jolt that I realised that A Quiet Place is the first horror movie I have seen in the cinema. And at first, I thought I’d made a huge mistake: the cinema was crawling with people. And this was supposed to be a film watched in silence, I was well aware. Perhaps I should have waited for it to come out on Netflix. I love horror. In the least pretentious way possible, I want a pure experience of a movie.
News on President Trump’s slipshod efforts to discredit the media and his own Department of Justice — eerily similar to Nixon’s rabid treatment of the press and his own charges of obstruction of justice — as well as the discussion on workplace gender politics fountaining from the #MeToo movement, currently dominate US headlines. Such a stage set, Steven Spielberg’s The Post is most certainly a necessary film — though one which fails to capitalise on the underlying, long-dormant anger welling from topical issues.
A portrayal of a transgender life in the late 1920s and early 1930s is inevitably going to be wrought with emotional and physical tensions, tensions which Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander display with grit and purposefulness. With their intense love and physical attraction comes a deep friendship which sees Gerda (Vikander) persuade Einar (Redmayne) to model for a beautiful painting of ballet dancer Ulla, their friend played by Amber Heard (Pineapple Express, 2008; Paranoia, 2013), who can’t make it to the sitting. Delicate filming ensues; Redmayne draws silk stocking over his legs, caressing them with whimsical fascination, and clumsily wriggles his feet into a pair of ivory slippers, Gerda giggling in the background. At this point, it seems to be a game, a necessity called for by the nature of Gerda’s job that sees the gradual development of Lili into a very real, dramatic presence.
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This is intended to be more than just a review of “Inside Llewyn Davis”. The extent to which the New York 1960s folk music scene figures in and really defines this film made it seem natural to expand any discussion of its merits into a consideration of its source material. So, to get the basics out of the way first, it’s a great film. Do go to see it, particularly if you like the Coen Brothers and the music of Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie et al.
Someone wise once told me that there is no point wasting your time watching awful films, when there are so many good ones to see. This is hard to argue with. Why watch High School Musical 3 when there are a plethora of Hitchcock classics that you’ve yet to even delve into?