cinematographique

pourquoi? parce que

The Jungle Book

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‘…or, How The Walt Disney Co turned me into a bilious hatemonger’

Jon Favreau cannot direct actors, conceive an effective shot or establish mood. Justin Marks cannot develop a character, write dialogue or tell an interesting story. Sarah Finn has no idea whom is appropriate for a given role. John Debney is a hack whose derivative and heartless score can’t manufacture emotional involvement. Neel Sethi, please never act again.

Neel, I know your lines were expositional subtext-free excrement and Jon told you just to shout in monotone, but your performance is so vacant and your characterisation so unsympathetic that the only thing stopping me from walking out was a vain hope that Shere Khan might tear off your face and prove the existence of something inside you. Describing what is happening to you, Neel, is not the same as pretending to have feelings. You make Keanu Reeves look like Laurence f’ing Olivier.

Oh, and Jon, no amount of effort from the incredible army of visual artists and stellar voice casts can disguise this steaming bolus of excrement. King Louie as Colonel Kurtz-meets-King Kong? Give me a break. You just dug up and joyously violated the still-warm remains of a classic. Shame – shame on you. And all the critics who seem clearly to have lost the plot.

Written by James P. Campbell

01/05/2016 at 15:36

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The Counsellor

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The ingredients have fine provenance but is it going to be delicious or a disaster?

Written by James P. Campbell

18/08/2013 at 09:52

Ran

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The character of Lady Kaede, played by Mieko Harada, is one of the most sinister creations I’ve encountered. Unfortunately there are no clips readily available of her best scenes in Akira Kurosawa’s Ran. Suffice it to say she incorporates the worst qualities of Lear’s Cornwall and Lady Macbeth, embodied in a form which set the paradigm for horrifying little women in Japanese cinema.

Written by James P. Campbell

16/08/2013 at 23:44

Hiroshima Mon Amour

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At a performance of the short ballet, Sea of Troubles (MacMillan, 1988), the score reminded me of these opening passages from Resnais’ Hiroshima Mon Amour (which I found infinitely more arresting). Professor Emma Wilson gave a glorious lecture on this film, and these scenes in particular, with quite an emphasis on their textural quality – riffing on a few themes from Laura Marks. The music hauntingly sticks to these scenes in my memory, bringing it all back vividly.

Written by James P. Campbell

16/08/2013 at 23:30

Page Eight

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Very hush-hush. The world of secret intelligence is one of private encounters behind closed doors: very hush-hush. There is something inherently dramaturgical about such scenarios, whose language games unfold in the absence of extras and their entire hubbub. This works to David Hare’s advantage: prolific he may be, at a writing desk, but his directorial prowess is oft maligned. Here, that singular theatrical flair produces character-driven drama, whose plot is intimate to the protagonist, propelled by his discoveries and self-reinventions. Don’t expect pretensions to international espionage intrigue, or the genre conventions of conspiracy thrillers. Page Eight is really about the climacteric of one senior officer’s life and the changing constitution of our security services.

Page Eight

Catch my review from EIFF 2011 at The Ooh Tray.

Written by James P. Campbell

26/06/2011 at 12:56

Perfect Sense

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Not just a bad pun? Perfect Sense presents itself as a major event at the festival, reuniting director David MacKenzie and star Ewan McGregor – last seen together in the former’s dazzling debut Young Adam, which premiered at Edinburgh in 2003. It rapidly became apparent this is a smaller film, if not in ambition then certainly in accomplishment – a footnote to the otherwise inexorable upward trajectory of both men’s careers.

Perfect Sense

Catch my review from EIFF 2011 at The Ooh Tray.

Written by James P. Campbell

26/06/2011 at 12:52

Phase 7

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Coco (Daniel Hendler) and Pipi (Jazmin Stuart) are not, despite their names, a pair of Argentinean glove puppets. Rather, they are a young couple living a somnambulistic existence in their new-build city-centre apartment. Phase 7 at first appears to be a peculiarly lifelike domestic sitcom, whose tone rapidly establishes this couple as believable and sympathetic protagonists. But wait, isn’t this supposed to be another post-apocalyptic shoot-out? It’s certainly described as such in the press notes.

Phase 7

Catch my review from EIFF 2011 at The Ooh Tray.

Written by James P. Campbell

26/06/2011 at 12:49

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