Narry B, in classic NB style, has moved to Instagram.
Writing a full blog post is too time consuming for this old hound.
Instagram me out:
Friday, 19 February 2016
Starring: Ricardo Darin, Soledad Vilamil
You've gotta love a bit of Darin. He's a cool chap and a good actor. He worked extensively with Campanella, and Secrets is one of their most well-reputed works. And NB has to admit he was impressed. The core story is a bit raw, but it pulls off that mystery thriller vibe with great plumpness.
There are few strange directions; the character of the drunk Sandoval is a bit inconsistent, and the final scene is unnecessarily uplifting. But otherwise its a solid film that pulls off multiple jumps in time with great plumpness, and that clearly had some influence of True Detective in terms of tone.
Thursday, 18 February 2016
Music: Michel Legrand
Starring: Neno Castelnuovo, Catherine Deneueveueve
Yes, yes, yes! Narry B finally has another musical to add to his list of two "NB approved musicals."
There are so many reasons why Cherbourg works well: Legrand's excellent score, the fact that the plot and the lyrics are not overly-dramatic despite being serious, and, above all, the amazing wallpaper.
Beyond just the lovable artistry of this film, there is also a powerful message about love, life and umbrellas. Truly, this is a masterpiece of the genre.
Did I mention it has great wallpaper too?
Wednesday, 17 February 2016
Starring: Ed Harris
Listen up Ed Harris: Biopics should not try to cover too much time! It's impossible to condense a man's life into two hours, much less something so full of energy and creativity as Jackson Pollock. What you end up with is a watery unengaging film that doesn't bring you any closer to the artist.
It's a fatal flaw for a biopic, but Ed Harris made it.
Conversely, it's well made in terms of costumes and sets, etc., and it's well acted and well cast. But the overriding feeling is one of dilution and flimsiness.
Rating: Ed Harris
Tuesday, 16 February 2016
Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson
NB is mystified as to how Hollywood manages to become ever more commercial. Product placement and pointless celebrity cameos make a lot of modern films feel like propaganda tools more than works of ART. Jurassic World had some of the clumsiest product placement Narry has ever seen. But Zoolander 2 is right up there with it. It also falls foul of that "introducing a celebrity is funny in itself" schmuck that bears no weight whatsoever. Admittedly, Keifer Sufferland is pretty funny, but the rest of the celeb cameos are really misguided; especially Sting's pointless appearance. Boo! Boooooo!
There are some gags that work quite well, as you would expect from a "comedy film." But there's also a lot of self-referential, painfully commercial, woefully unfunny elements that will ensure that Zoolander 2 does not hold up well over time.
Saturday, 13 February 2016
Mifune looking quite cool... and
strangely akin to NB's brother in law
Starring: Mifune... AND Nakadai!!
WhaWhaaaa? Kurosawa and Mifune... and Nakadai all together?!! How can you go wrong? You can't! This is a classic of Japanese samurai films, one of Kurosawa's finest works (it's among his "tighter," more compact works) and features great performances by both Mifune and Nakadai (as if that needed saying).
One of the things NB loves about Japanese cinema is, like Japanese comedy, the way it builds up, delivering its punchline at the end, although maybe "bloodline" would be a more apposite word in this case. Not that Sanjuro is an overly violent film... but the final scene is so incredible in its intensity that NB had to watch the scene twice.
Friday, 12 February 2016
Starring: The feller from ER, and a (no offense) quite repugnant lady
NB watched this stinker cos he had heard it was an underrated gem of 80s sci-fi. Admittedly, the scene in the diner is rather good as the tension builds up, and no one is sure whether to believe what's happening. But then it goes all mushy. And for what? The guy from ER is in love with a really rather repugnant looking lady (I'm sure she's lovely and I'm sure she looked a lot better without that awful haircut). The worst is that they kiss. That's one on-screen frenchy I do not want to see again.
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhall
NB identifies muchly with the big-headed Frank: we both need an alter ego - a metaphorical disguise - in order to express ourselves. Admittedly, Frank does it much more successfully, and eventually (SPOLER) learns how to do it without the big head... NB however is trapped inside his character for life.
Frank combines many different elements of musical mythology, primarily, of course, the legend that is Frank Sidebottom and the Oh Blimey Band. The story focusses on what happens if someone ordinary gets involved in something extraordinary. The results are pretty bad.
In terms of the cast, I know he's scoring roles all over the place recently, but NB is actually unimpressed: No, it's not Michael Fassbender (who is surely one of the best and most diverse actors of the new millennium), it's Domhnal Gleeson. Admittedly, his character a bit weak and unlikable in this, but he's pretty wooden in general.
Thankfully, Michael B and Maggie G are here to keep things believable; if a story about a musical genius wearing a giant freak head recording an album in rural Ireland can be called believable.
