Cinema

Twin Peaks: The Return and the Left Eye of Nadine Hurley

The first two episodes of Twin Peaks: The Return – shown together so that as with the Twin Peaks pilot all those years ago, the opening to the series effectively functions as a standalone piece of cinema – were bravura displays of filmmaking. Drawing us back into the heart of the familiarly off-kilter world while puncturing it with new locales…

Behind the Song: ‘M’appari’ from Friedrich von Flotow’s Martha

‘M’appari’ is the best-known name for the central aria from Friedrich von Flotow’s Martha, a romantic comic opera in four acts. Flotow – who was born into a musical family, his mother playing the piano and his father the flute – composed some thirty operas during his lifetime, beginning his career after studying at the Conservatoire de Paris, before achieving his first…

Capsule Movie Review: What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

What We Do in the Shadows Vampire Mockumentary | 85 Minutes | 2014 | New Zealand * Vampires on film are best taken seriously. As archetypes, strange and sad figures who permeate given spaces while proving difficult to grasp, they model for us fear, loneliness, and alienation, and are uniquely suited to expressive visual contrasts of light and dark. The great vampire films, Nosferatu (1922),…

Buster Keaton and His Pork Pie Hat

Following the rise of the top hat, bowler or derby, Panama, fedora, and flat cap across the nineteenth century, by the first decades of the twentieth century a man could scarcely open his front door, much less appear before a discerning public, without some suitable form of headwear. In the realm of silent comedy, Charlie Chaplin tramped about in a tight…

Capsule Movie Review: Rams (2015)

Rams (Hrútar) Tragicomedy| 92 Minutes | 2015 | Iceland * * * * * Ageing, unmarried, and unkempt, brothers Gummi (Sigurður Sigurjónsson) and Kiddi (Theodór Júlíusson) work side by side as sheep farmers in a cold and desolate valley in Iceland’s northeast. Each the master of their own flock, they have not spoken for forty years owing to a dispute over their father’s…

Capsule Movie Review: Big (1988)

Big Fantasy Comedy | 104 Minutes | 1988 | United States * * * The last of a cluster of movies, all released within the space of a year between the autumn of 1987 and the summer of 1988, to depict youths turning into or swapping forms with adult men – the others were Like Father Like Son (1987), Vice Versa (1988), 18 Again! (1988), and…

February Film: Under the Red Robe Analysis

A dowdy swashbuckler even at the time of its release in 1937, Under the Red Robe remains a curiosity today as the final film by Victor Sjöström, the father of Swedish cinema. Born in Silbodal in western Sweden, an infant Sjöström moved with his parents to Brooklyn, returning to Sweden at the age of seven and spending the remainder of…

February Film: Under the Red Robe (1937)

  Under the Red Robe 81 minutes | 8 November 1937 | United Kingdom/United States ‘The massacre of Saint Bartholemew in 1572 had swilled the gutters of Paris with Huguenot blood. 50 years later, diehards in the South were still a thorn in the side of Cardinal Richelieu. It was a period of plot and counter-plot, of reckless gallantry and ruthless…

2016 Oscars Best Dressed: The Definitive Analysis

The big story of the 88th Academy Awards, which took place on Sunday night at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, saw Leonardo DiCaprio finally receive the nod for Best Actor. DiCaprio had previously been nominated for five Academy Awards – Best Actor and Best Picture for The Wolf on Wall Street, on which he also served as co-producer, Best Actor…