silence

2017: THE YEAR IN REVIEW, PART ONE: ASSASSIN’S CREED TO LOGAN

FullSizeRender

First of all, an apology: this blog is pretty much dead. Retrospectively, all of the posts I ended with the promise of a return to glory are much akin to the apocalyptic ravings of Harold Camping (RIP). Nothing happened, but then nothing was lost either, so we continue living our lives as normal albeit with the faint sadness of expecting another Malteser only to find that they’re all gone. I’m not saying I’m disappointed the Rapture didn’t happen, but in a world in which our leaders include a woman who runs through wheat and at least two man-children with missiles, it might have been the kick in the arse we all need.

Of course, one year ago when I made those false prophecies, I did fully believe that the blog would be reignited. 2017 however has been a whopper for me, not least because I now work in Japan, and am busier than a busy bee that has started his or her own business.

Living in the Land of the Rising Sun is great (heated toilet seats in convenience stores being a winter highlight) but unfortunately it’s kind of killed my cinematic momentum. Going from a job in the UK that let me see as many new films as I like, for free, to a country which either doesn’t get the films I want or gets them 2-3 months late has been tough. There’s an awful lot I regret not getting the chance to watch, but that’s not going to stop me from stepping up to continue my annual tradition: reviewing every new film I have seen this year (‘new’ meaning a UK release date in 2017). Despite spending half the year in Japan, that’s still THIRTY NINE FILMS.

Yes, folks. For a short, beautiful moment, like a butterfly from a cocoon, this blog is alive.

行きましょう! (more…)

Advertisements

Old Time Religion: Contemplating Silence

silencecover

Note: the following is a discussion of themes and ideas within the film ‘Silence’, and thus will contain a number of plot details.

In exploring ‘silence’, eminent composer John Cage gave us four minutes and thirty three seconds of pretentious twoddle. Some might enjoy listening to literally nothing while a conductor floats a baton over an air of emptiness, but I personally think it’s just the sort of thing people did back in 1952 to appear cool and edgy, and a way for little Johnny to make a mint from, like I said, literally nothing. Sending off a blank piece of paper to an orchestra and pretending it’s all about contemplating silence might go down well with the artsy fartsy crowd (the sort that would mistake a pair of glasses for art), but I’d much prefer a 160-minute epic historical drama.

Yes, I’m talking about Silence, based on the 1966 Shūsaku Endō novel and in development by director Martin Scorcese for a whole quarter century. It’s a tremendously ambitious film, following the story of two 17th Century Christian missionaries (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who travel to Japan to find their mentor (Liam Neeson), of whom they have heard rumours of apostasy. (more…)