Machines – an astonishing documentary

This astonishing documentary about life in an Indian textile factory is available once again on the BBC iPlayer, but only until Tuesday (now expired): https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09g8cc9/machines
At the very least, these workers deserve 65 minutes of your time.

Capture“A mesmerising and unflinching look behind the doors of a textile factory in India, as director Rahul Jain observes the life of the workers and the oppressive environment they seldom escape from. Machines tells a story of the human cost of mass production in a globalised world, showing the gulf between rich and poor from both perspectives.”

Visages Villages (Faces Places)

What a delightful film Visages Villages is. It’s a documentary by, and starring film director and photographer Agnès Varda and photographer JR, who travel through France visiting villages, taking photos of the people and then plastering large images of them on walls and buildings. The two artists form a warm bond whilst engaging with the villagers. The film looks terrific, from the opening credits to the very end. We watched it on Netflix and is highly recommended.

Calibre

Calibre is an extremely taut and tense film set in a remote village in the Scottish Highlands. At the first major scene I wondered whether I would be up to dealing with the shocking development, but my motto is “it’s only dots on a screen”, so I stuck with it and I’m glad I did. A terrific, tense thriller, though not suitable for all.

I viewed this on Netflix using my free, 1-month, introductory offer. Thank you Netflix.

Cold War

We watched the 2018 award-winning Polish film, Cold War, via Curzon Home Cinema, a first for us. Shot in black-and-white, it’s a visually stunning love story inspired by the director’s own parents. It looks and sounds great and well worth a viewing.

Ricky Jay

The American actor and magician, Ricky Jay, has died.


In one of my favourite films, Things Change, Ricky Jay has a small part with some memorable David Mamet lines. The film opens as follows:

Shoe-shop owner: “May I help you?”
Silver (Ricky Jay): “A friend of ours would like to speak to you this evening.”
Shoe-shop owner: “I just shine shoes.”
Silver (Ricky Jay): “There’ll be shoes there.”
Continue reading “Ricky Jay”

Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace is a highly rated film which for me failed to live up to its reputation. Not a lot happens, you don’t get to learn much about the two main characters who are on screen almost the entire film. It’s OK but nothing special.
Oh and I’m not keen on these auditoriums that only have half a dozen rows – it’s just too close to the screen.


Continue reading “Leave No Trace”

L’Amant Double

L’Amant Double is a slow moving, erotic thriller. It’s a bit of nonsense with a crazy ending. In fact the whole movie is crazy. I didn’t get it.

Not for the prudish!

Beast

What a terrific film Beast is, with a tremendous performance from Jessie Buckley in the leading role as a troubled young woman rebelling against a stifling home and mother. A thriller, with surprises right up until the end – go see it!

No sunshine is expected here until Tuesday, so one might as well be in the cinema. Three cheers to the Wimbledon Curzon for not dimming the lights during the adverts and trailers, which meant that I could read my novel!

You Were Never Really Here

A brutal movie!

It looks good, sounds good, but otherwise is difficult to like.

Screen-1 at the Curzon in Victoria is tiny, a mere 47 seats, but what comfortable, Pullman seats they are! I’m not a fan of allocated seating, even less so when someone is sitting in your allocated seat. With just 4 rows in the auditorium the wing seats are quite a way off centre and the front row is pretty close to the screen. Despite ending up in a seat out on the wing, the view was not a problem.

On the train into London there was an extremely distressed infant and in the evening I watched the disturbing We Need to Talk About Kevin, by the same director, Lynne Ramsay. All in all a pretty disturbing and cheerless day.

Lady Bird


At my age I probably shouldn’t be going to see a coming-of-age comedy-drama at the cinema – I just didn’t get the 5-star rating. However, the Curzon cinema in Soho has a very nice auditorium though I’m still struggling to understand why cinema adverts and trailers need to be unbearably loud.

Molly’s Game

There were just over 20 people in the Wimbledon Curzon, lunchtime audience watching Molly’s Game. Usually at that time there’s less than a handful.

It’s a terrific, dialog-heavy film, superbly acted by the main actors, Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba and Kevin Costner. Maybe not to everyone’s taste – American, fast dialogue, a story based around the game of poker, but I would heartily recommend it.

