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The Weekly Roundup: 21/05/17

Sundays are for waking up from a bad dream and spending most of the day wallowing in your self loathing.

Well, that and reading some film reviews, how else you gonna know what’s good out?

In truth, there’s not all that much. Even the ones I liked, it sorta felt like I did so despite myself. Usually I come out of the cinema with a least one film a week that I wanna catch when it comes out on home video. Not this time.

Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant has some fun ideas to it, but it’s failure to maintain any significant tension or engaging characters undercuts the function.

Now it’s back in Scott’s hands again Alien: Covenant feels like the sort of film we’d have gotten back in the eighties if they just let him make another. It’s like he got the reaction to Prometheus when everyone reaffirmed, ‘We like you Scott (kinda fucked up with that Robin Hood though) but that was just a little bit weird.’ This one feels like someone took all the all the core moments from Alien past, shuffled them all up and wrote something in between them. >>more>>

John Madden’s Miss Sloane gets to kick some old white guy ass white wearing Saint Laurent. If that concept doesn’t excite you there’s nothing in the film to elevate it beyond your typical political thriller.

Let’s be frank here: at its best, Miss Sloane is a mid-tier, House of Cards level, sub-Sorkin-at-his-best tale of fictionalised (and mostly depoliticised) demi-ethical political manoeuvring and personal conduct. Though Jonathan Perera’s debut script sometimes employs some fun turns of phrase and engaging conceits and John Madden directs it spicily (though the influences of a lifetime’s Washington intrigue dramas can be keenly felt) it never exceeds expectations. >>more>>

François Ozon’s Frantz is an interwar romance about dark secrets and the healing of continental wounds. His take is so restrained that while the themes are all very compelling the film isn’t so much.

Frantz then is I suppose what happens when the material is given to European filmmakers. Firstly it’s set in the aftermath of the First World War, the murkier and sadder one, the usual roles are reversed too: a German woman, a French man. It’s an interesting series of adaptations too: A play by Maurice Rostand, a Frenchman, turned into Broken Lullaby, a film by German master of the early talkie Ernst Lubitsch then handed back to France again, director François Ozon for this latest version. >>more>>

Hope Dickson Leach’s The Levelling was shot in my home county. The investigation of a farm worker’s suicide takes a look at the forces which make so much hard around here.

The Levelling was shot on location in Somerset, which comes with the opportunity for me to swell up with pride. There ain’t too many films that explore our part of the world. Usually we’re just shipped to other places to ham up our accents and play the British equivalent of the yokel. This farming village, struggling after poorly planned flood defences failed and washed the land with all the shit upstream feels too familiar, although we ourselves are uphill of all that. >>more>>

Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is just utter crap. Please don’t bother.

I wonder if he was into heraldry as a child. I wonder if he’d sneak off into the school library and read the picture books with dragons in them. Perhaps he got caught up at Dickens and never went further, it’d explain why his films all tend to be led by some comedy amalgamation of the grown Copperfield, Twist and Pip. It’d also explain why he was halfway through writing a Robin Hood movie before someone had to explain to him that he was supposed to write a King Arthur one. >>more>>

On a personal note, I ain’t been feeling so hot recently, and the way my work rotas have fallen has made getting to the cinemas in the next week pretty much untenable. I’ll be taking a week’s break, recuperate and hopefully learn to be better at self promotion. If anyone has any recommendations as how to post on twitter without terrible anxiety please let me know.

Have a good week y’all.

-E

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