The Zone of Interest

March 4, 2024 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, HISTORY, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Jonathan Glazer, based on the book by Martin Amis) (2023) Poland is one beautiful country; with a plethora of mountains, verdant meadows, sea-coast, and more lakes than most. Which explains why so many imperialists wanted their grubby hands on it. In 1939, for example, as a result of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, Poland was neatly sliced into two zones. One zone, the Russian one, executed an unknown number of Poles, sometimes with organisation, at other times in a haphazard panic. The German zone, where Poles (and others) were dealt with under typical Teutonic efficiency, is the ‘Zone of Interest’…

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A Poor Thing Indeed

February 3, 2024 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Poor Things (Directed by “Yorgos” Lanthimos – 2023) What do Lanthimos’ “Poor Things” and M. Night Shamalayan’s “The Village” films have in common? They are the latter works of erstwhile promising directors. Lanthimos’s “The Lobster” is fabulous. As is the rightfully feted Night Shamalayan’s “The Sixth Sense”. Original, surprising and engaging works. After that, Shamalayan made the hold-your nose “The Village.” Lanthimos took a step down to the so-so “Killing of a Sacred Deer” and then nosedived. “Poor Things” is twaddle. Sadly, it looks like it’s all over for these two. “Poor Things” has beguiled critics with its steampunk, big-sleeved…

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Maestro

January 3, 2024 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classical Music, FILM, MUSIC, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Bradley Cooper – Netflix, 2023) Maestro is not a biopic of Leonard Bernstein, a popular and influential conductor, composer and musicologist. We do follow his career, but high and low points are marked by whirls of scenic grabs and musical snatches. The film’s focus is on Bernstein’s long and bumpy marriage to Felicia Montealegre, going from breathless first-flush intimacy, to star couple, to cold understanding, to a final tenderness. Whilst this renders the film a little thin, putting it mildly, it succeeds upon its chosen horizon. This is due to great turns by Bradley Cooper and, in particular,…

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Dream Scenario

December 29, 2023 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Kristoffer Borgli, 2023) “The general function of dreams is to try to restore our psychological balance by producing dream material that re-establishes, in a subtle way, the total psychic equilibrium.” (Carl G. Jung, “Approaching the Unconscious.”) “Humani nihil a me alienum puto” (“nothing human is alien to me”) – Terence. If the ‘ Viennese quack’ (according to Nabokov) Sigmund Freud is correct, all dream content is disguised wish-fulfillment. So mind what you wish. In Dream Scenario, Professor Paul Matthews (a sublime Nicolas Cage) is a balding, middle-aged academic, the type Dirk Bogarde used to play – bright, ineffectual,…

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Saltburn

November 22, 2023 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

"every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

(Directed by Emerald Fennell, 2023) Why would any middle or working class young person accept an invitation to their aristocratic University chum’s stately pile? Every movie-goer knows that the guest will have the wrong clothes, the butler will despise them, something bad will happen and lives will be Changed Forever. There is of course the very slight chance that the young person will end-up filthy rich as a result of their visit. Perhaps that’s why they keep turning-up on foot at the magnificent iron gates, having somehow missed the serf who was sent to the station to meet them. We’ve…

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