Play All: A Binge-Watcher’s Notebook by Clive James

CJ

Play All is James’ reflection on binge-watching box sets (yes, he says ‘box sets’.  Perhaps he eats ‘fry rice’ while watching).  He differentiates between a television drama in the “old sense” of a network weekly serial which just happens to have been boxed-up (box up?) such as The Good Wife, and a box set drama in the “new sense”, such as Game of Thrones. He adores both and watches 3, 4, 5 episodes of either in one sitting with his daughter. He sees “the main advantage that a long-form tv show has over a movie” as affording “room to search souls”, and explains the addiction : –“very soon…

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“Shoot Straight, You Bastards!”

February 27, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |
breaker-morant-shoot2

Breaker Morant (1980) (Directed by Bruce Beresford) 1899-1902. The Boer War. The South African veldt, once overseen by the Dutch East India Company, is now in the tender mercies of Queen Victoria and her successors.  Afrikaans farmers (‘Boers’) are grumpy about that, and in rebellion. Lord Kitchener has assumed command, with the command (possibly implicit) to put down the unrest, if necessary very roughly.  Where England fought, so did Australia, and in this dirty little war, the Bushveldt Carbineers are at the coalface.  Experienced soldier and poetaster Harry “Breaker” Morant (Edward Woodward) and his men, Lieutenant Peter Handcock (Bryan Brown) and Lieutenant…

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The Lobster

February 23, 2017 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Comedy Film, Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |
Out of the frying pan...

Out of the frying pan...

(Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos) (2015) At the commencement of the film, David’s unseen wife has told him that she is leaving him for another man.  “Does he wear glasses or contact lenses?”  David (Colin Farrell) asks incongruently for us but entirely reasonably for him, as will become apparent. A magnificently affectless Colin Farrell is booked into a dreary hotel for the purpose of finding a mate. He is told that the “bisexual option is no longer available”. No, it’s not a swingers’ or lonely hearts’ hotel, not exactly.  In this dystopian state (filmed in Ireland) it is unlawful to be single.  David and his fellow singleton “guests” each…

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Melancholia

February 17, 2017 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Drama Film, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |
Melancholia

(Dir. Lars von Trier) (2011) Some compare this film to Terence Malick’s  Tree of Life.  Here’s my comparison – one of these films is overrated tedious pretentious twaddle and the other is a stylish wonder directed by Lars von Trier. In Part 1 of the Trier one, Melancholia, a handsome couple, Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander Skarsgard) arrive at their wedding reception in a weird Maxfield Parrish twilight.  Everything is beautiful in the castle guesthouse, but the newlyweds are two hours late and a whiff of despair accompanies them.  We don’t know why. The bride’s sister Claire (a careworn Charlotte Gainsbourg) is exasperated but not…

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A Mighty Heart

February 1, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, POLITICS, RELIGION, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |
MHEARTcar

(Dir. Michael Winterbottom) (2007) Daniel Pearl was an American Bureau Chief for The Wall Street Journal, based in India, who had gone to Karachi in January 2002 for what he thought was an interview, but was probably a set-up.  He was abducted and held hostage by Al Qaeda-linked terrorists, ostensibly for ransom, probably for terror.  Nine days later, on 1 February 2002, Pearl was beheaded, and the atrocity was captured on film. A Mighty Heart is a film that concentrates on the frantic efforts of his wife, Marianne, to find him during those nine days.           Adapted from the…

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