In which Nat talks briefly about the movies she’s been watching this week for no particular reason and that probably don’t warrant proper reviews, but hey? Wouldn’t it be nice if we all chatted about them anyway?
Finally! Finally, I have time to write something!
That’s basically me, to every person who pays me, every time I’ve tried to write anything at all for the past month.
It’s going to be a quick trip through all the screens of the TMINE Multiplex this week, almost like when you’re trying to find your screen but you can’t see the number so end up going to each screen in turn to find the movie you booked.
So here we go! In no particular order at all, here’s what currently showing in the TMINE Multiplex.
- Броненосец «Потёмкин» (Battleship Potemkin) (1926)
- A Few Good Men (1992)
- Wasp (2003)
- Dave (1993)
- The American President (1995)
- Down With Love (2003)
- The Love Witch (2016)
- The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
- Belfast (2021)
- Time is Up (2021)
- Regarding Henry (1991)
- Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001)
- The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021)
- Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2001)
- Ёжик в тумане (Hedgehog in the Fog) (1976)
That’s right: 15 different movies! Holy flerkens, I really wish I had more time to write reviews than it turns out, post-Covid, that I have.
Anyway, let’s see if we can find the screen we want together. Hopefully, we won’t end up seeing Sing 2 by accident.
Броненосец «Потёмкин» (Battleship Potemkin) (1926)
“A founding masterpiece of silent cinema, studied the world over for its radical montage techniques and still shocking today, Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin was originally conceived as part of a cycle of films commemorating the revolutionary events of 1905. Recreating a sailor’s rebellion in the Black Sea fleet and the subsequent massacre of civilians of Odessa, the film was banned outright in many countries outside Soviet Russia. A true monument of the Soviet avant-garde.”
A stunning piece visually that even influenced Francis Bacon. But in terms of overall plotting, it doesn’t really work, being more a set of almost self-contained recreations of linked but disparate events. But each of those disparate elements is strong.
A Few Good Men (1992)
“Military lawyer Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee defends Marines accused of murder. They contend they were acting under orders.”
The movie that introduced playwright Aaron Sorkin – and Guantanamo Bay – to the world, it’s a very theatrical, talky movie. It’s also very powerful, thanks both to the script and to Jack Nicholson. Loved it!
Yes, you can handle the truth.
“A poor single mother of four must figure out what to do with her children after the guy she fancies asks her on a date, determined not to let them become an obstacle in her pursuit of a relationship.”
Not as harrowing as that sounds, even given the fact that Danny Dyer is the guy she fancies. A very powerful debut by Andrea Arnold. It’s pleasantly surprising, pleasingly short, and if you want a message, it’s that the biggest obstacle to women’s advancement is poverty and childcare, which the movie ably demonstrates.
“An uncanny Presidential lookalike named Dave is recruited by the Secret Service to become a momentary stand-in for the President of the United States.”
Hopelessly naive but charming! Sigourney Weaver and Kevin Kline make a lovely couple and you wish that someone ordinary was President of the US. For about as long as you’re watching the movie, anyway. Then you’ll probably want to watch Mr Smith Goes to Washington instead.
The American President (1995)
“A widowed U.S. President running for reelection and an environmental lobbyist fall in love. It’s all above-board, but ‘politics is perception’, and sparks fly anyway.”
More Aaron Sorkin, this makes Dave look like an accomplished political operator while simultaneously being more of a rant at people who aren’t liberal, filled with crackling dialogue that’s less naturalistic, more outright propaganda. I think evil Republican senator Richard Dreyfuss might even twirled a moustache and cackled at some point. But it’s also a wonderful love story and hilarious at the same time. Plus have we really been talking about global warming for 25+ years and still not done anything to solve it?
Let’s not get started on gun crime.
Down with Love (2003)
“In 1962 New York City, love blossoms between a playboy journalist and a feminist advice author.”
Simply divine, totally unexpected pastiche of the Rock Hudson/Doris Day movies of the 1960s, with wonderful fashion, great back projection and some great performances. I wish I could enter a room like this:
The Love Witch (2016)
“Elaine, a beautiful young witch, is determined to find a man to love her. In her gothic Victorian apartment she makes spells and potions, and then picks up men and seduces them. However, her spells work too well, leaving her with a string of hapless victims.”
A bit of a mess that tries to pastiche 1960s horror but frequently hits the 70s instead, and has a script that gets so caught up in trying to get its head in the 60s mentality that it knocks it on the way in and falls over. Beautiful to look at, though, so maybe watch as an accompaniment to Down with Love?
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
“Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.”
You’ll have seen this already, but it’s a movie that you can watch over and over again and cry more over every time. Despite the naysayers who want the original ending, I’m steadfast in my belief that the one we’ve got is the one we must have.
