HIGH LIFE – What Happens After the White Light?

The vertical line is blinking and the only thought running around the room, exterior from any kind of mind space is that the black hole created by god is a sex joke.  Or instead a point of insertion into the discovery of planetary desire or the foundation of human drive, rather than an example of any kind of creation humour.  Perhaps even assigning this idea shows the sickness of the society that physics, chemistry, and biology created, and not the divine one himself.  He only dreams of being that funny.  Science is the canvas and art is the paintbrush, someone must have said – what if the English language was the canvas and Robert Pattinson was the paintbrush, a tool held onto softly by the warm hands of Claire Denis.  That is a simple imagination hovering above a tangible and ultimately pointless object and still, we are dying to know what happened beyond the white light.  Prose guessing your way through digital celluloid has about as much meaning as peeling an orange and eating it, only to digest the fruit and then defecate its remains.  Actually, it’s closer to peeling an orange, throwing it at someone who does not acknowledge its existence then eating it, before vomiting it all back up over the same person who will continue to ignore your cries for attention.  The conclusion to HIGH LIFE has inspired something however, and now staring at the orange, you can only wonder its sugar content and what pesticides cover its skin.

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There is a sweetness to the red-carpet photos of Robert Pattinson holding the baby that played his daughter in the film, a sweetness that is doubled when you discover the child belongs to one of his close friends.  That sweetness is present in the film but seldom in that imagination hanging over it.  It’s not a radical take to note the danger of R Pats in HIGH LIFE, his character Monte is a celibate and a part-time pacifist, which is a much scarier version than the killer he may have once been.  The later scenes with his grown-up daughter are like one setting plays where there is a gun in the top drawer, except the upper-class characters haven’t been adulterous, they’ve been floating through space alone for more than a decade.  And they’ve been off-camera too, away from prying eyes and a judgemental western audience whose only experience of incestuous stories have been on fantasy television shows and porn websites.  It is certainly a twisted thought, and an animalistic brazen view of Monte, who is our unfortunate hero.  Denis’ intentions may have been accidentally cruel on this new platform for her output, and yet they are honest and true in Pattinson.  She cast him based on his intelligence, the kind of intelligence where Pattinson can deliver with clarity whatever is thrust upon him.  This is a total contradiction of course, it is not about clarity, because Denis does not show us the future once they have passed the white light.  Under final assessment, the predicted denouement would not indicate an evil, lustful Monte due to the brightness of Denis’ final shot.  It is far too heavenly.

Death for Monte would be a release, whilst death for his daughter would be a strange beginning.  With this explanation her journey into the world would be a short one, shorter than those flies that are born, mate and perish in a single day.  The drifting space shuttle is hardly anything more than a womb, a holding cell before heading into general population.  Take solace in the peace and dread the incoming small talk.  Monte can keep his daughter’s innocence by guiding her into the sub-molecular hole he’s been avoiding, and it seems she wants it as much as he does.  The step of the pier is a peculiar notion and they must know something we do not, Denis pressing down on the naivety of consciousness.  Our ego and our need for our feet to touch the ground is questioned when all you can hear is the running of a depleting water supply.  This is when the sick jokes and the sick epiphanies about ejaculation and restraint are thrown out of the window.  The chances of there being a fuck room in the next level of reality are slim, and it won’t really matter when sexual organs disintegrate as you do.  Pessimism, with the white light turning into an infinite black one, is an easy road to go down here.  It’s a clear answer and a dull one which is not Denis’ style.

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Optimism is misjudged, the poetic potential of a happy ending is rarely visited.  Denis’ masterpiece BEAU TRAVAIL enjoys a credits scene that rides the line, bobbing up and down in the middle.  Here, she slaps R Pats on the back and tells him to start walking.  It is all sensory and emotional.  Writing like this only occurs because of the success of the film, and the proverbial pasta is being thrown incredibly hard at the wall here.  The orange has become dilute, drowning in a tap water of paradoxical inferences that have a longer reach than what the text is potentially offering.  And this is an offer from Denis, and Pattinson and Juliette Binoche, edging her blouse further down one failed attempt at an American accent at a time, trying to collect sperm cells as the writer, director throws them all onto the table, not carelessly but with an accuracy that could cut through an eight inch wall with a side of A4.  Plotting is a nuisance and cinema is a distraction, the white light theories shattered when the income peaks at one point two mil, leaving the discourse in disarray, colliding against familiar enclosed walls.  Would it be cliché to say that none of it matters when the maker cuts to credits?

 

‘I think you’re foxy and you know it.’

‘I think the painful doom that is meandering towards Earth is really killing my hard-on.’

My Top Ten Films of 2016

Okay, so I haven’t been writing much lately, so to get back into things I’m going to write about something I love. Lists! In particular my favourite list of the year, which is my film top 10. Now obviously I haven’t seen every film this year, and there is  couple that I’m yet to see that i reckon would make it into this list, but I’ve seen a fair few to pick from.

