Food in film will always have its place. Either as tetchy and stressful environments of passionate dispositions as shown in The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover or as relaxed and enticing places of wonder like in Ratatouille. The latter does depend on its Parisian surroundings more than anything else for that effect. The kitchen is still a stressful and vilified location to spend any amount of time in. Big Night suffers the same point of view. Italian restaurant rivalries and the odd sub-genre that soon came of them is an avenue worth getting lost down, for it means watching films like Big Night.
At the heart of King George’s madness was a power struggle. Defined by controversy and a case of economic castration, The Madness of King George is not just a great vehicle for Nigel Hawthorne’s eponymous performance but an exploration of regal insanity. King George III’s descent into madness is marked by a handful of odd eccentricities that modern medicine would pick up on sooner than those found in the 18th century. Hindsight is a beautiful thing. Nicolas Hytner adapts this Alan Bennett stage production with the calming efficiency founded in this period of British filmmaking. It seemed that the stuffy old stylings of Willy Russell’s Educating Rita had a profound effect on Bennett, whose work is thematically different but equally as proud of its roots.
The unnerving, lethal silence that opens Ridley Scott’s Alien is enough to solidify the classic status of this well-regarded thriller. A definitively tense film, one that captures the shifting tones of Hollywood’s waning golden age with great success. I’d not seen Alien in years, long enough for my brain to erode any memory of the film away, but I remember thoroughly enjoying it way back when. Returning to the series was always something I’d wanted to do, but never found the time to do so. Inevitably, there’s be a return to the Nostromo and a rekindling of my interest in the crew that found themselves coming into contact with lifeforms beyond their understanding, but I was on the fence about how it would hold up as a piece of thrilling media.
Virtual Reality really does feel fresh in our minds right now. Thanks to its mainstream advent, throwing away the novelty first applied to the bulky, nauseating feeling of being in a completely different environment. As the trends of gaming now swing toward trying to impress newcomers with flash technology that can turn their living room into a battlefield or a meadow, it’s rather comforting to see that director David Cronenberg had his say on the subject twenty years ago. How dangerous Virtual Reality could become if thrown into the wrong hands is investigated thoroughly well in Cronenberg’s final 20th century outing, and is perhaps one of his strongest films.
I’ve said countless times before that I couldn’t care less for Disney or the work they wish to output. Nothing but fancy princess tales that excrete happiness out of every available opening or fluffy worlds created to reel in the braindead masses of kids who are too scared to watch Coraline and too young to watch Chicken Run. I hate it, I’m not sure why millions are driven to love Disney products, and it’s something I’ll possibly never understand. Somewhat hypocritically, I find myself with a complete adoration for Ratatouille, and I find myself in the same camp that I placed all the other rejects who love Disney animated pieces into. Not a single person I know can understand why I have such a love for the 2007 Pixar/Disney collaboration where a talking rat learns to cook in the harsh understudy of a dead chef in the heart of Paris. Yet Ratatouille was one of my favourite films growing up, and now that I’ve hit the old age of twenty, I thought I’d head back and see if the film can hold its own over a decade later.