Tag Archives: love

FILM REVIEW: Brooklyn

 

Moving from Ireland to New York, Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), is in search of a better life.

Her opportunities in a small town on the Emerald Isle are limited to say the least and despite the wrench of leaving behind her mother and in particular her sister, Rose, it seems the right thing to do and the right time to do it.

That’s not to say that Eilis is in any way confident or ready to grab the bull of opportunity by the horns. She isn’t.

It will prove to be an unwelcome introduction to the joys of both extended sea and home sickness, leaving her in much doubt as to the wisdom of her actions.

As with most things in life though, time proves to be the all important ingredient and on settling in at Mrs Kehoe’s Irish boarding house, securing employment, enrolling on a book-keeping course thanks to the kindly Father Flood, (Jim Broadbent), and most importantly of all, making the acquaintance of a charming young Italian/American lad by the name of Tony (Emory Cohen), her American experience improves immeasurably.

Happiness flows freely from here for Eilis.

Nothing lasts forever of course and on receiving some sad news from home, Eilis agrees to return to Ireland for a short break, unprepared for the life that now awaits her there and  for the difficult choices that she must now make.

Brooklyn is a very charming film on a number of levels particularly the  collective performances which are natural and believable whilst being genuinely amusing, soulful and poignant; effortlessly drawing empathy from the viewer.

Julie Walters’ role as the matronly Mrs Kehoe, is a particular highlight; offering her worldly wisdom at meal times to the amusement of the collection of young ladies that inhabit her boarding house. An excellent piece of casting if ever there was one.

In many ways, Brooklyn tips its hat to the age old adage that ‘home is where the heart is’ – although this shouldn’t lead one into a false sense of expectation, for as much as Brooklyn hints at being a conventional love story, if you’re expecting everything to be tied up neatly with a pretty bow, think again. That premise is ultimately a little wide of the mark.

What we can be sure about though is that Brooklyn is a very well realised and above all very likeable film.

It’s visually sumptuous with its soft, pastel colours reflecting the palette of the time, conjuring up an almost dreamy, ethereal quality to what ultimately is a lovely, warm-hearted slice of cinematic escapism.

Highly recommended

Incidentally, is it just me or did Emory Cohen remind anyone else of 1980s slippery brat-pack star, Andrew McCarthy? Everything from the look to the mannerisms.

Is there anything you’d like to tell us Mr McCarthy?

 

 

 

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FILM REVIEW: The Tribe

There’s a moment in the BBC Comedy series ‘I’m Alan Partridge’ when Alan, whilst being given a tour of his prospective new house, is informed that it’s close to a school for the deaf. “Does that mean there will be or won’t be noise?” he enquires. “I mean, it’s not a school for deaf offenders, is it?”

Comedy that may well be, but it does open up an interesting thought to ponder upon and more importantly challenges our pre-conceptions of those with disadvantages and of our need to stereotype, in general; for example, how many of us would perceive ‘the deaf’ as anything other than good people, struggling on through life and adversity?

A comedy, ‘the Tribe’ is not; far from it. It’s a raw and rather bleak look at a run-down, Ukrainian boarding school for the hard of hearing; a school that feels both forgotten and unloved, as though everyone that attends or works there has been abandoned in some way by their families, the system and by life in general.

Consequently, a feral existence ensues; not just tolerated but positively encouraged by those in charge; a means of money making from theft, deceit and prostitution,  promoting a feckless next generation. There are certainly shades of ‘The Lord of the Flies’ about this existence.

The new boy, played by Grigoriy Fesenko, is ‘welcomed’ into his new surrounds through a sequence of rites of passage and is soon actively engaged in the school’s plethora of wrong doings, that is until love plays a part in things. It’s the sort of twisted love that could only be born out of a place like this. Pure love has no chance to flourish here but importantly it’s a  love that breaks all of the rules and codes of The Tribe and is always going to end in repercussions, as the film presses ominously onwards towards its savage finale.

I don’t know whether it’s the winter months, the decaying, cold, blue institutional decor of this establishment or just the feeling of hopelessness in so much as you either accept things as they are here or you’re a part of a problem, to  be treated as such by the pack mentality of the students, but The Tribe is an incredibly desparate, yet remarkable piece on so many levels.

There is literally no spoken dialogue throughout, no soundtrack of any description, not even occasional incidental music to break the intensity.

