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Archive for April, 2013

singing-detective-4_420

by Allan Fish

(UK 1986 415m) DVD1/2

Ten cents a dance, fella

p  John Harris, Kenith Trodd  d  Jon Amiel  w  Dennis Potter  ph  Ken Westbury  ed  Bill Wright, Sue Wyatt  m  Stanley Myers  art  Jim Clay

Michael Gambon (Philip Marlow), Patrick Malahide (Mark Binney), Alison Steadman (Lili), Joanne Whalley (Nurse Mills), David Ryall (Mr Hall), Ron Cook (1st mysterious man), George Rossi (2nd mysterious man), Janet Suzman (Nicola), Leslie French (“Noddy” Tomkey), Bill Paterson (Dr Gibbon), Ken Stott (Uncle John), Jim Carter (Mr Marlow), Gerald Horan (Reginald Gibbs), Sharon Clarke (night nurse), Imelda Staunton (Nurse White), Badi Uzzaman (Ali), Janet Henfrey (schoolteacher), Lyndon Davies (Philip, aged 10), David Thewlis (soldier),

Following the transmission of the first episodes of Dennis Potter’s magnum opus on BBC1, their viewer response show Points of View was bombarded with complaints from the Mary Whitehouse brigade, including a mirthfully Pythonesque response from Colonel R.S.Vine, BSc, MRCS, LRCP, FRC Path, who called it “this extraordinarily obscene production.”  It still amazes me how truly shatteringly narrow-minded the average person is – and was – in the so-called modern age, and I’m sure it left Potter equally aghast.  It was as if sex was the only thing that The Singing Detective was about, when in actual fact it was but one layer of many.  Rather than showcase Potter as having a filthy mind, they were actually uncovering their own shortcomings. (more…)

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Saudi Arabian gem ‘Wadjda’ is a groundbreaker in more ways than one.

Documentary masterwork ‘Kiss the Water’ focuses on salmon fishing in Scotland. Eric Steel’s beautifully-crafted film is one of the best films at Tribeca.

 

by Sam Juliano

The Tribeca Film Festival concluded on Sunday night, and all told it was quite an event, and a real boost to the NYC cultural scene.  The festival jury handed on their awards on Thursday, naming the popular Australian film set in Laos, The Rocket, top narrative film, while documentary honors were bestowed upon The Kill Team.  Kim Mordaunt’s largely Lao-language The Rocket focuses on a 10-year-old tribal boy in Laos’ mountains who hopes both to build a rocket and find a new home for his family. It features a host of nonprofessional actors, including Sitthiphon Disamoe, who won the festival’s Best Actor prize.  I managed to see the film on Sunday afternoon and found it utterly charming, though it will probably finish a bit lower on my own Ten-Best list of the festival to be published in a few days.  The remarkable popularity of the film was confirmed on Saturday night when it also won first place in Heinecken’s audience award contest which means a $25,000 prize both to the top narrative film and documentary by exiting moviegoers who are asked to rip through the number of a 1 through 5 rating grid on the corresponding ballot given out by ushers at the film’s start.  Rarely does the same film win both the audience and jury prizes, but this feat bodes quite well for the Australian film’s chances for a distribution in the major cities at least for starters. (more…)

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1988

by Allan Fish

Best Picture Cinema Paradiso (Special Edition), Italy (6 votes)

Best Director Krzysztof Kieslowski, Dekalog (8 votes)

Best Actor Jeremy Irons, Dead Ringers (14 votes)

Best Actress Isabelle Adjani, Camille Claudel (4 votes)

Best Supp Actor Philippe Noiret, Cinema Paradiso (Special Edition) (12 votes)

Best Supp Actress Lena Olin, The Unbearable Lightness of Being (7 votes)

Best Cinematography Giorgos Arvanitis, Landscape in the Mist & Sven Nykvist, The Unbearable Lightness of Being (4 votes each, TIE!)

