Saturday, September 3, 2011
In 2008, director Martin McDonagh made his feature-length directorial debut with the uproarious and dark In Bruges. It's rare to find a film as well-balanced and just downright cool as In Bruges, a film that I consider a modern classic. Besides its incredible cast of Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, and Ralph Fiennes, who each deliver a mesmeric performance; In Bruges has an incredible sense of place (so much so that tourism in Bruges has jumped 300% since its release).
The wait for McDonagh's follow-up to his debut film has been excruciating, with no immediate news of a release on the horizon. However, as it turns out, there isn't just one filmmaker in the McDonagh family. Martin has a brother, John Michael McDonagh, who might just be the answer to my lingering need for a spiritual sequel to the film I love so much.
John Michael McDonagh's feature-length directorial debut The Guard brings back Brendan Gleeson, this time in the starring role, almost in a direct answer to my desires. There are countless similarities between The Guard and In Bruges, mainly in its delicious dialogue and great characterization of a setting, but the main distinguishing difference is in the style. Whereas In Bruges was a slick hit-man comedy, The Gaurd instead revels in its divine sense of pure malaise.
Monday, August 29, 2011
There is something brazenly combative about the way that Attack the Block, the first film by director/writer Joe Cornish, begins. An innocent night sky is almost immediately marred by the arrival of some divine object, possibly a meteorite, which blasts its way across the frame. As it plummets to Earth, it is revealed not to be the lone blazing light in the night’s sky. Fireworks shoot up, as if in almost direct opposition to the heavenly object that hurtles towards its inevitable collision with Earth.
Attack the Block instantly evokes such 80s greats as Aliens and John Carpenter’s The Thing with its opening, but what makes it unique is its setting. In this case the setting is a South London “block,” an inner-city housing project, whose tenants aren’t looking to befriend an extraterrestrial life-form more than they are looking to beat the life out of it.