It has been shot in long, drawn-out takes which offer no escape from the at times harrowing scenes that unfold (and believe me they’re uncomfortable viewing).

Everybody is seemingly in an insanely mad rush to get everywhere and do everything; a warped, yet well oiled corruption machine. All portrayed emotions are dark, angry and somewhat explosive.

The end credit sequence is short, blunt and to the point… much like The Tribe.

Bleak, yet utterly brilliant.

 

 

FILM REVIEW: Interstellar

I’ve seen far-off planets, failing planets, new planets, star constellations and alternate universes.

I’ve witnessed black holes, worm holes and event horizons.

I’ve looked on in awe at mile-high tidal waves and vast dust storms sweeping mercilessly across American corn rows.

I’ve observed flying craft docking in deep outer-space and marvelled at mind-bending quantum physics.

I’ve seen astronauts struggle with matters of the heart, of life and death; the birth of new generations and the cryogenic preservation of the old…

…and on top of all of this, I’ve been vibrationally rattled to the back teeth by an impressive Odeon, IMAX sound system.

Yet somehow I still feel curiously dissatisfied?

But why?

Interstellar, incase you’ve been living on some far-away planet for the last few months, is a story of space exploration and an attempt to colonise new planets on which the human race can re-start; a situation brought about by the increasingly uninhabitable nature of planet earth.

Matthew McConnaughey puts in a heavyweight lead performance of some note and he’s well supported by Hollywood’s finest. Anne Hathaway, John Lithgow, Matt Damon and even the old master, Michael Caine all put in strong performances, key to Interstellar’s plot.

Special effects (achieved impressively without the use of CGi) are very special indeed; big, bold and convincing, yet still organic and with a very ‘real’ feel to them.

There’s a strong and distinct storyline and the dialogue is mercifully, relatively schmaltz-free and believable.

Indeed, there’s actually so much to admire about Interstellar and the hugely ambitious cinematic project that it undoubtedly is, but therein lies the problem; it actually feels simply too ambitious.

On the one hand we have a very human story of the tight bonds of family and of love and longing, whilst on the other (and at times it could be said, rather shoe-horned in), we have an improbable story of space adventure, discovery and a dabble into the world of quantum physics. Even if we suspend our disbelief for a moment and take the film on face value, for what it really is, Interstellar just doesn’t convincingly marry these two elements together; to my eyes at least.

That said, you can see what Christopher Nolan was trying to achieve and there are very definitely moments of great poignancy and emotion throughout, as well as a big, cinematic dose of the  ‘wow’ factor thrown in, as you might expect from a Christopher Nolan offering.

I have a hunch that Interstellar will actually improve through repeat watchings. It’s certainly the sort of film that would benefit from it, if only to fully comprehend and appreciate some of the more complex, scientific concepts and ideas covered.

It’s a long film, yet strangely it never really allows us the ‘time and space’ to truly ponder and contemplate the enormity of the subject matter; instead we are whisked along in a fast and furious succession of thrills, spills and set pieces.

Credit to Nolan, he maintains this momentum throughout; no mean feat for a movie that clocks in at a bum-numbing 166 minutes, but it is at times somewhat at the expense of what is essentially a rather moving ‘human’ sub-plot.

I can’t help making comparisons with the 2013 film ‘Gravity’ which, whilst perhaps not being quite as ambitious, scientifically-speaking, was nevertheless a film that I feel was far more successful in blending the disparate aspects of space adventure with matters of the heart and resulted in a film that simply worked, from start to finish.

It is of course not a sci-fi competition though and I’d urge anyone to go and see Interstellar; you’d actually be missing out if you didn’t.

It’s a very enjoyable three hours or so and a lot of love and dedication has been put into its creation, that much is obvious; just don’t be expecting the hollywood classic that it’s been painted out to be…

…it isn’t.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GIG REVIEW: David Icke – Wembley Arena, 2014.

In rooting around the internet, hoping to unearth a mainstream review of the aforementioned gig, I happened upon a piece by Will Self relating, to some extent at least, to David Icke. It was from back in 2012 from Self’s Madness of Crowds column for the New Statesman magazine, in which Self, a confessed non-Icke type, suggests that through meeting someone who did believe in Icke’s theories and by whose own personal story of sufferance yet selfless caring, Self was suitably touched, he not only gained a deep respect for this someone, but in some ways a sort of small respect by proxy for David Icke himself.

