Monthly Archives: December 2020

“Normal People” – BBC TV series by Lenny Abrahamson / Hettie Macdonald (2020)

Based on a novel recommended by (among others) Barack Obama. The novel is written by Sally Rooney.

Set in Ireland – the story follows an on-off relationship of a young couple. They know one another from school, then both (separately) move to Dublin to study at Trinity.

It is a love story of an impossible kind. Feast for the eyes. Little bits of nudity and a fair amount of passion. Relationships with peers, parents, siblings and the outside world.

Told in very few words. The camera eye is often a third actor – e.g. during one and the same conversation of the two over a cup of coffee sitting at opposite sides – Marianne is shot from a distance, while Connell gets a very close camera angle. This distance changes as the conversation shifts. Crafty!

Melancholic, as Ireland landscape provides the background for tumultuous events. There is cold Sweden and hot Italy too.

Recommend!

Leave a comment

Filed under TV Series

“Love & Anarchy” (2020) by Lisa Langseth – Swedish TV series

Light, pretty, smart. Shot in beautiful Stockholm, with its classy designs and architecture.

Sofie and Max meet at a workplace and develop a particular bond which leads them through harmless craziness together. To a point, when it is no longer harmless and begins to become harmful.

Rich in relationships on multiple level. Clashes of old v. young, old habits v. modernity, analogue v. digital, parents v. children, partners in business, partners at home.

Pleasant experience and beautiful to watch – with realistic personalities and faces and surprising twists.

Leave a comment

Filed under TV Series

“Saturday Night Fever” (1977) by John Badham

This film has not aged well. Despite it being made in the golden era of Hollywood. The daily problems of 20-somethings do not correspond well to today’s experiences.

One could argue that it is a fair social study of late 1970’s in New York among the children of 2nd or 3rd generation of immigrants from Old Europe.

I love dancing and I do see the appeal of the main story. So I understand how it became a success back in its time.

But now? No thanks. I am allergic to disco music, so probably that is why it has been a difficult watch.

Maybe I am wrong, maybe it is a universal picture of troubled youth. I just don’t dig it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Catching Up, Cult Classics

“Spotlight” (2015) by Tom McCarthy

A fascinating experience. This film is much easier to watch than I had anticipated. It is well paced and somehow lacks intense scenes which is a big advantage given the incredibly difficult topic.

Long (over two hours), slow and yet not one scene is unnecessary. Edited and skilfully focusing on all the details, historic places and events.

Michael Keaton, who is no longer Batman or Birdman. He is a middle aged American journalist with mannerisms and a sort of hidden charisma.

John Slattery (Mad Men’s own Roger Sterling), Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan) – in calm roles of people who work hard in professional journalism.

Deservedly Best Picture Winner in 2016 – with Oscar bagged.

It is a rare example of an ensemble cast where every character is in fact a leading role. Good homework on the realistic settings, costumes and ambience.

Leave a comment

Filed under 2015 cinema releases

“The Post” (2017) by Steven Spielberg

Remember “All the President’s Men” from 1976 with Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman? Well – this is its prequel.

A phenomenal depiction of personal struggle of Mrs. Katherine Graham (Meryl Streep) who decides to follow on The New York Times’ publishing of the Pentagon papers after the NYT has been banned from writing on the topic by the court.

Despite possible implications related to the IPO of The Post (The Washington Post), the owner and publisher of the title decides to fight for the freedom of speech, publishes the articles and then joins the New York Times in the Supreme Court fighting for the First Amendment / freedom of the press rights.

President Nixon is quoted several times (from real life tapes) digging one deeper hole after another which eventually leads to Watergate – shown in “All the Presidents’ Men”.

Beautifully shot, costumes, machinery, real breath of the times and the suspense held to the extent needed – without pushing it too far, which could easily be achieved.

Leave a comment

Filed under 2017 cinema releases

“The Imitation Game” (2014) by Morten Tyldum

Whenever I want to watch a ‘based on a true story’ film, I first try to confront what I already know beforehand. Enigma is a famous story in Polish schools, where we are taught that the Enigma code was broken by Polish mathematicians who anticipated Christmas greetings in the encrypted messages.
Watching this film, that school anecdote seems to be an urban legend.
Although Polish spies’ are said to have smuggled the Enigma machine into the UK, there is little mention of their input.

Aside from that, as a cinematic experience – it is a piece of solid story with the correct amounts of drama. I do not appreciate paralel stories being ran in multiple timelines. Here – we are following three story lines around Alan Turing – when he’s at school in the 1920’s, during the war, at the time of working at Bletchley Park in the 1940’s and after the war in the 1950’s, when homosexuality is still illegal in the UK.

Brilliant cinema.

I usually scan through the trivia section on imdb for films I like. What I found here is that the famous “M” from the James Bond franchise has a strong presence here. And that is quite a character.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cinema releases 2014