Tag Archives: British

43 – Phantom Thread

Finally, we sink our teeth into Phantom Thread, Paul Thomas Anderson’s highly-anticipated romantic period drama. The performances, aesthetics, direction and so much more are simply enthralling and give us much to discuss. We consider Daniel Day-Lewis’s style and how likeable he is in this, Anderson’s mastery of tone and ability to lighten with unexpected humour what could be a rather dry film, the beauty of his cinematography, the range of female characters and some aspects of their portrayal, the way in which the work of an artist is depicted, and more. Jose is simply beside himself with the film’s beauty, and Mike questions its flirtations with cliché so often that he becomes a cliché himself.

It’s clear that there’s more to discover than one viewing can reveal, so we look forward to seeing the film again and talking on it more.

The podcast can be listened to in the player above or on iTunes.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.

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35 – Darkest Hour

A chamber piece about history which evokes a combination of Rembrandt and an old photograph. We discuss how Joe Wright might be getting short shrift as a director and the excellence of the performances: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ben Mendelsohn and Lily James are all marvellous. We discuss how the film is not the life of Churchill but a few defining weeks in his life, and how it depicts the political side of the chaos in Nolan’s Dunkirk.

Mike highlights how the cemeteries of Belgium and northern France tell a very different story from the official one in relation to Britain’s ‘going it alone’ in the two World Wars, and declares that one scene of clearly fabricated fantasy undermines any notion of historical verisimilitude. We discuss how the film’s emotional manipulations are cheap but how one finds oneself responding to the film’s jingoism. We are in agreement that Nigel Farage wants to be Oldman’s man-of-the-people Churchill – the entire film is rather Brexity.

Jose would really like to see a film that focuses on the relationship between Clemmie and Winston, played of course by Scott Thomas and Oldman, and there’s a wonderful volume of letters full of sketches of kitties and piggies called Speaking For Themselves that he wishes someone would draw on for a film. (He didn’t say that in the podcast but he wants to make it known here.)

The podcast can be listened to in the player above or at this link.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.

23 – Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

We begin with an embarrassing admission from Mike and some reminiscences of stars past from Jose before discussing Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, a biopic of Gloria Grahame’s relationship with a younger man, which features two towering performances and not very much else. For once, Mike doesn’t believe it’s his terrible cruelty that prevents him from crying in a film – but what, then, is it?

Also – thoughts on The Electric in Birmingham, the UK’s oldest working cinema. Why don’t we discuss it more? It’s independent, it’s notable, it should be an art house. We finally get around to it.

The podcast can be listened to in the player above or at this link.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.

22 – Paddington 2

Paddington returns to cinemas with a whimsical puff of upper middle class smoke from a lovely old warm cosy steam train. How nice. Mike wasn’t really looking forward to this.

So. Did he make it through Paddington 2? What do we make of the vision of Britain it constructs? How does its action outperform Justice League‘s? Is it fair to think of it as just Wes Anderson but somehow even more revoltingly cutesy? Is there anything wrong with outrageous accents? Isn’t Hugh Grant great, honestly?

The podcast can be listened to in the player above or at this link.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.

14 – The Party

Sally Potter’s all-too-brief comedy drama polarises us, which makes a nice change to the agreements we’ve been having recently. Is it smug or knowing? Is its range of incongruous acting styles engaging or distancing? Who knows. But Sally Potter is very very very important in British cinema and feminism and queer representation, says Jose, who then has the nerve to criticise The Party for having its right-on cake and eating it.

Includes a reminiscence of seeing a man stand up in a screening of I, Daniel Blake and a magic trick where Mike convinces Jose he possesses an extraordinary memory.

The podcast can be listened to in the player above or at this link.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.