Perhaps that’s stretching the truth a little, but in Self’s own words, “I don’t believe in Icke for a second – but I do believe in Raj (Self’s friend), fervently. And if great crowds of Raj-a-likes believe Icke speaks sense then it’s a mistake to dismiss their belief as mere ignorance and credulousness.”

It’s refreshing to hear. Self is clearly not sold on the Icke, dot-connecting view of life, the universe and everything – fair enough – but when the world is seemingly awash with academics and folk at the so called ‘pinnacle’ of their respective fields who are quick to dismiss, out-of-hand, any other possibility of ‘how it is,’ Self at least is big enough to admit that there can potentially be, given the right set of aligning circumstances, more than one way of looking at things. Life and ‘how it is’ is not necessarily a fait accompli.

Indeed, to the vast majority, the world is ‘what we know’ and any other possibilities therefore are not truly infinite, but instead finite, made up only from within the  boundaries of our imaginations, which of course are dictated by what we already have come to know and accept could be possible – It’s the trapped, bubble mindset view of mankind and one that polices itself, chastising and ridiculing those that dare venture out from its safe, yet limited visual range.

It’s good therefore to know that there are people out there that are willing not just to pin-prick that bubble, but to attempt to remove it entirely, sticking their heads above the parapet, fully aware of the implications that could follow.

This of course leads us nicely on to the man himself, Mr David Icke; a man that’s been exploring the nature of the world and reality for a cool quarter of a century now, ever since his ‘eureka moment’ back in 1989; a man who was ready and willing to impart his findings to a gathered throng on an overcast, Autumnal day in North London.

It’s fair to say that Wembley was a home crowd for Icke on this occasion, supportive and providing the kind of arena (excuse the pun) in which David Icke thrives these days; indeed the sort of setting that is actually essential for Icke’s views to be allowed to come across unencumbered by the inevitable interruption and censorship that the vast majority of mainstream media outlets can’t help themselves but provide.

I’ve actually been to Icke’s marathon day seminar events on two prior occasions to this. Once back in 2009 in Gothenburg in an event that really wrong-footed me. An incredibly emotional and even overwhelming experience at times, something I simply wasn’t expecting. The time prior to that was at London’s Brixton Academy.

Both of these events had felt quite dry and functional (not a bad thing); but definitely events more tailored to the die-hard ‘fan’ (for want of a better word), although saying that, it really opened my eyes as to what a David Icke ‘fan’ actually is. The sheer variety and wide spectrum of people that felt compelled to listen for a whole nine hours, on both occasions, to the middle-aged man with the big ideas, from the little old Isle of Wight, was heartening. No right wing, fascist, jew haters here; the type that lazy media hacks would have you believe follow Icke into and around his nut house; just a collection of open-minded, inquisitive people of all types and persuasions.

October 2014 Wembley Arena felt like a slightly different beast, not least in that it was punctuated occasionally by music from bands and some tremendous African-influenced drumming with ‘free’ dance to accompany, even provoking the arthritic sixty-two year old himself to shuffle about on stage in the sort of joyous, contented abandon that could bring a smile to anyone’s face. Certainly, when one is fully aware of Icke’s story and the kind of ridicule, persecution and back-stabbing that the man has endured at times over the last twenty-five years, it’s truly uplifting to see him, no matter your feelings or convictions about his output, in such a good place in his life now, surrounded by so many people that care and believe in him or even just those that were curious enough to turn up and actually find out a little of what he’s really about. Both of Icke’s sons were in attendance too; both contributing here in different, very positive ways.

Jaymie Icke (his youngest) has by all accounts, spent the entire year leading up to the day, organising the entire event, whilst eldest son and musician Gareth provided, with his band, excellent musical respite from the seminar sessions, fitting of the big Arena they were playing in.

Interestingly, Gareth had by all accounts been offered a handsome contract from one of the major record labels with two stipulations; disown your father and change your name. Needless to say, neither happened and the label reps were told where to shove their contract.

Good.

But what of the day’s content? Afterall, that’s what everyone came for.

