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My 12 for ’13: Only God Forgives & Neon Nightmares…

This is my annual countdown of the 12 movies that really stuck with me this year. It only counts the movies released in Ireland in 2013, so quite a few of this year’s Oscar contenders aren’t eligible, though some of last year’s are.

This is number 7…

Few films this year have stayed with me as vividly as the rich and disturbing visual and aural landscape of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives. It’s a decent into a neon hell, a world half-inhabited by the damned and stalked by demons. With Cliff Martinez’s pounding score still echoing through my head long after my last viewing, Only God Forgives is a haunting piece of cinema, a nightmare captured on digital.

onlygodforgives6

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Non-Review Review: The Railway Man

The Railway Man is certainly an ambitious film. Adapting the true story of British Second World War veteran Eric Lomax, who won the 1996 NCR Book Award and the J. R. Ackerley Prize for The Railway Man, his autobiographical account of his time in Japanese captivity and the aftermath of the war. Adapted by Frank Cottrell Boyce and Andy Paterson, and directed by Jonathan Teplitzky, it remains a fascinating and compelling exploration of the wounds left festering by war.

The biggest problem with The Railway Man is that it is perhaps too ambitious; it tries to include too much, and to cover too much ground in the space available. Despite that, it remains a moving and harrowing look at the remarkable life of one veteran.

Trained for this...

Trained for this…

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Non-Review Review: Only God Forgives

Only God Forgives is a journey into hell. It’s an unpleasant, uncomfortable, terrifying, surreal, macabre, haunting, eerie and beautiful exploration of brutality and violence. Nicolas Winding Refn’s latest film isn’t anywhere near as accessible as Drive. It isn’t just bereft of sympathetic characters, it doesn’t even feature any characters who lend themselves to empathy or recognisability. Ryan Gosling’s Julian is so introverted and withdrawn that it’s often difficult to determine the difference between reality and his surreal dream sequences.

Then again, given Refn suggests the man is living in his own private hell, perhaps there’s not too much difference any way.

Wanna fight?

Wanna fight?

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Watch! Only God Forgives UK Trailer!

Only God Forgives is just about my most anticipated movie of the year. Drive was my favourite film of 2011, so the re-teaming of director Nicholas Winding Refn and lead Ryan Gosling immediately piques my interest. Coupled with the power of the premise and the beauty of the clips we’ve seen so far, it’s very hard not to get too excited about the film. Luckily, it’s only a month away from release in the UK and Ireland. That’s not too long, and to tide us over, here’s the latest beautiful-looking UK trailer.

 

Watch! New Only God Forgives Trailer!

Only God Forgives is probably my most anticipated movie of the year, even ranking ahead of various other geeky pleasures I look forward to savouring. Nicolas Winding Refn made quite an impression with Drive, and his follow-up looks just as rich and unsettling and stunningly produced. It really looks amazing, and I adore Refn’s neon aesthetic. It’s probably the best spiritual successor to the look that Michael Mann crafted for Miami Vice back in the eighties. Check out the latest trailer below.

Non-Review Review: The Hangover, Part II

“It happened again,” Phil whines over the phone to his buddy’s wife during the opening sequence of The Hangover, Part II. Of course it did, that’s the entire point of the sequel. The movie unashamed offers fans pretty much what they might expect from the sequel to a relatively high concept comedy: “more of the same.” That’s not necessarily a bad thing – moments of the film had me rolling around from side to side to side, attempting to figure out if it was hilarious or just plain wrong – but it does mean the film lacks a lot of the originality and sense of freshness that made the first one such a beloved comedy classic.

Bangkok Dangerous?

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