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Killers of the Flower Moon

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I went out yesterday evening to the local cinema to see Killers of the Flower Moon. The reviews I read were mixed, from overblown epic to brilliant, so I wanted to see for myself.

The story revolves around a series of killings of members of the Osage tribe back in the 1920’s after oil was discovered on their land. The main focus of the film is on the relationship between Molly (Lily Gladstone) and Ernest Burkhart (Di Caprio) and Molly’s family, several of whom were murdered. Molly was a full blood Osage and Ernest was a white man and nephew to William Hale (De Niro).

It was a long show and probably could have been shortened but not by much. Scorsese has captured the era very well, you are fully immersed in the story and get a rounded picture of just how rotten and corrupt the people were who were parasitically feeding off the Osage.

Overall, the film made a strange impression on me. The characters of Ernest and Hale, and others involved in the killings were, for me, the scum of the earth. While watching the film, and afterwards, I felt I needed a shower. They killed without conscience or any hint of remorse for the lives they took, all so that they could get their hands on the wealth, land and oil rights of the Osage. The attitude to the killings by those in authority would also make your blood boil and is summed up in this sentence from the film ‘you would have more chance of getting a conviction for kicking a dog than killing an Indian’. The idea that the ‘savage Indian’ was not worthy of the wealth and their lives unimportant, Manifest Destiny all over again. I think part of it too was that, being white, I felt shame at what my race has done to the Natives of Turtle Island and frustrated that this attitude still prevails among those who would rule over us (non-elites) today.

I also felt frustrated at the naivety of the Osage and the character of Molly in dealing with what was going on around them. After everything that had happened to the native tribes across America that they still trusted the ‘white man’.

The film changes tack towards the end with a radio presentation on the killings and jars garishly with the subject matter of the film. I think this was deliberate by Scorsese and a comment on present day society where tragedy is now a source of entertainment for the mass audience to be exploited by others with their own agendas. And it is hard not to draw parallels between William Hale and today’s billionaires, the dried up old coffin dodgers who run the world and corrupt it with their greed and lust for money. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. A plague on all their houses!

I would highly recommend seeing the film and look forward to reading the book by David Grann.


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Weddin

Netflix

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 18 Aug 2021, 19:27

The telly was so bad over Christmas with repeats of repeats of stuff that has been on for weeks already, so I succumbed and signed up to Netflix for the free one month trial.  This is the 3rd time I've had the one month trial but the first time I ever used it. 

I binged on Stranger Things, series 1 and 2, on recommendation from my son's girlfriend, and this was worth the monthly fee alone when I get around to paying for it.  Another recommendation was The Sinner which was enjoyable enough but the ending was a bit of a, not sure if it was a surprise or a let down, either way, it didn't end how I expected and with a few tweaks could have been better, more of the religiously demented mother would have been good and made the explanation more believable.  Anyway, it was worth a watch.

Then last night, I thought I would browse the classic movies and found a gem I had been looking at in HMV before Christmas and had put on my list to buy next time in Belfast, Cinema Paradiso (1988).

I had a vague recollection of watching this back in the day and have to say I thoroughly enjoyed watching it again.  It's the story of a young boy who loves movies and the film tracks the friendship between him and Alfredo, the projectionist, in the said Cinema Paradiso over the years.  It had some very beautiful moments and was a joy to watch and made me realise how over- stylised everything has become now in films.  I had the same thought when I watched Close Encounters again recently too.  Both films had good story lines and believable characters even though they are from very different genres but they were character driven not special effects driven, even though Close Encounters featured a lot of special effects.  A lesson for modern filmmakers maybe...

Cinema Paradiso is an Italian film and I remember back in the 80's, Channel 4 used to show foreign language films on a Thursday night and it was here that I watched one of the best films I've ever seen.  It was a Dutch film and the title, which I don't remember in Dutch but it translated in English as In For Treatment.  It was the story of a man who was diagnosed with cancer and it was about his life and treatment and it was the most moving film and I remember how I cried watching it.  The way it was done was so subtle and real, no over-emoting or contrived pathos, just the story of an ordinary man facing his own mortality.  I would love to see it again and I did try to find it online a few years ago but never managed to.  If anyone could ever get me a copy of this film or even let me know where I could get it, you would be a friend for life.

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Spiderman

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 2 Sept 2022, 14:55

Went to see the new Spiderman film last night. It was an enjoyable enough film but I really didn't see the point of it. There was nothing new added to the character, or the whole Spiderman story, and it seems to have been made with the Twilight audience in mind. 

Overall, worth a look but, personally, I prefer the Tobey Maguire films and being a big movie fan means that the next big outing for the summer is almost here, the Dark Knight is next and, unfortunately, last outing. Cannot wait!!!!

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Midnight in Paris

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 1 Sept 2022, 12:26

I missed Midnight in Paris first time around at the cinema so I was anxiously waiting for its release on DVD as it had received great reviews all round. So I got it out last weekend and after all the disappointment of War Horse which certainly did not live up to the hype, I have to say, this wonderful film certainly did.

This was one of those really lovely movies which you will enjoy more and more with each viewing. It was like a hot cup of chocolate, wrapped up in a warm blanket and, if you haven’t seen it already, then there could be no better way to chill out a Saturday night, curled up on the sofa with your other half, than watching this.  

I think everyone should have heard the basic story by now but, just in case, here is a very brief outline. Gil Pender (Owen Wilson), an American writer in Paris with his fiancée, gets transported back to the Paris of Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald (and if you don’t know who they are, join a library, and the sooner the better!). 

The basic premise revolves around the idea that we all revere a past golden age which we believe was better than the present, and just maybe, that idea might be wrong.

Owen Wilson is perfectly cast in this role and I’ve fallen in love with him all over again after watching this. So much so, that I pulled Zoolander out of the DVD collection for another viewing and, as I hadn’t watched it in a while, I have to say it, too, gets better with every viewing (sure sign of a comedy classic), plus it also features David Bowie whom I have loved forever.

So if you’re unhappy with your present life, then do something about it instead of wasting it harking back to another era. The past is over, the only place that you exist is in this present moment (and no, I’m not going to get into discussions about the possibility of parallel universes and all that, some other time) so get out there and live while you can. Sound advice!

Highly recommended!!

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War Horse - A review

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 1 Sept 2022, 11:59

I went to see War Horse last week with high expectations of seeing a Spielberg classic and having read several reviews which all gave it high praise. 

Well, what a disappointment!  This film was so bad I wondered if maybe there were two versions of this movie out and I was watching the wrong one. This was overblown, mawkish, sentimental tripe. It was full of sad old stereotypes and clichés, bad dialogue and worse acting. 

After a very boring start, the story was galloped through, giving no time to build up interest in anything that was going on. 

The lead character Albert, while supposedly appearing young and naïve just came across as moronic. Taking nothing away from the horrors of WW1, I actually felt relieved when him and his friend were gassed, hoping it would put an end to the misery but, unfortunately, Albert survived. It got so bad in the trenches that I actually couldn't stop from laughing and half expected Dougal to appear and give us a verse or two from My Lovely Horse.

There are only two characters who come away with any credit from this film and that was the horse and Sherlock himself, Benedict Cumberbatch. 

I think Spielberg has been in Hollywood too long.  This is a film for children only.  Not recommended at all.

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