Out in cinemas now
“A young boy and his working-class Belfast family experience the tumultuous late 1960s.”
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical piece isn’t as brilliant as everyone else says. But it’s moving, has a great cast – Jamie Dornan has never been better but Outlander‘s Caitriona Balfe is superb – and looks great, too. Looking back to Footsteps on the Wind, it’s perhaps best thought of as a refugee movie, I think, rather than a coming of age movie or any of the other variations that people have come up with. Wonder why people might leave their homes to escape a war? Think it could never happen here? It already has and this is what it was like for them.
Time is Up (2021)
“An accident will force Vivien and Roy to come to a stop and reclaim their lives, one minute at a time, and finally start living in a present that perhaps will prove to be more exciting than any predefined.”
Despite the title, this isn’t sci-fi, just another “girl meets a boy from the wrong side of town and they fall in love” romance. I’ll be charitable and say I loved Bella Thorne’s hair very much, but as much as I’d like to support a fellow redhead quantum physicist, this was truly awful. It also absolutely reeks of European co-production, with practically everyone in the cast apart from Thorne being Italian.
Regarding Henry (1991)
“After being shot, a lawyer loses his memory and must relearn speech and mobility, but he has a loving family to support him.”
Harrison Ford has acting range! It’s amazing! I never knew it until now. Not a huge amount, but he’s definitely doing something different here.
None of it makes much sense, mind. They’re supposed to be rich and evil, then lose his job and become less evil and less rich, but somehow they can afford a live-in maid and a beautiful apartment. All you need to rehabilitate someone with a serious brain injury is to stick hot sauce in his eggs. And what is going to do for a job after all of this?
But don’t worry about the details, enjoy it in the same way you enjoy Dave and The Shawshank Redemption: it’s a simple tale of how doing good things is the right thing to do.
Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001)
“Bridget Jones is determined to improve herself while she looks for love in a year in which she keeps a personal diary.”
If you’re going to steal a plot, steal an Austen plot. Just wonderful in so many ways, particularly RZ (this was very much her time, what with Down with Love, too), but from the authenticity of its moments and Bridget’s fears through to the world’s most realistic fight scene, it’s great throughout.
And holy flerkens, Hugh Grant. Four Weddings: floppy haired, dithering ponce. Here: absolute sex god. I had no idea. For once I was blind but now I can see.
Still, a bit of a period piece. No way, no how could anyone get a flat in London Bridge on a publishing salary now. Or sext on MSN.
The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021)
“Scottish lord becomes convinced by a trio of witches that he will become the next King of Scotland, and his ambitious wife supports him in his plans of seizing power.”
A very visually engaging adaptation adaptation that owes a lot to German expression. You could look at it all day. But it’s also very theatrical and not in a good way, in that everyone looks more or less towards camera, starts at the back of the set, and then comes towards the camera to deliver their line. In every scene.
The British actors are all very good and know how to make Shakespearean dialogue come alive; some of the American actors do, too; Denzel does not. He does know how to do a fight scene, though, and director Joel Coen uses that to add a different interpretation to a key scene.
Overall, a good movie, just not a very engaging one.
Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2001)
“The career and life of Stanley Kubrick is explored through pictures, clips from his films, his old home movies, comments from his colleagues and a narration by Tom Cruise.”
A novel documentary that sets out essentially to prove that Stanley Kubrick wasn’t quite as tyrannical on set as people thought, but which ultimately ends up proving it. Its temporal proximity to Eyes Wide Shut (1999) and the involvement of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in the project mean that that movie has far greater a standing in the documentary than it should. But there are interviews with Jack Nicholson, family members and others that redeem it and make it engaging watch, if a little bit too much of a whistle-stop tour than I’d have liked.
Ёжик в тумане (Hedgehog in the Fog) (1976)
“Directed by master artist Yuri Norstein, Hedgehog in the Fog is one of the world’s most beloved animated classics. The film follows a hedgehog as he sets off to look at the stars with his friend, the bear cub. But, distracted by a beautiful white horse, he loses his way in the fog. The film revels in the sensory disorientation that results. Alternately serene and mystical, dark and frightening, Norstein’s animation functions as a metaphor for the joys and terrors of the subconscious mind.”
Argued by some to be incomprehensible to anyone who isn’t Russian – and this is so beloved a movie in the former Soviet Union that there’s actually a statue of Hedgehog in Київ (Kyiv) – the message is actually pretty clear: the world is only as frightening as your imagination makes it, whether you’re a hedgehog, a bear cub or a mere human being. Despite that message being clear, though, it’s actually dream-like and many layered. Its haunting visuals, soundtrack and story will linger for days after you watch it.