With its bittersweet interweaving of fact and fantasy, youthful innocence and adult trauma, this tale of the creation of a children’s classic could have been called Saving Mr Milne. Like Mary Poppins, Winnie-the-Pooh occupies a sacred space in our hearts and anyone wishing to co-opt some of that magic must tread very lightly indeed. Director Simon Curtis’s movie could easily have tripped (like Piglet) and burst its balloon as it evokes a dappled glade of happiness surrounded by the monstrous spectres of two world wars. Instead, it skips nimbly between light and dark, war and peace, like a young boy finding his way through an English wood, albeit one drenched with shafts of sugary, Spielbergian light.
” … Potter’s first film since 2012’s Ginger & Rosa, The Party is an impressively lean affair, shot in a single location with few frills and no fuss – just an A-list cast at the top of their game. Potter looks toward Chekhov, Albee and Buñuel as inspirations, alongside such 60s Brit cinema classics as Karel Reisz’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and Bryan Forbes’s The L-Shaped Room. There’s a retro feel to Aleksei Rodionov’s handsome black-and-white cinematography, although the ease with which his camera waltzes around the cast lends a note of roving modernity, recalling the fluid poetry of Potter’s 2004 film Yes. Dance has always been central to Potter’s work (not just in The Tango Lesson), and there’s a real exuberance in the way she choreographs her players through the slapstick pirouettes and pratfalls of this vaguely absurdist romp. Meanwhile, Bill’s vinyl collection provides contrapuntal jukebox accompaniment, inappropriate records randomly selected with hilarious results…” | Read the entire review at : The Party review – the dinner bash from hell | Film | The Guardian
Background: After a long hiatus of being out of print, Alex Cox’s punk-rock cult hit Sid & Nancy (Spine #20) returns to the Criterion Collection. The film was Cox’s first to be included in the main collection, preceding Walker (Spine #423) and Repo Man (Spine #654).Story: After a fateful meeting, Sex Pistols bass player Sid Vicious (Gary Oldman) and American junkie Nancy Spungen (Chloe Webb) begin a star-crossed, mutually destructive romance [ . . . ]
Sweet isn’t the right word; in Mike Leigh’s 1990 film, life is unfair, frustrating and confusing by turns. Though, despite the darkness, Life Is Sweet exudes positivity and remains one of Leigh’s funniest, most quotable features.Many of the best lines are mumbled by Timothy Spall’s grotesque would-be restauranteur Aubrey, especially when he’s talking us through the menu for his Edith Piaf-themed restaurant. Anyone for prune quiche? Saveloy on a bed of lychees? Or liver in lager? Spall here is a brilliant physical comedian, whether he’s capsizing a caravan or tumbling off an expensive orthopaedic bed. And our final glimpse of him, semi-conscious on the restaurant floor clad in stripey-fronts, is difficult to forget [ . . . ]
As Thatcher’s 80s ground to their inexorable conclusion, a little independent film came out called Withnail and I. As for all independent films, it was nearly not made at all. George Harrison’s Handmade Films picked it up after he read the script on a plane to America, and the rest is history. It launched the career of Richard E. Grant and finally proved that its writer and director, Bruce Robinson, was better behind the camera than in front. (McGann’s career had already found its feet, the McGann brothers being a small acting legend in the UK.) [ . . . ]