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Month: November 2017

Film Review: Paddington 2

The good feeling and box office success generated by the first Paddington film, released in 2014, will likely continue thanks to Paul King’s return to the director’s chair. King co-writes the script with actor/comedian, Simon Farnaby, who he worked with on The Mighty Boosh TV series and his indie debut, Bunny and The Bull. Together, King and Farnaby maintain the balance between visual invention and comic dialogue that made the first film a welcome surprise. Michael Bond’s beloved children’s books about the accident prone, but kind-hearted talking bear from Peru have not lost their gentle humour in the two films to date and King’s sympathetic film transformation uses action and special effects with rare precision and wit.

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Film Review: Murder On The Orient Express

Setting a movie on a train is a brave move – films in claustrophobic settings are hard work for a screenwriter. Often claustrophobia works because of the focus on the dynamics of a small group, but Murder On The Orient Express does not have this option either, as Michael Green has elected to include  everybody from a complex book. Director Kenneth Branagh made it clear from the outset that he was going to rely on cast and production to jump these hurdles, and chose to shoot on 65mm film for bonus marks.

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Film Review: Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold

Joan Didion, the subject of this moving documentary now available on Netflix, is one of America’s greatest living writers. Her unsentimental, yet lyric vision surfaced in the essay “On Respect”, when she was a young sub-editor at American Vogue in the early 60s. Her voice was shaped by a child-hood spent in her birthplace, Sacramento, California, with its ethos of small c-conservatism, a West conquered by heroic pioneers and a distrust of self-pity. Yet Didion also took that bedrock of values and made a fascinating political shift – from the kind of eccentric Barry Goldwater supporter who would take down JD Salinger and Kerouac for The National Review to blossoming into the one of the Republican Party’s fiercest critics in legendary think pieces for The New York Review of Books. By the mid-70s, she became arguably the only woman who could justly claim, along with Norman Mailer, Truman Capote, Tom Wolfe, Terry Southern and others – that she invented a new kind of journalism.

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Film Review: Trendy

Trendy is the directorial debut from Louis Lagayette and successfully channels American Psycho into hip East London. Immigrants, hipsters, and cockneys meet gentrification, big-city loneliness, and violence in this psychological thriller.

The film follows Richard, a 30-year-old maths teacher who moves to East London. Richard is meticulous, drawing diagrams of the pokey flats he’s shown around by estate agents, donned in an extremely uncool waterproof jacket and walking shoes. He soon finds himself getting to know the locals, heading to underground parties with booming techno music with an art-gallery manager and making friends with the owner of the kebab shop across the street from his apartment. This all soon changes when his new acquaintances find out about his past.

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