Movie

First Man (Universal Pictures)
Fifty years after the Moon landing, does humanity understand itself and its place in the cosmos differently? Mark Aloysius SJ thinks that Damien Chazelle’s film First Man helps us to reflect on that question, as it tells the story of ‘the furthest a human being has ever journeyed in order to be at home with their own self.’ After fifty years, we are perhaps finally in a position to examine if those words uttered by the first man on the surface of the Moon have become a reality. After six...
Still from Darkest Hour
Darkest Hour is not a deep film but it is intelligent and handsome. It is set in the tense few weeks leading up to what Churchill describes, contrary to popular opinion, as ‘the deliverance’ of Dunkirk. Although it has an extraordinary story to tell, the film does not shirk the complexities of the situation that Great Britain, Europe and the world faced in those few days lived on the brink of the abyss.It is not always easy to hold the balance between detail and drama, but Darkest Hour achieves...
Still from Three Billboards
Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) visits the office of a small advertising company in order to hire the vacant three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. The office is manned by Red Welby (Caleb Landry Jones) who, when we meet him, is reading Flannery O’Connor’s ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’.This, surely, is no coincidence. The incongruous intrusion of the grotesque into the everyday that was the hallmark of O’Connor’s fiction also characterises this film. Both start with familiar or at least...
Peter Mullan as Henry Garnet SJ in Gunpowder
The opening half of episode 3 of Gunpowder was a vast improvement on the episode that preceded it.Thankfully it kept fairly close to the broadly known facts, and was a simple but presentable visualisation of the events. It covered the final loading of the parliamentary undercroft with barrels of explosives; the breakdown of the Gunpowder Plot (either via an anonymous letter to Lord Monteagle or a creative twist hinting at betrayal by the Spanish); the fleeing of the plotters to the Midlands;...
Gunpowder
This really is becoming something of a dog’s dinner.Except for the central fact that a group of blokes are planning to blow up the English parliament, the details of Gunpowder are becoming somewhat disconnected to the known facts of the Gunpowder Plot. People and places are adrift, incidents and portrayals are going badly out of focus, and time is bending more than in an episode of Star Trek.As in episode I, the production values of episode 2 are high, and obviously money has been poured into...
Liv Tyler, Edward Wintour and Kit Harington in 'Gunpowder'
There is a famous philosophical proposition that if an infinite number of monkeys sat at an infinite number of typewriters, all combinations of letters of the alphabet would eventually be made and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare would emerge.The American comedian, Bob Newhart, picked up this conceit in one of his stand-up monologues by suggesting that, if such an experiment was to be attempted, it would need monitors to go around and observe what the monkeys were writing.In the sketch...
Still from Blade Runner 2049
The late Philip K. Dick is all the rage these days. When he died in 1982 he was little-known beyond dedicated science fiction readers, but now he is quickly overtaking Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke to become the fashionable headliner for all things sci-fi.At this point, I should admit that although I have read some of Dick’s work over the years, I have really not been gripped by his writings. Heretical though it might seem, I sometimes incline to wonder about the Emperor’s New Clothes, but...
The Claim
Directors: Gianni Beretta and Patrik SoergelScreenings on Saturday 12 August 2017 in London and Wednesday 16 August 2017 in Glasgow (see end of review for details) What does it take to change a conservative into a revolutionary? Archbishop Oscar Romero, born 100 years ago this year, was appointed largely because it was expected that he wouldn’t be one to rock the boat, to cause trouble for the rich benefactors of the Church in Central America. As a consequence, many of his fellow priests,...
La La Land
Director: Damien ChazelleStarring: Emma Stone, Ryan GoslingCertificate: 12ARunning time: 128 minsUK release date: 12 January 2017 ‘We are too cynical, too realistic-minded. Movies have gotten very literal; even the big special effects movies today are all about verisimilitude.’[i] Damien Chazelle’s take on why musical films of recent years have lost the glamour and romance of old Hollywood explains a lot about the film he has written and directed. La La Land seeks to evoke these qualities...
Still from 'Silence'
Director: Martin ScorseseStarring: Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, Yôsuke Kubozuka, Issei OgataCertificate: 15Running time: 161 minsUK release date: 1 January 2017In Martin Scorsese’s introduction to a special edition of Shūsaku Endō’s Silence[i], he claims that the novel ‘is precisely about the particular and the general. And it is finally about the first overwhelming the second.’That’s an interesting lens through which to interpret the story of two 17th century Jesuit priests who...

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