Thursday, 11 February 2016
Starring: Alexander Kaidanovsky, Nikolai Grinko
Sci-fi meets religious symbolism in this thinly-veiled attack (?) on deification. A grim Russian cast takes you on a journey into an unknowable area where all of your wishes will come true... or will they? Whether that's your cup of tea or not, you can't deny Tarkovsky's skill as a director. It's amazing well shot and the sets and atmosphere of the whole thing really make you believe that this is a "forbidden zone."
Just look at that grim face on the image and you'll get the idea.
Rating: Overbearingly intense and significant but undeniably well-made
Starring: Tatsuya Nakadai
Can anyone rival the immense presence of Tatsuya Nakadai? When NB was 16 years old he watched the Seven Samurai and was completely blown away by Toshiro Mifune's performance. And yet, in a much more understated, controlled way, Nakadai steals your attention in an even more profound way than Mr. Mif. (The comparison between the two fellerz has been made too often for me to go on about it here.)
In Seppuku / Harakiri, Nakadai plays a ronin who visits the house of a local lord looking for a place to die. Or does he? Kobayashi reveals the real plot bit by bit, and after everything is in the open: BOOM! An action scene to rival the best of them.
Starring: Anne Raitt, Eric Allan
Ohh, this is so bleak. I love it! It takes 45 minutes to get going, and the sound quality is atrocious, but once things really kick off, it's hard to look away from Bleak Moments. It's a story of disappointment, frustration, small joys (mainly dry sherry) and daily life.
One of the key scenes is in a Chinese restaurant where a couple who are on a date are being constantly watched by the only other feller in there. The conversation is stilted, the food looks bad, and it's all just... well... bleak. Another amazing scene involves the uptight boyfriend asking his girlfriend if she prefers television or radio. It's cringeworthy enough to make you shudder.
If you know how to enjoy bleak misery, this is a masterpiece!
Dir: Pete Docter-y, Ronnie Del Carmen
Starring: Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, etc.
Comment: Has NB become old and cynical? Everyone seems to love this film, but I really didn't get into it. I could see that it was good... but it seemed to try too hard to give me a message, and I don't like to be manipulated. I am manipulat-er not a manipulat-ee. Animation's pretty ropey in some places too.
Dir: Marc Forster
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Ewan McGregor
Comment: Tries too hard and comes off a bit contrived, cos the complex plot and psychological twists are ultimately kind of un-engaging. Ewan McG's hair is pretty amazing in this, tho.
Rating: Alright film, great hair
Dir: Alfred Spatchcock
Starring: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint
Comment: Sharp script, sharp suits, dangerous blondes, lots of running around. A true "film." NB prefers Hitchcock's more claustrophobic works, but NBNW is unquestionably a "classic."
Starring: Ray Millan, Grace Kelly
Comment: NB realised he's forgotten all of the details from some classic Hitch films so he's been watching them again. Dial M is genius. Really well directed... I felt genuinely shocked by the attempted murder scene.
Thursday, 28 January 2016
|Looking good, Batman|
Starring: Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling
Narry Borman saw the great housing crisis of 2007 coming from a mile away, and put all of his stock into Findus Crispy Fingers. NB has literally thousands of boxes of them stacked up in his garage, but he knows, one day, they'll all come crawling back, begging for those crispy delights.
Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, and Steve Carrel (among others) also saw it coming, and wisely chose to 'bet' against the market, which meant that when it crashed, they got rich.
Even after watching The Big Short, I'm still not exactly sure how. What I do know is that the financial system is a house of cards, and that it's being rebuilt again. What fools! After the next big crash, Findus will be the next currency, Findus!!
Christian Bale steals the show, as always, although he's looking a bit buff for a banker (showing him doing some press-ups does not explain that level of buffness, Mr. McKay). The others are great too, although, as Mark Commode said, "a bit wiggy."
The two things I didn't like about this film were: annoying cut scenes where celebrities 'hilariously' explained complex financial terms; and the over-use of blue language. Both of these detract from a film that is otherwise stylishly made (almost no soundtrack, btw, which makes it all the more 'real') and well edited.
Saturday, 16 January 2016
Starring: Sally Hawkins
Not as trite as it first appears to be (when has Mike Leigh ever been trite?!). Sally's performance keeps a great balance between positive thinking and deeper-rooted sadness, and Eddie Marsen'is unnerving as the driving instructor.
Typically ML, everything blows up in your face just at the right moment.
Starring: Timmy Spall
NB's not too sure if this just too grim to really be enjoyable. Tubby James Corden eats beans on the sofa while watching TV all day. The family's divided. Everything's pointless.
Neighbours live similar lives, but some with better perspectives.
Typically ML, everything blows up in your face just at the right moment (did I say that already?).
Starring: Gene Tierney... and some other people
This tasty little film noir plays all its cards just right: a murder, a complex plot, a beautiful dame (do dames come any more beautiful than Genie T? An extra picture just to be sure), and a cop on the trail of all the loose ends.
Thursday, 14 January 2016
Starring: Andy Lau, Deanie Ip
Some movies indulge in sentimentality like a lonely guy in his mid-30s might indulge in an all-night session of Call of Duty.
