Advertisements
    Advertisements
  • Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

  • Advertisements

Non-Review Review: Green Book

Green Book feels like a movie lost in time.

If Green Book feels displaced, it is not from the early sixties backdrop against which the story unfolds. Instead, Green Book feels like an awards season movie that was produced in the early nineties, and which slipped gently under the radar until it was unearthed at some recent point. Green Book very much belongs to those early nineties awards fare meditations upon race and class in America – especially Driving Miss Daisy, the film it most strongly evoked.

Going by the Book.

As a piece of nineties awards fare, Green Book would be judged rather kindly. It is crowd pleasing. It is broad. It is earnest, without being unnecessarily confrontational. It is also appreciably smarter than many of those nineties commentaries on race in America, consciously subverting and even inverting a lot of the expectations of the form. it is designed in such a way as to leave the audience with a big grin on their face, playing with familiar sets of narrative logic that nests a classic “odd couple” movie inside an exploration of the prejudices of the Deep South in the sixties.

However, Green Book is not a lost piece of nineties awards fare. It is a product of the current era. While it might track ahead of similarly ill-judged (and sadly contemporaneous) awards season movies about race like The Blind Side or The Help, it is still far more clumsy than a movie tackling these ideas should be in a twenty-first century context. Green Book feels positively outmoded when compared to fellow high-profile films about race like BlacKkKlansman or Sorry to Bother You or If Beale Street Could Talk. Green Book feels like a relic.

Food for thought.

This is a paradox. Green Book is significantly better in terms of production than many of the films to which it consciously invites comparison, films by white directors inspired by true events and coloured by nostalgia. However, it is significantly weaker than many of the more vital and dynamic films grappling with the same subject matter. Green Book often feels caught between these two extremes, and this presents a challenge in properly assessing it.

Green Book is a very good example of the kind of movie that it wants to be. However, it leaves unanswered the question of whether movies like this still have a place in the modern cinematic landscape.

“Doctor Shirley, you can’t be serious?”

Continue reading

Advertisements

Game of Thrones: Season 1 (Review)

In many ways, Game of Thrones feels like a fitting successor to Peter Jackson’s epic adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. Undoubtedly fans of either work are getting a bit tired of the comparisons, understandably feeling that such a point of reference is a crutch for writers or reviews with little knowledge of the fantasy genre outside those tent poles. Still, it has been a while since an adaptation of such a well-received literary work has managed to make such an impact on popular culture. A decade after the release of the first film in Jackson’s trilogy, I think that G.R.R. Martin’s work builds upon the conventions Jackson taught us to embrace so easily. In fact, the celebrated HBO series works so very well because it so radically and gleefully subverts the audience expectations that were so firmly entrenched by Peter Jackson’s fantasy landmarks.

It’s really Throne me…

Continue reading

Non-Review Review: A Dangerous Method

Charles Issawi once formulated Syre’s Law, named for noted academic Wallace Stanley Sayre. “In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake,” he argued. “That is why academic politics are so bitter.” Set in the shadow of not one but two looming European conflicts, David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, adapted from the play The Talking Cure, makes sure that we know just how bitter academic politics can be. Ably supported by two strong performances from its three leads, the movie is at its most fascinating in exploring the ideological and personal relationships of Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, but loses a large amount of momentum when we’re asked to accept Keira Knightley as a mad Russian.

Psycho-analysts, assemble!

Continue reading

Non-Review Review: The Road

Fire is a recurring image in the work of Cormac McCarthy. Particularly the notion of a generational line “carrying the fire” and being the good guys. There’s a moment at the end of No Country For Old Men, another adaptation of McCarthy’s work, where the tired sheriff played by Tommy Lee Jones shares a weird dream he’s been having with his wife, where he finds himself walking down a long road, and he passes his father – who is carrying a torch. It’s a powerful image, which really cuts to the heart of the piece. For those wondering what that road and that torch may actually look like… well, there’s this.

The Road less traveled...

Continue reading

Tiring of Retiring Stars?

Hmm… A little part of me is so surprised that everybody is taking this whole ‘retirement’ thing with Robert Downey Jnr. so seriously. Yes, he talked about quitting while he’s ahead – an act that many former stars would have done well to consider – and seems to long for a bit of quite time:

I’ve never had it this good — this is my day in the sun — and I certainly don’t want to look a gift horse in the molars. But [my wife] Susan and I want to begin to be in our lives as much as we are in our jobs. I’d love just to sit here and say, ‘What movie’s playing tonight?’ I’d love to finish the new book about D-day I’m reading. I love painting, I love music.

I’m far too cynical to be driven to a state of panic about the loss of one of the finest talents to re-emerge over the past two or three years. Experience has taught us that there’s quite a distance between ‘retiring’ and ‘retired’ in Hollywood.

No need to feel down about Downey...

Continue reading

Nazi-ploitation! Or How We Treat Nazi Germany in Modern Cinema…

I moaned last week about the loss of the two-dimensional evil Nazi. Brushed aside in a tide of political correctness or extreme sensitivity. I think it’s time to talk about what Hollywood has presented us with in its stead. I think it’s interesting to discuss the general trend in the presentation of the Third Reich that we’ve seen emerge in the past year or so.

Tom Cruise played a vision-impaired conflicted German during the Third Reich... Where's his Oscar?

Tom Cruise played a vision-impaired conflicted German during the Third Reich... Where's his Oscar?

Continue reading

Science Fiction by any other name…

I’m genuinely excited about The Road, the adaptation of the novel from Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Cormac McCarthy. despite a shakey production history, it looks like the Weinstein might be able to mount a successful Oscar campaign for this science-fiction tale. Oops. I shouldn’t have mentioned that hyphenated word. Pretend you didn’t hear it – maybe the Academy hasn’t heard it either. In fact, given the way that people talk about the book and the film, you’d be lucky to hear that ‘tag’ even within the same paragraph. I won’t tell anyone if you don’t.

A nice father-son day out...

A nice father-son day out...

Continue reading