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Archive for May, 2019

It has been more than a week since the final episode of Game of Thrones.  Now the dust has settled it is time to take measured look at it. 

On the whole I have been a little critical of the final season, simply because after making us wait, so long, it all feels a little rushed.  Rather than working in the constraints of feature films, Game of Thrones has always made the most of, even relished the time it has to tell a story.  It goes even further than that though; unlike in earlier seasons, recent episodes have not depicted time and space particularly well, there is no sense of how far apart places are and how long it takes to travel between them.  The same is true of Daenerys’ story arc, her decent from entitled, self-important, and slightly paranoid to downright homicidal, while inevitable was very quick.  However, the final episode is a fitting end.  To bring the dreaded “B” word into the conversation, the conclusion of Game Of Thrones is like Brexit.  We will never have a satisfactory brexit, because brexit means so many different things to so many people.  Likewise people who have invested (too much) into the outcome of the show will not be happy unless their chosen character ends on the throne.  That is why, Drogon destroying the throne was the perfect way to deal with it.  Bran is the king the show needed, rather than the one the fans wanted. Drogon destroying the throne

Having finished with the fan pleasing large scale battles in earlier episodes they were able to return to what the show does best, building character and plot through interaction.  A highlight for me was the return of the small council and the wit that comes with it.  Moments like this have always been the best the show has to offer, far more than the CG action.  The other brilliant thing, is the attention to detail.  As we have spent more time in the north, and winter has reached the south, the colour temperature, and the brightness of the show has dropped dramatically.  This helps give a perfect moment, when Tyrion is led from his cell we do not know how long he has been there, but we see the bright warm light coming from the window above him.  This is the first indication that winter is over, and that something new is coming in the next scene.

Given the speed that the Starks were dispatched in the early seasons, you would be forgiven for thinking none would make it to the end.  As it turns out, the narrative has always felt like theirs.  On the whole, they didn’t do too badly.

Jon Snow, got the best end he could have realisably have hoped for; As Aegon Targaryen and the true heir to the throne (if there really is such a thing), he would always have been a cloud over Bran’s rule if kept in play.  The Night’s Watch always felt like the best fit for him.   However, I can’t help wondering, what the Night’s Watch’s job is now the wildlings are allies, and the white walkers defeated? Jon Snow

Sansa has probably undergone the best character arc of the show, going from selfish child to bold leader, but boy did she suffer to get there.  By declaring The North independent of the other kingdoms and crowning herself, she got to be queen as she always wanted, but in a more satisfying way than we could have expected. Sansa

Bran was the perfect choice for King, because from his fall from the tower to the first episode via his mystical journey, he was never in the conversation, he was the one person nobody suggested should be king. Bran

The only member of the family who hasn’t been well served by the last couple of episodes is Arya.  After the moment of the series when she killed Night King in “The Long Night”, she hasn’t had much to do.  Although, killing the Night King was probably the most significant moment in shows entire run, and in hindsight what her character was building to.  To add to this, her ending, leaving to explore the west, beyond the maps is fitting and beyond perfect, it is also prime for a spin-off show. Arya

 Beyond the the Stark family, the other fan (and one of my) favourites, Tyrion’s end was also quite fitting.  Hand of the King is the perfect role for him.  He was set up early in the show as the cleverest person in the land, then his actions and their consequences proved him to be far from as clever as we were led to believe.  This final episode comes full circle proving his brilliance, and showing that his flaw wasn’t his intelligence, it was his misplayed faith in Daenerys.  His speech on the power of stories is not only true in the real world but goes to the heart of the success of the show, it is then perfectly undercut when we find he has been omitted from the book telling the history of recent events.Tyrion

For a long time, it looked like Daenerys would prevail.  Each season ended with an image off her as she worked closer to her “destiny”.  As mentioned her decent from Breaker of Chains to mad tyrant was inevitable, if rushed.  For those who found her genocide the previous episode “The Bells” a little ambiguous, the final episode featured an address to the masses lifted straight from Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will.  Her end was inevitable.

A long running show is always hard to end.  Lost (2004–2010) for example destroyed any good will with a terrible end.  Battlestar Galactica (2004–2009) left people with mixed feelings.  On the whole I liked it but was not totally convinced.  While many dislike the outcome of Game of Thrones, I’m sure in time people will look back at the show as a one of the best TV programs ever, and the ending is part of that! 

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I have just seen Rocketman, despite my disdain for musicals, I enjoyed it; however, it doesn’t compare to the best Elton John movie moment ever:

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A slow month after a busy March, but one with a couple of gems, here are the contenders:

The Sisters Brothers – Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly play a pair of squabbling brothers working as enforcers.  The film has every trope of a western including the setting, and the characters, but it somehow isn’t a western.   Not without problems but a strangely rewarding film. The Sisters Brothers

Eighth Grade – Comedian Bo Burnham’s feature directing debut.  Set over the final week of Kayla’s (Elsie Fisher)final week in eighth grade at school. Kayla is shy, quiet, and introverted at school but has an outlet in the form of the motivational YouTube videos she posts from her bedroom.  I would be surprised if anyone watching doesn’t see something of themselves in Kayla, I certainly did. Eighth Grade

A Clockwork Orange – Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece satire based on Anthony Burgess novel of the same name.  Everything about the film is dialled up to eleven and completely over the top, I can see why many people would hate it, I love it. A Clockwork Orange

Greta – Neil Jordan films aren’t always perfect, but they are never uninteresting.  This is very true of Greta; an old-fashioned thriller with more than a nod to Hitchcock.  The film is far from perfect, but is always fun not least because of great performances from Isabelle Huppert, Chloë Grace Moretz, with scene stealing support from Maika Monroe.Greta

Avengers: Endgame – I was somewhere between underwhelmed and disappointed with Infinity War.  Endgame ups the ante in every way, not least the three hour runtime.  I’m pleased to report it more than delivered. Avengers Endgame

Hellboy – After all the bad reviews, I waited two weeks to see this film.  It isn’t good, but surprisingly, it isn’t as bad as has been reported.  David Harbour is ok in the title role but lacks both the humour and the presence of Ron Perlman.  What is really lacking is the Heart and humanity of Guillermo del Toro’s films.  Neil Marshall is the expert at modern genre films, there are moments when this shines through. There is little wrong with any individual scene, they just doing hang together.  Marshall’s absence from any publicity rings of studio interference, this could explain the incoherent edit.Hellboy

Long Shot – Once again, Charlize Theron proves she is at home in any genre, her comic timing is impeccable. Theron and costar Seth Rogen also have real chemistry. The script is sharp and snappy giving us the closest thing modern cinema can offer to a 40’s screwball.  The supporting cast including O’Shea Jackson Jr. Alexander Skarsgård, Bob Odenkirk, and an unrecognisable Andy Serkis are also outstanding.  Long Shot - Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen

As a reissue A Clockwork Orange isn’t in contention for Movie of the Month, leaving two real contenders.  Most months, Avengers: Endgame would be good enough to win, but, it doesn’t.  The best film I saw in April by a long way, and my Movie of the Month is: Eighth Grade.eighth-grade-postereighth grade poster

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