REVIEW OF THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN - PART 2
Danny: Well I’m not a Twilight fan, but what’s nice about this finale of the Saga is that even though it’s only an hour and fifty-five minutes long it does feel much, much longer. From a value for money perspective I think the Twilight fans are quids in here. For those of us who aren’t fans, it’s the same Twilight it always was: Twilight is, was, and forever will be creepy soapy claptrap.
I want to say a quick word about Kristen Stewart, because people give her a hard time. I think it would be nice for Twilight to have a better legacy than inspiring Fifty Shades of Grey, and I think it may be that Kristin Stewart has a proper career as an actress because she does have talent; I’ve seen her be very good in smaller movies. I mean here, clearly, she would rather be doing the night shift at a twenty four hour garage—but she’s still very professional and committed.
Claudia: Well I love creepy soapy claptrap! That’s my dream, Dallas with blood. I quite liked the first one, then I didn’t like the other two — but I thought this was pretty good. I liked the opening sequence, I’m mad for icicles. There’s a lot less lip-biting, because they’re parents, they’re grown up... There’s a good battle scene, the end titles are phenomenal - anybody who has ever been part of the Twilight series get a bow, and I quite liked that.
There are things wrong with it. One, when Alice (who can see into the future) drops the glass says “they’re coming, the Volturi are coming.” They take an hour and a half, and these guys, they move fast, right? Not these people. Another problem is, which made me bark with laughter, is the Cullen family live in a very beautiful sort of stylized modernist glass house, and they create this house for Bella and Edward which is truly weird, and is like a tiny cottage full of knickknacks, and strange sort of lace things... But I really liked it.
REVIEW OF AMOUR - Claudia's film of the week
Claudia: Without being overdramatic, it’s my favourite film of the last five years. I think it’s faultless, I think the acting is extraordinary, the details, and people will focus on the end of the film, but I loved the beginning — I loved everything. The couple go to a performance, and you see it from the stage, and I could watch that again and again. It was beautiful.
What I loved about the daughter (played by Isabelle Huppert) was that she had been ignored by her parents – their love was so strong that she felt isolated. And I also loved her husband, who’s only in the film for a few minutes but feels so well-rounded, like all the characters.
Please go and see this film.
Danny: Well Amour is exactly what it says it is; it’s a story about love, but one that happens to be directed by Michael Haneke, a giant among directors, but a man who makes films which are both fierce and unflinching, and Amour is both of those things. But I think it’s also very tender, and there’s a tiny drop of what I think is approaching sentimentality, which is not a criticism, and I think for Michael Haneke is a very brave thing. It’s a fine film.
I’m glad you mentioned the acting, because the thing about a director like Michael Haneke is you can sort of get fixated on him. In fact, Amour wouldn’t be half the movie it is without the couple at its heart (played by Jean-Louise Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva). What’s so great about them is that Haneke poses this huge uncomfortable question in the middle of the film: what happens to love when the person you love starts to vanish? But it’s the actors who have to answer this question on screen. Michael Haneke deserves all the kudos in the world, of course, but I’m very pleased that this wonderful pair of French actors, who have had amazing careers, are also getting a bit of love.
My only problem with it is that the daughter feels shallow and self-obsessed and horrible, and it feels like Michael Haneke is letting everyone over the age of 70 off the hook, whereas normally everyone is subject to his cruel Teutonic gaze. So I’m not as sold on this as I am on Haneke’s other films.
REVIEW OF GAMBIT
Danny: Well Gambit is a caper movie, and caper movies are notoriously difficult to get right, because they have to be pointless. The whole point of them is to be pointless and you have to enjoy wasting your time with them. In the case of Gambit, I didn’t. It was scripted by the Coen brothers, presumably at gunpoint, because they’ve kind of forgotten to put many of the jokes in; half this movie is devoted to Colin Firth losing his trousers. To be fair – Pip Torrens and Julian Rhind-Tutt have very small roles as concierges and they steal the whole movie. Every time the movie leaves them, you just want to stay with these guys, they’re funny. But oh no – we have to go and look for Colin Firth’s trousers again...
I’m not sold.
Claudia: I thought it was alright. It zips along, it's got Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz; I always love to look at their faces. There are bits that are funny. I laughed out loud when I was reminded of that moment when Colin can’t lift up the chair, the chairs are stuck. It was funny! I think it’s fine. You got a spare tenner, it’s a Wednesday night, go see it.
REVIEW OF THE MASTER - Danny's film of the week
Danny: The film business lives on hype, and there are many cases of the Emperor’s new clothes. The Master, for all the hype, isn’t one of them. It is the real deal. Paul Thomas Anderson has made his entire career making films about extraordinary characters. You see enough movies and you feel you’ve met everyone there is to meet; that’s not the case with Paul Thomas Anderson’s films. And Freddie Quell, this sort of drifter played by Joaquin Phoenix, is his most extraordinary character yet. And the other amazing thing about Paul Thomas Anderson films, as simple as it sounds, is that you never quite know what’s going to happen next. I don’t think that’s ever been truer than in The Master. Like I said, it’s the real thing.
Joaquin Phoenix is stunning, and Philip Seymour Hoffman is stunning as well, but I do want to keep a word aside for Amy Adams, who’s note perfect. The role she has, it’s a smaller role but pivotal, and she plays it absolutely brilliantly.
I’m going to put my money on The Master. I think it’s probably Paul Thomas Anderson’s best film that he has made in his career so far.
Claudia: I thought it was absolutely phenomenal. Rarely have I watched a film that long, and then watched the credits, and sat there and thought “is there any way we can watch this straight-away again?”. It’s extraordinary. It’s a very weird week, because I think Amour and The Master are both my favourite films for as long as I can remember. Joaquin Phoenix is so extraordinary in this, everyone is extraordinary. It is absolutely beautiful, and so is the cinematography. ibut even if you were watching Joaquin Phoenix choosing between pasta sauces… he is amazing in it.
It’s absolutely hypnotic. It deserves all the hype it’s getting. Whatever you do, please see it.
Amour can be seen at the following locations:
HMV Curzon Wimbledon
Everyman Maida Vale
Phoenix Cinema, East Finchley
Gate, Notting Hill
Covent Garden Odeon
Swiss Cottage Odeon
Picturehouse Arts Cambridge
Cinema City, Norwich
Irish Film Institute
Light House, Dublin
- Series Producer
- Jayne Stanger
- Claudia Winkleman
- Danny Leigh
- Executive Producer
- Basil Comely