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130. (ii) Mary and Max (#177)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guest Andy Hazel, 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 every Saturday at 6pm GMT.

This time, Adam Elliot’s Mary and Max.

Mary Daisy Dinkle is a precocious eight-year-old growing up in the suburbs of Waverley outside Melbourne. One day, on the spur of the moment, she picks a name at random out of a phone book and decides to write to Max Jerry Horovitz, an atheist Jew living in New York City. The two strike up an unlikely friendship that crosses decades, navigating their interwoven lives separated by half the world.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 177th best movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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Non-Review Review: A Most Wanted Man

For better or worse, A Most Wanted Man is going to be overshadowed by the passing of its lead actor. Philip Seymour Hoffman was a giant, a performer with a wonderful gift for bringing flawed and real characters to life, and A Most Wanted Man serves as his last leading role in a major motion picture. It is impossible to talk about A Most Wanted Man without talking about Philip Seymour Hoffman’s performance, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

It is a great performance, one that reminds the audience of why they loved Hoffman in the first place – Günther Bachmann is the sort of flawed human being that Hoffman played so well, given a great deal of depth by the late actor.

What's on the table?

What’s on the table?

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Non-Review Review: A Late Quartet

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2013.

Watching A Late Quartet, you can almost read the text the text of the “for your consideration” letters, advertisements and press releases. This is, after all, the story of a classical music quartet dealing with the fallout when their cellist discovers that he is suffering from Parkinson’s disease. The cellist’s announcement that he will be departing the group causes each of the other three members to question their role in the ensemble, and even where their lives have brought them. It is, very much, an invitation for melodrama, and the script takes up that invitation with considerable enthusiasm. However, despite (or perhaps because of) the script’s decision to embrace that melodrama, A Late Quartet serves as a fascinating showcase for a rather wonderful ensemble.

Music, sweet music...

Music, sweet music…

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The Longest Wait: The Difference Between European and American Release Dates…

I have to confess, part of me is a little disappointed that we are slowly phasing out of blockbuster season and into the traditional Oscar season. Not because I prefer the films in one to the other, of course, but because it means that apparently my entire continent is going to drop off the radar for a few months. As the major studios in the United States scramble to get their best Oscar shots released in Los Angeles (and, often, the rest of the country) by the end of the year, it seems that they forget about the rest of the world. While the release of the summer blockbusters have gotten just a bit more synchronised, there’s still a sense that the release of the prestige pieces over here remains an afterthought.

Let’s deal with this fur once and fur all…

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Non-Review Review: Moneyball

I know nothing of baseball. Unlike the other great American sporting pastime of American Football (or, I guess, “football” to them), I simply can’t wrap my head around the activity, which seems (to me) to be a strange mix of rounders and the imaginary “whack bat” from The Fantastic Mr. Fox (which was undoubtedly intended as a parody of cricket, to mix my metaphors even further). It takes a lot for me to invest in a movie about an activity that I can barely comprehend, and Moneyball accomplishes that, by managing to craft one of the most telling and relevent sporting movies I’ve seen in quite some time. I think the film does struggle to establish an emotional connection, but it’s a very clever and very intriguing little movie.

Field of dreams...

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Non-Review Review: Red Dragon

I have a confession to make: I don’t much care for Manhunter. I know I love the work of Michael Mann, but the film just left me cold. Maybe it’s Brian Cox’s stale performance as Hannibal, or the final action sequence choreographed to Inna Gadda Vida, but I don’t react well to the film. I loved the original book – I’d argue that Harris’ Red Dragon surpasses even The Silence of the Lambs as the greatest forensic thriller ever written – and, I have to confess, I certainly quite enjoyed Red Dragon.

Guess whose back...

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Non-Review Review: The Boat That Rocked

This is a movie that ends with a rendition of the classic Bowie pop number Let’s Dance, because it couldn’t fit it anywhere in its linear narrative amid all the time-specific pop and rock tunes. The movie has quite a bit in common with that most financially successful of songs from the Thin White Duke. It’s light, it’s breezy and it’s catchy, with just a hint of some extra darkness that is rarely found among its light and fluff compatriots. It’s also the work of an intensely talented artist (and, indeed, artists) who probably should be doing more innovative and important work, but we almost can’t blame them because it’s so much fun. Almost.

Quite a board walk...

Quite a board walk...

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