Nick Murphy’s Blood (showing in the festival’s "Thrill" strand) explores the secret cost of human damage on a small group of people in a north of England town. Bodies are invaded and battered; the red stuff is in plentiful supply. Cops, criminals and their families all reach the end of the tethers in this stern, cold police drama about the murder of a teenage girl and its aftermath. Police detective brothers played by Paul Bettany and Stephen Graham investigate the crime. When they begin to question a local man with a shady past things turn grim and complicated. Blood follows Murphy’s previous film The Awakening (which David and I discussed here) as a LFF selection and, as in that spooky throwback, there are ghostly appearances albeit in more subtle ways. Murphy’s direction is as suitably restrained as before, but he adds a touch more immediacy and grit to this contemporary story. The precise, stripped back tone matches the heavy severity of the material, making the most of the script’s gloomy turns. Tough, thankless work is carried out in chilly conditions (both literally and emotionally) by Bettany and team. Every character appears to be on tenterhooks twenty-four-seven, either harbouring grim secrets or desperately striving for unsavoury answers.
However, the ominous intriguing central mystery eventually gives way to some rather wearing British drama clichés. Rote police dialogue – all hard words spouted with brash perplexity – dominates the script and too-familiar character types come and go as the plot plods to its final stretch. Bettany gives an intermittently sly lead performance and a fraught late encounter with Brian Cox as his dementia-ridden dad is moving. But Blood lacks the kind of searing character interaction and enduring mystery that these kinds of gritty dramas thrive on. Perhaps if I hadn’t recently seen Charlie Brooker’s very funny and spot-on police-drama parody A Touch of Cloth (think Inspector Morse meets Frank Drebin) I might have felt more of a connection. (Coincidentally, Cox appears in both Blood and Cloth and plays strangely similar roles) Even just a dash of levity here and there might have made Blood a more invigorating and less brusquely dour experience. C-
presented without self censorship or editing as they come to me...
- Initially I kept comparing this to Something's Gotta Give (2003) as to its awards chances -- Oscar Best Actress Nominee -- and now I'm embarrassed about that and wish I had compared it to Mother (1996) -- Golden Globe Best Actress Nominee.
- Babs still gets top billing. As it should be but she hasn't made a movie in how many years?
- those Focker movies don't count.
- How much would your typical Barbra Streisand fan(atic) pay to have their cheek pinched by her? I'm guessing thousands because the prices they'll pay to see her in concert. Yeesh!
- People who do not think Barbra is a brilliant actor have not seen Funny Girl or The Way We Were. They have maybe seen Prince of Tides or Meet the Fuckers.
- Who else is in this movie? Wouldn't it be so weird if it was all Sleuth like two-hander?
- My whole life I've loved the tradition of seeing a movie on Christmas day with family & friends. But now every movie opens on Christmas and it's so annoying! I'm buried in prezzies and I'd prefer them metered out a bit.
- Do you think Abbas Kiarostami is totally dying to see this? Road trip!
Deborah Lipp, the Ultimate James Bond Fan, is listing 007 of her favorite things as we count down to Skyfall
I spent a couple of years compiling lists made by James Bond fans; primarily favorite movies, least-favorites, and ranked lists of the whole series. The fun thing to discover is, when it comes to James Bond, everyone's an outlier. Every single movie appeared on someone's favorites and someone's least-favorites. Plus, everyone's list had a unique feature, an eyebrow-raiser. I bet if we did a poll here -- should we do a poll here? -- the same thing would happen.
So, eyebrow-raiser and all, here's my top 007 Bond films...
001 From Russia With Love (1963)
To me, the second Bond movie is the greatest of them all. It's the perfect blend of Bond ingredients: Action, adventure, exotic locations, sex, mystery, espionage, music, humor, visual impact, and an outstanding cast. Beyond Sean Connery and the other regulars (including the introduction of Desmond Llewellyn into the series), there's Robert Shaw, Lotte Lenya, and Pedro Armendáriz in his final role. Eunice Gayson returns from Dr. No: a rare recurring character role. Plus, this is the movie that introduces Blofeld as a hand petting a white cat. Underground catacombs in Istanbul! Gypsy mud wrestling! Daniela Bianchi wearing nothing but a ribbon around her neck! All that and a North by Northwest homage too. It's perfect.
002 Goldeneye (1995)
Restart the series after a six year hiatus, during which the audience went from anticipatory to disinterested. Introduce a new Bond to a new generation. Make Bond modern in a post-Cold War era without throwing away tradition: Goldeneye succeeds on every level. Hey, this is the movie that introduced Judi Dench as M, and wasn't *that* a great idea? The cast is incredible—in addition to being Pierce Brosnan's first outing, we have Sean Bean, Samantha Bond, Famke Janssen, Izabella Scorupco, Robbie Coltraine, and Joe Don Baker. The stunts are mind-blowing (the dam jump? Holy wow!), and the deft mixture of action, drama, humor, and globetrotting is out of this world. I'm happy every time I pop this one into the DVD player.
Daniel Craig, Roger Moore, and... Timothy Dalton (?!?) after the jump.
The Claire Danes Cry Face Project as wonderful as it sounds
iTunes Trailers Django Unchained got himself a new one just as the buzz was dipping to pin drop status
John August reacts to the lower-than-expected box office for Frankenweenie (which he wrote). I love how candid he is about temporary disappointments and what it all does or doesn't mean.
Nicks Flick Picks has been surveying the best of... 2012 in multiple categories (so far)
Movie City News on Seth MacFarlane's first Oscar sketch
Awards Daily Meryl Streep and other Hollywood power women are Drawing the Line about reproductive rights. Good for them!
IMP Awards new character posters for Les Misérables
LA Times RIP to actor /sports star Alex Karras (TV's Webster). I'm disappointed that so few of the obits have featured Victor/Victoria in any memorable way! That's what I remember him best from.
Stale Popcorn on Bret Easton Ellis, Twitter and the Canyons trailer
/Film Shailene Woodley to become Mary Jane Watson in the new Spider-Man series. "Downgrade!" - crazed Kiki fan.
TV|Line Bryan Fuller's forthcoming Munsters remake series starring Portia deRossi may end with the pilot, which is airing as a standalone tv special this month
People did I forget to congratulate Audra McDonald and Will Swenson on their marriage? Two fine musical theater talents now legally fused into one power couple
The Envelope on Lincoln's debut at NYFF. I love the opening 'graph referencing War Horse. Hee.
Steven Spielberg's long-gestating "Lincoln" finally arrived last night at the New York Film Festival, and as with any blessed event, the debut prompted a level of excitement not seen since ... well ... the last time Spielberg made a much-hyped, awards-season movie.
I can't stop watching this clip of Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Maggie Cheung courtesy of Criterion
Apparently In the Mood For Love (one of my favorite films evah!) was originally conceived as a much lighter piece. Watching one of the all time great movie couples dance together all flirtatious/cool is multi-orgasmic. Try it! If you've never seen the movie get right on that. A wondrous film experience awaits you.
Oscar Documentary News!
Finally, the eight finalists for Oscars best Documentary Short have been announced. They are...
- The Education of Mohammad Hussein (Loki Films)
- Inocente (Shine Global, Inc)
- Kings Point (Kings Point Documentary, Inc)
- Mondays at Racine (Cynthia Wade Productions)
- Open Heart (Urban Landscapes Ic)
- Paraíso (The Strangebird Company)
- The Perfect Fit (SDI Productions Ltd)
- Redemption (Downton Docs)
You can read about all of those shorts at our newly updated Oscar Documentary Prediction Page. Enjoy