Film Notes – La La Land (2016)


When I was young music was more life sustaining to me than the blood that ran through my veins. It was the oxygen that my emotions breathed, it kept me grounded and it gave me a fundamental and direct method for expressing myself. From the moment my parents let me drop the turntable’s needle on their LPs I started cranking the music 24/7 as loud as I possibly could. Their music collection, including Elvis, The Beach Boys and The Beatles, became the soundtrack of my youth. As I became older I picked up my first guitar and although I never had a natural knack for it, I used to try and play my own grunge, punk, metal riffs and blues solos for hours until both my fingers and my ears bled. Finally, after many years of restless anticipation I attended my first music festival and I found my true home amongst the sweaty, seething mass of rambunctious music fans in the mosh pit. It is a cliche but it was not just about the music, it became a whole way of life.

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Film Notes – Manchester by the Sea (2016)

There is no denying it, death is a bitch. And for those left behind grief hurts like hell. When coupled with a guilt fuelled self-flagellation, the constant companions of anguish and despair can be suffocating and intractable. Manchester by the Sea is like a beautiful expanse of ocean. At times the steady motion of its waves are mesmerising and almost serene. But underneath the surface rages thunderous forces of emotion, sometimes agitating the surface with explosive force but mostly subdued, muted by the pressure of it’s own immense weight. At the beginning of the film, Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) returns to his hometown of Manchester when his brother passes away. When he arrives at the local hospital, we alight in this town along with him and begin a journey of discovery as the personal narrative of Lee and his relationships to family, friends and the community are slowly revealed to us.

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Film Notes – The Awful Truth (1937)

“Nobody will ever win the battle of the sexes. There is too much fraternizing with the enemy.”
― Henry Kissinger

The only Screwball Comedy I had seen before now was His Girl Friday. It was a real doozy of a film, a thrilling depiction of a highly entertaining battle between a divorced couple, played by Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, as they go at it hammer and tongs. It felt like I had court-side seats to a tennis open grand final as the couple traded verbal zingers back and forth with panache and force until one of them lobbed up an opportunity for the other one to slam down a stinging punchline back across the net. Each actor’s verbal delivery was sharp as a tack and the chemistry between the both of them absolutely sizzled.

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