A bonkers trip into the warped and wonderful mind of Terry Gilliam that has nothing to do with a soccer-loving country in South America, and more to do with 1984, George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece. It’s also set at around Christmas, so I think I’ll be happy to think of it as an alternative Christmas movie a la Die Hard.
I looked up the word after watching the film, expecting it to be some kind of unfamiliar religious term, but Calvary is actually a name of a place, specifically a hill near Jerusalem on which Jesus was crucified (also called Golgotha, a name I was much more familiar with). And there is in fact a blatant parallel between the events of the film and its main character, a Catholic priest in a remote corner of Ireland, and the story of Jesus, which only really clicked into place once I learned the meaning of the movie’s title.
Six principles that make for a good story, according to Anton Chekhov:
- Absence of lengthy verbiage of a political-social-economic nature
- Total objectivity
- Truthful descriptions of persons and objects
- Extreme brevity
- Audacity and originality: flee the stereotype
As I’ve mentioned in some other reviews, musicals are not really my cuppa, so if you bring up a classic movie musical chances are I haven’t seen it. Same went for this 1972 film directed by Bob Fosse; the only two things I knew about it was that 1) it starred Liza Minnelli and 2) it’s set in Weimar era Germany, at the time when the Nazi Party was on the rise. After watching the film, I can happily add one more musical I really like to my short list. Maybe my issue is more that I don’t care for the wholesome happy musicals?
With the quality of the recent DC output, Wonder Woman basically needed to be merely decent and competent to qualify as the best of the bunch. And compared to something like Suicide Squad, Patty Jenkins’s film is an outright revelation, but to someone who’s had their fill of merely decent superhero movies, it comes off as mostly rote and by-the-numbers origin story except that, this time, it stars a female superhero. Which yes yes is a cause for celebration, but I just wish there was more to distinguish this movie other than its femaleness.
The xx – I See You
Like many people, I adored this band’s hushed minimalist debut, but then came the dreaded second-album dilemma: where to go next after you’ve already emerged as a fully formed deal with the sound, image and mood all perfected? More often than not it’s a course of diminishing returns, more of the same but not quite as good. Luckily, on this third album the xx seem to have figured out how to move on by embracing a wider range of influences, samples and vocal loops, and the end result sounds both fresh and unmistakably like the xx. There’s also a greater variety of mood; while it’s not necessarily a “happy” album some songs sound decidedly more optimistic and upbeat. Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim may not be great singers in a conventional sense – neither of them has much depth or range – but they know their way around limitations and their vocal interplay still remains enchanting. A couple of songs in the middle of the album sticks closer to the blueprint of the debut, and while they’re fine the best tracks are the ones where the band push themselves.