Best Score Ennio Morricone, Cinema Paradiso (Special Edition) (7 votes)

Best Short The Cat Came Back, Canada, Cornell Barker (4 votes)

On to the seventh inner circle of Dante’s hell, otherwise known as 1989.

(more…)

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By Bob Clark

In this past month, the Blu Ray of Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo saw its release in Japan, continuing the burgeoning Rebuild cycle of Hideaki Anno’s magnum opus in a manner that has already won droves of accolades and hypertensive horror, based on little more than happening to exist. That’s par for the course with all things Eva, naturally, but it’s something even more underlined for fans of the series who live outside of Japan, as there’s always something of a prolonged waiting period for any given release to reach our shores, in an official capacity or otherwise. It seemed to take forever for even the shoddiest of pirate camrip footage to leak its way out onto the net, and even longer for that material to be paired with semi-coherent subtitles forged by fans attempting to translate the poor audio found on the tapes smuggled in from moviegoers willing to risk the sanctity of their cell-phones for the cause of international fandom. I’ve never been a fan of pirating material myself, even though it’s become almost a necessary evil in the anime world, as most of the best modern releases barely see the light of day over here, and are now only beginning to be given even online streaming distributions worth a damn on sites like Crunchyroll.

Still, given the poor quality of the camrips I never really considered looking at them to begin with, but now with the advent of the movie’s Blu Ray release, the situation is a little more difficult. Not only does this HD release mean an exponentially higher quality of torrents will soon be flooding the web, if not already, but it means there’s now a completely legit official way to watch the film by purchasing the disc itself, given that Japan and the United States share a Blu Ray region. Granted, you’d probably want to wait until the inevitable release of a disc from Hong Kong, both for the fact that it would include English subtitles and be a great deal cheaper (I did the same thing myself when purchasing a copy of Miyazaki’s classic Castle in the Sky when I got too fed up with the poorly scripted “dubtitles” on the current Disney discs), but even without a translation it’s terribly tempting to be able to watch the movie at long last. After all, it’s not like comprehending the dialogue is necessary to enjoying the Eva experience, or even understanding the largescale plot convulsions or intimate character hysterics– all the emotions are right up there on the screen already, etched into the faces and myriad battles. I’m feeling that temptation, but trying to keep from giving in. Because no matter how convenient it would be to purchase and watch Eva 3.0 in the comfort of my own home, that’s not where it was meant to be seen, and no matter how long it takes, I’m determined to witness it for the first time on the big screen.

(more…)

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in-a-land-of-plenty-1

by Allan Fish

(UK 2001 487m) not on DVD

The writing on the wall

p  Claire Hirsch  d  David Moore, Hettie MacDonald  w  Kevin Hood, Neil Biswas  novel  Tim Pears  ph  Alwin Kuchler  ed  Bill Diver  m  Jocelyn Pook, Harvey Brough  art  Mark Stevenson  cos  Pam Tait, Dinah Collin

Robert Pugh (Charles Freeman), Helen McCrory (Mary Freeman), Shaun Dingwall (James Freeman), Kaye Wragg (Laura), Hazel Monaghan (Mina), Susannah Wise (Alice Freeman), Tony Maudsley (Simon Freeman), James Bradshaw (young James), Charlotte Salt (young Laura), Ravi Kapoor, Shirley Henderson, Kathleen Byron,

The BBC’s still baffling decision to only release to VHS despite the year of release hasn’t helped this masterpiece.  Nor did their decision to try and sneak it into the early year schedule like a wedding crasher.  One would be forgiven for thinking they were ashamed of it.  Yet let us make one thing perfectly clear, to say this is one of the great small screen achievements of the 21st century, despite being first shown only weeks into said century, does it a disservice.  It’s one of the great works of either screen of the modern era.

At its centre we have the Freeman family, headed by engineering industrialist Charles, and covers their lives from around 1952 to the mid 1990s.  Personal loves, hates and tragedies come and go, including a suicide and brutal murder, and continue to haunt not only the family but the fringe, in the shape of the housekeeper’s daughter. (more…)

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by Jaime Grijalba.

