In which Ron Swanson goes a little mad and finds himself wishing for the comfort of the past, rather than the unknowable future. About FILMS!
This year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival came to a close on Sunday. Gareth Negus, Matthew Turner and Sam Osborn pick their favourites from the programme.
This year’s London Film Festival put together the best programme of films I can remember in my ten or so years of attendance. It delivered some brilliant films with huge reputations from festivals earlier in the year, but also a fair few new discoveries for me, and a handful of well-crafted crowd-pleasing films, which are the lifeblood of any festival. Continue reading London Film Festival: Festival Wrap-Up
The Invisible Woman (Ralph Fiennes, 2013)
Ralph Fiennes’ second outing as director, following Coriolanus, sees him shift from one of the traditional choices of the serious thesp-turned-filmmaker, Shakespeare, to the other – costume drama. An adaptation of Claire Tomalin’s biography, The Invisible Woman is the story of Nelly Ternan, the actress who for many years was the mistress of Charles Dickens.
We initially meet Nelly (Felicity Jones) some years after Dickens’ death; now married with a family, she is directing a school production of a play by Wilkie Collins. This stirs up memories of how she first met Dickens when, aged 18, she performed in the same author’s play.
The Charles Dickens presented here is a showman who lives in the full glare of celebrity (in one scene, he is mobbed by adoring fans). He is larger than life, effusive if perhaps somewhat egotistical, and shows a warmth not generally associated with Fiennes. However, once you get over the shock that Dickens isn’t being played by Simon Callow, Fiennes is quite successful in the role; I particularly enjoyed his scenes with Tom Hollander as Wilkie Collins.
Unfortunately, I was less engaged in his relationship with Nelly, whose dilemma really should be the most interesting element of the film. Though the pair are swiftly attracted to each other, Nelly is reluctant to enter into a sexual relationship with a married man (though I was unclear exactly what she was expecting to happen). Her mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) is more conflicted, concerned for her daughter’s reputation but pragmatic enough to recognise a chance for economic security when she sees it. Dickens’ behaviour is also cause for concern; in at least one instance, he treats his family in an utterly unconscionable manner.
In a film about an illicit relationship, it is odd that it’s over 70 minutes before we get any sense of passion between the two leads. Whether this sense of restraint was the choice of Dickens or of Fiennes, I can only guess; either way, it makes this tasteful, well-performed film a colder affair than you feel it should be. – Gareth Negus
The Invisible Woman is due for release in the UK on 7 February 2014. Continue reading London Film Festival 2013: Closing Day Round-Up
Niall Anderson looks at smaller festivals and special screenings coming up this summer
Film festival season begins every year in January with Sundance, proceeds to Berlin for February, and advances to Cannes in early May. Somewhere in the middle the Oscars happen, and then the heavy-hitters take a breather till August and Venice. In the meantime there are countless smaller festivals, special one-off screenings, and various blink-and-you’ll-miss-em appearances of directors and films you might like to see if only you knew they were happening. So welcome to the Mostly Film Blink-And-You’ll-Miss-Em round up for summer 2013.
First up, because it’s genuinely first up, is a special showing in London’s Union Chapel of Carl Dreyer’s 1928 silent masterpiece The Passion Of Joan Of Arc. A critical classic almost since it first appeared, and renowned for the savagely self-exposing turn of its star, Maria Falconetti, The Passion has inspired countless musical interpretations and post hoc soundtracks. The one you’ll hear at the Union Chapel is by Irish composer Irene Butler, scored for soprano, organ and electronics. Part of the Union Chapel’s Organ Project season, the piece will be performed on July 17th only. If you’d like free tickets, there will be a competition on MostlyFilm’s twitter account – starting NOW. Continue reading Come See The Paradise
It had to happen eventually. Hollywood, or more accurately the half-dozen or so studios that make up the majority of its output, has seemingly realized that there might, just might, be more to life than turning every comic book that’s ever been doodled into a vacuous, overwrought blockbuster. The sixth installment of the Fast & Furious franchise is out this week. It will be a vacuous, overwrought blockbuster, too – but the right kind. And it could represent the rebirth of action cinema.
I say ‘could’, because it needs to make a giant pile of money first – and that’s why you need to go and watch it. Don’t go begrudgingly, though. If it’s anything like its predecessor, it promises to be an awesome, hair-raising mixture of preposterous car stunts, oiled muscly bodies and random bouts of artillery fire. And for some of us, that’s what cinema is all about.
by Ron Swanson
Last year saw new films from Wes Anderson, the Dardenne brothers, Paolo Sorrentino, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Werner Herzog, Paul Thomas Anderson, David O. Russell, Steven Soderbergh, Andrew Dominik, Mia Hansen-Love, Bela Tarr, Leos Carax, Giorgos Lanthimos, Ben Affleck, Michael Haneke, Jacques Audiard Thomas Vinterberg and Rian Johnson.
How does 2013 compare?
by Ron Swanson
2012: The year in which Batman, Marvel’s Avengers and James Bond broke box-office records (Skyfall is about to be the first film to ever pass the £100m box-office barrier in the UK, grossing almost as much as Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace combined).
2012: The year of Ted, The Hunger Games and The Woman in Black spawning new franchises as breakout hits,
2012: The year that the Twilight saga finally ended.
2013: What have you got? Let’s start with Marvel, whose Avengers Assemble movie last year was an enormous, genre-defining hit. They have two films slated for release in 2013, a pair of sequels: Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World. Both franchises have a new director on board, with Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang‘s (2005) Shane Black taking the helm from Jon Favreau for the third Iron Man movie and Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor taking over from Kenneth Branagh for Thor: The Dark World. Continue reading 2013: Busting Blocks
Hot off the press, a fresh new batch of reviews from the London Film Festival.
Rust and Bone
Reviewed by Ron Swanson
Rust and Bone is the quintessential festival film: French, with a ‘name’ director, a rising star and an art-house darling. It’s also muscular, brutal and frequently beguilingly beautiful. Jacques Audiard’s follow up to A Prophet was conceived as a response to that film; all open spaces and romantic entanglements.
Ben Wheatley’s eagerly anticipated new film, Sightseers, is a black comedy about a couple on a caravanning holiday across England who start a killing spree. Written by its two stars, Steve Oram and Alice Lowe, the film is receiving regular comparisons to Mike Leigh and Natural Born Killers. What’s interesting is that, although he did not originate the project, the film is so clearly the work of the man who last directed Kill List.
In September, Mostly Film’s Gareth Negus attended a press conference with Ben Wheatley, Alice Lowe and Steve Oram, who talked about the creation of the film, its production and their choice of eccentric tourist spots.