A Simple Life doesn't do that (at least not at first). It draws you in, with it's intricate relationship between Lau and Ip. And then it breaks you down with it's story of appreciation and loss.
It also depicts an interesting side of life in Hong Kong, and it shows some amazing cantonese food, like boiled ox tongue.
Rating: Good ox tongue, good film
Tuesday, 12 January 2016
Starring: Nina Hoss, Ron Zerfold or something
SPOILER: Ahhhh, what an ending. What an ending. What an ending. Again, what an ending!
Beutifully shot in post-war Berlin, Phoenix is a tasty little film that NB enjoyed from start to finish. Everything just seems a bit "wrong" with the life of the protagonist, and the story she's being told. And it really plays out very well, taking you through drama, romance, thriller and documentary.
Great performance by Ron Zenfold, or whatever his name is too. That guys got charisma.
What an ending.
Rating: Great great!!
|Sub actor Frang Rigowski (right) steals the show|
Starring: Laia Costa, Frederick Lau
Two things we all know already: this film was (quite incredibly) shot in a single take; Nihls Frahm and DJ Koze provide the music.
Take away those two things, and you've got a decent film that starts well, gets dull, then ends a bit too stereotypically for NB's liking.
The first 30 minutes are great at capturing the (ahem) zeitgeist: in da club, lonely, but having fun, meet some people, get caught up in some craziness, etc. Then, in typical Chipper style, it all gets a bit lost, like the film isn't sure what it wants to be.
I was left feeling a bit bored by the end. Plus I didn't like the actress much.
|45 Years includes this sage observation about why women can|
hold it together at weddings and funerals, but fellers burst out
in tears: we keep it all inside every day.
Starring: Tom Court Nay; Charlotte Rampling
Imagine being married to someone... for 45 years... then finding out they had someone else on their mind the whole time. Sure, even if you have "one true love," and that person is taken from you, you still have the right to move on and marry, right? Yes, yes you do. But the upshot is that you have to forget about that first person and be sure that the one you marry is your "one true love." Court Nay makes the fatal mistake of living his life cautiously, with the shadow of his first love behind him at all time. When this is revealed the tragic Rampling, it's too much to bear for the audience and the cast and the crew and everyone. It's a life wasted, but the waste isn't found out until the end. That feeling of sickness deep within your stomach. It's possibly a uniquely British thing. That pent up emotion that we never speak of. Holding thoughts and ideas inside us, eating us up; we ignore them but they're there. Mike Leigh's the real master of tapping into that uncomfortable explosion of emotion, pent up like the steam inside an espresso machine. And he does it with comedy. Andrew Hey makes a good go of it, too. The overbearing heaviness of 45 Years contrasts nicely with the everyday scenarios of eating, shopping and planning a party. It's pulled off as well as could be so that the final dance is almost unbearable in its dull sense of renewal. It will make you wince, but we should all take away the lessons on offer here: don't go walking in the Swiss Alps.
Tuesday, 5 January 2016
|Megan's dad was a pretty good character... |
a non-demanding failure... easy to identify with
Starring: Liz, Megan, Zach, John
What Is True Love? What Is It? This movie should give you some idea, although the answer is actually subtly presented.
Because the main part of the movie is dedicated to the all-American story of some young, pretty New Yorkers who make good/bad decisions and suffer/enjoy the consequences. All the time, Liz (the main character) wears her hairband without flinching.
While NB can't relate to the Americanisms in this film (i.e. the rather flat conversations and the heavy use of cliches, etc.), the principles seem to be quite universal: Problems/qualities that appear before a marriage will still be there afterwards. If you've got dandruff pre-wedding, you're going to have it post-wedding. And Zach has "dandruff" in the sense that he is a vacillating, unsure young man, who is constantly divided until his passive aggressive nature causes him to explode.
In contrast, John, who is almost too perfect (handsome young man, pro photographer, spiritual giant, etc.) takes things slowly and it pays off for him and Liz. That's nice.
One of the things that stands out for NB is this: Zach has the ability to sound genuine, but his lifestyle and priorities didn't back up his words. John, on the other hand, had clear goals and lived by good standards, although he didn't have the volatile charm of Zach, at least not on the surface.
But the real message, as NB pointed out earlier, is snook (sneaked?) in about half way thru when the old man says: "It's never too late... if they're willing to act unselfishly." Liz and John's example shows that, but it's not clearly stated except for in that one line.
What does NB know, tho? He's only been married 12 times. Not a great track record.
PS. NB finally figured out the strange ethnicity problem of Megan and her parents (they're different colors!). When Megan goes to the court to get a divorce, her old man says that they haven't been there since she was 7. Megan was either (1) adopted or (2) the child of her dad's first marriage.
PPS. Check out the alternate ending, where John doesn't invite Liz to the cinema, and Liz continues to be single for the rest of her life, wondering "what if" she'd gone with Zach.