Legend: What is Wrong with this Poster?

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Tom Hardy plays the Kray Brothers in new movie Legend: so what is wrong with the poster? Benjamin Lee in The Guardian explains:

“I didn’t really care for Tom Hardy’s Krays biopic Legend. In my two star review, I called it “disappointingly shallow” and “cartoonish”. I then made the seemingly-safe assumption that Studio Canal, the film’s UK distributor, probably wouldn’t be laminating my work and calling me for a quote. But in a stroke of brazen genius, the marketing department tasked with selling the shoddy true crime tale decided to embrace the mediocrity of my review and found a devious solution. Note: focus between the ears….”

Locke

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Tom Hardy channels Richard Burton’s mellifluous Welsh-ness as the title character in Locke. He’s supposed to be a chief-concrete-pourer (yes, that’s a thing) on a massive building site in Birmingham (although that sing-song accent though makes him sound like a pompous professor of Dylan Hardy poetry – why?) and the movie charts his otherwise-inexplicable desertion of his job and his loving family in a series of increasingly tortuous phone calls during a night time dash down the motorway to London.

Locke is therefore a pretty impressive piece of experimental cinema, with only Hardy himself ever appearing on screen and virtually the entire production focusing on him, to camera. The voice actors do sterling work to build character and emotion through crackly telephone lines, and Tom Hardy (accent or no) is excellent. Locke filmed on the back of a flat-bed truck and there’s interesting stuff on how it was achieved here. But: masterful cinema, yes. Enjoyable cinema, no not really.

The Dark Knight Rises

I enjoyed Batman Begins but I absolutely loved Batman Returns; I still think it’s one of the best action-thrillers ever. And having seen a conversation with Christopher Nolan and his wife Emma Thomas at the Produced By Conference this June (did you know they made their first film for $6000 only in 1997….) I was looking forward to The Dark Knight Rises. And what a film it turned out to be. I can’t really explain the plot, but I can tell you it’s the most amazing, disturbing, discombobulating piece of theater. And I don’t just mean that it’s a flawless artwork – though it absolutely is. Every scene is meticulously rich in detail. It’s the political dimensions to the film that are so thought-provoking – the anarchy, the random, vicious violence, the one percenters on trial and chucked into the streets or arbitrarily judged and executed by a braying mob. No, not a fun ride at all. But brilliant nonetheless.

Of course from a locations point of view, Gotham City is New York City and it looks great here – even though a lot of the actual filming took place in Pennsylvania, California, London and elsewhere. Wayne Hall is Wollaton Hall in Nottinghamshire in the UK, prompting the BBC to predict massive tourism increase to the property.

I should add: Anne Hathaway as Catwoman is just outstanding. Outstanding. It’ll change your opinion of her. Joseph Gordon-Levitt too. Outstanding. Only downside: Tom Hardy. It’s like Sean Connery meets Darth Vader.

Inception

OK, so you gather I’ve been somewhat excited about Christopher Nolan’s new movie Inception. But does it live up to its hype? Answer: Yes. And no.

Yes, in that it’s a visually astounding piece of art – parts of Paris rolling up and over itself is a stand-out, and the gravity defying-bits you’ve seen in the trailers: mindblowingly awesome. But no, too, in that it’s hard enough for most filmmakers to weave one or two complex parallel plots together, but Nolan attempts five – a dream within a dream within a dream within a dream. Within a dream. Get it? That’s an awful lot to hold together, and to his credit he does just about manage it. But we spend so much time marvelling at the spectacular visuals of set-piece after set-piece, all the while trying to keep track of the intricacies of the plot, that there’s little chance to engage with any of the characters or their emotions. So: wondrous to watch but tedious too, both a masterpiece AND a clunker: how about that for alternate realities?

As for locations, Jerry Garrett again has a lot of interesting stuff, here on the ski resort that’s the penultimate dreamscape…..

The Fortress Mountain ski resort has fallen on hard times, since its use in the 1988 Winter Olympics in nearby Calgary. Alberta’s provincial government closed the resort in 2008 over unpaid taxes and other bills. By 2009, it had degenerated into just exactly the kind of seedy, forelorn, eerie aerie that Mr. Nolan loves to film (remember “Batman Begins”?). Set builders enhanced the area’s cement-gray buildings with an austere fortress of the mind (miniature models of it were what was later blown up)…..