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107. Cidade de Deus (City of God) (#20)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney and this week with special guest Aine O’Connor, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released Saturday at 6pm GMT.

This time, Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund’s Cidade de Deus.

Over three decades in the eponymous Brazilian slum, lives intersect and collide amid poverty and criminality. A young by named “Rocket” tries to navigate – and account for – the fickle winds of chance in a turbulent urban environment.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 20th best movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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Non-Review Review: Rio 2

Rio 2 is a solidly-constructed sequel. It lacks the emotional heft that has come to distinguish most of the more memorable family films. Instead, it opts for a constant barrage of music and colour to keep the young audience engaged. Nothing ever lingers too long, with a set piece or a musical number sure to kick off within a scene or two. There’s nothing wrong with this approach – Rio 2 is a perfectly enjoyable piece of family film.

At the same time, it never slows itself down (or even tones itself down) long enough for use to invest in the characters. There is always something happening, which means that our characters never seem to catch their breath. Given the movie’s story touches on heavy themes like connecting with one’s roots, cultural identity, and environmentalism, there is a sense that these ideas might work better if given room to breath a bit.

Still, the result is engaging and diverting, if not entirely satisfying.

All the way to Rio...

All the way to Rio…

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Non-Review Review: The Zero Theorem

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2014.

The Zero Theorem is a mess. Of course, this isn’t a surprise. Part of the charm of Terry Gilliam is the way that the director seems to wallow in chaos and disorder – dysfunction and mess are two of his calling cards as a director. However, The Zero Theorem often feels more like a scrapbook of half-composed ideas than a finished film, packed with some interesting ideas and wonderful visuals, blended to a story and script that lack any real subtlety or nuance or insight.

thezerotheorem

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Non-Review Review: Summer in February

Summer in February is a lazy and contrived piece of pretentious twaddle. Exploring the true story of a colony of artists living off the coast of England in the early years of the twentieth century, it never offers anything more than a fleeting sketch of its characters and the world they inhabit. Benjamin Wallfisch’s powerhouse period score does a lot of heavy lifting, but it can’t do anything to keep the movie afloat. At one point, early in the film, artist AJ Munnings settles a hefty bar tab with an improvised drawing on the back of a bill. This film feels like it would be hard-pressed to pay for a glass of tap water.

summerinfebruary3

Ride away from the cinema! Away!

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Best Indecision Ever! Movie Reviewers & Fear of Absolutes…

I had the pleasure of catching Midnight in Paris at the weekend, and I liked it. I really liked it. I confessed in my review that I thought it was Woody Allen’s best film of the past decade, and – as I left the cinema – I found myself wondering if perhaps it was the best of Allen’s films that I’ve seen. I’ll freely concede that I have yet to work my way through the director’s extensive filmography, but I have been a lot of his more famous and celebrated films like Annie Hall or Manhattan. Still, I feel reluctant to say that, which is admittedly quite strange. I am a movie reviewer (or, if you’ll allow me a hint of pretension, a “critic”) why am I so scared of superlatives?

Simply the best?

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Desert Island Discs

The ever wonderful Andy over at Fandango Groovers has put together a rather excellent little project among film bloggers where we’re all essentially playing ‘desert island discs’. For those who aren’t familiar with the concept, it sees the person in question stranded on a desert island somewhere with only a handful of items – in this case films. Each person will then choose their own eight films that will presumably see them through the rest of their lives in something resembling tranquility. Of course, the kicker is if we arrive on the island and there’s no DVD player.   

The Losties were less than pleased when Darren phoned ahead with his movie choices...

Note: I’ve also compiled a list of movies and bloggers, so you can see if anyone else shared your picks.

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