A Ghost Story (directed by David Lowery)

January 16, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |
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(2017) This is not a film. It isn’t even a good idea for a film. It’s an extended skit, a riff drawing from real ghost movies like The Sixth Sense and Truly, Madly, Deeply. Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara are a happy pair uncoupled by Casey’s car smash with the next door neighbour. He returns home in a Halloween-style ghost sheet with ready-made eye holes, and stands by for the next hour, watching the widow eat a pie, her packing and leaving, the new occupants having dinner, and the place being demolished. The late neighbour is next door with a…

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All the Money in the World

January 11, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |
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(Dir. Ridley Scott) (2017) As C. P. Snow once pointed out, the conscience of the rich is different to that of mere mortals.  This difference affords the key interest in Mr Scott’s rather lustreless thriller, based on the Getty kidnapping case, in which Christopher Plummer famously took over the role (as billionaire oil baron and professional Scrooge, J. Paul Getty) from Kevin Spacey, when Spacey’s work was already in the can.  You can see the studio’s reasoning – Spacey had become persona non grata and had to wear a ton of make-up to look like the aged Getty; Plummer simulated Getty adequately without…

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

January 6, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Comedy Film, Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |
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(Dir. Martin McDonagh) (2017) This hefty slice of southern-fried Grand-Guignol, redolent of Flann O’Connor, one of whose novels a character is seen clutching early on, resolves into a mature, thoughtful, at times shocking and occasionally hilarious exposition upon man’s desire for avengement and intense disregard for due process. Mildred (Frances McDormand) has lost her daughter, who was, we hear more than once, not raped and killed, but raped while being killed.  It’s been seven months with no leads in the case, for which Mildred holds Sheriff Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) fully accountable.  In order to stir the Ebbing police to greater efforts (whether consistent…

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Not For All the Money in the World

December 15, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | CRIME, Drama Film, FILM, HISTORY, USA History |
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December 15: John Paul Getty III, kidnapped and ransomed, turned up alive near Naples on this day in 1973. He’d been missing for months.  A letter had arrived the previous month with an accompanying parcel and the curt message: “This is Paul’s ear. If we don’t get some money within 10 days, then the other ear will arrive. In other words, he will arrive in little bits.” His grandfather, J Paul Getty Snr., who was worth over $2 billion US, was a tad parsimonious about paying the ransom (although with 14 other grandchildren and a loathing of appeasement, he must have thought…

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The Teacher (dir. Jan Hrebejk)

December 7, 2017 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |
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(Directed by Jan Hřebejk, written by Petr Jarchovský) (2016) Maria Drazdechova, a middle school teacher in Bratislava, requires each class of new students to tell her what their parents do. Czechoslovakia is under Soviet rule in the early eighties, and Maria has connections. Based on a real schoolteacher in the life of screenwriter Petr Jarchovský (an old school pal of the director), Maria proceeds, without secrecy or scruples, to require her pupils’ parents to do whatever she asks of them – including housework, hairdressing, smuggling and the provision of sexual favours. The children of parents who refuse to comply with her demands are marked down, bullied and excluded from favourite activities – in…

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