Showing posts from January, 2019

Beautiful Boy - What's It All About, Nic?

Beautiful Boy comes out on British screens tomorrow - and if the film has socking great flaws in its concept and execution, well, that's OK, because it's 'about' something. Dismiss it at your peril, for here is a film whose subject is so obviously necessary and important, and so self-seriously handled here by a team wishing to 'do justice to the subject matter', that it hardly matters if the film has any qualities of its own. We demand aboutness now - or at least, from those few movies that don't centre on magic immortals beating ten shades of Stars and Stripes out of each other. And how blessed we are, to have--alongside the obligatory biopics 'about' recognisable stars whose fame simply demands a film treatment--an endless supply of 'issue' movies. HIV, slavery, drugs, gay conversion therapy or the financial crash of 2007-2008: these are all not just valid topics for a film, but subjects whence it's easy to dispense an ever desirable …

Review - This Magnificent Cake!

At one stage in Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels’ stop-motion animation short This Magnificent Cake!, a child is rattling the lid of a grand piano, which causes the instrument to shake, tumble out of its castor-holders, and roll down a marble floor, whereupon it falls down on one level, on top of a poor unfortunate standing in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Mere minutes later, in this film whose every shot exhales a delicate inner life, a large man crossing a rope bridge over a vast precipice while eating a banana tosses the peel over his shoulder. It lands on the bridge, where he is being followed by five other people, a groanworthy cartoon cliché just begging to be subverted. But as with the grand piano landing on someone’s head, the banana peel serves here to puncture our expectations and feed into a quietly bristling politics, since these dark jokes fall on both occasions at the expense of people of colour, who suffer from the unthinkingness of white people. The child proddi…

Awards Chatter - 2019 Edition!

When I was a young boy my parents bought me a big hardcover book about cinema for my birthday, which traced the art form from silent film through to the 90s. The book had lots of glossy pictures of Hollywood and European cinema stars, segments for each year about who had won the major festival awards and Oscars, and little sections on the main releases, scandals or developments of any particular year. In the pre-IMDb years, before I had seen any, really, of these films, I looked at photos of Silvana Mangano in Bitter Rice, or read about the release of Last Tango In Paris or the early days of the Venice film festival, and was semi-obsessed with the whole shebang. I acted in a couple of films on time off from school, and was generally fascinated with the world of cinema - with the smell of a film set, with the gossip, the posters, the galas and prizes. Growing up in France and reading Premiere magazine, I thought I was a sophisticated cinephile by seeing Clerks or La Haine.

Now, when I …

The Day I Force-Feed Piers Morgan a Vegan Sausage

On the day I force-feed Piers Morgan a vegan sausage, Piers Morgan will cry a single tear, his mouth full to bursting with an oogy foreign foodstuff, and I will say, “How does it feel to be the foie gras now, BITCH?”

Piers Morgan will say, “Please - no more sausage.” But I will be the one with all the power over the disgraced former editor of the Daily Mirror, and will calmly make him eat more sausage. And I will crow: “Ha ha, Pier (I will call him Pier throughout the ordeal), you snivelling clam, you called it sausage! So you admit that it is, in fact, a sausage!”

“Or-ride or-ride, sdob, Ibe sorry, ig ig a foffage”, Morgan will say, his mouth full of vegan sausage, which is actually made of meat like every other sausage in the world but made to taste like tofu so that liberals can enjoy owning rightwingers.

“What’s that Pier?” I shall say, with a cheery wink. “I couldn’t quite hear your mouth sounds just now from all the veganism in your face.”

“I seg, ig ig a foffage, I wud wron!”, …