After watching Begin Again (2013), I decided to be undecided about John Carney. I adored Once (2007), but Begin Again, while not to be considered a bad movie, lacked the naturalistic feel and rawness of the former. Begin Again felt a tad showbiz-y, and I was disappointed. Now we have Sing Street and I am pleased to annouce that I have finally made up my mind about John Carney.
Sing Street, in a nutshell, is about a boy starting a band to impress a girl. As simple as that. But what keeps the movie from being considered hackneyed is that John Carney knows how to work with schmaltzy cliches without going towards full blown sentimental sap territory. I like to think that he knows how to satify both the cynics and the romantics. And I am glad he went back to his roots on this one. He knows Dublin like the back of his hand, and you can feel his affection for the city. And Sing Street has such awesome songs! Well, 80s pop music have always been my guilty pleasure. And not only are the songs are catchy, they also reflect the emotions and the events in the movie so very precisely. Music seems to be Carney’s mother tongue. Sing Street is a wonderfully ‘happy-sad’ movie watching experience. And the cast will charm your socks off! Consider my heart thoroughly warmed!
I wanted to like this movie so bad. I have been hankering for a Coen Bros. screwball comedy since Burn After Reading. But Hail, Caesar! just felt too fragmented. Like you have these bunch of sketches that never really gel with each other. And I was kind of hoping for them to converge into one crackpot murder mystery story of some sort. But they don’t. Not to me, at least. But I have to say, each of those “fragments”, are quite spectacularly crafted in themselves. The synchronized-swimming bit with Scarlett Johansson was a visual feast. And the kinky sailor boys dance number with Channing Tatum was pretty fun (and strange depending on how you look at it). And any scene with Alden Ehrenreich is hilarious. This boy holds promise. I am now half convinced that he can pull off young Han Solo. And a Looney Clooney will always do you a solid. I don’t know, but I think with this movie the Coen brothers’ main goal is to show their love for movies and Hollywood, and at that they succeeded. But all in all, Hail, Ceasar! is fun, but for me, it could have worked better had it been more cohesive.
Everybody was darned right about this show! It is every bit as good as they say it is. The story is nothing fancy. In a small Indiana town, kid goes missing, his friends set out to find him, runs into a telekenetic young girl with a shaved head, bad men, and a monster with no face. And perhaps on paper, one will question why this show took off like it did. But sometimes we all want simple stories, just like how it was back in the days. Yep, I sound like an old person. But yeah. I mean, I don’t even care that much they don’t explain the Matthew Modine character and whatever the heck his agency is. And there is such a palpable sense of intrigue and creepiness hanging over this show, it’s great! Even the music is well-thought-out. The synth tunes are pretty fantastic. The Duffer bothers whoever they are, know their horror, and creature feature really well. But no, Netflix’s Stranger Things does not rely on jump scares and spine-chilling music, it is a story about family and friendship, and there are some earnest emotions on this show. And it is not at all as dark and bleak as you might think. There is humor in it too, and a whole lot of 80s nostalgia that will make you feel like a kid again. Season 2 here we come!
Okay so, having run out of things to binge-watch. I started on the first season of AMC’s The Walking Dead. I am a little late to this party, I know. But hey, better late than never. It is a good show. I like it. It is never boring. And just like Stranger Things, I think it manages to elevate itself from your regular horror show by creating an ‘atmosphere’, and this time, it’s terror instead of mystery. The camera work and lighting are excellent. And I like that it kind of mixes western and horror. And aside from the visceral aspect of the show, and boy do they show you blood, guts and gore, it is also quite an emotional drama. Although there are moments when I cringe at the dialogue. They can sometimes be pretty cheesy. But the rest of the elements more than make up for it. And I am happy that I still have 5 more seasons to watch!