Continue reading “Molly’s Game”

The Big Sick

A romcom is not usually my thing, conjuring up images of trailers for an endless number of Jennifer Aniston films on tv. However, on an overcast day and with no sign of the promised sunshine, The Big Sick has been well reviewed and was showing at my almost-local cinema.

A film about relationships and cultural differences, it’s a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours. A fair amount of humour, a couple of paper-hankie moments, and a likeable and well acted cast of characters, make for a pretty decent movie.

After the Storm

Going to see a film just after lunch was probably not a good idea. I was struggling to read whilst on the train to the cinema and drifted off to sleep, nearly missing my stop.

The film is almost 2 hours long. There is no action, and I mean no action, and at times I again found myself drifting off. Did I mention it’s a Japanese film with subtitles?

It’s an OK film that is interesting for portraying the life of an ordinary Japanese family.

Lady Macbeth

On a cold, overcast day it seemed appropriate to go see a film.

Lady Macbeth seemed longer than its 90 minutes but that doesn’t mean it dragged. Atmospheric and stark, there’s little dialogue, but lots of silence and sounds, and it looks terrific. A fine performance by the leading lady, Florence Pugh.

Story-wise, I’m not sure, but for the senses it was a pretty good experience. Recommended, but not if you’re looking for action.

Personal Shopper

At almost 2 hours long, Personal Shopper is an absorbing film, but very odd. Its star, Kristen Stewart, is barely off-screen and gives a fine performance in a confusing ghost story. I would recommend the film, for some.

It’s been a while since I last went to the cinema! There were just 6 film-goers in the Wimbledon HMVCurzon cinema, which is about par for a lunchtime viewing. I can’t remember the last time I sat in a cinema that was crowded. I don’t think I would like the noise from, and proximity to, so many people!

Victoria

VictoriaThe really notable thing to know about the film Victoria is that it was shot in a single, unbroken, unedited, continuous take of 2¼ hours duration.

Before seeing the film all I knew was that it has been described as a heist movie set in Berlin. I found the first hour somewhat slow, wondering where it was going, but gradually a story developed and reached a satisfactory conclusion.

An interesting and technically impressive film, overall I can say I enjoyed it and can recommend. Some may find it overlong. [Warning: At the beginning, the nightclub scene has extreme flashing and very loud music!]

There’s a short Wiki listing the few films that have been shot in a single take.

Anomalisa


Anomalisa is a very weird animated stop-motion film. I’ve no idea what to make of it, but I’m glad my wife decided not to come with me!
With a 90 minute running time, it seemed longer. I guess the guy was struggling with life – was he having a mental breakdown? There’s a pretty explicit [animated] sex scene in it!

So I turn to some reviews for help, but I’m not much the wiser. There’s apparently a clue in the name of the hotel (Fregoli). There’s a medical condition, the Fregoli Delusion, where someone believes different people in their lives are actually the same person in disguise – [see http://glennmillermd.com/the-fregoli-delusion/]. A curiosity of a film – technically brilliant, but puzzling.

Room

Room is a wonderfully moving film, with tremendous performances from the two main characters, the mother who was abducted, and the child who was born in captivity. It’s an emotional and sometimes traumatic film – take your hankies – and is very highly recommended.

(I can’t believe it’s 14 months since I last went to the cinema – far too long!)

Room

The Fear of 13

Fearof13The Fear of 13 is a truly, truly astonishing documentary about a prisoner on death row. What an amazing guy.

Seek it out – the 90 minutes whiz by – but do try to avoid finding out anything about it before watching!

Currently showing on BBC iPlayer but also available on DVD etc.

The film reminds me of the equally amazing 1988 documentary The Thin Blue Line. Seek this one out also!

The Hitch-Hiker (B & W movie from 1953)

Hitch-Hiker-movie-1953I randomly picked The Hitch-Hiker, a 1953 b&w movie from the Internet Archive. It turned out to be a tense and highly watchable thriller and, at a mere 70 minutes, well worth watching. It was the first film noir by a female director (Ida Lupino).

The Internet Archive is “a non-profit digital library offering free universal access to books, movies & music, as well as 435 billion[wow!] archived web pages”, and looks as if it could be an interesting place to explore.

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