91 posts categorized "British Cinema"

July 01, 2024

THE OLD OAK — CANNES 2023

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Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does. This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel. Punk heart still beating.

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ColeSmithey.comCurrently at age 88, Ken Loach is a senior statesman of Socialist Cinema. It's questionable as to whether or not "The Old Oak" will be his final film.

As such, "The Old Oak" arrives with a palpable sense of import.

Working with his longtime screenwriter Paul Laverty, Ken Loach gives us a great litmus test of a movie to guide minds toward communal understanding and mutual support.

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Still, "The Old Oak" will not do much for the tourism trade in North East England's County Durham.

Bitter and nasty right-wingers openly attack Syrian refugees brought by social workers into their neighborhood.

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Scripted with Paul Laverty's reliable ear for accurate dialogue, "The Old Oak" is special film that fits well beside other Ken Loach/Paul Laverty masterpieces as "Carla's Song," "Ae Fond Kiss," and "The Wind That Shakes The Barley."

Communities are only as good as their infrastructure.

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Socialism is everywhere you look.

Paved streets, street lights, sidewalks, bridges, plumbing and running water, are all socialist constructs.

Getting your head out of your ass is just the first step toward a better world.

"The Old Oak" is a fine place to start.

Not Rated. 113 mins.

5 Stars

Cozy Cole

ColeSmithey.com

June 27, 2024

PRIDE

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Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.ColeSmithey.comThis ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

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Thanks a lot acorns!

Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

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Undone by Broad Strokes
Historic LGBT Battle in the UK Goes Soft

By Cole Smithey

ColeSmithey.comAll attempts fail at forcing a by-the-numbers narrative template on a fact-based story about unlikely bedfellows uniting against Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's mid '80s reign of anti-union and anti-gay rhetoric and public policies.

Newbie screenwriter Stephen Beresford plays a game of hide-the-protagonist that further distracts from a diluted "feel-good" movie that should have by all rights been a slam-dunk.

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London, circa June 1984, is the site of a Gay Pride march where 20-year-old Joe (George MacKay) is inadvertently lured into joining the parade in spite of his meek efforts to avoid holding a sign that reads "Queers — Better Blatant Than Latent." Still insecure about his own gayness, shy Joe comes out of his shell after being welcomed into the fold of a local gay rights group, home-based in a cozy neighborhood bookstore called Gay's the Word. Sidelining his culinary studies to be a pastry chef seems a fair exchange for Joe's sudden decision to follow his other passions.

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Mark Ashton (Ben Schnetzer) is the charismatic gay rights firebrand whose impromptu mid-parade decision to represent a group of striking miners, as equally despised as the gays by Thatcher's vindictive regime, sounds a clarion call that eventually rings through in the UK's corridors of power. Mark rebrands the group from "Gay Liberation Front" to "Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners" (LGSM).

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After taking up sidewalk collections, Mark transports his small but passionate alliance to the South Wales coal-mining town of Onllwyn to donate the monies to the miners' poorly articulated cause. Running with the idea that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, LGSM recruits the help of Onllwyn's able-bodied community club spokesperson Dai (Paddy Considine) to introduce them to the miners. Although the town's National Union of Mineworkers take seething umbrage at receiving support from such a group of "perverts," they don't turn down the money.

The film's neglect of the cause and nature of the miner's strike is a glaring oversight that also weakens its potential as serious work of agitprop cinema.

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Rocks thrown, rather than the personalities of the bullies throwing them, express the era's cultural reality of intolerance. The film's broad comic tone undermines the seriousness of the sometimes-violent drama at hand. A perky musical score and colorful set designs that border on the garish exist at odds with the vital nature of the story. At times the movie feels like an Ealing comedy on steroids. Nevertheless, its use of Billy Bragg's version of "There is Power in a Union" plays all the right chords when it finally arrives. ColeSmithey.com

Four too many subplots splinter the film as Mark's motley group of gays shuttle between London and Onllwyn's Dulias Valley town while drumming up more financial aid for the miners. Confusion arises about which character the filmmakers intend the audience to invest most of its interest in. Strong supporting performances from Dominic West, playing the first UK victim of the AIDS virus, and Bill Nighy, as Cliff, a retired miner who happens to be a closeted gay, help keep the film entertaining even if the movie doesn't add up to the sum of its parts. Even Imelda Staunton's feisty portrayal of Hefina, a community organizer in Onllwyn, gets lost in the shuffle.

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However chuckle-inducing its use of broad comedy might be — witness a gaggle of little old Welsh ladies pouring over gay porn and admiring an oversized dildo — the movie puts too much weight on the comic side of the scales to achieve its ostensible purpose, namely putting the audience squarely inside an essential chapter of the LGBTQ movement's battle for cultural equality in the UK.

Rated R. 120 mins.

2 Stars

Cozy Cole

ColeSmithey.com

March 10, 2024

SLATBURN

Welcome!

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Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does. This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel. Punk heart still beating.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Thanks a lot acorns!

Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

ColeSmithey.com

 

ColeSmithey.comWriter/director Emerald Fennell helps usher in 2023 as the year that Cinema vaulted back to life, with a transgressive black comedy that splashes cum-soaked mud on corporate cinema with tireless glee.

The filmmaker behind another recent masterpiece ("Promising Young Woman") swings for the fences and connects.

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Barry Keoghan is transfixing as Oliver Quick, a social climbing interloper with more background knowledge and cunning strategy than any of his upper class can begin to imagine. The future looks bright for Mr. Keoghan's acting career.

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Ranuchy, bawdy, sexy, and unbound, Saltburn leaves a sticky mark on its viewers.

You may be uncomfortably entertained, but entertained and entranced you will be.

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Sex trumps violence in the new Cinema of satisfaction that 2023 brings to fruition.

Comic book movies be damned. No one's getting laid there.

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Can't wait to see what Emerald Fennell has in store for her audience next.

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Class warfare is wet business.

Drop the panties and briefs.

Rated R. 131 mins.

5 Stars

Cozy Cole

ColeSmithey.com

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