Note: this was originally going to be written to appear on monday morning, but flights and internet problems delayed it, excuse any inconcistencies in terms of dates and other stuff. Enjoy!

I recall saying that I would make it in more installments, with a new edition last thursday, but the machine that is the seeing and writing about films just caught up, and since the festival ended yesterday I supposed I could just do the final round-up here on monday and call it a job well done. Besides, if I indeed had done the thing where I feature what I had seen since thursday til sunday, it wouldn’t have been spectacular, because I’ve seen fewer films those days because of my recent outings to different parts of Buenos Aires, I couldn’t escape the chance to actually visit and enjoy the city while I was there. Of course the priority was the watching of movies, but the organization for those who were on press missions, as well as the public transportation in Buenos Aires really played against me and my watching of different films in different places, but yes, to some extent I can say that I did enjoy Buenos Aires and its festival, I’m departing back to Chile today at night so I hope you guys enjoy this second part of my roundup of films seen at the 15th edition of the BAFICI.

For those new, you can check out the first part of this BAFICI revission here. So, let’s get to it, what did I watch?

Day 5 -April 15th

This was one of the hardest days of the festival, mainly because I was writing for last monday’s post on Wonders in the Dark until very late and I was a bit sleepy, thus, don’t trust me on many of the apreciations that I may do in this day of festival, just a small warning. So, I saw 4 movies, some are waited for, some are classics, all of them kinda interesting, so let’s see what this day held for me. (more…)

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boys-from-the-blackstuff-2-copy

by Allan Fish

(UK 1982 301m) DVD2

Gizzajob!

p  Michael Wearing  d  Philip Saville  w  Alan Bleasdale  ph  Keith Salmon, Brian Cave, Paul Woolston, John Kenway (and others)  ed  Mike Bloore, Greg Miller  m  Ilona Sekacz  art  David Attwood, Andrew Smith

Bernard Hill (“Yosser” Hughes), Michael Angelis (“Chrissie” Todd), Tom Georgeson (“Dixie” Dean), Julie Walters (Angie Todd), Alan Igbon (Loggo Logmond), Peter Kerrigan (George Malone), Gary Bleasdale (Kevin Dean), Tony Haygarth (Aitch), Paul Barber (Scotty), Jean Boht (Miss Sutcliffe), David Ross (Donald Moss), Chris Darwin (Snowy Malone), Clive Russell, Andrew Schofield, Ricky Tomlinson,

Oh, you can talk about the concrete and the boys who work the train, and the fellas in the hopper in the sun and wind and rain, but the boys who work the black stuff, sure they’re really rough and tough, when they’re working on the highway laying the old black stuff.”  The words of the opening song to the 1978 play The Black Stuff introduced us to the characters who, four years later, would really grow into the public consciousness in the serial masterpiece, Boys from the Blackstuff.

The original play documented how they lost their jobs in the first place, trying to organise a get rich foreigner while on a job laying tarmac in Middlesbrough for their boss.  The series took up a couple of years later, with the protagonists all claiming dole and/or social benefits due to being still out of work.  The action takes place over the course of five episodes, each dealing with a different character or plotline, yet running chronologically.  ‘Jobs for the Boys’ sees the boys get foreigners on a building site for a shifty Irish contractor who refuses to pay them as actual jobs.  ‘Moonlighter’ sees Dixie employed as a security guard on the docks but coerced into allowing a robbery to take place.  ‘Shop thy Neighbour’ showcases Chrissie’s marriage conflict as his wife grows impatient at his passivity and retreating into himself.  ‘Yosser’s Story’ showcases the nervous breakdown and complete emotional devastation of the eponymous Yosser.  Finally, ‘George’s Last Ride’ details the last days in the life of the elderly George, looking back on what has been a fighting, but possibly futile existence. (more…)

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