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Features Live Action Movies

127 Hours

Director – Danny Boyle – 2010 – US – Cert. 15 – 93m

UK release date 07/01/2011, cert. 15, 93 mins

The trailer for this gives a pretty good impression of about its first third. Experienced, youthful and single outdoor explorer Aron Ralston (James Franco) mountain bikes through the Utah landscape, meets a couple of girls and shows them an incredible underground lake, continues on his merry solo way until, rock climbing, he slips down a crevasse where a falling boulder pinions his wrist…trapping him for the eponymous and subsequent 127 hours / the rest of the film.

Where Buried (Rodrigo Cortés, 2010) relentlessly encased its leading man in a coffin from opening to closing frame, 127 Hours not only starts off in wide open landscapes but also punctuates its narrative with memory flashbacks, dreams and visions. Thus, when you see Aron freeing himself, you’re not initially sure whether he’s actually doing so or merely imagining it in his head. Such devices provide space to deal with the transcendent in a way that Buried never really did.

If Buried is a horror movie (will he survive being buried alive? can he escape?), 127 Hours starts off as outdoor adventure then veers into the question of: if you knew for certain you were going to die, what would you want to do with the ever decreasing amount of time you had left?… Read the rest

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Features Live Action Movies

Paris Memories
(Revoir Paris)

Director – Alice Winocour – 2022 – France – Cert. 15 – 105m

****

A woman tries to recall her memories of a Paris terrorist attack – out in UK cinemas on Friday, Aug 4th

Were it not for a singularly unconvincing sex scene (as in, why are these two characters having sex?) about ten minutes before the end, this might have been one of my films of the year. That knocks it down from ***** to ****. That gaffe aside – and it’s a monumentally huge one – this is, otherwise, most impressive.

It starts off with Mia (Virginie Efira) in her Paris flat, feeding the cat, dropping and clearing up a glass, and talking with her partner Vincent (Grégoire Colin), a surgeon who heads up a hospital department. She rides her motorbike to her radio station workplace, where she has a gig as a Russian-French translator. Afterwards, in the evening, she meets Vincent in a restaurant for a meal, but he gets a call from the hospital and has to go back in. After a bit, she heads for home, but it’s raining heavily, so she stops off at another restaurant to have a drink and wait out the rain.… Read the rest

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Animation Features Movies

Chicken
For Linda!
(Linda Veut
Du Poulet !)

Directors – Sébastien Laudenbach, Chiara Malta – 2022 – France, Italy – 75m

*** 1/2

A mother’s relationship with her young daughter lurches into farce as a domestic misunderstanding spirals out of control – from the Annecy International Animation Festival 2023 in the Official Competition section

This starts off with a poem in French – which, alas, has lost its rhyming in the translation to English subtitles – about the blackness of night and the empire of memory, illustrated by images within a little circle, including a ring. Then it moves to another series of floating circles, one of which is little, yellow-coloured, toddler Linda sitting in a high chair being fed spicy chicken – her favourite – by her muted-red-coloured father (voice: Pietro Sermonti) and her orange-coloured mum (voice: Clothilde Hesme), while amidst a popping of champagne corks – the muted red lines of dad’s colour against the black background – mother calls out papa’s name Giulio in horror and little Linda is upset…

The present, years later; an image not now in small circles but filling the whole movie picture frame. Schoolgirl Linda (voice: Mélinée Leclerc) badgers her mum into letting her borrow mum’s special ring, plays with it for a day then takes it to school the next day where she hangs out with her purple-coloured friend Annette (voice: Scarlett Cholleton), whose mum had bought her a beret in the exact same colour as Linda’s yellow, which Annette lends her.… Read the rest

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Animation Features Live Action Movies

Boonie Bears
Guardian Code
(Xiong Chu Mo
Ban Wo Xiong Xin,
熊出没·伴我“熊芯”)

