Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

24 March 2019

J’ai Tant Rêvé de Toi

This is an animation of a poem by the surrealist Robert Desnos. If you don't know about him, look him up!

21 March 2019

Journey's End (2018)

I already thought Sam Claflin was a brilliant actor before this movie, but Journey's End really drove that home in a new way. Damn is he good in this. The other actors – Paul Bettany, Asa Butterfield, and Tom Sturridge – are very good too.  

Journey's End is based quite closely on a play by R.C. Sherriff from 1928, but it does wonders with that old chestnut of a script. It's an excellent movie. I really liked it.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

This version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is filmed like a horror movie for much of its running time. This makes the whole thing pretty great – much more interesting than a standard historical epic from this period in film history. Several other notable things: A young Edmond O'Brien is very very handsome in this. The 1996 animated feature clearly quotes the prayer sequence from this movie. And there is an amazing visual effect at the movie's end.

18 March 2019

Los Tarantos (1963)

Los Tarantos is essentially a close adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet with covert nods both to West Side Story and to Lope de Vega's Fuenteovejuna. The R&J stuff doesn't really work, and the film never lifts off while worrying about revenge or family dynamics – the entire backstory feels half-baked and mostly contrived. The highlight of Los Tarantos is the flamenco dancing, especially by Antonio Gades, who is incredible.

Night Comes On (2018)

Night Comes On was pretty good. The central role, played by Dominique Fishback, is an intriguing one, and Fishback is very good. But the film doesn't quite know what it wants to say. My sense is that it feels that this particular story that is worth telling. Yes. Fine. But I think perhaps that this movie thinks that telling the story of a person with a particular subject person – lesbian, black, incarcerated – is enough for a compelling film. That isn't quite true if the film doesn't also have an interesting narrative. I liked the movie, but it doesn't do enough.
Max Casella appears in a small part and is unrecognizable and kind of amazing.

04 March 2019

A Prayer Before Dawn (2018)

A Prayer before Dawn was really, really good. I was surprised at how good. But Joe Cole is excellent, and this movie has tons of twists and turns up its sleeve. As you know, I love a prison movie. This one's set in a prison in Chiang Mai and involves a ton of boxing. Sign me up.