10. Star Trek: Beyond (July)

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I can remember on an old blog that ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ was like my number two on my 2013 list.  Like this blog, no one reads it, but it still felt controversial.  Mostly because the general consensus is that that film is terrible, but the first time I watched it I really enjoyed it. Perhaps it’s the same for ‘Beyond’ and I’ll be less impressed on a second viewing.  Nevertheless I adore the Star Trek reboots, mostly down to the characters and how they’ve cast them.  And this one surprised me, because I think Simon Pegg took some real risks with the writing.  Also, this film probably has the greatest film moment of 2016 about two thirds of the way through it (whaaaaaaaaaah).

9. Lo & Behold: Reveries of the Connected World (August)

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This year I’ve been doing this thing where I watch Jean-Luc Godard and Werner Herzog films, in an effort to widen my film knowledge.  I’ve come to realise that I am a fan of Herzog’s documentary’s, especially his contemporary ones.  And this film fits right into this category. Both interesting and terrifying, with Herzog’s wonderful voice behind it.  I wrote a little bit more about this here: https://insiderobbie.wordpress.com/2016/11/04/herzog-godard-3/

8. Rogue One (December)

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I didn’t realise how much of a Star Wars fanboy I was until the build up to ‘The Force Awakens’ last year.  Since seeing that film and loving it, I have been excited to see where they go with the spin-off movies.  And I’m all for fighting the system of franchise movies (see: https://insiderobbie.wordpress.com/2016/12/01/fantastic-beasts-lots-of-exposition/) but I can’t help but revel at the wonder of the Star Wars movies.  For me, there is just so much depth to them, and I mean mostly visually.  I cannot understand how someone can complain paying a ticket price to see this film. It’s masterfully made (by about 3000 people) and I was engaged for every second of it.

7. I Daniel Blake (October)

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Like everyone else I had heard a lot about this film before seeing it.  Director Ken Loach winning the Palme d’or for it screams quality to me.  So I saw it, and I wasn’t underwhelmed or overwhelmed by it.  Yet I feel like it is a good movie and an important one. It’s the 2016 film that must be seen, even if it’s just for an emotional release.  The fact that it is set in Newcastle and I study there aided my enjoyment, but this is a British working class socialist film that won the biggest prize in French cinema.  Loach also directed ‘Kes’ about 50 years ago, which is a diamond for where I’m from. This film has enacted thoughts for change to help people, and I hope that it will continue to do so.

6. Supersonic (October)

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There’s a part of this film where they play a recording of the first time Noel Gallagher sang ‘Live Forever’ in the studio and I cried for a good few minutes.  This is what this film does to you; it allows you to be moved by music of Oasis, and all the while telling the interesting story of the Gallagher brother relationship.  It doesn’t dwell on anything too serious and allows the film to be incredibly well paced and entertaining.  Director Mat Whitecross has somehow managed to bring together so much footage of the band and it is such a joy to watch.

5. Cafe Society (August)

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Woody Allen is my hero and has been since I saw ‘Annie Hall’ almost 3 years ago. And this doesn’t mean I look past his frequent rubbish films, because I’m confused by them like everyone else.  This, thankfully, is not one of them.  He brings in Jesse Eisenberg to effectively play himself from the 70’s and I wrote a whole thing about the chemistry he has with the rest of the film (https://insiderobbie.wordpress.com/2016/09/28/the-chemistry-of-cafe-society/). If you like Woody Allen, and the romance of film, this is the one for you for 2016.

4. Arrival (October)

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To say that is film blew me away would be an understatement.  For a good 20 minutes of this film I couldn’t catch my breath and then it ended.  I was left paralysed for a few seconds and had to snap myself back to reality.  It is a masterpiece from start to finish and Dennis Villeneuve is proving himself to be one of the great modern directors (Blade Runner sequel next year).  I wrote quite a dramatic piece on it here: https://insiderobbie.wordpress.com/2016/11/13/arrival-donald-trump/

3. Nocturnal Animals (October)

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It was tough to pick between this and ‘Arrival’ for number 3, and it doesn’t really matter but this came in front because I can’t stop thinking about it.  I want to know more about it, about the strange characters and the weird story.  It is a work of art with themes that are fully relatable to me and layers that I haven’t even found yet.  Again, I wrote a full thing for more detail here: https://insiderobbie.wordpress.com/2016/11/05/nocturnal-animals-film-review/

2. The Nice Guys (June)

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My love for this film has crept up on me.  When it first came out I dismissed it because Shane Black’s films in the past have just been okay for me.  Then I saw it, and loved it.  It really is the kind of film that I want to be watching; refreshing and funny but with an edge that makes it stand out.  The film has a wonderful visual style and possibly my favourite characters of the year.  Ryan Gosling should honestly win the Oscar for this performance, because he is desperately funny in this film.  I adore his and Russell Crowe’s character, as well as the daughter, and could watch them on screen for hours.  It is also one of those films that when I watched it a second time it got better, and that is the number one sign of a great movie.  The scene in the lift will never not be comedy gold.

