Tag Archives: Germany

Review – Atomic Blonde

What’s this?

It’s Jane Wick.

Okay, sorry, that’s not entirely accurate. But I’ve had that joke lined up since the first trailer, and while it might not be my best work, I needed to get it off my chest. It’s half right, anyway. Atomic Blonde is about a badass super-spy punching, shooting and stabbing her way through a stylized aesthetic under the direction of David Leitch. Certainly sounds like John Wick to me.

But, alas, Atomic Blonde isn’t that – at least not all the time. In reality, it’s based on a moderately obscure graphic novel, The Coldest City, and takes the form, structurally and tonally, of a twisty Cold War espionage thriller full of Soviet skulduggery and collapsing communist regimes. Which isn’t exactly what was advertised.

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Review – Dunkirk

What’s this?

It’s Christopher Nolan’s World War II movie. And I know that sounds a bit snarky and reductive, but considering that Dunkirk is pretty much exactly the movie I imagined it being when I heard the words, “It’s a Christopher Nolan World War II movie,” I really don’t think there’s any better way to describe it.

You have a problem with Christopher Nolan, don’t you?

Not at all, despite what colleagues of mine might have you believe. I think Nolan’s a legitimate auteur of extraordinary technical acumen, and one of painfully few contemporary filmmakers whose releases feel like cultural events. But unlike his legions of obsessed devotees – blimey, this guy’s fanbase is fucking insufferable – I’m perfectly willing to admit the faults and failings of his filmmaking; to say, for instance, that Interstellar’s entire third act is hippie hogwash, or that even his best films (The Dark Knight and Inception) are still overlong and irritatingly self-indulgent.

See, Nolan’s such a devout technician that for him, the click of a movie coming together isn’t the unity of its themes and ideas, but the gears of a giant mechanism locking into place. He has no sense of emotional proportionality. He believes he’s tackling important existential dilemmas, but he confuses what his movies are about (loss, love, revenge, family) with what they actually are, which is often deliriously gorgeous puzzle boxes that don’t contain much of anything. But when he’s working at his best, his intellectual and emotional shallowness hardly matters; he can claim that time and space are infinite and manipulable, and make you believe him.

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