We have been to the cinema. Mustang is a sweet film – five sisters living in a small Turkish village at the start of the summer holidays. Their uncle and grandmother with whom they live, have plans for their future. The girls get on well together and have a loving, sisterly relationship. The futures planned for them are not so bright.
See the trailer here
This is the first film of Turkish French director Deniz Gamze Ergüven. She tells a harrowing story with a light touch. I read a review that said this was a feel good movie, a comment with which I can’t totally agree, but there are some lovely pieces and it is beautifully acted.
I have written elsewhere about Miles Ahead – directed by and starring the wonderful Don Cheadle. Criticised by some for creating a story it is a wonderful evocation of the time, the man and the music. He didn’t want to make the film at first, but there was an agreement that he could from a straightforward retelling of Davis’s life to a jazzier, more dream-like film. Cheadle did not want to make a straight bio-pic, he wanted ‘a jazzier, dream-like’ film. He wanted the film ‘to be hot. It has to be creative, insane, improvisational’ (Guardian April 2016). Ewan McGregor is the wannabe journalist who befriends the magic trumpeter. A great film which you should catch if you can.
We have also seen Our Kind of Traitor. Ewan McGregor is everywhere! In this John le Carre story he is a University professor of Poetry and his wife (Naomie Harris) is a Barrister (area of law not divulged). The couple become enmeshed in the travails of a Russian mafia man, as you do on a night out at your favourite restaurant. The professor gets into fights with a lot of severe punching, and walks away, relatively unscathed. His wife is crisp, cool and calm, like no barrister I know, but is often the way women barristers are portrayed. Damien Lewis is good as the uncontrolled spy-master. The plot became unbelievable and frustrating, as the couple become more and more involved, so that you don’t care. I even went for a comfort break towards the end, which I never do (and indeed I regard it as cinematic bad form). That’s how disappointed I was.
And The Nice Guys. Dear oh dear. We walked through the doors of Mk2 on Boulevard Saint Germain (as you do) with such high hopes. Russell Crowe and Kim Basinger, what could go wrong? Who can forget their roles in the wonderful LA Confidential? Well, the writers of this film obviously. LA Confidential was slick, clever, funny and moving. The Nice Guys, co-starring Ryan Gosling, was not. It has a somewhat illogical story. Both men, one a private detective (Gosling), the other an enforcer (Crowe) are involved in investigations around a porn star – one looking for her, the other trying to conceal her. They start as opponents (cue much punching) and become colleagues, elsewhere colleagues become opponents without so much as a word of explanation, many long unnecessary fight scenes ensue, an irritating thirteen year old daughter acts cute, and there is some very unfunny drunken slapstick. I see Wikipedia says it has received critical acclaim. There you are then.
So films – we love them, sitting in a dark room on a velvet covered seat with a cup of tea and possibly a ginger biscuit, forgetting the world outside and melding with the lives of the people on the screen (except Russell Crowe).
Which is why we have a date tomorrow night in North London for a Film Quiz. It is for an excellent cause – the EAVE Alan Fountain international scholarship fund, to assist South American film-makers (Alan Fountain, my brother-in-law, who died in March, was very involved with supporting independent film).
However. Ardent readers of this blog will know that on the last two occasions that a Movie Quiz has been attempted by the writer, success has not come easy. That is, it has not come at all. In the first quiz our team came last, and in the next one we came second to last – progress yes, but not a positive omen.
Our team – aptly named ‘Straight to Video’ – consists of Maureen Who Likes Frasier, C, Kate (who has suggested her strengths lie in ordering drinks at the bar), myself and possibly J if she is not ministering to the sick. I am hoping that my new glasses and new perfume (something pink by Yves Rocher) (it’s not called Something Pink, it is pink) will act as the perfect disguise in the event of a humiliating result.
But let it not be thought that we are inviting failure. We have watched the Barry Norman Film Quiz DVD (2006) – although the results weren’t promising. And we have of course been to the cinema, and taken notes. Hopes are high.