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Culture Diary: 28 Days Later

Culture Diary: 28 Days Later

From a New Yorker cartoon. Picture two straw-chewing, cockeyed hobos perched on a wall. Hobo 1 to hobo 2:“Crazy busy. You?” How does a witness on oath in court give a sensible answer as to her location on a date say a year ago? It’s hard to remember last week, impossible to recall a day […]

The silence of the lambs of God (Of gods and men)

The silence of the lambs of God (Of gods and men)

It’s random, the reasons one finds to leave the house to see a film. I had heard Lambert Wilson on the preparation for his role as head of a Cistercian monastery in Algeria. He talked about learning Gregorian chanting with the other seven actors playing the monks: ‘It has absolutely nothing to do with theatrical […]

The Social Nitwit

The Social Nitwit

Way behind everyone else, in the air a few days before the Oscars, I caught up with a pair of unlikely winners: both featuring a fiercely antisocial protagonist who is surrounded by loathsome characters, and replete with computer hacking hijinks. Män Som Hatar Kvinnor Unexpectedly enjoyable was the subtitled The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo […]

Visual mulchings 2010

Visual mulchings 2010

Looking is tiring, isn’t it — I just want to shut the door and my eyes, and lie back into a soft, deep couch. What did you see this year? Without notes I wouldn’t recall past back last week. Here are my personal highlights for the year gone by: + + + Winter’s Bone For […]

"Has film criticism failed?" Three critics and Gillian Armstrong say, Yes, yes it has.

Don’t you hate critics? Especially the ones who never agree with you. They’re obviously wrong. Or stupid. Worse, they don’t even write criticism, they write “reviews.” (Kidding,*sigh*) . The latest provocation from the Wheeler Centre’s wicked head of programming, Michael Williams, is a week-long series titled “Critical Failure” with panels on Film, Books, Theatre and […]

High summer in the garden of love (Tilda Swinton in 'I Am Love')

High summer in the garden of love (Tilda Swinton in 'I Am Love')

Or, what we — that’s you, me and film reviewers — see in the movies. . I Am Love. (Io Sono L’amore.) What’s it about? “Bored cougar finds young root. Or, Lady Chatterley’s Lover in Italian.” Take your pick, offered my partner. I happen to think it’s all about the Power of Love (surprise!). As […]

Masterpiece Cinema (The post-cartoon animation of Toy Story 3)

Masterpiece Cinema (The post-cartoon animation of Toy Story 3)

What happens? This: An animated Barbie doll says: “Authority should derive from the consent of the governed, not from the threat of force!” It’s unexpected (two toys look at each other, startled), it’s witty, and it’s perfectly in context.* And, most remarkably, it’s entirely credible that Barbie says it.** Here’s another thing — somewhere in […]

Masterpiece cinema (Animal Kingdom, The White Ribbon)

Masterpiece cinema (Animal Kingdom, The White Ribbon)

I went off to see Animal Kingdom knowing almost nothing about it — how lucky was that? If you haven’t seen it or read a review, don’t read any (though this isn’t that) and do yourself a favour soon. . They didn’t like Animal Kingdom David and Margaret At the Movies both gave it four […]

Three and a half minutes of Pure action movie cliches

Three and a half minutes of Pure action movie cliches

Why sit through two hours of action movie puff when the payoff is about 15 minutes of multi-million exploding car crashes? Because we think we want Story.When what we want is Thrill. Story is the cover, the rationale. We really just want Mayhem. To see Matt and Bruce and Tom and Mel and Keanu and […]

Death of an American dream (Hopper and Sex and the City)

Death of an American dream (Hopper and Sex and the City)

Dennis Hopper: “you kids, you got no respect for nothing” “After many hours of listening to Hopper talk … it became increasingly clear that he needed to tell his own story … When I think about Hopper, I hear his voice in my head: the nasal Kansas vowels; the cowboy twang; and last but not […]