1. Green Room (April)

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You know, I really love this film.  It has become one of my all time favourites, and it is not getting any worse after seeing it three times.  Like ‘The Nice Guys’ it is another kind of movie that I want to be watching.  This time a cool, intense and shocking film.  Not only that, it is the kind of film that I would like to make.  Each narrative beat escalates and each character falls a long with it.  The premise is so simple it’s genius, and the clear line between good and evil muddles.  It is number one on my list for a plethora of reasons but mostly because it is number one for me.  Meaning that I would not necessarily recommend this punk blood fest to everyone, however for me it works perfectly.  A visual treat weaved wonderfully by filmmaker Jeremy Saulnier, it is also brilliantly acted.  Patrick Stewart as a memorable screen villain and Imogen Poots as possibly the coolest character of the year deserve endless mentions.  Yet it is Anton Yelchin who should get the spotlight.  In a year full of artist deaths, his is the most tragic.  A young actor with a top filmography already, he had so much left to give.  He has left us an astounding performance in Green Room, that I’m sure, like the film, will become timeless.

Like all top tens, some have to go by the wayside, so I’ve listed 11-30 here:

11. Hail Cesar!

12. 10 Cloverfield Lane

13. Everybody Wants Some

14. Hunt for the Wilderpeople

15. The Lobster

16. Swiss Army Man

17. Sausage Party

18. My Scientology Movie

19. Jason Bourne

20. Imperium

21. Into the Inferno

22. The Girl on the Train

23. Midnight Special

24. Sing Street

25. The Conjuring 2

26. Hell or High Water

27. Warcraft

28. The Fundamentals of Caring

29. X-Men Apocalypse

30. Batman vs Superman

Thanks for reading, it has been a pretty good year for film!

Death of a Gentleman – Film Review

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Before writing this I had to decide which blog to publish it on.  The cricket one I have that has maybe one tiny post, or this one?  I went with this one simply because I have picked up some steam with this site and also, well, it is a review of some kind.

The dilemma is that this film comes down to subject matter rather than stylistic substance, and that subject matter is cricket.  It’s a documentary about one of sport’s ‘biggest scandals’, except it’s revealed early on that this scandal is basically how world cricket is administrated and run.  As cricket is a major part of my life, I was deeply interested by this.  The well-being of cricket for me feels like an ill relative and if you’re clued up with any of the details you’ll understand it’s pretty much a terminally ill relative.

Being directed by two maverick cricket journos (Jarrod Kimber & Sam Collins), it takes a critical approach to the subject.  What follows is an investigation into things such as ICC (International Cricket Council) corruption, the problems with the IPL (Indian Premier League) and the the death of test cricket.  It is set up with interviews of the heads of cricket, and they really poke the tiger with some of them,  If you are unaware of these people, the discoveries may come across as shocking, though the whole topic is very non nonchalantly looked upon in the cricket world.  To back all this up, they elevate the film with Australian cricketer Ed Cowan, in a sort of fairy-tale story of success and failure.  For me, these were the strongest parts of the film as the love of the game really shines through.  And this is what the film does well; becoming a fond reminder of cricket at ground level, rather than of the corporate world.

As a documentary, the film portrays it’s story clearly in 99 minutes, however the problem arises from the subject.  It only works if you know cricket and have a admiration for the game, otherwise the film loses pace.  You could find yourself counting down the minutes to the end of the film if another jargon filled interview began to bore you.  A good way to describe it would be a corruption film filled with metaphors.  I guess this is what the film is about though; a real problem right under the eyes of the cricket world but no-one can see it, or choose to be ignorant to it.

Despite all of this, I consider the film to be of great importance and if their was a cricket school, this should be shown first.  It should be aimed at the heads of the bastards that are ruining cricket, and viewed as education for those in the dark about these issues.

 

[This is one of those that I could spend hours mulling over and possibly write a 3000 word essay about, but watching the film is all you will need. It’s on Netflix.]

The Category of Every Film Ever Made Ever

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Despising Christmas has led me to be quite cynical when receiving gifts.  On the 25th of December 2015 I unwrapped a parcel from my sister to reveal that she had purchased for me the Radio Times 2016 film guide.  I couldn’t think of a more perfect gift for me.  This mammoth book catalogues every film ever made up to 2016, with reviews, info and some extra contextual bits.  I’ve seen a lot of films and I’m slowly marking my way through the 24,000 that the book contains; dashes for the ones I’ve seen (with my own personal out of 5 rating) and lines for the ones I wish to see.  It’s a pretty riveting pen usage.  The problem is that I don’t particularly trust Radio Times reviews, as they seem to not really reward too much risk taking, and give high scores to visual fodder.  However, combined with my IMDB scoring, it’s a nice way to keep track of what I’m watching, and I’m very much a list kind of guy.  Mostly I’m hoping it will open my mind to the more niche, or the forgotten pieces of art.  Radio Times movie guide well worth the buy if you are a film geek like me.