Advertisements
    Advertisements
  • Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

  • Advertisements

New Podcast! Scannain Podcast (2019) #13!

It’s time for the Scannain podcast!

This week, I join Grace Duffy, Ronan Doyle and Jay Coyle to discuss the week in film. There’s a lot to cover this week, most obviously the passing of Agnès Varda, who was something of a patron saint of the podcast. However, the film news also covers the United States Justice Department’s intervention in the row between Netflix and the Academy, big announcements from Cinema Con, news about Disney’s purchase of Fox, the Newport Beach Film Festival, and the Celtic Media Awards.

All of this plus the top ten and the new releases.

The top ten:

  1. How to Train Your Dragon III: The Hidden World
  2. Die Walkure – Met Opera 2019
  3. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
  4. Green Book
  5. Instant Family
  6. Lucifer
  7. What Men Want
  8. Captain Marvel
  9. Us
  10. Dumbo

New releases:

Advertisements

Dunkirk and Issue of Genre Legitimacy

The release of Dunkirk has been interesting in many ways.

Most obviously, it seems to confirm Christopher Nolan as a brand name unto himself, managing to open a blockbuster war movie with no stars to speak of to impressive box office results in the middle of July. The film has been widely acclaimed, both by critics and by movie-goers; it scores well on Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic, IMDb and CinemaScore. There is already talk of a massive Oscar push for the film, with reports of Academy screenings being so packed that additional screenings had to be scheduled.

However, beneath all of this success, there is an interesting narrative forming. There is a recurring suggestion that Dunkirk is not just a great piece of cinema from an incredibly talented director, but that it in some way represents a maturing of Nolan’s talent. Some of the critical narrative of Dunkirk has been framed almost as a cinematic “coming of age” story for Christopher Nolan, as if the veteran forty-six-year-old film maker is finally delivering on potential that has been teased over the past seventeen years.

In a not-untypical comment, David Fear at Rolling Stone reflected, “Everyone knew he had a mastery of the medium. Dunkirk proves he knows how to use it say something.” At The Guardian, Andrew Pulliver suggested that Nolan had finally earned one of the stock comparisons that had been (misguidedly) following him for most of his career, “With Dunkirk, Nolan may at last be able to walk the Kubrick walk.” The implication seems to be that Nolan’s previous nine films were all creative dry runs, cinematic confectionery suggesting (but never delivering on) true artistic talent.

This is, of course, complete nonsense. Nolan arguably established himself as a bona fides film maker with Memento, which was an impressive theatrical debut. Memento was structurally ambitious, thematically rich, and exceptionally clever. Nolan followed that up with Insomnia, a remake of a Scandinavian thriller. He then segued into a big-budget reimagining of the Batman mythos with Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, interspacing them with his own projects of interest, The Prestige, Inception and Interstellar.

Whatever an audience member might make of individual films on that resume, and some are undoubtedly better than others, it seems quite clear that Nolan has been doing good work for a long time. Dunkirk is not a break in the pattern. It is in many ways a continuation and extrapolation of his earlier work. It is not so much a quantum leap forward in terms of technique, but simply a nudge in a different direction. So, why is Dunkirk being treated as a vital moment in Nolan’s career? It seems likely because Dunkirk belongs to a much more respectable genre than its Nolan stablemates.

Continue reading

Does Anybody Actually Take the Oscars Seriously These Days?

And people complain that Christmas starts too early! It’s still 2011 and we’re already in the heart of what might be termed “Oscar season”, the spiritual counterpart to the equally expansive “blockbuster season.” Both have very different measures of success. Success in blockbuster season is measured in the words “record-breaking” and “box office” along with various other aggressive adjectives like “smashing”, “breaking”, “crushing” or “dominating.” The winners get their choices of big budgets and high-profile roles and franchises, or the opportunity to risk it all and play again during Oscar season. The rewards at the end of Oscar season are a little gold statue and something like “artistic credibility”, along with the right to stick “Oscar-winner” in front of your name. I’d swear Meryl Streep’s mail is addressed to “Oscar-winner Meryl Streep.”

I might Doubt their credibility...

Continue reading

Tryin’ to Throw Your Arms Around the World: Oscars 2011

You know what? I’m not actually that ticked off with the Academy Awards this year. In fact, as I mentioned in discussing the nominees, I was quite happy with the candidates up for the award. Now, nearly a week after the ceremony, I must concede that I’m generally relatively happy with the way that the awards were divided up on the night. CinemaBlend summed up the ceremony as a “group hug” to movies released in a great year for cinema, and I find it hard to object to that succinct summary.

By all accounts, the hosting was a bit of a drag...

Continue reading

The Hip, Cool Oscars…

I’m getting old.

That’s the only way to really explain it. The more I think about, the more irritated I get. There really isn’t too much commentary to be made on the awards handed out at the ceremony, it was the bland and safe option for just about every major category. I was more interested to see what elements of last year’s radical overhaul they kept and which ones they disposed of. Basically, my problem with the Oscars can be summed up with two questions: Who invited Taylor Lautner? And why is Kristen Stewart giving out an award?

Neil Patrick Harris gets a pass... because he's awesome!

Continue reading

Did Paramount Back the Wrong Horse in the Oscar Race?

It’s fun to analyse the Oscars. It’s even more fun before any individual awards have been handed out. I’ve already given my thoughts on the Best Picture race and the acting nods, but I was just thinking specifically about Paramount’s Oscar campaign this year. Making the infamously misguided decision to champion The Lovely Bones at the expense of all others, they were left empty-handed and red-faced when the film imploded. In hindsight, it looks like they made the wrong choice in pushing forward their prospective Best Picture nominees. Maybe they would have been better-pushed to get behind Star Trek?

Saorse wasn't the only lost during The Lovely Bones...

Continue reading

Reaction to the Best Picture Oscar Nominations…

Well, it’s been a week since the nominations were announced. I think I’m as adjusted as I’ll ever be to this year’s crop of Oscar contenders. Am I happy? Relatively. Am I delighted? No. Am I as filled with disappointment and rage as I was last year? Not nearly. Does this mean we can judge the ten horse race a success? I’m not so sure. Let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the worse of this year’s nominations, snubs and just inexplicable nods. I’ll be taking a look at the acting nominations later in the week, because this post just ballooned. Rather fitting given the expansion of the category, no?

Let the speculating and analysis and moaning begin...

Continue reading