In The Picture

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Discussing everything that isn't Hollywood (and a little that is)
Updated: 1 hour 5 min ago

Elle (France-Germany-Belgium 2016)

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 17:01
Three points struck me after watching Elle. The first is that though Paul Verhoeven is in his late 70s, he can still make films with more energy and flair than many younger filmmakers. Second, Isabelle Huppert demonstrates once again that she is in a class of her own when it comes to female actors. Finally, […]
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23rd ¡Viva! Festival at HOME, Manchester, 31 March-17 April

Mon, 03/27/2017 - 15:18
The ¡Viva! Festival of film, art and theatre returns to HOME in Manchester for its 23rd outing starting on Friday 31st March and running for 18 days through to Monday 17th April. This year’s programme has a focus on the fortieth anniversary of the lifting of censorship in post-Franco Spain during La Transición. This will include […]
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Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women and the ‘twilight Western’

Sun, 03/26/2017 - 10:54
Although I’d seen Kelly Reichardt’s previous three films, I still wasn’t quite prepared for Certain Women. I watched it intently but despite foreknowledge about her approach to narrative I was still surprised when it just stopped. I’ve thought a lot about the film over the last few days. Ms Reichardt is a favourite of many (most?) […]
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A C20th ‘rotten borough’?

Sun, 03/26/2017 - 08:19
Wikipedia offers the following on ‘rotten boroughs’. ” A rotten or pocket borough, more formally known as a nomination borough or proprietorial borough, was a parliamentary borough or constituency in England, Great Britain, or the United Kingdom before the Reform Act 1832, which had a very small electorate and could be used by a patron […]
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The Age of Shadows (South Korea 2016)

Sat, 03/25/2017 - 10:32
It’s a moment to celebrate when a major South Korean film gets a UK release and from this weekend in the UK you have the opportunity to see it – as long as you live in one of a handful of major cities. When films from the revived South Korean film industry arrived in the UK […]
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Moonlight (US 2016)

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 12:35
Moonlight won Best Picture at this year’s Oscars, not something that particularly interests me as they are hardly a reliable barometer of great films. The commercial bent of Hollywood, the Oscars are designed to market films that are harder to sell than its usual product, has meant that non mainstream fare is rarely celebrated. Was it […]
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Viceroy’s House (UK-US-India-Sweden 2017)

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 11:57
Gurinder Chadha is a distinctive director. Ever since her first short, but important, first film I’m British, But . . . (1990), she has sought to make films that draw on her personal experience but which also reach out to audiences using music and strong emotions. From 2000’s What’s Cooking she has written scripts with […]
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The Salesman (Iran-France 2016)

Tue, 03/14/2017 - 18:23
The Salesman has become indelibly connected to the idiocies of Trump’s attempted bans on Muslims entering America. Director Asghar Farhadi’s film duly won the Foreign Language Oscar with the director unable to attend the ceremony. In the UK, where the film is scheduled for release this week, preview screenings were arranged for Oscar night in […]
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Fences (US 2016)

Mon, 03/13/2017 - 11:07
Denzel Washington is an A List Hollywood star and has been for 30 years and he seems to have remained a potent star for longer than most of his contemporaries. To retain an African-American star image in Hollywood is not easy. Most successful Black actors in the US have tended to have careers that have seen […]
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Manchester by the Sea (US 2016)

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 16:52
It’s wrong to judge anything against something it’s not trying to be so I’m hesitant in criticising Manchester by the Sea as I’m probably falling into this trap. However, having been impressed with the first half of the film I found my engagement derailed by the flashback of the narrative enigma, a traumatic event (spoilers ahead). The film focuses […]
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Denial (UK-US 2016)

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 10:02
Denial is a strange film – a star-laden ‘independent film’, conventional in style and approach but with an intriguing mix of genre elements. Always engaging and involving it certainly delivers for audiences while being dismissed by some mainstream critics. Its release in the UK at the end of the first week of the Trump presidency proved timely as […]
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The Country Doctor (Irreplaceable, France 2016)

Tue, 02/28/2017 - 21:43
The Country Doctor is another of those solid dramas about social issues that are rarely discussed in mainstream anglophone cinema. In French cinema such a drama can attract a major star and, thanks to regional funding, can be shot in a specific rural setting. Writer-Director Thomas Lilti is also an experienced medical doctor and this is […]
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Citizen Kane (US 1941)

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 08:36
This is the film that was voted top in the Sight & Sound ten-yearly critics’ polls from 1962 until 2002. Even when it was toppled by Vertigo (USA 1958) it still secured the second spot. Top or ‘greatest’ films are conjecture rather than indisputable masterworks. But the sheer longevity of Kane speaks to its capacity […]
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Someone (Nanimono, Japan 2016)

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 20:30
Long haul flights are not much fun but on some airlines you do get a choice of movies. Sometimes these are films unlikely to appear in the UK. Someone (alternatively Somebody) was one of the Japanese language films on offer on a flight across the Pacific with Air New Zealand. Like many contemporary Japanese films, Someone […]
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Aspect ratios on digital ‘film’

Mon, 02/20/2017 - 14:54
Roy commented in his review of ‘Jackie’ about the aspect ratios: “The opening frames of the film set me trying to calculate the aspect ratio. In our local cinema that is usually proud of its presentation procedures, the image was not properly masked. Eventually I realised that it was set as 1.66:1, that odd ratio […]
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Apple Tree Yard (UK 2017)

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 03:37
Emily Watson’s performance as the geneticist who becomes involved in an adulterous affair and ultimately a murder trial is one of the best I have seen in TV drama. This TV serial has been the subject of discussion by audiences and critics with some arguing it is a narrative that ‘punishes’ a woman who has desire […]
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The UK release of Toni Erdmann (Germany-Austria 2016)

Sun, 02/05/2017 - 10:23
Keith reported on Toni Erdmann as the closing film of the Leeds International Film Festival (LIFF) back in November 2016. The film had wowed Cannes in May 2016 and there was general dismay that it was not recognised by the Festival Jury despite almost universal acclaim. After the all too common long delay before a […]
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Patricia Highsmith’s fiction on ‘film’.

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 09:02
‘A season of films celebrating Patricia Highsmith, the extraordinary woman behind ‘Strangers on a Train’, ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’ and ‘Carol’.” This was a programme of films based on novels by Highsmith and included 13 titles. It was organised by the Filmhouse, an independent cinema in Edinburgh, with support from the British Film Institute and […]
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The Overlanders (Australia-UK 1946)

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 14:39
The Overlanders is a highly significant film, an Australian classic helping to re-establish filmmaking in Australia after 1945. The Australian government approached the British Ministry of Information in 1943 in the hope of producing a film celebrating the Australian war effort. The MoI passed the request to Michael Balcon at Ealing Studios and Harry Watt […]
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The Entertainer (UK 1960)

Tue, 01/31/2017 - 16:02
The Entertainer is an important British film for many reasons. A few months ago I got angry when commentators discussing a 2016 revival of John Osborne’s play (Kenneth Branagh’s production at the Garrick in London) only referred to the film as ‘Olivier’s film’. Laurence Olivier plays the lead character of the film but he and Osborne are by […]
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