Our journey with WE WENT TO WAR started on a rainy afternoon in London in December 2007. In between developing project ideas with Michael, I was slowly making my way through his extraordinary five decade back catalogue as one Britain's great documentary filmmakers. Today it was 'I Was a Soldier' (1970), possibly the very first sustained treatment about soldiers coming home from the frontlines of Vietnam.
A critic for the Chicago Sun-Times for forty-six years, the Ebert era has bracketed the better half of film history. Unlike the fanatical doctrines of Pauline Kael, the humility of his observations broke through the cultural feudalism of cinema snobbery to land right aboard the brains and the breakfast tables of the American family. With syndication in more than 200 national newspapers, his voice of easy reason trickled from Chicago to Hollywood.
Although the film is a little untamed and features some baffling choices in terms of story, there is a lot within Trance to enjoy. Danny Boyle's stylish direction helps to smooth over the mistakes within the screenplay and results in a gripping, interesting and hypnotic crime movie that for the most part keeps the audience guessing.
It was reported by The Telegraph recently that 'sex has been all but eradicated from Hollywood scripts over the past 18 months'. Apparently sex scenes are being shunned in favour of dazzling special effects and tellingly, only two films containing sex and nudity made the box office top ten in the UK last year. So what is the reason for Hollywood's languishing libido?
There is nothing like social media that brings people together from different continents. Being an author about adversity and diversity, I was drawn to the story of indie filmmaker Marcus Markou from the United Kingdom. A man with a similar background to myself in the arts, I loved reading his blog about what he has gone through to get his film "Papadopoulos & Sons" made and into theaters for people to see it.
I heard Mandy Rice-Davies on the BBC this week. She sounds in good shape. She's the survivor. Today is the 50th anniversary of the day when Conservative MP and secretary of state for war John Profumo told the House of Commons that there was "no impropriety whatever" in his relationship with Christine Keeler, a watershed moment in what we now call 'The Profumo Affair'.
Films like Red Dawn should not be judged on their politics, no matter how ridiculous they are, it should be judged on the quality of film-making. In this area, it is a failure. Aside from the special effects, which are neat, if a little underwhelming, the pacing, structure and characterisation are poor to non-existent.