Archive for January, 2009

Purgatory’s kind of like the in-betweeny one. You weren’t really shit, but you weren’t all that great either. Like Tottenham.

January 30, 2009

Friday 30th January 2009
In Bruges (2008)


Commuting on the London Underground as I do, I often find myself picking up on particular things I notice, be they the same assortment of strangers that I always seem to share my route to work with or less inanimate objects like adverts and one sheets that catch my eye. Its normally some indefinable quality that draws me to these things, but whatever it is, there always seems to be something at any particular period. One of these was the one sheet for the film In Bruges. I always found my eye drawn to it, and I cant really explain why, but whatever it was it didn’t at all inspire me to want to go see the film. Maybe because it starred Colin Farrell, who to be fair I’m fairly ambivelent about, but wouldn’t drive me to see any film he stars in. Or maybe because the one sheet didn’t really say much at all. Whatever, I didn’t end up seeing it until this cold Friday evening cosied up on the couch on my own after a looooooong week.

To be honest, as you can probably tell by the rambling largely unintelligible tone of the previous paragraph, I’m not feeling particularly verbose this evening, and so I’d feel a mite guilty about writing now about this film. Guilty, because, well in short, its absolutely fucking brilliant. See told you I wasn’t feeling verbose.

Perfect script, brilliantly acted (especially by Colin Farrell…), blackly comic, just a wonderful wonderful film. And whats more its a first feature from director Martin McDonagh. There has always been something that held me back from really loving Quentin Tarantino’s films. In Bruges, I felt had a certain Tarantino-esque quality to it, but all the elements came together to draw me in and hold my awe and affection in a way that has always been lacking for me with Tarantino.

Anyway, I’ve now seen the majority of the films up for best picture at the 2009 Oscars and most of those that narrowly missed out, and for some reason In Bruges has never, as far as I’m aware, been mentioned as a possibility – even as an outsider.

For the life of me I don’t know why, because it is easily the best film of the last year.


New crowned hope

January 14, 2009

Tuesday 13th January 2009

Slumdog Millionaire (2008)


My evening started with the sight of a dead body getting wheeled away. This isn’t a clever Sartre-esque way of commencing a blog entry. This really did happen. I arrived back in the environs of my flat after work tonight to find the whole area cordened off by the police and the aforementioned body slowly getting carted off. I didn’t see the thing, thank christ. It was covered in a red blanket that looked really itchy. Not that the person under it probably cared. Sorry if that sounds insensitive, but those were my thoughts. I stood and watched for about twenty minutes unable to take my eyes away. Finally I dragged myself indoors and sat and listened to Pavement for some reason.

So to the film, the reason why I’m supposed to be writing this and you’re supposed to be reading this. If indeed you are reading this of course. You could be forgiven for not, considering this is my first entry, in a supposedly dayly blog, in about 2 and a hlaf months. Oops. Between my last entry Quantum of Solace and now, I’ve watched a tonne of films as is my want. Some good some bad, but in typical Thom style, once I got out of the rhythm of doing something I found it very hard to get back. But for some reason tonight, whilst cleaning my teeth having just got back from watching Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire at the Genesis, I suddenly felt inspired to WRITE.

Did I love the film that much?! Well actually I did really rather enjoy it. The film is currently being gushed over by anyone and everyone, and more often than not I steer well clear of such things, but I was intregued to see if it stood up to the praise. It was unadbashedly feel good, which some may label a cynical ploy to win the public’s heart, considering the shitty situation the world exists in at present, but why not?

In a way the film is just tugging at the same heartstrings and emotions that saw us all willing Renton to get away with shafting his friends from a pile of money, almost 15 years ago in Trainspotting – which incidentally is in my opinion the only other good film Danny Boyle has ever made. Slumdog is of course an infinately more mature effort. And what many critics have forgotten to mention is that it is brilliantly shot. Antony dod Mantel was the DOP, who I remembered as directing photography on a lot of the old Dogme 95 films. You couldn’t really get much further than Dogme95 than Slumdog Millionaire, but i digress.

Slumdog actually provides a similar emotional progression and payoff to Trainspotting, but whilst the latter film reeked of the cultural and economic values of want that we all held dear in the mid 1990s, Slumdog offers a far more suitable world view for today. I guess without wanting to sound gushing, that world view is one of hope, and in which sense reminded me of Linha de Passe which I wrote about in this blog several months back. I guess hope is important.