Book-to-Screen: High-Rise

J.G. Ballard’s novel High Rise has struggled to find its way to the big screen since its release in 1975. Producer Jeremy Thomas tried to get an adaptation going for years, with Nicolas Roeg set to direct at one point. David Cronenberg may have been a good choice, seeing as he adapted Ballard’s Crash in 1996 and has shown in his films similar themes and ideas to the author. It may have been too familiar, as Cronenberg’s Shivers also explored an outbreak of violence and hedonism in an apartment building, a film that oddly enough was released the same year as Ballard’s book. Jeremy Thomas saw Ben Wheatley’s 2013 film Sightseers, another film about ordinary people revealing a darker primal intent, before he was approached by the director to bring the long-gestating project to life.

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The Less I Know The Better

What is it about the high school setting that is so appealing to revisit in mainstream film, television, and music? Is it the fact that we are a part of a nostalgic culture, and our teens are the first period in our life that we can all (mostly) remember?

Whatever the appeal of that narrative and general aesthetic is, it’s a setting that is often returned to in popular art. Tame Impala’s 2015 album Currents wasn’t a huge hit for me, but after seeing their music video for The Less I Know The Better I have listened to that song hundreds of times. It’s one of the rare occasions where a video doesn’t just compliment the song, but expands on it. While I’m late to the party with this (it was released in November ’15), I felt the need to write something about it, and try to somehow nail down what makes it so riveting. Continue reading →

Favourite Articles of 2015

Here are a list of my favourite articles and video essays from in 2015. For 2016, I’ll be making a list as I go along, as this one is mostly from memory.

I have a ‘to re-read’ list that’s about twice as long as this, and a ‘to read’ list that’s about four times as long, so I’ll be working my way through those and updating this over the next few months. I may also add descriptions/thoughts to each entry at some point too.

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2015 Film In Review

I haven’t written a specific post about this year in film, but have decided to collect my scattered thoughts on it here. I have contributed to various articles over at Audiences Everywhere for their Yearly Roundup:

I would recommend some more articles, but instead I might confine that to a different post, as there has been a lot of interesting film criticism I have read this year. I will link that here once it is written.

As for my favourite movies of 2015, you can find them here. This goes by 2015 releases (obviously), so there are four notable omissions that would have likely topped this list, as the films I saw at The Brighton Film Festival are due for release in 2016

Total Watches: 216
Seen For the First Time: 139
Re-Watches: 77
Visits to the Cinema: 49
Released In 2015: 37
Brighton Film Festival: 6
Non-Male Directed: 7
Non-White Directed: 10

And just for fun, I’ll give out some award-y type things too: Continue reading →

Macbeth Review

William Shakespeare’s plays have been adapted on stage and screen countless times, and Macbeth is no different. While the slow-motion action sequences and sharp visuals are elements only feasible now, it is not enough to warrant another version of a play already adapted by cinematic greats such as Orson Welles, Akira Kurosawa, and Roman Polanski. On the other hand, significant changes to the source material do not have to be made for the sake of modernisation. Fortunately, Kurzel’s Macbeth balances this well. It has its own identity, and is selective in how it engages with the original text. The play itself is so rich in characters, theme, and language, that the director could take another run at it and make an entirely different film. Continue reading →

45 Years Review

Kate and Geoff have a week to go until their party, celebrating their 45th anniversary. The childless couple live comfortably in a small Norfolk town, until shattering news arrives for Geoff – his ex-girlfriend’s body has been found, 50 years after she slipped into an Alpine crevasse. Writer-Director Andrew Haigh brings us a fascinating study of marriage, memory, and time that is as charming as it is devastating. Continue reading →