Anyone with even a passing interest in film should check out Every Frame a Painting, a YouTube channel set out like a university course with sort of video lessons, but much less dull than that sounds. Each episode focuses on a different part of the film-making process, or maybe a specific director and their style, it’s all very short and simple to follow, and cut with loads of film clips to make the videos both fascinating and entertaining. Unbelievable news.
Some favourite episodes include this episode on how the best visual comedy is created (includes a cracking explanation of why British comedies rule over their American cousins), or this one about Chuck Jones, the legendary Looney Tunes artist.
I’m not sure if you could find a more perfect story for a Hollywood WWII epic than the tale of conscientious objector Desmond T. Doss in Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge. There’s lots of nice gory war set pieces, and Andrew Garfield is a perfect fit for the holier-than-thou lead role which earned him an Oscar nomination, even if the puppy dog eye thing does grate after the fifth teary close up. However the overall Go America! sentiment of the film had America F*ck Yeah going through my head afterwards.
International Rugby Referee Nigel Owens‘ Desert Island Discs had me and most of the country crying.
The documentary Matilda and Me about Tim Minchin’s hit musical is a joy if you’re a fan of the show and his work, which obviously you should be.
Finally, German comedy Toni Erdmann was absolutely bonkers. Awkward, saddening, moving and eventually hilarious and life affirming. An emotional bloody rollercoaster.
Luckily there were some things to enjoy this month to distract us from the impending end of the world as we know it…
Every few years a film comes out with such a torrent of euphoria that it’s hard to actually sit and enjoy without the pressure of watching the-film-that-everyone-loves. However I thought (unlike King’s Speech and The Artist) La La Land does just about do itself justice. It’s very good fun, has some superb musical set pieces, and enough depth/plot to prevent it slipping into tweeness or cringeworthy American shmaltz. There’ll be a backlash at some point but I say ignore it.
Tickets went on general sale last week for political historical rap musical theatre show Hamilton. I’ll post up a review when I’m grey and old, having secured tickets for some time in 2018.
Last week was the 75th Anniversary of Desert Island Discs which was marked by a 2 hour special show with highlights from the archive and some clips from previously lost interviews. Hosted, as ever, by the dreamy voice of everyone’s favourite guilty pleasure, Kirsty Young (no? just me..?), it was BBC documentary-making at its best. Also while you’re there, I thoroughly recommend checking out Gareth Malone‘s from back in December.
This month I finished Book 1 of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s ‘My Struggle’ series. It’s apparently an autobiography, but Knausgaard’s memory for detail makes it read just like any novel. I loved Knausgaard’s ability to find the tiny nuances and small moments in life that make us act the way we do, the things you would normally completely overlook, identify them and describe them so well. But while I didn’t quite have the same instant love for the entire book as many of the rave reviewers, I will definitely try the next one in the series.
Finally, this article popped up in my Twitter feed at some point this month. Makes you wonder a) how good would it be to be this bloody amazing at piano?! But then b) how good would it be to be this good at piano criticism?!