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14. La La Land – This Just In (#23)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, This Just In is a subset of the fortnightly The 250 podcast, looking at notable new arrivals on the list of the 250 best movies of all-time, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, Damien Chazelle’s La La Land.

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Non-Review Review: The Nice Guys

The Nice Guys is a superb piece of work, a retro seventies buddy action comedy with charm to spare.

The Nice Guys is dripping with period detail. The opening tracking shot swoops behind the iconic “Hollywood” sign, still trapped in a state of decay. The characters wear brightly coloured suits. The soundtrack is populated by recognisable disco and funk songs. There are repeated references to President Richard Nixon. Characters smoke like troopers and drive around in open-top convertibles while somehow managing an unhealthy combination of sideburns, stubble and moustaches. In short, the film is set in the seventies, and the audience won’t forget it.

Cigarette-Smoking Man.

Cigarette-Smoking Man.

However, The Nice Guys has a much deeper retro charm. It harks back to the sort of buddy action films that have become a rarity these days, the story of two lovable klutzes who wander into a life-or-death mystery that gradually unravels over the course of two hours. The stakes are charmingly low-key; there is no city destroyed, no threat on a planetary scale. The characters are broadly drawn archetypes, but neither have be chosen or fated. There are at most a couple of lives resting on their shoulders, their own included.

The Nice Guy harks back to a very nineties buddy action comedy aesthetic, demonstrating a nostalgia that is more than skin deep, but which is nonetheless endearing.

Board to death.

Board to death.

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Non-Review Review: Lost River

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2015.

There is a good film buried somewhere in Lost River.

Unfortunately, it is probably buried as deep as the community that give the movie its name.

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My 12 for ’13: Only God Forgives & Neon Nightmares…

This is my annual countdown of the 12 movies that really stuck with me this year. It only counts the movies released in Ireland in 2013, so quite a few of this year’s Oscar contenders aren’t eligible, though some of last year’s are.

This is number 7…

Few films this year have stayed with me as vividly as the rich and disturbing visual and aural landscape of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives. It’s a decent into a neon hell, a world half-inhabited by the damned and stalked by demons. With Cliff Martinez’s pounding score still echoing through my head long after my last viewing, Only God Forgives is a haunting piece of cinema, a nightmare captured on digital.

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Non-Review Review: Only God Forgives

Only God Forgives is a journey into hell. It’s an unpleasant, uncomfortable, terrifying, surreal, macabre, haunting, eerie and beautiful exploration of brutality and violence. Nicolas Winding Refn’s latest film isn’t anywhere near as accessible as Drive. It isn’t just bereft of sympathetic characters, it doesn’t even feature any characters who lend themselves to empathy or recognisability. Ryan Gosling’s Julian is so introverted and withdrawn that it’s often difficult to determine the difference between reality and his surreal dream sequences.

Then again, given Refn suggests the man is living in his own private hell, perhaps there’s not too much difference any way.

Wanna fight?

Wanna fight?

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Watch! Only God Forgives UK Trailer!

Only God Forgives is just about my most anticipated movie of the year. Drive was my favourite film of 2011, so the re-teaming of director Nicholas Winding Refn and lead Ryan Gosling immediately piques my interest. Coupled with the power of the premise and the beauty of the clips we’ve seen so far, it’s very hard not to get too excited about the film. Luckily, it’s only a month away from release in the UK and Ireland. That’s not too long, and to tide us over, here’s the latest beautiful-looking UK trailer.

 

Watch! New Only God Forgives Trailer!

Only God Forgives is probably my most anticipated movie of the year, even ranking ahead of various other geeky pleasures I look forward to savouring. Nicolas Winding Refn made quite an impression with Drive, and his follow-up looks just as rich and unsettling and stunningly produced. It really looks amazing, and I adore Refn’s neon aesthetic. It’s probably the best spiritual successor to the look that Michael Mann crafted for Miami Vice back in the eighties. Check out the latest trailer below.