Category Archives: Bits

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

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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.

r_i_p

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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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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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Bradshaw Watch – Palo Alto (2014)

For anyone struggling to get through Peter Bradshaw’s review of Palo Alto (2014) in The Guardian, here is a rundown of his thoughts on the film – minus bluntly-stated plot details he could have copy-pasted from Wikipedia:

– Peter begins his review by stating that “a generic label here could be More Than Zero” – deftly pointing out how shit the pun he is using is, while using it anyway. This gag also allows him to subtly but firmly assure his readers that he has read Bret Easton Ellis’ novel Less Than Zero (1985), going so far as to name the author directly to ram the point home

– The film is directed by Gia Coppola, who Peter points out is the granddaughter of “Francis Ford”. Bradshaw does not specify who he means here, but it is obvious to cinephiles such as Peter and myself that he of course means Francis Ford Coppola

– The film is based on a a short story collection by James Franco

– The film also stars James Franco, and Jack Kilmer – “son of Val”. Bradshaw does not specify who he means here, but it is obvious to cinephiles such as Peter and myself that he of course means Val Kilmer

– The film also stars Emma Roberts

– One character uses an e-cigarette, which Peter suggests might symbolise “a spiritual void” of some kind. He goes so far as to suggest that this character is “another of modern cinema’s dodgy vapers,” suggesting a widespread pattern – though without providing any other specific examples

– The film also stars Nat Wolff

– Jack Kilmer, Peter feels, has “an open, attractive screen presence,” and an “unaffected charm”

DO NOT BE FOOLED. IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO COUNTERFEIT FILM CRITICISM, CONTACT YOUR LOCAL POLICE STATION – OR LEAVE A TESTIMONIAL ON FLICKBOOK.WORDPRESS.COM

Bradshaw Watch – ‘Zabriskie Point’ (1970)

For anyone struggling to get through Peter Bradshaw’s one-paragraph review of Zabriskie Point (1970) in The Guardian, here is a rundown of his thoughts on the film – minus bluntly-stated plot details he could have copy-pasted from Wikipedia:

– The film was directed by Michelangelo Antonioni

– The film has been re-released

– The film is “freaky and far-out,” at all times

– The film was “a counterculture adventure” and reminded Peter a bit of Easy Rider and Bonnie and Clyde

– The film also reminded Peter of one or all of the films by David Lynch which were set in the desert – though, presumably, is not thinking of Dune

– Peter also describes the film as providing “an acid flashback to Hitchcock’s North by Northwest

– “Short of travelling by time machine,” Peter considers watching the film to be the best way to visit the Los Angeles of the late 1960s, because it shows you “all the streetscapes, billboards and brand names” which were there in the late 1960s when it was made, in Los Angeles

– Peter considers the film to have invented “its own docu-surrealism” through the practice of casting some actors who were not well known at the time. The film also incorporated some real footage of campus unrest

– Peter considers himself “heretical” for preferring the film to Antonioni’s more famous work Blowup

– The film stars Mark Frechette, Daria Halprin, and Rod Taylor

– Peter describes the film as “not a bonfire but a slo-mo detonation of the vanities,” which may be intended as proof that he has read the 1987 novel The Bonfire of the Vanities, by Tom Wolfe, or that he is familiar with the medieval practice of burning condemned material possessions, or both.

DO NOT BE FOOLED. IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO COUNTERFEIT FILM CRITICISM, CONTACT YOUR LOCAL POLICE STATION – OR LEAVE A TESTIMONIAL ON FLICKBOOK.WORDPRESS.COM

Bradshaw Watch – ‘The Judge’ (2014)

For anyone struggling to get through Peter Bradshaw’s review of The Judge (2014) in The Guardian, here is a rundown of his thoughts on the film – minus bluntly-stated plot details he could have copy-pasted from Wikipedia:

– At no point in the film does anyone use the famous Bible quotation from Matthew 7:1: “judge not, that ye be not judged”

– The film stars Robert Downey Junior and Robert Duvall

– There are plenty of  “emotional fireworks” of some kind in the film. Peter also describes it as being “soupy but entertaining”

– Peter believes the film is “obvious Oscar bait”. He imagines what it would be like if, during one scene of intense pathos, the words “Academy Award – for your consideration”  were to  flash in the bottom right corner of the screen. He makes clear, however, that they do not.

DO NOT BE FOOLED. IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO COUNTERFEIT FILM CRITICISM, CONTACT YOUR LOCAL POLICE STATION – OR LEAVE A TESTIMONIAL ON FLICKBOOK.WORDPRESS.COM