Film Review: City Of Tiny Lights

A city of tiny lights that remained dimly lit throughout the entire film. There’s an occasional flicker of light in City of Tiny Lights but this slow, cliched riddled attempt at film noir London style is so dimly lit and hides in the shadow. By the end of City of Tiny Lights  you only stay to see it play out the story by numbers and have it confirmed you guessed who the baddie was.

City of Tiny Lights is trying to be clever. Initially it does appear intriguing and there are moments the action appear to offer hope but all that remains when the lights are turned on is a weak attempt at a film noir. A girl is missing, not just any girl but a Russian prostitute. Her friend, another high class prostitute and housemate, Melody, hires Tommy Akhtar (Riz Ahmed), private detective to locate her. There is a rather amusing conversation about prostitute names and ford cars. I won’t ruin it for you. Aside from a few lines of interesting dialogue it just didn’t get better. The social commentary was definitely strong with this one: ISIS, refugees, social mobility and whether getting out of your environment can change your very nature all set against a London backdrop. However, the supporting cast was not very strong and Billy Piper’s lips acted more than she ever did.

Riz Ahmed is the best thing about City of Tiny Lights – as he chainsmokes his way through the entire film only allowing the smoke to disappear as he sips on wild turkey with no ice.  He at least is convincing as the private detective trying to solve the mystery and haunted by his own past. However, he alone isn’t reason enough to see this paint it by numbers attempt at film noir. If it were on dvd about half way through you would fast forward to the end to confirm that you’d guessed right and get up and make a cup of tea. Whilst it is easy enough to guess who the baddie is, what is surprising is the way in which the film concludes. The ending belonged to a different type of film those final ten minutes should have been cut.

Who is going to see this?

Not many people, if you live in London and don’t have an unlimited cinema membership card. City of Tiny Lights just it isn’t worth your popcorn money.  It’s a dimly lit attempt at film noir that fades into the abyss even before the end credits.

City of Tiny Lights is released in cinemas across the UK on Friday 7 April.

Film Review: Silence

Silence is an examination of keeping the faith when the courage of your convictions is tested. Just how strong is the human spirit when the only voice you hear is that of your inner critic? All of this is examined in Silence directed and co-written by Martin Scorcese.
Firstly if you’re hoping for a Scorsese film — that of yesteryear – Raging Bull, even that with Leonardo Di Caprio, The Departed – that was before but this is now a very different Martin Scorsese. Silence is based on a bestselling book and dedicated to all those Christians and Portuguese Priests slaughtered during feudal Japan. The roles of three priests at different stages of their faith are played by Adam Driver, Andrew Garfield and Liam Neeson. We only see Liam Neeson briefly and then he’s gone to return much later in the film. What we are left with is a two hour mediation on faith and a flimsy psychoanalysis of the Japanese psyche and humanity et al.
What’s the film really about?
Well that’s the question. Here is what I left thinking:
  1. Is it just a simple adaptation and transposition of a tome of a novel; or
  2. An overtly political film about having the courage of your convictions and faith even in a nihilistic swamp that America’s become culminating in the election of Trump!
Then there is the curious case of Andrew Garfield who takes on the main role in this film. This is the first of two films in which he faces hellfire and wrestles with the courage of conviction, the other is Hacksaw Ridge which is released later this month. He does an admirable job in both although I preferred his role in Hacksaw Ridge. This meditation on faith and humanity left me exhausted and slightly delirious for one blessed moment I imagined I saw Richard Chamberlain in Shogun but alas the Silence is maddening.
Who is going to see this?
  • Well, three quarters of the cinema was full when I saw it at a public screening but then again the choice was limited on New Year’s Day.
  • Then there are Scorsese fans although be warned this is an altogether different Scorsese, one that I don’t recognise or even really want to ever give another 3 hours of my time to. Yes it is 3 HOURS long!
  • If feudal Japanese history mixed with religious iconography gets your juices flowing, then welcome to Silence and you may just have a silent auditorium to watch it in.
Silence was released across cinemas in the UK on 1 January 2017.

Film Bites

 

Let me explain

irrational_man_10

The above picture is a still from Irrational Man by Woody Allen that I attended the press conference last year. Yes, that’s right press conference. I moved home, unsuccessfully tried to eat solo and darn it I just have too many friends. However, one solo pleasure although truly when reviewing films it is less pleasure and more how long do I have to write up my review. It all started as an accident back in 2011 when I was on a work trip and must be the only person to be involved in a road traffic accident in Singapore whilst sitting in the back of a taxi.  Seven weeks of sick leave back in Paris and the only people who talked to me were the baker and the cinema attendant. I watched a lot of films with my MK2 unlimited cinema pass.

Fast forward 5 years and I’m almost (cough cough) a professional actually I am. The 9-5 job I still have is just to pay the rent. Most of my reviews are on Battle Royale With Cheese but I’m going to start putting some on here. The ones I really like, without censor and also things to watch out for. If you’ve ever wondered what I sound like then click here as I was featured on Radio 4’s film programme discussing womens role in the western genre from its inception to present day.

What you can look forward to!

So all the above to say I’m back writing and eating. I have found some sort of balance so I’ll be posting recommendations and reviews of films, dvds, interviews and festivals to check out. This year I’m off to Venice last year it was Edinburgh it’s a wonder I have any time to write! The one thing you won’t find on here are reviews of horrors – I’m a proper self confessed scaredy cat nor any fawning. If I dislike a film I say so plus I’m not a lover of blockbusters although Midnight Special is the exception of 2016 – incredible Sci-fi film that you simply must see.

A friend, Monsieur B, asked me for monthly recommendations about a year ago so the film bites section is dedicated to him bien sur!

 

Sweet Treat @ My Crazy Pop, Paris

Aside from eating solo or with friends – I do have some of those – I’m a cinéphile.  How do I love the cinema – midday when I have the screen to myself with nobody sitting next to me, oops there seems to be a trend here! For me the cinema is not just about the big screen and hopefully staying engrossed for 2 hours but all that goes before it; handing your ticket over to be ripped in half, buying popcorn and then choosing which seat to sit in. When I am not writing here you can read my film reviews on BRWC.  View Post

Le camion qui fume, food truck, Paris

I am cool enough to remember when a burger from a van wasn’t gourmet fare. My burger from a van purchases were classy 2am outings; kicked out after last orders from a pub or club, sweaty, foaming at the mouth, holding the hand of a guy you weren’t sure you even fancied or knew whether his name was John or David and as he leaned in for a kiss, the van owner shouted – burger ready. That sorry episode lasted all of 5 mins or maybe 10 minutes if you were really unlucky! View Post