Tagged: Netflix

Review – The Irishman (2019)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Bobby Cannavale, Ray Romano, Stephen Graham, Jesse Plemons, Harvey Keitel, Anna Paquin

Irishman

One of the American cinema’s most revered auteurs, Martin Scorsese’s career has been marked by a series of long-gestating projects. The Last Temptation of Christ, Gangs of New York and Silence all sat with the filmmaker for many years before he was finally able to realise them. Likewise, his latest film, The Irishman, spent twelve years on his to-do list. The result of that time, though, is a film which, technologically and tonally, he likely could not have made a decade ago. Based on Charles Brandt’s I Heard You Paint Houses, it tells the story of Frank Sheeran, a mafia hitman who claimed to have murdered the Teamster leader Jimmy Hoffa. The Irishman brings Scorsese back to the gangster genre with which he is intrinsically linked, but offers a different perspective. Where Mean Streets was a young man’s film, alive and overflowing with energy, The Irishman is an old man’s film, introspective and contemplative. Continue reading

Review – Roma (2018)

Director: Alfonso Cuarón

Starring: Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, Diego Cortina Autrey, Carlos Peralta, Marco Graf, Daniela Demesa, Nancy Garcia Garcia, Veronica Garcia, Andy Cortes, Fernando Grediaga

Roma

The idea that filmmaking, despite being an inherently collaborative pursuit, could be considered an outlet for the personal artistic expression of the filmmaker has been fundamental to its acceptance as a legitimate art form. Those directors whose work shows a personal stylistic signature or set of themes are revered as auteurs and those works that are strongly autobiographical are given a privileged place in their oeuvres. Usually, though, these autobiographical films come toward the start of a filmmaker’s career. In the case of Roma, however, Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron returns to a more personal, intimate place, having already established himself as a filmmaker, combining popular and critical success with the likes of Gravity, Children of Men and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Continue reading

Review – The Other Side of the Wind (2018)

Director: Orson Welles

Starring: John Huston, Oja Kodar, Peter Bogdanovich, Susan Strasberg, Norman Foster, Robert Random, Lilli Palmer, Edmond O’Brien, Mercedes McCambridge, Cameron Mitchell, Paul Stewart

Other Side of the Wind

Hardcore cinephiles have a complicated relationship with Netflix. Netflix, and streaming services like it, arguably pose a bigger threat to the sustainability of the theatrical experience than the rise of television did in the mid-20th century. For where television threatened to steal audiences away from the cinema, Netflix is stealing both audiences and filmmakers. In the last couple of years, the money and apparent creative freedom being thrown at filmmakers by streaming services has seen high profile filmmakers like Ava DuVernay, the Coen brothers, Alfonso Cuaron, and even Martin Scorsese making feature length works for release on Netflix rather than in cinemas. And yet,  every now and then Netflix throws the cinephiles a bone with something like The Other Side of the Wind. Continue reading

Review – Beasts of No Nation (2015)

Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga

Starring: Abraham Attah, Idris Elba, Emmanuel “King Kong” Nii Adom Quaye, Kurt Egyiawan

Beasts of No NationAfter great success with its original television content with shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, streaming giant Netflix has made the move into film production with its first original feature, Cary Joji Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation. In adapting Nigerian-American author Uzodinma Iweala’s acclaimed novel about the life of a child soldier, Netflix has made a powerful statement with its first film, announcing itself as a company not afraid to tackle complex and confronting subject matter.

In an unspecified African nation, we meet a cheeky and imaginative young boy named Agu (Abraham Attah). While Agu lives a carefree existence, his country is caught up in a vicious, multi-factioned civil war. There is a constant stream of refugees passing through their rural village. Caught between the rebels and the army, the decision is soon made to evacuate the village. While the women and babies are shipped off to the capital for safety, the men stay to protect their village against looters. Continue reading