Riding the zeitgeist. Epitomising televisual sophistication, élan and gripping characterisation/storytelling. You may wonder why MAD MEN has not had more imitators, as is so often the case when success is achieved. Probably sitting down in front of a blank piece of paper to create your own classy and sexy take on gender politics must seem daunting. The team behind POPULAIRE have more chutzpah than skills unfortunately. The late 1950s world of inequality is brushed aside in favour of dubious rom-com froth; saved from complete ignobility by the savvy casting of two extremely winsome leads: Déborah François and Romain Duris. To read more, click here.
No One Lives
Kicking off worryingly, a young woman in just her underwear runs through a forest screaming. Luckily, the filmmakers are lulling the audience into the cul-de-sac of low expectations. NO ONE LIVES is not a straight-to-DVD horror exploitation. It is a fun, gory horror exploitation, where refreshingly unlikeable characters inadvertently take on another unlikable character, who also happens to be a brutal killer with an array of gadgets. To read more, click here.
From Up On Poppy Hill
Now it can’t be easy following in the footsteps of your animation-directing maestro of a father. Hayao Miyazaki has conjured up a profusion of the most sublime drawn feature films in history (e.g. MY NEIGHBOUR TOTORO, PORCO ROSSO, PRINCESS MONONOKE, PONYO). Son Goro Miyazaki stumbled out of the block at his first step; TALES FROM EARTHSEA was a mediocre telling, lacking the wonder and sublime characters peopling his father’s work. The shadow is long and deep. Of course it may be unfair to compare their work, but the reasoning is that Goro is arguably ploughing the same field, rather than going it alone and striving to make his own mark. We have a similar theme of the old being replaced by the new, in the name of progress devoid of any likely actual improvement to lives. Hayao has contributed to the screenplay for FROM UP ON POPPY HILL, but the feel of his sure and imaginative sensibility are not here. To read more, click here.