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The Sopranos: College (Review)

College is interesting because it perfectly captures a lot of the themes at the heart of The Sopranos, effortlessly blending Tony’s upper-middle-class concerns with his familial obligations (both to his nuclear family and to the mob). At the same time, it explores many of the inherently contradictory aspects of modern living, including the implied acquiesce to a culture of greed and corruption. College is the first time that we really see Tony get his own hands dirty, and it’s the point at which we explore how complicit Carmela is in his shady dealings and illegal activities. I think it’s a show that really pins down what the show is going to be – and it’s no surprise that the episode won Chase his first writing Emmy for the show, and is reportedly his favourite episode of the series.

Driving the conversation...

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Non-Review Review: A Somewhat Gentle Man

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

A Somewhat Gentle Man was a very pleasant little surprise to catch on the last day of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. It’s a delightfully dark Norwegian comedy about a man recently released from prison, trying to make his way in the world.

He's got snowhere to go...

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Boardwalk Empire

I don’t think any television show has been quite as anticipated as Boardwalk Empire. The entire digital television channel Sky Atlantic HD seems to be be marketed around the lush period drama, and well it might be. Sure, there are plenty of things to look forward to on HBO’s British channel, but nothing has the big name appeal of a period gangster television show starring Steve Buscemi and directed by Martin Scorsese. That combination was influential enough to secure the show a place on the family’s television planner, a huge vote of confidence if ever there was one – we like to watch stuff together, but a television show takes a lot of commitment (simply because it means getting everybody in the same room roughly once a week). Did Boardwalk Empire live up to the promise it offered? I think it’s too early break open the proverbial Champagne, but all indications so far are good.

Tonight we're going to party like it's 1920...

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Non-Review Review: Outrage (Autoreiji)

We’re currently blogging as part of the “For the Love of Film Noir” blogathon (hosted by Ferdy on Films and The Self-Styled Siren) to raise money to help restore the 1950’s film noir The Sound of Fury (aka Try and Get Me). It’s a good cause which’ll help preserve our rich cinematic heritage for the ages, and you can donate by clicking here. Over the course of the event, running from 14th through 21st February, I’m taking a look at the more modern films that have been inspired or shaped by noir. Today’s theme is “foreign noir” – a look at some of the neo-noir films from outside America.

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

Outrage (also known as Autoreiji) is the latest film from actor/director/writer Kitano “Beat” Takeshi. He’s known to Western film fans perhaps best for his role in Battle Royale, but that significantly undersells his talent and his prolific career. He’s probably better known to wider audiences for his role as “Count Takeshi” on the gameshow Takeshi’s Castle (which became all the rage over here a few years ago). Outrage is essentially a Japanese crime thriller, and it follows the typical structure that one might expect from a conventional crime film – all the classic themes are there, from pride to arrogance to honour to betrayal – but what makes the film especially interesting is the way that it deals with the inherent paradox of the Japanese Yakuza.

Somebody's going to be dying their hair...

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