To be honest and without deliberately avoiding the question, trying to summarise eleven hours or so of information into one, media-friendly paragraph, phrase or soundbite, or even to create what I believe would be termed a David Icke ‘elevator pitch’ (in business circles), would be to do the man a massive discredit and thoroughly under-sell his life’s work. The world is an impatient place and everyone seemingly needs everything in double-quick time; to be fed information in easy-to-digest, bite-sized, dumbed-down chunks and quite simply, it doesn’t work that way. You simply have to put in the hours. Pick up one of Icke’s books and read it, cover to cover or maybe attend one of these seminars if you get the chance and thereby get a good overview. Anything less is denying yourself the more complete and revealing picture and the opportunity to fashion an informed, personal opinion, rather than the fallback of borrowing someone else’s.

There’s certainly some weird and wonderful stuff that’s covered and things that I myself don’t fully buy into, but as I’m quick to point out to both myself and others, there’s as much chance of that being down to my own limitations in what I perceive to be possible, as to what actually is possible, yet lies outside the boundaries of my own, restricted knowledge base.

All we know is that none of us know everything. That really is the bottom line. Once we accept that, we can set about opening our minds and I, for one, like to keep an open mind.

At 9pm or so, along with a number of other suitably enlightened souls, I finally departed the venue with a tired brain and aching back. Watching for eleven hours from the flanks, with a twisted torso, is not something I whole-heartedly recommend, although Danny, (the physics major and self-confessed ‘truth investigator’ sat to my right for the day; all dreadlocks, wide-eyed enthusiasm and rainbow rhythm dance moves – think Jez and Mark in Peep Show), entertained me suitably throughout, making the physical aches and pains a little more bearable!

Above all though, I left with a feeling that the trappings of mainstream media just cannot provide; a feeling that I’d not been treated like an idiot.

I should add here that Icke was still going strong at this point, introducing enthusiastically yet another band, as the final, truly uplifting segment of his show continued, unabated. Impressive and inspiring in equal measures, so much so that I felt a little guilty for sneaking out half an hour before the event finally wrapped up for the day. Still, I’d racked up ten and a half hours of credit. I think I can be forgiven.

You take away what you will from a David Icke gig. As the man himself has said in the past, “The last thing the world needs is another bloody prophet telling you what to do, so here’s some information, it’s up to you what you do with it.” Quite right too.

David Icke is an information gatherer and dot connector. Much of ‘his’ information is not his at all but gleaned from a multitude of other sources, always however researched to a particularly thorough degree.

You may not buy into Icke’s view of things or the outcomes that he derives, but if people are to discredit him, then they owe it to themselves to thoroughly investigate what he actually represents before they do so, rather than taking the easy route that so many do,  passing the ‘David Icke’s a conspiracy theorist nutter’ lazy, media opinion off as their own.  Failing this, one really does forgo the right to an opinion; not just on this, but on any subject at all.

I like the man. I like his contrary stance on things, it sits well with me and my own particular views and leanings that I’ve adopted over the years and having monitored Icke’s output closely since the turn of the century, I don’t really need any convincing that the man speaks more sense than potentially not; certainly more sense than any political figure, past or present, that I can think of, in my lifetime.

Twenty-five years of travelling the planet, researching the madness of the world we live in and the nature of reality – all in search of the truth; that, in my eyes, if nothing else, deserves a bit of respect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FILM REVIEW: THE RAILWAY MAN

With 12 years a slave sold out and American Hussle just somehow not fitting the bill, ‘The Railway Man’ it was.

It’s decent. Strong performances across the board in a true story of war and redemption. It did feel somewhat swamped by an incessant film score and the plot did at times feel a little contrived and so I did have to remind myself that it was in fact based upon a true story (although clearly affected by A little bit of Hollywood licence, naturally!)

It certainly has its moments though, particularly a very emotionally charged ending.

All in all? Well worth a watch.

FILM REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent

This was admittedly never one on my radar but I like to shake things up from time to time, so why not?!

As biopics go, this is pretty well put together and chronicles the ups and downs of the late, great Yves Saint Laurent. I don’t know whether the film’s primary focus on his personal life and loves over his output is a good or bad thing, not being sufficiently well versed in his designs and professional accomplishments, but on the whole, film-wise, the balance seems just about right. Some decent performances but not really anything to get too emotionally charged about, personally. Although not exclusively so, this is definitely a film more for those in the industry and his fan base than your average Joe, but not without some general appeal. Worth a look.