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Showing posts from January, 2017

Quick Flick: Jackie

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Pablo Larrain's account of Jacqueline Kennedy following the assassination of her husband John F. Kennedy is dominated by a stunning central performance from Natalie Portman. Her gradual meltdown is devastating to witness, with Portman perfectly capturing the torment and distress that her real-life counterpart must have experienced. Such is the strength of her performance that it almost (but not quite) masks the disappointingly formulaic structure adopted by director Larrain, with a number of stale scenes that somewhat distract from the power of Portman's role.

Since the film is built around Portman's character, it is fair to judge a substantial amount of the film on her performance alone. Portman proves perfect for the role, dominating every scene as she suffers through the turmoil of her husband's death, creating an incredibly intimate portrait of a struggling widow. Her viciously unpredictable behaviour as she moves between hopeless depression and outbursts of stubbor…

La La Land

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Damien Chazelle's latest is a glorious whirlwind of romance, nostalgia and optimism, a joyous love letter to 50's Hollywood that encapsulates the charm of classic musicals such as Singing in the Rain and Guys & Dolls. From the glorious opening number, set on a crowded LA freeway with drivers leaping from car to car in an incredible one-take scene, through to the beautifully judged epilogue, the film's energy never ceases to charm and impress. 


A relatively simple tale of a hopeless romantic meeting another hopeless romantic, the film rides heavily on the chemistry and likeability of the leads Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. As Sebastian and Mia, the two waltz effortlessly through dazzling dance sequences and catchy musical numbers in a style highly reminiscent of Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds. Their passionate but unpredictable relationship is a joy to watch and, although filled with many extraordinary moments, it is far from the traditional "boy meets girl" sto…

Silence

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Martin Scorsese's latest project is a tough beast to conquer. Clocking in at over two and a half hours, it is a harrowing tale of oppression and brutality that doesn't shy away from scenes of shocking violence and disturbing torture. The film follows two Jesuit priests, Sebastião Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver), as they travel from Portugal to Japan in the hopes of rescuing fellow priest Cristóvão Ferreira (Liam Neeson) from the Japanese rulers and their anti-Catholic regime. 


Driver and Garfield are well cast in their respective roles, this being a pivotal film for them, particularly the latter, to prove their ability in such demanding roles. Though Garfield's accent wavers in opening scenes and his reactions feel a little overplayed at times, it is very clear how much both put into their performances and they capture well the powerful devotion of the priests. While Driver has already displayed his talent through a number of excellent perform…