Steve Stebbing

Breaking down all things pop culture

A Hidden Life – It’s been a long time since I loved a Terrence Malick film, the mid-nineties to be exact with his conscientious objector war film The Thin Red Line, and with his return to real narrative filmmaking with this film, I thought this would be the ticket back into his work and I’d be celebrating him as my friends do. Interestingly enough, this is another conscientious objector about Franz Jagerstatter, an Austrian farmer who refuses to fight for the Nazis. I feel like I was lied to about the narrative thing because this is still all flighty shots of water, fields and staring people with voiceovers. This guy is a serious junkie for repose and I’m bored with it.

Stieg Larsson: The Man Who Played With Fire – An insightful documentary, this is a deep look at an author who made it internationally famous seemingly, in the world’s eyes, overnight and then was dead soon after. The deep dig of this film reveals a news writer, much like the one in his novels, who was dedicated to bringing the rise of the far right, white nationalism and nazi extremism to the media spotlight in Sweden and being condemned and having his life threatened by those he investigated. This is an interesting story of how the real events that shaped the author of the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series to write his best work that he would never get the chance to enjoy.

Motherless Brooklyn – Edward Norton is back behind the camera for the first time in almost twenty years with this new detective noir drama where he plays a private investigator’s helper who takes it upon himself to unravel a mystery that gets his boss killed. It should also be mentioned that Norton’s character suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome, which is sometimes played for laughs. The film is an engaging film with a great script but no one in the film is particularly amazing, no standouts that I could see. The film is a little rough around the edges and could be trimmed down a bit, plus there was a bit of additional dialogue that felt a little tacked on.

Escher: Journey Into Infinity – W.D. Escher is a fascinating person who’s art can’t twist and blow the mind just on its first impression. For this reason, I was really looking forward to checking out this documentary, which approaches the subject by acting like he made the film himself, talking to us through the well known and appreciated tones of Stephen Fry’s voice. For me, the film was informative and concise, giving us both a deep look at the art as well as the man who created it but when it comes to his influence on modern culture and it’s uses I felt it get a bit silly in a “Bill and Ted” what’s this wacky thing going on here sort of way. Left me a bit cold.


Sorry We Missed You – Being a huge fan of Ken Loach’s since I saw The Wind That Shakes The Barley in my video store days, his films have come to be the ones I love forward to most at the festival and this one didn’t disappoint and refused to let me leave without shedding some tears. The film is about a lower-class family living in Newcastle and struggling to get back to a position of being able to buy a home. The father has just got a new job as a parcel delivery service, but one you have to buy into, causing them to sell his wife’s car that she uses for her job as a home care nurse. As the two parents struggle in their fourteen to sixteen-hour workdays, their kids suffer as their older son begins to lash out as a vandal. Loach always gets to the heart of the everyman’s plight against the system and it’s always heartbreaking.

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