comedy

Eavesdropping at the Movies – The Party

Sally Potter’s all-too-brief comedy drama polarises us, which makes a nice change to the agreements we’ve been having recently. Is it smug or knowing? Is its range of incongruous acting styles engaging or distancing? Who knows. But Sally Potter is very very very important in British cinema and feminism and queer representation, says Jose, who then has the nerve to criticise The Party for having its right-on cake and eating it.

Includes a reminiscence of seeing a man stand up in a screening of I, Daniel Blake and a magic trick where I convince Jose I have an extraordinary memory.

The podcast can be listened to in the player above or at this link.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions.

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Eavesdropping at the Movies – The Death of Stalin

How does Armando Iannucci’s newest political satire fit in to his work over the last decade? Isn’t it a joy to see Michael Palin? How did we ignore how beautifully crafted Jeffrey Tambor’s performance is? How can I single out any one performance?

We take our time admiring this daring, witty and surprising farce. It’s Animal Farm on speed.

The podcast can be listened to in the player above or at this link.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions.

Eavesdropping at the Movies – American Made

Is it possible for a film about drug smuggling, weapon dealing, CIA-sponsored militias and getting ludicrously rich to be in any way immoral? Find out as we tolerate American Made so you don’t have to.

The podcast can be listened to in the player above or at this link.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions.

Eavesdropping at the Movies – The Hitman’s Bodyguard

Can an action film that goes through Coventry be any good? Is it important that action scenes are funny? Is Gary Oldman a whore? All valuable questions. All answered in our chat about The Hitman’s Bodyguard. I think.

The podcast can be listened to in the player above or at this link.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions.

We’re starting a podcast: Eavesdropping on Mike and José After a Movie

Together with José Arroyo of First Impressions, I’m starting a podcast. It’s tentatively called Eavesdropping on Mike and José After a Movie. I agree. The title is on the clunky side. But it can be slimmed down, and it’s growing on me. In fact, I won’t rest until the phrase “Eavesdrop and chill” is on everybody’s lips.

José explains in fabulous detail his ambitions for the podcast here. Two friends chatting after a movie, he says. What are our impressions, what struck us, what bored us? The cinema is a social space. We don’t just view movies there, we discuss them too. We all love movies, that’s why we’re there. Sometimes we listen in on others, sometimes we butt in. Sometimes they listen to us. Sometimes they can’t help but overhear. It’s the magic of the foyer.

He’s an old romantic. Me, I just like the sound of my own voice.

Anyway, our first (trial) podcast is out now. It’s about Girls Trip. Please do give it a listen and tell us what you thought. Is the title any good, do we sound sexy enough, what’s missing or excessive? How far did you make it before turning off? No feedback is bad feedback, except the bad feedback, which you should keep to yourself.

Source: Eavesdropping on Mike and José After a Movie

Inside Out

Inside Out Group

Released 2015. Directed by Pete Docter. Screenplay by Meg LeFauve & Josh Cooley and Pete Docter. Starring Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Richard Kind, Lewis Black, Kaitlyn Dias.

Significant spoilers follow, including many of the best jokes and the ending, so if you wish to avoid anger I recommend you see Inside Out before reading on. (I also talk about the end of Toy Story 3, but if you haven’t seen that then I assume you have never seen a film in your life.)

As a child, my favourite comic strip was The Numskulls. The idea that tiny maniacal homunculi populated and drove human bodies was captivating and wild, tweaked my interest in science, and made for thousands of great jokes. Now Pixar, the undisputed master of family-friendly cinema, has turned its attention to the same idea. Colour me excited.

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The Inbetweeners 2

The Inbetweeners 2

Released 2014. Written and directed by Damon Beesley and Iain Morris. Starring Simon Bird, James Buckley, Joe Thomas, Blake Harrison.

When the highest praise I can think of for a film is, ‘Well, it was definitely a film, not just a big TV episode’, then we’re in trouble. The Inbetweeners 2 is the latest in the long line of British sitcoms to enjoy a movie spin-off (indeed, as the title indicates, this series has spawned two cinema excursions), and it’s to its credit that it shows slightly in excess of no directorial ambition whatsoever. But that’s about all the credit I can give it.

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Buster Keaton at Flatpack

Sherlock Jr 1080p

I’m ashamed to say that for a long time and despite countless opportunities, I haven’t done nearly enough to support Flatpack, Birmingham’s annual film festival whose reputation grows every single year. It generates tremendous excitement about and interest in the artform that means the most to me, in the city that means the most to me, but I let it roll on by without fanfare. It’s smartly programmed, creatively curated and enthusiastically promoted, and although the main event takes place throughout the city in March, it hosts events all year round – events such as the simple and fabulous double bill I took in on Saturday afternoon of Buster Keaton’s silent classics Sherlock, Jr. and Cops, with a live piano accompaniment from Cyrus Gabrysch.

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Her

Released 2014. Written and directed by Spike Jonze. Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams.

Her, written and directed by Spike Jonze, is a curious film. It’s intriguing, smart, heartfelt and, for the most part, engrossing. It’s off-kilter and quirky in just the right way. But as a satire, it didn’t have much to say. As a drama, it failed to move me. And it really loses its way towards the end.

But before we get to that, I want to talk about what there is to like about Her. And there’s a lot to like.

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