‘Musicians play their instruments. I play the orchestra…’
Title: The New Tenants
Director: Joachim Back
Length: 20 minutes
Title: Miracle Fish
Director: Luke Doolan
Length: 17 minutes
Further confirmation that the world is indeed a fucking awful place…
Title: God of Love
Director: Luke Matheny
Length: 18 minutes
‘Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, In due time their foot will slip; For the day of their calamity is near, And the impending things are hastening upon them.’ – Deuteronomy 32:35
Creed draws on the entire Rocky canon’s rich history to reinvigorate an ailing franchise…
Whilst Rocky Balboa was no disgrace, it did feel like a franchise on it’s knees as believability was at all time low. What better way then for Sylvester Stallone to claw back some credibility by relinquishing some control on his most beloved invention and allowing up and coming director Ryan Coogler the chance to breath some life into a legend.
Coogler’s only previous feature film was the powerful and affecting Fruitvale Station. In sticking with Michael B. Jordan from that film, Coogler has a genuine future star in the eponymous role and it is Jordan who keeps things grounded in the more emotionally taxing scenes.
Much has been made of Sly’s surprising Oscar nomination and whilst it has a slight tinge of lifetime achievement award about it there is no denying that Stallone now has so much emotionally invested in this character. In a lifetime of returning to Rocky Balboa, Stallone can share The Italian Stallion’s heartbreak and world-weariness and this makes for a strong and nuanced performance.
Creed falls down somewhat in the supporting cast. Aside from a spirited turn from Tessa Thompson, Creed badly misses a Paulie or a Mickey or indeed an Apollo Creed. Real life boxer Tony Bellew brings some realism and gravitas to the actual boxing scenes but as an antagonist he is largely forgettable. Obviously being a Rocky film the fighting isn’t too realistic but this is a series trademark as much as a training montage and Apollo’s red, white and blue shorts.
In looking back through the entire Rocky franchise, Coogler, Stallone and Michael B. Jordan have pushed Creed forwards to the point where a sequel would not only be welcome but also highly anticipated.
Title: New Boy
Director: Steph Green
Length: 11 min
Whilst New Boy has the slight air of a stereotypical Oscar bait film (and it was of course nominated) this cautionary tale of race and not judging a book by it’s cover is still charming and heart warming. Despite a dark undercurrent the setting of a classroom filled with cheeky Irish children ensures that the tone remains cheerful throughout.
Whilst the message and themes portrayed here are nothing new, the execution makes New Boy worth watching and a cast mostly made up of children cope well with occasionally difficult subject matter.
I didn’t really enjoy New Boy enough to seek out more of Steph Green’s work and I found the message a little heavy handed but at 11 minutes it is a nice easy watch.
‘I’d probably have to say… The Best of the Beatles.’ – Alan Partridge
Everyone has a blind spot in their film history. A film or collection of films they just never got round to. I have quite a few but one of the main omissions is all The Beatles films. Deciding this needs to be addressed I sat down to watch the Fab Four’s first foray into film A Hard Day’s Night.
It turns out I have seen nearly all of A Hard Day’s Night before but in archive clips from other documentaries and films. Put together as a whole it still doesn’t make much sense as Paul McCartney rambles on about his clean Granddad and Ringo Starr describes himself as a mocker.
Despite on the surface appearing to be a whole lot of surrealist nonsense, A Hard Day’s Night is funny and endearing throughout and director Richard Lester is credited with pretty much inventing the music video with a series of memorable musical set pieces. It helps of course that the music is brilliant and captures a band hitting their stride right in the middle of Beatlemania.
The screenplay won an Oscar and all of the Beatles looking comfortable on camera and playing an exaggerated version of themselves leads to an enjoyable watch and it is genuinely joyous to see such camaraderie between the band when considering the acrimonious break up that was forthcoming just a few years later. A Hard Day’s Night has become almost as beloved as the album from which it is named and it is vital viewing for any Beatles fan.