6 October 2014-10-06

Tye Sheridan and Nicolas Cage in Joe

Out in the UK This Week Joe (Curzon, cert 15, Blu-ray/DVD) I like Nicolas Cage in bad films, so going into this one, having heard it was good, I was slightly wary. But both him and the film are excellent – he’s the anger-prone decent guy who takes a young lad (up-and-coming Tye Sheridan) under his wing after he and his dad (Gary Poulter) pitch up looking for work on Joe’s (that’s Cage) tree-poisoning detail. Yes, tree poisoning. That’s a telling touch in a film that’s an exercise in the twisted Southern genre – derelicts and whores, low-lifes and attack dogs – director David Gordon Green back, to some extent, in George Washington territory, telling … Read more

La Dolce Vita

Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg in La Dolce Vita

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 29 September Anita Ekberg born, 1931 On this day in 1931, Kerstin Anita Marianne Ekberg was born, in Malmö, Sweden. A model in her teens, Ekberg was Miss Sweden by the age of 19 and had a contract with Universal studios shortly afterwards. Howard Hughes, a keen student of the female form (or lecher, according to your viewpoint), and then owner of the RKO studio, was also keen on exploiting her talents, but Ekberg preferred to go horse-riding and take part in the sort of stunts that starlets in the 1950s got up to. More often seen in a bikini, or … Read more

La Dolce Vita

fellini marcello mastroianni and anita ekberg la dolce vita

More than 50 years old yet curiously contemporary, Federico Fellini’s 1960 masterpiece isn’t just a cynical critique by a conflicted Catholic of “the sweet life”, it’s the film that announces the arrival of the world we now inhabit. It starts with one of cinema’s most famous shots, a lingering view of a huge statue of Christ being airlifted, possibly rescued, from a Rome gone to the bad. God, Fellini appears to be saying, has left us, and in his place we have placed the pursuit of carnal pleasure, the joys of the night, drink and the worship of our new deity – the celebrity. This, after all, is the film that introduced the … Read more

Isn’t It Iconic?

the original poster

La Dolce Vita might not be the best Italian film ever made. Or the cleverest, steamiest or most gripping. But it is the most iconic. Here’s why… Just a touch over 50 years ago the assembled critics at the Cannes film festival gave Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita a standing ovation. Not at the end of the film, or even at the moment when Anita Ekberg gets into the Trevi fountain, its most remembered scene. No, what got them to their feet was the film’s opening shot. It’s of a huge statue of Jesus Christ being airlifted out of Rome, the Eternal City. It doesn’t look like much now but back then this … Read more