Directors – Lin Yongchang, Shao Heqi – 2023 – China – Cert. PG – 99m

****1/2

Abandoned by their mother as children, bear siblings Bramble and Briar uncover a conspiracy involving roboticists and robots in a dubbed format for family audiences – out in cinemas on Friday, May 26th following its premiere at the Prince Charles Cinema around midday on Saturday, May 13th

Bear cubs Bramble (voiced in the English language version by Siobhan Lumsden) and Briar (voice: Nichalia Schwartz) enjoy and idyllic life in the Pine Tree Mountain forest in the care of their loving, lullaby-singing mother Barbara (voice: Kally Khourshid). Barbara shows them her amber pendant containing a moon and a star shape, one for each of her two cubs who have those shapes in light patches of fur on their chests. (Bramble is the one with the yellowish fur and Briar the one with reddish fur.)

One day, Briar sees her walk away through the burning ruins of a house as if she never knew him. The brothers never see her again, growing up on their own and looking out for one another.

Years later, the adult Bramble (voice: Joseph S. Lambert) and Briar (voice: Patrick Freeman), disguised as robots using makeshift fridge and washing machine costumes that would give the robot performer of Brian And Charles (Jim Archer, 2022) a run for his money, are being driven by their best friend the human Vick (voice: Paul ‘Maxx’ Rinehart) along with roboticist Dr.… Read the rest

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Features Live Action Movies

A Light
Never Goes Out
(Deng Huo Lan Shan,
Dang Fo Laan Saan,
燈火闌珊,
lit. Waning Light)

Director – Anastasia Tsang – 2022 – Hong Kong – Cert. 15 – 103m

****

The widow of a Hong Kong neon sign maker attempts to fulfil his last wish in constructing a specific neon sign, despite new regulations outlawing them – out in UK cinemas on Friday, May 12th #ALightNeverGoesOut

Mei-heung (Sylvia Chang) hangs around an amusement arcade coming to terms with the loss of her husband Bill (Simon Yam) who died just six weeks ago. He believed in luck and wishes coming true, and once won on a machine she thought a scam by inserting a coin whilst facing away from the machine. In their younger days, he proposed to her by fixing various neon lights on timers so that every time she’d make a wish, a switched off neon street sign would light up. Discovering her hard-nosed, go-getter daughter Prism (Cecilia Choi from Detention, John Hsu, 2019) has dumped Bill’s effects at the local communal recycle bin, she tries to retrieve them, falling foul of a cop more interested in enforcing rules than community spirit.

Bill was a much better craftsman than businessman, and packed in his business ten years ago so as to obtain a university grant for Prism.… Read the rest

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Features Live Action Movies

Enys Men

Director – Mark Jenkin – 2022 – UK – Cert. 15 – 96m

*****

A lady environmentalist working on an uninhabited island off the Cornish coast becomes subject to powerful, localised forces from the area’s past – out on UK Blu-ray/DVD combi and on BFI Player on Monday, May 8th

NB The title is pronounced “Enys Main”, the eponymous “Men” being as in “menhir”.

A radio receiver. A bird. An island. A woman in a red coat (Mary Woodvine). A flower. Jenkin seems to love the process of putting little bits of film together to make a whole that’s altogether larger than the sum of its constructed parts. If that same process was evident in his earlier, equally Cornish if less fantastical and black and white Bait (2019), his new film is radically different and, moreover, it’s in colour.

Enys Men is being touted as a horror film – presumably with Jenkin’s blessing if the trailer is any indication – but I’m not sure that’s exactly what this film is. Some horror fans may well come away wondering while they bothered, while viewers put off by the term ‘horror’ may well respond positively to Jenkin’s latest – provided they can be persuaded into the cinema to see it.… Read the rest

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Features Live Action Movies

Julie Delpy
talks about
Three Colours: White

Transcript of interview from 1994 with actress Julie Delpy on Three Colours: White. She plays the short but pivotal role of the main character’s ex-wife, whose appearances bookend the film. At the time, the third film in the trilogy had yet to be screened to press.

