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Non-Review Review: The Jesus Rolls

The Jesus Rolls is a loaded premise on a number of levels.

Most obviously, it is a film that takes a memorable supporting character from a beloved film and asks them to hold focus for ninety-odd minutes. Not all characters are designed to support a feature film, as the cavalcade of failed Saturday Night Live films will attest. It’s possible to get lucky, as with cases like Wayne’s World, but these happen relatively infrequently. Jesus might be a character who works best as part of the larger wacky ensemble of The Big Lebowski, where he exists in a heightened world of wandering cowboys, conceptual artists, pornographers and nihilists.

The risks are compounded by the change of authorship. Jesus Quintana was a character created by the Coen Brothers, and so makes a great deal of sense in their world of dysfunctional and cartoonish eccentrics. While actor John Turturro has experience as a writer and director, he is very clearly a different sort of filmmaker. Turturro’s last theatrically released feature was Fading Gigalo, released in 2013. There’s little in Turturro’s filmography to suggest that his approach to Jesus will mesh with the character’s origin in a stylised Raymond Chandler homage.

The Jesus Rolls is a strange sort of misfire. It’s a surprisingly flat film, which says a lot considering its gonzo inspirations and its bawdy preoccupations. There’s a hollowness to it all, an emptiness and a lack of focus. It lacks the energy or zeal that might excuse its paper-thin approach to its plot and protagonist, aspiring towards a weightiness that neither its characterisation nor its content can support. The Jesus Rolls often feels like a series of interlocking vignettes rather than a movie, but none of which succeed at holding the audience’s attention.

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89. The Intouchables (#38)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney and this week with special guest Kieran Gillen, 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, Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano’s Intouchables.

Sparks fly and worlds collide when a wealthy quadriplegic hires an unemployed former felon to serve as his personal care nurse. Philippe and Driss forge an unlikely and heartwarming bond, coming to a deeper understanding of on another and the world around them.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 38th best movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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Non-Review Review: Three Colours White

This week we’re taking a look at Krzysztof Kieślowski’s celebrated “Three Colours” Trilogy. We’ll be publishing reviews on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, so check back and sound off.

There’s a general critical consensus that Three Colours White represents the weakest instalment in Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Three Colours Trilogy. I have to admit, it’s not a position that I disagree with. It’s not a bad film by any stretch (it’s quite a good one), but it never reaches quite the same levels of depth and development that the two films bookending the trilogy attain so easily. When I was younger, I could never quite put my finger on why that might be, but – as I got older – I think I might have figured out why this instalment leaves me cold.

It's all down-hill from here...

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Non-Review Review: Three Colours Blue

This week we’re taking a look at Krzysztof Kieślowski’s celebrated “Three Colours” Trilogy. We’ll be publishing reviews on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, so check back and sound off.

Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Three Colours Trilogy is generally regarded as one of the landmarks of European cinema, one of the great cinematic accomplishments of the past few decades. I find it hard to disagree. A cynical and bittersweet (and, occasionally, just bitter) look at the ideals of the French Revolution (liberty, equality and fraternity) filtered through the three colours of the French flag, Kieślowski’s three films are powerful studies of human nature, exploring the way that we react and interact in this strange and surreal world that we share with everybody else.


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Non-Review Review: Amélie

I feel a little bit heartless in confessing this, but Amélie (or Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain, to use its original title), never really connected with me. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate the film’s wonderful visual style, and those amazing opening scenes with a young Amélie growing up the way she did thanks to the strange and particular set of circumstances around her, but I couldn’t maintain that emotional connection through the film. Which is a shame, because the movie is a wonderful technical accomplishment, from its heavily saturated primary colours through to its distinctive score, and the manner at which it plays with the fourth wall.

Making a splash...

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Non-Review Review: Á Bout Portant (Point Blank)

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

Point Blank is another one of those movies which snuck up on me a little during the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. I wasn’t expected to do anything more than kill a couple of hours with a French film, but was surprised at how energetic and engaging this little action movie is. In fact, it calls to mind some of Luc Besson’s earlier work, which is always a good sign.

A shot of adrenaline...

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