Although the term “fake news” has been getting some traction it’s essentially just a spin on that old favourite “propaganda”. For many people today much of the media is essentially just propaganda or PR. Any journalist who has been around a while will testify to working as part of an industry where stories are fabricated, spun or just flat out work to an agenda or to aid its paymasters be that proprietors or advertisers. In such a world do we expect say film reviewers with noticeable power over who might see a film to be above it all? Bastions in a world of half-truths, populated with PRs, publicists, lobbyists, not so subtle lifestyle promotion and product placement and more clever subliminal advertising and marketing.
But a movie like a lot of art is subjective and open to interpretation. It is totally feasible that one person will love a movie and another hate it. But sometimes there does seem to be something rotten in Denmark about inflated reviews. Now I like many loved the first Trainspotting film and also really like Danny Boyle who seems like a thoroughly top bloke but I thought the follow up T2 Trainspotting movie was the biggest loud of badly put together schmaltzy nonsense I have seen in ages. But what irked me more was the almost universal outpouring of love and how brilliant it was generated by British film reviewers, pretty much everyone loved it and had mainly only good things to say about it. Maybe I watched a different film.
And that leads me to two other recent Hollywood films that have been largely heralded as great cinema. First up is La La Land which on the face of it is a great ironic title. Hollywood love its messages movies and this has been referred to as a follow your dreams movie. Oh great just what the world needs is another Hollywood film about how you too could be living the dream if only you tried hard enough. It would be interesting to see how much budget the film had in terms of PR to get the word out and keep telling us what a great movie it was but I suspect it was huge and money spent of the type that requires at least an Oscar on its ROI. Sickening, everything will work out great and you will get exactly what you dream for tosh. Have we run out of amazing true life stories of people doing amazing things in the face of adversity that we need script writers to come up with shit like La La Land.
And I’m not buying into that old ‘it’s a great homage to the great old musicals of the past’ bollocks that made the film special. Maybe that was the intention of its creators, hammered home by every bit of media you have probably read about the film, but all films sound good in someone’s head or on paper beforehand but La La Land is just average at best.
Sure I might have left the movie theatre whistling the last tune but then I hum annoying but catchy ad tunes that have got in my head, does not make them great.
Next up for my ire is Arrival heralded as a smart, intelligent thinking person’s Sci-Fi film. Don’t get me wrong I liked the pace, the suspense, the lush like cinematography, ala Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life and Amy Adams is good in it but I am not buying that the film was deep in any way. Reviewers pounded out the messages of the movie being about how we need to communicate better with others to aid our survival and the planet, er duh!
It might have even had some relevance about underlying meanings of the power, structure and meaning of language but I would rather leave that to people interested in linguistics. Ultimately for me the movie was one powerful message of how great having a family is.
It was chocka full of perfect mother and child moments. Cute as button kids hanging out and playing with mummy in idyllic scenes. All so adorable. Again do we really need another Hollywood movie that ends in family bliss? OK so the movie does allude briefly to tragedy that one of the children will die and “the couple”will break up at some stage but the framework and underlying message is largely Kodak moments x 10 with a bit of presumably ultra-smart aliens coming down and alerting us to stuff we should already know.
Seeing review hosts talking about films such as T2 Trainspotting and La La Land you almost sensed an uneasiness in saying or even framing the movie in a less than positive light overall. God forbid that a host would turn around and say how would you respond to the comments that the film has been over-hyped?
Nothing wrong with movies being enjoyed for pure escapism and nothing more or less but lets not start building them up for being something they ain’t.
Ever had an experience in a place that left you so traumatized that you had to move away and know that you could not return as it was too painful? To make it worse you feel like you played a major part in the terrible experience, something that you could never turn the clock back on as much as you would dearly like to. An awareness that the tectonic plates had shifted and life and you would never probably be the same.
John Pilger’s latest film The Coming War on China in parts is not an easy film to watch. Part of the documentary looks at the events that occurred on the Marshall Islands in the 1940s and 1950s when the US used the surrounding pacific ocean for numerous nuclear bomb tests. It is painfully sad and shocking to see what happened to the inhabitants of the islands as a result.
Directed by Matteo Oleotto, Zoran, My Nephew the idiot., tells the story of Paolo Bressan, an odious, cantankerous, individual with apparently no redeeming features living in Italy’s Friuli region.