Monday, August 25, 2014

Calvary (John Michael McDonagh, 2014): Trying to be a Good Man


Calvary is a brilliant, powerful film. I've seen some people complaining about there not being enough comedy in it. But this is not like The Guard at all, it's a serious and disturbing drama. I laughed a couple of times but they were black, black laughs. What got to me most was the whole atmosphere of disrespect for the priest played by Brendan Gleeson. He's such a decent man, but his parishioners seem to have nothing but contempt for him. The picture it paints of Ireland is an exaggeration for sure but I know plenty of Irish people who are a bit similar to the characters here, doing anything they can to prove they're not under the thumb of the church. And I don't think I've ever seen a film that made me feel so sorry for its leading man. To me it said something profoundly moving about trying to be good in a modern world where it's fashionable to sneer at goodness, and everyone is supposed to just be concerned with their own pleasure (and where the Catholic church as a whole is mocked and despised because of a small percentage of bad priests). I've noticed that the reviews of the film outside Ireland have been much stronger than those inside it. I wonder if people there are offended by the bleak picture it paints of their country. But to me that side of it is immaterial. I don't take it as representative. All I care about is that as DRAMA it's astonishing.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Last 50 Movies I've Watched

  1. Anchorman
  2. A Streetcar Named Desire
  3. The Interrupters
  4. David Holzman’s Diary
  5. Stone Reader
  6. Marlene 
  7. Filth
  8. God Bless America
  9. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
  10. Le Weekend
  11. Senna
  12. High Anxiety
  13. Grosse Pointe Blank
  14. The Circus 
  15. Billion Dollar Brain
  16. Mission Impossible 4
  17. Mean Girls
  18. This Gun for Hire
  19. Bambi
  20. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  21. Mayor of the Sunset Strip 
  22. Body and Soul
  23. One Two Three
  24. Dumbo
  25. Child’s Pose
  26. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
  27. The Asphalt Jungle
  28. Mr Deeds Goes to Town (1936)
  29. Patience After Sebald
  30. Project Nim
  31. Pride and Prejudice (2005)
  32. You Can Count On Me
  33. Unknown
  34. Point Blank
  35. Thor: The Dark World
  36. Cluny Brown
  37. Stories We Tell 
  38. Roman Holiday 
  39. Five Graves to Cairo
  40. Owning Mahoney
  41. George Harrison Living in the Material World
  42. The Darjeeling Limited
  43. Zero Dark Thirty
  44. Superman (1978)
  45. Fail-Safe (1964)
  46. Wayne’s World
  47. The Letter 
  48. Harper
  49. Husbands and Wives
  50. The Wrestler

Of these the best were Stone Reader, Senna, Grosse Pointe Blank, The Circus, Billion Dollar Brain, Mission Impossible 4, Mean Girls, This Gun for Hire, Mayor of the Sunset Strip, Body and Soul, One Two Three, Patience After Sebald, Pride and Prejudice, Stories We Tell, Roman Holiday, George Harrison Living in the Material World, Zero Dark Thirty, Fail-Safe, The Letter and Husbands and Wives