Film School 2.0: Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures

Welcome back to lesson two of Film School 2.0, a semi-regular feature chronicling the film education of my two aspiring film nerds: Miss J (7) and Miss S (10).  More details about the girls can be found in their introductions post.

We are loosely following the superb 101 Movies to Watch Before You Grow Up, but also branch out to cover some of the newer releases that capture their imagination.  How it works is that we watch a film together, after which I ask them a few questions about what they have seen.  The conversations range from a couple of minutes to half hour discussions, so the answers below tend to be more a summary of their overall thoughts, rather than a full transcript, as that would often run for pages and pages.

In this lesson, Miss S (10) watched Hidden Figures. (more…)

Film School 2.0: Introductions

Film School 2.0

The prescribed text for Film School

Welcome to Film School 2.0, a regular feature which aims to chronicle the film education of my two girls Miss S (10) and Miss J (7).

They are pretty experienced little cinephiles, regular cinema patrons and most weekends you’ll find us on the couch for ‘#Friday (or Saturday) Night Film Club’, working our way through the excellent ‘101 Movies To See Before You Grow Up’. So far we have almost half of them ticked off, though I am not sure how I am supposed to get either of them interested in seeing #98 Lincoln. (more…)

Jasper Jones

Jasper Jones

Childhood dreams, small town secrets

Jasper Jones director Rachel Perkins’ engrossing and enthralling adaptation of Craig Silvey’s iconic Australian coming of age novel, takes us back to a time when childhood dreams were all about courage and adventures. It was about discovering the unknown, keeping secrets and making bonds for life.

Adventures are in short supply in 1960s Corrigan, though Charlie Bucktin (Levi Miller) escapes the town by devouring the prose of Mark Twain and engaging in heated superhero arguments with his best friend, Jeffery Lu (Kevin Long). One night Charlie’s dreams are shattered by a midnight tap on the window from Corrigan outcast, Jasper Jones (Aaron L. McGrath), who leads Charlie into the woods where the body of Jasper’s girlfriend Laura is hanging lifeless from a tree.

Jasper is panicking, convinced that his reputation and mixed-race will see him convicted of the crime which he screams he didn’t do. Charlie believes him and agrees to help him track down the real culprit. (more…)

T2 Trainspotting

First there was an opportunity, then there was a betrayal

The opening few minutes of Danny Boyle’s introspective and retrospective T2 Trainspotting should come with a warning, but more on that later.

Surprisingly, Boyle’s first image is not in Scotland, but Amsterdam, where we see Renton (Ewan McGregor) pounding a treadmill, a direct call back to the opening of the original 1996 classic. This is followed by rapid fire updates on where the last 26 years have left Simon (Jonny Lee Miller), Spud (Ewen Bremner) and Begbie (Robert Carlyle).

Musical and visual call backs are aplenty, kicked off with subtle notes from Lou Reeds’ Perfect Day, and grainy, almost memory-like 1996 footage, arriving within the first five minutes. These provide something of a memorial bridge to the previous film and set the scene for what is about to be unleashed. (more…)

Moonlight

Moonlight

Three faces, one character

Early on in Barry Jenkins’ poignant, intimate and introspective Moonlight, the line ‘At some point you have to decide who you want to be’ is dropped  – Moonlight focuses on what happens when society doesn’t allow you to do that and the internal dilemma and struggles which follow.

Chiron, a young 1980s Miami school boy, is riddled with confusion, self-doubt and crying out for guidance and support, all of which are sadly lacking from his crack-addict mother (a transformative Naomie Harris). (more…)