Song of the Sea

review films View comments

Song of the Sea Poster

Last weekend, we watched the animated film, Song of the Sea, by the same director (Tomm Moore) as The Secret of Kells, which I so enjoyed a few years ago. I wasn’t disappointed: this is a gorgeous, joyful, haunting film. It has the same richly layered and beautifully coloured imagery, which is inspired — like The Secret of Kells — by Celtic art, and explores Irish folklore.

Continue reading

The Duke of Burgundy

films review View comments

I haven’t reviewed any films here recently, having moved most of my reviews over to Slipstream, but I saw a film last week that I can’t stop thinking about, and I wanted to write about it here. Actually, I think this will be less of a review of the film than an extended ramble about stuff that it made me think about.

Continue reading

Nebraska

review films View comments

Last weekend, we finally finished watching one of the best films I have seen in weeks: Nebraska. I say finally because we had to return the first DVD to Lovefilm because it was scratched so badly it wouldn’t play. To divert from my subject for a moment, what the heck do people do with rented DVDs? We fairly regularly get disks that look as if someone has decided to give them a quick polish on the playing surface with coarse sandpaper.

Continue reading

Watching The Hobbit

Last night, we watched the first of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit films, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I had heard so many negative reviews of the film, that I was fully prepared for disappointment. As a result, I wasn’t exactly disappointed (because my expectations were so low), but nor was I delighted by it. I think it was a decently entertaining (though overblown) film, and despite the epic running time, I didn’t find myself looking at the clock every 5 minutes.

Continue reading

Two Years at Sea

films review View comments

I’m quite fond of quiet, reflective, almost wordless films. I watch my fair share of action films too, but I can sit entranced for hours in front of Into Great Silence or Le Quattro Volte. There’s something about quietly observing someone who is apparently utterly contented with their life and at one with their environment, going about their business in tranquil surroundings. Last night we watched another such film: Two Years at Sea by Ben Rivers.

Continue reading

Flying deckchairs

On Monday, I watched a really wonderful documentary: The Real Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines. There’s still time to watch it on iPlayer, and I heartily recommend doing so, even if you have no interest in microlights. It was the kind of documentary I love, in which you let people with a passion for something tell their own story. In this case, the cameras followed several participants in the ‘Round Britain Rally’, a gloriously Wacky Races event, in which the aim is to rack up the most points over three days by flying over designated waypoints dotted around the UK in a microlight aircraft.

Continue reading

The Secret of Kells

films review View comments

I’ve just reviewed this film on the new site Letterboxd, but I thought I’d also copy it here, as not many people are using Letterboxd yet. Along with Grave of the Fireflies, I think this has to be the most beautiful animated film I’ve seen. I was entranced and stunned by the sheer style of it the whole way through. The story is based around the creation of the Book of Kells — an illuminated Gospel produced around 800 AD, but weaves in elements of Celtic mythology.

Continue reading

Of Gods And Men

On Saturday, we watched the film Of Gods And Men, or ‘Des hommes et des dieux’ to give it its original title. There are times when I’m in the mood for a serious film, and times when I would rather watch something light and fluffy. I wasn’t sure that I was in the right frame of mind on Saturday for a serious film about a group of Cistercian monks in Algeria, who were kidnapped by fundamentalist terrorists during the Algerian Civil War in 1996 and disappeared.

Continue reading

Remaking A Classic

We didn’t watch a great deal of TV over the Christmas break, but we did really enjoy a few programmes, including one that we were nearly put off watching by the poor reviews. It was a remake of one of the classic M. R. James ghost stories, “Whistle And I’ll Come To You”. I’m a massive fan of the stories, and the TV adaptations which were made in the 1960s and 70s, particularly the one they made of “Whistle And I’ll Come To You” (with Michael Hordern) and “A Warning To The Curious” (with Peter Vaughan).

Continue reading

Beer And Morris Dancing

Last weekend, I visited the Birmingham Beer Festival with my brother. I’m a member of CAMRA and love real ale, so I always enjoy the opportunity to sample a good selection of real ales. There’s also always a nice atmosphere at beer festivals. While alcohol often provokes aggression, real ale seems to have the opposite effect on enthusiasts, so that you see a lot of large bellies and beatific, peaceful smiles around the venue.

Continue reading