Tag Archives: British

95 – King of Thieves

A heist movie for the twinkly wrinklies, with a nostalgic and homophobic angle we disliked. Based on the true story of the 2015 Hatton Garden burglary, King of Thieves features an all-star British cast and one joke: they’re all old.

Mike is keen to give the film credit for its charm early on, as well as its sensitive depiction of the sense of loss felt by Michael Caine’s recent widower. But the film is uninspiringly shot, incompetently and unwisely edited – it’s absolute mayhem – and when it swaps its charm for aggression after the heist, it loses all interest. Ray Winstone comes in for particular criticism from José, and Mike explains why he found The Theory of Everything wanting.

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

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

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59 – Journeyman

A boxing film that opens with its climactic fight and develops drama in its aftermath. We find Journeyman disappointingly contradictory – a showcase of performance, writing, and observation, executed with no cinematic nous or flair. Paddy Considine lacks credibility as a world champion boxer, but captures beautifully the impotent rage and misery of such a star physically and mentally diminished. His road to recovery is a clever and interesting twist on the typical boxing film formula of training for a life-changing fight, executed too sappily and casually.

A film we like but don’t admire.

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.

47 – Phantom Thread – Second Screening

Mike’s brother Stephen joins us to discuss Phantom Thread in further detail. We look at the power struggle between Alma and Cyril, the visual verticality that contributes to an Academy ratio feel, the film’s relationship to fairytales, the way the score augments the images, and whether the dresses are actually any good and why.

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.

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. José 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.

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.

José 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 José 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.