Robert Pimm

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Preview: “there are two types of being in the universe…”

I know sequels are usually rubbish. But I can’t help hoping this movie will at least retain some of the greatness of the original “Guardians of the Galaxy”.

The trailer has two good points:

  • a promising soundtrack
  • a fine line: “There are two types of beings in the universe.  Those who dance.  And those who do not.”  This is a pretty good distinction.

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Independence Day 2: Oh, my God! 1/10

A giant bad alien spacecraft attacks the earth, equipped with impenetrable force-field, overwhelming technological superiority, and the ability to make opponents clutch their heads and go “aaaargh” or “Oh my God!”simply by appearing in the neighbourhood.

Plucky earthlings (mild spoiler alert – but you guessed this, right?) repel the attack, despite most of Europe, the US East Coast and other unimportant zones being destroyed by the impact of the giant spacecraft landing.

They are aided (mild spoiler alert – but you could have guessed this, surely?) by the bad aliens having the same kind of glaring vulnerability routinely overlooked by the Death Star Reconstruction Committee in the “Star Wars” franchise.

 

Haven’t we seen this before?

Yes, in the original “Independence Day” movie in 1996.  Hardly anything has changed, except that most of the actors from the original movie have aged.

(The exception is Jeff Goldblum, who looks roughly the same as he did in 1996, despite appearing in around 50 movies, video games and TV series in the intervening 20 years.  In fact, the degree to which Jeff Goldblum is identical reminds me of Ian McKellen’s famous observation that he was lucky to be able to play two different roles – an old gay bloke and an old straight bloke – whereas some actors could only play one role.  So true of so many actors.)

What else is there to say about this incredibly bad movie?

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Review: Hail Caesar: 5 reasons the Emperor has no clothes 2/10

I love the movies.  On a Saturday night I went to see the extraordinary Argentine drama The Clan in the Istanbul Film Festival, about a family from Buenos Aires who kidnap and murder people.  I’d have given it 10/10 but I had to leave the cinema half-way through, because a small bomb went off across town, and I missed the end.  Long story.

So on the Sunday night I went to the same cinema to see Hail Caesar, the latest movie from the Coen Brothers.

I’ve seen and enjoyed lots of Coen Brothers films.  Blood Simple.  Raising Arizona.  Miller’s Crossing.  Fargo.  The Big Lebowski.

Now you mention it I haven’t seen a really good Coen Brothers film since 1998.

I watched Bridge of Spies and found it good-looking but deadly boring. Where’s the dramatic tension?  Why should we care about the characters?  It had none of the characteristics – originality, surprise, joy, dark twists – which distinguished the early Coen Brothers productions.

The trouble is, I’m such an optimist I always think: “these guys have ploughed millions of dollars – tens, hundreds of millions – into making this movie.  They must have some basic idea of what they’re doing.  It’ll improve soon.”

I’m so naive.

So I approached Hail, Caesar with trepidation.  It has George Clooney in it, possibly Hollywood’s most boring actor.  The trailer makes it look terrible.  But it was on when I had a free night.

It was beyond awful.  Here are five reasons why:

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The reviews. How they work

The reviews on my site tell you something useful.

Maybe one useful thing.  Maybe more.

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Blue Mosque, Istanbul. Not yet reviewed (photo: Robert Pimm)

Sometimes I’ll review a book, or a movie, or a holiday destination, or a restaurant.  Other times I’ll review something really huge (one of my most popular reviews) or an artist’s complete works.

I won’t necessarily review the latest thing: I don’t see why a movie or artwork created a decade or a millennium ago should be any worse than one created yesterday accompanied by great hype.  It may even be better.

Each review will offer:

  • an insight, based on my personal opinion, tastes, experience and all-round worldly wisdom, to help you make your mind up on the subject of the review.  You don’t have to agree; in fact I’ll be delighted if you leave a comment disagreeing;
  • a rating out of 10;
  • a “For” and “Against” section.  If something is plain dull, I won’t be reviewing it.  It’s got to have good and, inevitably, bad points.  Even Hans Rosling.  Remember: I didn’t say you had to agree.

“Have fun and comment.”

PS you can explore other writing on this site, starting with the sitemap and guide.

The art of Zero in Istanbul: 10/10

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The Sky Over Nine Columns – Heinz Mack (with Bosphorus behind)

The Zero art movement, based mostly in Germany in the years 1957-69, sounds like a candidate for Private Eye’s “Pseud’s corner”.  Take this, from Otto Piene’s Paths to Paradise:

I go to darkness itself, I pierce it with light, I make it transparent, I take its terror from it, I turn it into a volume of power with the breath of life like my own body, and I take smoke so that it can fly.

Maybe that is magnificent.  Maybe it’s meaningless.  I’m not sure.

So when I was invited to visit the exhibition ZERO. Countdown to the Future at the generally excellent Sakip Sabanci Museum in Istanbul, I tried to keep an open mind; but feared for the worst. (more…)

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