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285. Trainspotting (#173)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guest Emma Kiely, The 250 is a weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released Saturdays at 6pm GMT.

So this week, Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting.

Using heroin to numb the pain of simply existing, Mark Renton drifts through a series of episodic adventures in nineties Edinburgh. Renton and his friends find themselves caught up in a web of sex, violence, drug abuse and existential malaise, grappling with challenges both large and small as they struggle to make it out the other side of their experiences.

At time of recording, it was ranked 173rd on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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Non-Review Review: Brave

Brave is certainly a significant improvement upon Cars 2, even if it doesn’t necessarily measure up the finest films in the Pixar stable. Part of the problem is the sense that, for the first time, the studio is telling a story that isn’t really their own. I know that particular films in the studio’s history owe a great deal to certain influences (The Incredibles to The Fantastic Four, for example), but Brave really feels like the studio is very much trying to put its own take on the conventional “Disney Princess” movie. While the results are certainly interesting, it never feels like Braveis entirely comfortable with itself. While the film is, technically speaking, quite impressive, it does feel like it never quite strikes the right balance.

The right to bear arms…

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To Play the King (Review)

The wonderful folks at the BBC have given me access to their BBC Global iPlayer for a month to give the service a go and trawl through the archives. Read my thoughts on the service here, but I thought I’d also take the opportunity to enjoy some of the fantastic content.

You’ve got the King against the Prime Minister, the Lords against the Commons. The bishops are in now, you’ve got “don’t blame the royals”, and – in particular – you’ve got Urquhart’s plan to bring down the monarchy for good and all. And they’ve all played the personal morality card. Every one of them. Which means, in my book, that everybody’s private life is now up for grabs. And I mean everybody’s!

– Sir Bruce Bullerby sums it up

The second part of the House of Cards trilogy has some fairly interesting subject matter. While Francis Urquharts Machiavellian rise to power was enough to ground the first four-part serial, it does occasionally feel like To Play The King has just a bit too much going on. Of course, Andrew Davies’ tight scripting ensures that all the necessary subplots are tidied up before we reach the end credits of the final episode, but things do occasionally feel just a little bit too packed. Still, it’s hard to blame a television show for having too much substance, and there’s a compelling issue at the heart of To Play The King, as novelist Michael Dodds takes the opportunity to explore Britain’s constitutional monarchy, and the possibility of friction that a proactive King might present.

A crowning accomplishment for the BBC?

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Tiny Plays for Ireland at the Projects Art Centre (Review)

There’s something very charming about the rat-tat-tat nature of Tiny Plays for Ireland. A collection of short pieces by a variety of new and established talent, not every chapter in Fishamble’s latest production is perfect. Some are even quite weak. However, the quick turnover means that there’s a new and better drama unfolding on stage in the time it takes to toast a slice of bread. While there are some weaker segments, some of these short plays are charming, some are endearing, some are genuinely moving. Some leave you longing for just a little bit more, and some feeljust right.

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Trailer for Kevin Macdonald’s Bob Marley Documentary…

Director Kevin Macdonald is producing a documentary on Bob Marley for Universal Pictures. Macdonald has always been a fascinating director, if only because he’s very hard to pin down. Macdonald has arguably won the most critical acclaim for his work on the superb Last King of Scotland. He was also responsible for last year’s highly ambitious Life in a Day, the famous “youtube movie” that attempted to capture, in snippets, a glimpse of life as lived and recorded on 24th July 2010. Bob Marley, of course, continues to be one of the most boldly iconic and recognisable musicians in the world, even thirty years following his death at the age of 36. The combination is interesting, and I look forward to seeing what Macdonald brings to the table – I can’t imagine handling a pop culture icon like Marley is an easy task.

Luckily enough, Marley will be opening in Irish cinemas on the 20th April. The trailer is below.

we3: The Deluxe Edition (Review)

December is “Grant Morrison month” here at the m0vie blog, as we take the month to consider and reflect on one of the most critically acclaimed (and polarising) authors working in the medium.

It’s Homeward Bound, but with cyborgs!

Run rabbit, run rabbit, run run run!

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Non-Review Review: The Illusionist (2010)

It’s hard to fault The Illusionist on a technical level. The film is truly beautiful, not only capturing the beauty of its surroundings in wonderful animation, but also produced with a magical sense of artistry and genuine romanticism. Although one can readily spot the hints of CGI used to help realise director Sylvain Chomet’s vision, the animation feels remarkably and endearingly old-fashioned. The limited use of dialogue throughout adds a strange and ethereal (almost fairy tale) quality to the whole thing. Still, there’s something that feels a bit strange about the whole thing, as if the story – although trying to distract us with flair and bright colours and a clever wit – is a truly depressing saga. Some might suggest that it is “bittersweet”, but I couldn’t help but find the outer “sweetness”nothing but a superficial attempt to distract from a truly bitter core.

It's a kind of magic...

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Non-Review Review: Centurion

I have to admit, I’m a bit disappointed with Neil Marshall. I’ll concede that I genuinely enjoyed Dog Soldiers and The Descent, while acknowledging their flaws. His movies have a tendency to start in the absurd and just keep amping things up until they get unbelievably ridiculous. Even the over-the-top and quite-crap-actually Doomsday still had a lot of energy to carry it through as it gleefully veered through camp straight out into uncharted realms of gratuitous nonsense. On the other hand, Marshall’s latest, Centurion, seems relatively tame. It’s fairly mediocre throughout, which perhaps seems less entertaining because it never has the energy to go too far. And that’s a bit of shame.

The last Fassbender?

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James Bond January in Review

It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these, and I’m not sure I should bring them back – but, hey, it might be nice to have an index of all the James Bond January shenanigans I got up to this January. Let’s start with the reviews  of the 22 films – all of them:

I also did some James Bond related posts in the month. I wondered about the “James Bond is just a codename” theory, pondered what Bond 23 might have in store for the franchise and wondered if Bond gets away with so much because we dismiss a lot of its British nationalism as “quaint”.

Apart from all that, I wondered if the film 300 was actually racist, and dared to suggest it wasn’t. I took a look at Matthew Vaughn’s upcoming X-Men: First Class and superhero nostalgia. I also pondered what Christopher Nolan’s Bane might look like. It was a fun month, and I hope that next month will be just as exciting.

Thanks again to Paragraph Films for throwing the whole “James Bond January” thing together. It was a joy to take part.