Friday, August 21, 2015

Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015) ***

Not up to the heights of other films from Aardman Animations but quite enjoyable with superb stop-motion work. No dialogue, just one sight gag after another. A disappointingly heavier reliance on potty humor unfortunately.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Book review: ‘Notes on the Death of Culture’ by Mario Vargas Llosa

Eliot too saw culture decaying around him and foresaw a time in which there would be no culture. This time, Vargas Llosa argues, is ours. Eliot has since been under attack for what his critics often describe as his elitist attitudes – as well as much else – and Vargas Llosa will probably also be tarred with the same brush for his pains.

There you go again. Every couple of years we get another round of "the death of culture" books/essays about how stupid we've all become because of the internet or comic books or movies or pop music or anything not in The Canon. It's the rantings of elites out of touch with current trends and pissed about it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Brotherhood (1968) **

If you can accept Kirk as an Italian (let alone a Sicilian) this tough Mafia tale has a lot to offer. Years before Tony Soprano this flick had the guts to show the devotion to family and brutality that goes with being in The Mob. Very similar to The Godfather and suffers by comparison since it is not nearly as well directed.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Survivor (2015) **

Pierce does a fine job as the villain in this comically absurd non-stop spy chaser.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Nightfall (1957) **

It's a well made and well cast noir, but the script is a little too self-consciously quirky. Nice Fargo-esque ending though.

Irrational Man (2015) **

Enjoyable and beautifully filmed, as nearly all Woody movies are, but not well cast and not especially well written.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Criss Cross (1949) **

Burt Lancaster's performance and a logical but unusually downbeat ending are the highlights of this slowly paced and rather lackluster noir.

Friday, August 07, 2015 Procrastination vs. impatience

In one ingenious experiment, Oettingen had some of the participants rendered mildly dehydrated. They were then taken through an exercise that involved visualising drinking a refreshing, icy glass of water, while others took part in a different exercise. The dehydrated water-visualisers -- contrary to the self-help doctrine of motivation through visualisation -- experienced a significant reduction in their energy levels, as measured by blood pressure. Far from becoming more motivated to hydrate themselves, their bodies relaxed, as if their thirst were already quenched. In experiment after experiment, people responded to positive visualisation by relaxing. They seemed, subconsciously, to have confused visualising success with having already achieved it.

Teacher of the Year (2014) **

A talented cast makes up for an amateurish production and a less than compelling script in this earnest and sincere look at modern educators and some of the problems they face.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Maggie (2015) *

Tries extremely hard to be a film about how we come to grips with our mortality but it is so slowly paced and so poorly lit that all you can see are the plot holes.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Trainwreck (2015) ***

Funny flip on standard rom-com gender roles and an auspicious debut for lead/writer Amy Schumer.