A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

February 13, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Marielle Heller) (2019) The Varnished Culture settled down with a choice wine to watch this, fully expecting to enjoy the contents of the bottle more than the film. Spared the viewing of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood (1968-2001) due to the tyranny of distance, we guessed this would be an uplifting panegyric of the famous kiddy presenter.  Hence we feared a saccharine overdose as with The Sound of Music, more so when we perceived that the story, based on an article in Esquire, would centre around the the cynical, angry, world-weary, troubled, investigative journalist ‘Lloyd Vogel’ (Matthew Rhys), sent (querulously)…

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Unhinged

December 7, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Derrick Borte) (2020) (Netflix) The portentous opening credits, and indeed the horrendous opening sequence, suggest that Unhinged is going to have something profound to say about contemporary wrath, taking its Road Rage homily as a linchpin: sort of a cross between Duel, Falling Down and Romper Stomper. Alas, instead we get a trashy, c-grade, repulsively violent serving of haute psychomania. Russell Crowe (an un-named man in a pickup truck) is at the end of his tether.  Understandably distracted, he dawdles at an intersection with the lights on green.  This causes annoying and scatty single mum Rachel (Caren Pistorius),…

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Sean Connery

November 14, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, Drama Film, FILM |

(25 August 1930 to 31 October 2020) He wasn’t quite what Ian Fleming had in mind, but on the big screen, he was the first and best James Bond: moving like a panther, coiled like a spring, throwing away his throw-away lines with an amused accent that seemed to cross Eton with Edinburgh. The Bond films were a sociological event in the 1960s and 1970s, before they descended to a worn-out party joke of a franchise. Connery starred in Dr. No (1962), From Russia With Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), Diamonds Are Forever (1971), and…

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The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser

July 21, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Werner Herzog) (1974) [He did exist: and his back story, true identity, and untimely end remain a mystery. Various suppositions and theories have all been unmasked as absurd.  Be that as it may, the myths around Kaspar offer a useful trope for film-makers. And in the case of Werner Herzog, it inspired his best film (along with Aguirre, The Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo). The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser features all of his most infuriating flourishes, yet it manages to move and fascinate. Its a kind of Pygmalion-meets-The Wild Child-and-Bad Boy Bubby, with a dash of Ruprecht-the-Monkey-Boy from Dirty…

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The Lighthouse (dir. Robert Eggers)

February 10, 2020 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Drama Film, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(2019: Australian Release February 2020) If, like us at The Varnished Culture, you’ve pictured yourself tending a lighthouse on a breezy, picturesque island away from the rat race; climbing the steps with a dainty lantern; reading by the fire at night while the rain tinkles against the windows, this film will give you something to think about. [And finishing that novel, as in Poe’s unfinished lighthouse story, or else something like an action / adventure / comedy, perhaps called “The Big Heist” – Ed.] We saw The Lighthouse with a theatre full of excited film students who tittered and crackled…

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