She was based in LA., on which subject our conversation started:

“I’m doing everything. Both European and American films. My project there is similar to what I was doing before – American films and European films and co-productions, whatever. I’m not trying to see where I should be, I’m just trying to find something that I like to do. It’s a bigger choice when you’re over there.”

Three Colours: White is very much a European film – not a film set in any one country but partly in Paris and largely in Poland. How did she get involved?

“I knew Kieślowski, I met him a few times, he’s a friend of Agnieszka Holland with whom I had worked on Europa Europa. I had tested on The Double Life Of Veronique, but knew that I wouldn’t get that part because he told me before the casting began that I wasn’t right for it, but he wanted to audition me because he was thinking of something else later.… Read the rest

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Features Live Action Movies

Maborosi
(Maboroshi
No Hikari,
幻の光,
lit.
Phantasmic Light,
A Trick
Of The Light)

Director – Hirokazu Kore-eda – 1995 – Japan – Cert. 12a – 110m

****

His cinema directorial debut Maborosi (1995) is the only feature Koreeda didn’t also write or edit. Seemingly contented Ikuo (a pre-stardom Asano Tadanobu) goes out one night and is run over by a train. After his young wife Yumiko (Makiko Esumi in her debut role) moves to the North coast to remarry, Ikuo’s suicide continues to trouble her…

Read the rest at All The Anime where I covered this title as part of the BFI’s Flesh And Blood Blu-ray box set which includes Maborosi (1995), After Life (1998), Nobody Knows (2004) and Still Walking (2008). Also available on BFI Player subscription and to rent on Amazon UK and Curzon Home Cinema.

Trailer (Maborosi – BFI reissue):

Categories
Documentary Features Live Action Movies

After Life
(Wandafuru Raifu,
ワンダフルライフ)

Director – Hirokazu Kore-eda – 1998 – Japan – Cert. PG – 119m

*****

…Kore-eda fell back on his TV documentary roots, interviewing 500 ordinary people about their most important memory if they could take only one with them to heaven. He incorporated ten into After Life (1998), playing recently deceased clients in the care of petty bureaucrats played by professional actors. They are given one week to choose and recreate that memory on film before being sent off to the next place…

Read the rest at All The Anime where I covered this title as part of the BFI’s Flesh And Blood Blu-ray box set which includes Maborosi (1995), After Life (1998), Nobody Knows (2004) and Still Walking (2008). Also available on BFI Player subscription and to rent on Curzon Home Cinema.

Trailer (After Life – original Japanese, subs):

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

After Yang

Director – Kogonada – 2022 – US – Cert. PG – 96m

****1/2

In the distant future, a couple must come to terms with the loss of the eldest child, actually an A.I. purchased as an ethnically programmed companion for their adopted South East Asian daughter – SF mystery drama is on Sky Cinema from Thursday, September 22nd

Memory is one of the great themes of cinema because when you point a moving image camera at someone, you capture and preserve their moving image for posterity. (Something similar happens when you record the sound of someone’s voice. Or even if you write down their words on paper, a simpler, more primitive form of recording.) Memory is also one of the elements which defines us as human beings.

Full marks, then, to director (actually writer, director, editor) Kogonada for taking the short story Saying Goodbye To Yang by Alexander Weinstein and expanding it into a feature. As described in the parlance of the distant future world in which this is set, Yang is a technosapien (i.e. a robot), a purchased elder sibling of a family comprising father Jake (Colin Farrell), mother Kyra (Jodie Turner-Smith) and daughter Mika (Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja).

Mika is adopted, and her ever so Hollywood liberal parents – he a white man who has built a business around his passion for tea, she a black woman who is a hard-working, highly motivated high-flier in a demanding corporate business that’s never really defined – are concerned that she connect with her South East Asian heritage.… Read the rest