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Non-Review Review: Behind the Candelabra

It’s a shame that Behind the Candelabra didn’t receive a theatrical release in the United States. It’s a shame for a lot of reasons. For one thing, it’s a shame that the studios think so little of American audiences that they’d refuse a relatively meagre $5m budget for a Liberace biopic which was “too gay.” It’s a shame that Steven Soderbergh’s last film will not be shown in American cinemas, given his recent discussions about the state of the medium. It’s a shame that none of the talented people involved in the film (from Michael Douglas through to make-up artists Todd Kleitsch and Christine Beveridge) will never garner the awards attention they so sorely deserve.

It’s also a shame because Behind the Candelabra is just a damn fine piece of cinema, and one which deserves a little time on the big screen.

Cloaked in mystery...

Cloaked in mystery…

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Jameson Cult Film Club: L.A. Confidential & A Talk With Danny DeVito (JDIFF 2013)

This event was held as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2013.

The Jameson Cult Film Club really is a film lover’s paradise, an excuse for the celebration of classic cinema in a unique environment that tries to bring classic movie moments to life – whether bringing the gospel sermon from The Blues Brothers to life, or having the face-huggers from Alien drop into the audience to the satisfying sound of screams. Launched two years ago at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, the club celebrates its birthday by hosting a very special guest at a celebration of one of their best films. Danny DeVito is this year’s guest of honour at the festival – hosting screenings of the superb The War of the Roses and Throw Mama From the Train. As such, holding a celebratory screening of L.A. Confidential was really the perfect fit for a cult film club event.

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My Daddy’s a Movie-Star: When Do We Stop Thinking of Second-Generation Actors In Terms of Their Relatives?

It occurred to me as I was watching the trailer for Lucky, the upcoming black comedy starring Colin Hanks and embedded below. I was actually thinking of Colin Hanks as a name in his own right, rather than “the son of Tom Hanks, who also acts.” I mean, of course I knew his name, and I also respected his work, but there had always been this rather pronounced association between Colin and his father. I don’t mean anything to diminish Colin’s work, and I know it isn’t fair, but that was pretty much how I had – to a large extent – defined the young performer. I don’t even think I did it consciously. However, in watching the trailer for his upcoming film, I actually found myself thinking of Colin in his own right. Even though he is – honestly – the spitting image of his father, I had to consciously drag that association into my head in order to make it. It got me thinking, when does the child of a successful actor come into their own?

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Non-Review Review: The Game

The Game is perhaps something of a black sheep on David Fincher’s filmography. It wasn’t quite an early work like Alien 3, but it falls between two of his larger and better received works, Se7en and Fight Club. While it contains the same thematic depth which would define Fincher’s work (and continues to), exploring ideas like the nature of social interactions and the hostile world, it isn’t quite as readily accessible as most of his other work. From the outset, it’s almost as though The Game wants you to believe that it is just a set-up, that it’s rigged, that it will have a ridiculous and illogical conclusion, which makes it a difficult movie for the audience to engage with or trust. The Game hinges on the audience (and the central character) being unable to distinguish between the set-up and reality – effectively letting the audience know that they are going to be toyed with, and potentially alienating them. Which is a shame, because it’s a cleverly constructed little film which would be a lot more charming if it didn’t spend so much of its time informing you of how smart it is.

Quit clowning around...

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Non-Review Review: Wall Street

It’s interesting that Wall Street, a movie set in the time that it was made, begins with a titlecard reminding the audience that it’s 1985. Maybe it’s because director Oliver Stone realised that the movie would be dated almost as swiftly as it had been released – financial services are very much a product of their time, anchored in a specific moment. “By four o’clock, I’m a dinosaur!” one character exclaims over the phone as he tries to get information – information that will be redundant if he waits too long. However, I don’t think Wall Street is in anyway redundant. The current financial crisis suggests that – if anything – the original film is as relevant now as when it was released (and is the only reason I am not flat-out dreading the release of Wall Steet: Money Never Sleeps). No, I think that it is because, even in the midst of the decade that it was produced, Stone could see the movie would perfectly capture that moment in time. Seriously, despite the fact that its core ideas are as insightful as they were twenty-five years ago, the movie itself feels like the pure essence of the eighties distilled into a two-hour film. That titlecard isn’t there to remind viewers that this is a dated film, it serves as a stamp or a label. Not to say “this is set in 1985”, but “this is 1985″.

Gordon takes stock...

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