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Non-Review Review: Hunky Dory

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2012.

There’s very little in Hunky Dory that we haven’t seen before. It’s a story set in the past about a young and idealistic teacher attempting to give her students a more rounded and useful education before they enter the big bad world. It’s set in Wales in 1976, giving the movie a bit of character and contextualising this period as the calm before the storm. Margaret Thatcher, that most divisive and controversial of British Prime Ministers, can be heard faintly on the television in the background; tough economic times lie ahead; skinheads roam the streets; and the Falklands War is just around the corner. As Vivienne, our young drama teacher, attempts to offer some guidance to students who might otherwise slip through the cracks, the sinister forces of the establishment seem to conspire against her.

Joyeux de Viv!

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Non-Review Review: The Iron Lady

Margaret Thatcher is a complex character. She’s certainly a divisive political figure, but I think that her detractors and her supporters would both admit that the woman isn’t a two-dimensional pop psychology case. The biggest problem with The Iron Ladyis the way that it attempts to offer a simplistic analysis of Thatcher, presenting her as a failure of a wife and a mother who compensated by running her cabinet and her country like a stern matriarch. While Streep gives a solid performance, and director Phyllida Lloyd tries her best to make the movie visually engaging, it feels a bit cheap and shallow. It doesn’t help that the movie trots out the familiar Oscar-baiting bio-pic clichés as if it were assembling an IKEA cabinet. Whatever you may think of Thatcher, she deserved more nuance and complexity than The Iron Lady affords her.

The Broad(bent) strokes...

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The Very British Mr. Bond: The Habits of Empire & The American Fixation on Bond

This post is part of James Bond January, being organised by the wonderful Paragraph Films. I will have reviews of all twenty-two official Bond films going on-line over the next month, and a treat or two every once in a while.

James Bond is a peculiarly British phenomenon. He’s a charmingly debonaire socialite with great taste in women and suits, but also a coldly professional killer. I’ve had debates on him where I’ve classified him as a gentleman, a sociopath, a sexist, a piece of nostalgia in a tuxedo, one of the last true cinematic heroes and the very distillation of cinematic class – sometimes within the context of the same argument. Why is Bond so fascinating? What makes him so gripping? Is it perhaps the fact that Bond is, in all his personas, so incredibly British?

Is he mostly armless?

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