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Non-Review Review: Bel Ami

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

I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised by Bel Ami, the first film from theatrical veterans Declan Donnellan & Nick Ormerod. It’s a classy little period drama that doesn’t necessarily redefine the genre, but instead stands as a worth addition to the canon. In a way, it seems like a more lavish BBC adaptation, which is quite a compliment when it comes to period drama. I don’t know if actor Robert Pattinson will necessarily find life after Twilight, but I imagine he will find a niché if he choses his next couple of roles as carefully as he chose this one.

Hm... This guy rings a Bel...

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Non-Review Review: You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger

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

You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger is – we’re told at the start by the (now seemingly customary) narrator – “a tale told by an idiot, filled with sound and fury, signifying nothing.” It doesn’t use the exact quote from Macbeth, but it references it pretty explicitly. However, this seems less like the genuine intention of Woody Allen and more like an excuse scribbled on the introduction to a term paper he couldn’t be bothered finishing, as if to declare to the world, “It’s okay if nothing is ever really resolved or developed and random stuff seems to occur for no reason – that’s the stylistic approach I’m adopting!” I don’t doubt that the movie’s inconclusive nature is undoubtedly intentional, but it’s inconsistency is still infuriating – perhaps more for the sections of the movie that do engage rather than those that meander. It’s not necessary a bad film – Allen is still a great storyteller, even when he doesn’t seem especially bothered – but it’s just not up there with Vicki Cristina Barcelona or even Match Point.

Growing old disgracefully...

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Non-Review Review: Calendar Girls

Calendar Girls is that sort of wonderfully quirky comedy that only the British can pull off. Based on the true story of a bunch of Yorkshire middle-aged women who stripped off for a calendar to raise funds for the local hospital, it’s a wonderfully wry and witty sort of tale that can really be split into two halves: the first exploring the societal pressures and prejudices which surrounded the construction of the calendar and the second an exploration of the consequences of the fundraiser’s success. While the first half is certainly more entertaining than the second, it’s a charming and endearing little film.

Get a load of those buns...

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Ashes to Ashes: Dust to Dust…

My name is Alex Drake… and your guess is as good as mine.

– Alex introduces us to the third season

Ashes and Ashes wound up last week. It seems to be the time of year for shows wrapping up. I could remark on how I’m hooked on this eclectic collection of British and American shows, but can’t find a decent Irish television show to watch week-in-and-week-out, but I’ll save that rant. It would appear that we have seen the last of the iconic Gene Hunt. And, you know what, it was nice. As nice as an attempt to give the old-fashioned politically-incorrect copper some closure could ever really be.

Gene Hunt takes some parting shots...

Note: This article will discuss the final episode of Ashes to Ashes and also has the capicity to retroactively spoil Life on Mars. You have been warned.

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