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Showing posts from May, 2018

Out of the Past

Thoughts on a film: How Green Was My Valley (1940)
Beginning with the title: How Green Was My Valley. No question mark is necessary; this is a statement as opposed to a enquiry. In any case, we'll never know how green the valley actually was, since the black and white photography denies us such privilege. However, in the heart and mind of this central character, looking back, as the characters in Ford's films often do, the memory of this place and the picture that is captured, photograph-like, in the memory and imagination, is powerful enough to make the significance of the phrasing an important device in communicating what the film is essentially about.Not just important to the character's own attempts to recall something that no longer exists, in any actual, physical reality, but to the viewing audience and their attempts to find interest and identification in this most personal of personal tales.
This is a title that establishes, up-front and before the film has even begu…

Let Me In

A note on a film: Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986)

I have to admit, I didn't love this film. While the potential was there to take the story in a different direction, pushing the film further into the realms of the supernatural, or even the psychological, too much of the narrative falls back on trying to 'one-up' the effects-driven haunted house set-pieces that made the first film such a success.
Never quite delivering on the promise of its intriguing sub-title (where rather that emphasise or explore "the other side" as a central component of the plot, the filmmakers instead relegate it to a generic, last-minute depiction of the afterlife, necessitated to bring the story to a close), the film is simply too mired in unconvincing scenes of domestic melodrama and ridiculous special effects. For a supposed horror film, Poltergeist II does very little to generate tension, suspense or actual fear, with any semblance of the unsettling provided only by the towering pe…

The Outrage of Idiocy

An Open Letter to the 'Professionally Offended'

Another year, another predictable controversy blowing across the Croisette. Manufactured and self-perpetuating, the hollow show goes on; as if the participants in this play of second-hand indignation are merely following yesterday's script.
For the last few days I've struggled to put into words my reaction to the media coverage of the Cannes Film festival, and more specifically, the early response to The House That Jack Built (2018); the latest work from the ever-contentious 'provocateur', Lars von Trier. Since the film's premier just a few short days ago, the expected backlash (if not bloodbath) of public outrage, moral panic and shameless virtue signalling, has swirled around the tabloids and associated social media like a tempest; successfully ensuring that anything else connected with the festival this year has been lost within its wake.
For a moment you could be forgiven for assuming that we'd gone back …