Dark, Brooding, Important, Groundbreaking – A Tribute to Gotham’s Bruce Wayne

Tough times are upon us now that season one of Gotham is over. For a torturous summer we’ll be without ingenious Z-list villains like Balloonman, who deviously hid giant balloons where no one would think to look – in the sky – before handcuffing his victims to them. We’ll miss nuanced characterisation that discreetly foreshadows iconic characters’ futures, such as Selina Kyle only ever drinking milk (because cats drink milk, and she’s going to be Catwoman. GET IT?). Of course, one of the show’s many achievements has been its subtle and gritty depiction of a young Bruce Wayne. Butler and guardian Alfred Pennyworth, heeding the wish of Thomas Wayne that his son should never see a psychiatrist, seemingly decides that after Bruce witnesses his parents’ murder the best course of action is to let the traumatised youth manage his own recovery. This allows Bruce to begin becoming Batman before his voice has even broken, seeking out dangerous tests for his physical endurance, investigating his parents’ murder, and having Alfred school him in fighting techniques (the most effective of which seems to be wrapping a watch around your fist and repeatedly punching your adversary in the face). In tribute to this accomplished reimagining of Bruce, I’ve made a video that I hope captures the character’s depth and complexity.

By James Taylor @tayloredchatter

By James Taylor
@tayloredchatter

Exclusive Oscars Season Interview 2015!

Oscars season is upon us, and you can almost smell the celluloid wafting on the Winter’s breeze. We caught up with a certain legendary Hollywood producer-mogul, relaxing in a rare moment of calm as he campaigns for the various Oscar-hopeful movies distributed by his company. His name was not recorded in the copy that was filed, and our interviewer was tragically killed later that afternoon – before he could be reached for clarification. His family have requested that this final piece be reproduced in the form it took at the exact moment of his death.

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This BAFTA’s not for Turner(ing), Mr Leigh!

Perhaps the only thing more dull than sitting through Mike Leigh’s snoretacular borefest Mr Turner has been reading the shrill, dreary outpouring of rage from so-called “film critics” and “filmmakers” and “members of the viewing public” about its so-called “snub” in this year’s BAFTA nominations. The truth is that, as many better-informed observers have noted, Leigh’s film is boring and too long and shit – and BAFTA, as usual, have hit all possible proverbial nails on their heads.

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Interstellar review

I tried. I honestly tried. I never meant to see Interstellar, because I already knew that I would hate it – and, more to the point, I already knew why I would hate it. That said, it’s comparatively lukewarm reception does indicate something of a turning point in Christopher Nolan’s career, and perhaps makes this a good moment to recap my reasoning.

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Grouchy, yet lovable

Part of the film’s fundamental awkwardness may be down to the fact that it was originally intended as a Stephen Spielberg movie, broken fragments of which are still visible. John Lithgow is awkwardly cast as a stock Spielberg type – a salt-of-the-earth, blue-collar love-bundle. Good old, grouchy-yet-lovable gramps is supposed to project a homely warmth, serving as a stable, loving core for Murphy’s family, but this is totally at odds with Lithgow’s signature style of effete, uppity aloofness. “It’s unnatural to eat popcorn at a ballgame. I wanna hotdog,” he grouches at one point, sounding for all the world like a man who’s never tasted either.

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‘Gotham’ (2014) review – Harvey Dent

Flipping his double-headed coin, he demands that the kid call it – which, of course, defeats the entire purpose of a double-headed coin by restoring the element of random chance. Where this gets truly, classically “Gotham” is that, although it’s clear the writers realised their mistake, for some reason they decided to leave it in. Instead of simply rewriting the scene, some bright spark inserted a line where Dent reassures us that “they nearly always choose heads” – which, apart from being factually incorrect, leaves us with the bizarre implication that every once in a while Harvey Dent sends some poor kid to prison because they said “tails”.

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Forgotten Greats: Miguel Vega

Excerpted from Lance Dunne’s The Eyes of a Millennium (University of Texas Press, 1984), with kind permission from the author’s estate

…It has become a truism of contemporary film criticism that, just as genius is never recognised in its own time, no great director can ever be truly appreciated in his own country. Of all the sad-sack stories of thwarted ambition and wasted talent I have dusted off and presented for your appreciation in this heartbroken volume, none gets this point across quite as eloquently as that of Miguel Vega.

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Interstellar review, by someone who’s never going to watch it

My relationship with Christopher Nolan has been a bumpy ride. We’ve had our ups and downs over the years – it’s not like there haven’t been good times – but the uninterrupted downward slide which really began with 2006’s The Prestige, and has only gotten steeper with each successive film, doesn’t show any signs of stopping. After a fair bit of soul-searching, I’m sorry to say that this is where I get off.

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