Quick Triple Bill for May

Film viewing has slowed to a crawl because I'm re-watching The Wire - the greatest TV show of the last 20 years, incidentally - you can learn everything you need to know about life from it. But I learned a bit from the films below too. Starting with...

Oscar Isaac IS Al Pacino!*
(*not really)
A Most Violent Year (JC Chandor, 2015) is a fine blue-collar drama set in NY in the early 80s as an ambitious entrepreneur (Oscar Isaac) struggles with corruption, threatening competitors and hassle from the authorities in his bid to make it big. It's a throwback to the kind of measured character-driven films Hollywood used to make in the 70s and particularly impressive in the recreation of the time and setting. It is a bit slow at times, but it's very well acted, especially by Isaac, who puts in a great performance as Al Pacino.

If you prefer something more peaceful, how about a Korean film about a young man living on a floating island learning the ways of Buddhism? Wait! Come back! Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring (Kim Ki-duk, 2003) is really good! It may not sound like much, but it’s a beautiful, deep film which deals with the circle of life in captivating fashion. It's the cinematic equivalent of meditation - if this doesn't stir your soul, you are dead to me.

The Other Boleyn Girl (Justin Chadwick, 2008) is a handsomely mounted, but fairly uninspired tale of royal intrigue in the court of King Henry VIII. Historians will no doubt have conniption fits about the way the film simplifies the various machinations surrounding Anne Boleyn's rise and fall, but even allowing for such dramatic license, it disappointingly paints both characters and events with fairly broad strokes. Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson and Eric Bana mean it's easy on the eye, but you would be better off with the much superior BBC mini-series Wolf Hall which covers the same material with considerably more aplomb.

That's it - short and sweet - off I go now back to Baltimore. S'All in the game, yo.

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