BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

Poffy The Cucumber

The Good, The Bad and the Freddie. Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? — Queen, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” We may well apply the first lines of Queen’s magnum opus Bohemian Rhapsody to the movie encomium of the same name. There is some biography in BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY (“the real life”), yet much dramatic license (“just fantasy”), with particular focus … Read More

RUDY: THE RUDY GIULIANI STORY

Poffy The Cucumber

A Scene, a Policy, and 9/11. Rudy Giuliani – there’s only three things he mentions in a sentence: a noun, a verb and 9/11.” — Joe Biden, Democratic Candidate for President, 2008. In 2008, Joe Biden would aptly describe Rudy Giuliani’s tactics for his presidential candidacy. And this 2003 film, RUDY: THE RUDY GIULIANI STORY, does exactly the same: a … Read More

BARRY

Poffy The Cucumber

Waking from daddy daydreams. Young Obama! BARRY shows us the future 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama, landing in New York as a hopeful college student in search of himself. And some ill manky-g. This remarkable leader, this orator, this first “black” president, will surely have countless other biographies in store, not least for dragging America out of … Read More

JOY 2015

Poffy The Cucumber

A mess that needs to be Miracle Mopped! After the confusing marketing campaign, we were left wondering what JOY was actually about? Hmm, from the trailers, seems like she has a dead-end job, her father hates her husband, she’s walking determinedly in the snow, she’s firing a shotgun, she’s cutting her hair, a funeral, a wedding, a business, cops, kissing, … Read More

WE ARE TWISTED FUCKING SISTER!

Poffy The Cucumber

Fifteen Twisted Minutes. Sure they suck, but they’re gonna sell a lot of records! — Phil Carson, Atlantic Records, Europe. From the outset, I am a card-carrying Sick Motherfucking Friend of Twister Sister. So the rock doc WE ARE TWISTED FUCKING SISTER! holds some resonance for me, and fills in many Scenes Missing in this hard rock band’s long haul … Read More

THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING

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A Very, Very Brief History of Hawking. My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all. — Stephen Hawking. The brilliant English cosmologist Stephen Hawking appears as a B-character in the movie about his life, while his first wife Jane hijacks the narrative in THE … Read More

STEVE JOBS

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Nerd against Geek in a battle to the Steve. STEVE JOBS is a savage attack dog of a movie. Like Steve Jobs. Each scene slams into us like shrapnel: overlapping intelligent dialogue, fever pitch arguments, soul-breaking philosophies, walk-and-talk business decisions, with flashbacks as savage as the writing, smash-cut into the smallest interstices, rather than drawn-out exposition. After viewing STEVE JOBS, … Read More

WHITEY: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V. JAMES J. BULGER

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Criminal cops and collusion as black as Whitey. …all involved in this circle of shit in South Boston… — Steve Davis, brother of Victim Debra Davis. Documentary about the most notorious organized crime gang in South Boston in the mid-1970s – the FBI. Oh, and James “Whitey” Bulger’s peripheral involvement with them. WHITEY: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V. JAMES J. … Read More

BLACK MASS

Poffy The Cucumber

In the Name of da Fahder, da Son, and da Hollywood Spirit… The thing is… you’ve got the wrong Bad Guy. BLACK MASS is supposedly a tale about “the most violent criminal South Boston has ever known.” But when all the slogans say this, they’re looking at James “Whitey” Bulger. Even whilst adding that Bulger worked hand-in-glove with the corrupt … Read More

LIFE ITSELF

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The 24-frames-per-second Life. He is the Soldier of Cinema… — Werner Herzog, filmmaker. LIFE ITSELF documents the storied life and tragic death of Roger Ebert (1942-2013, aged 70), the world’s most famous film critic. Roger Ebert excelled at something that everyone thinks they can do, but which no one did better. A staff writer and editor for various papers as … Read More

STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON

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Attitude Adjustaz. I don’t know anything about hip hop but I know this is special. — Interscope Records rep. Admittedly, rock and roll is my forte, though it might come as a surprise to many that I’ve done innumerable studio sessions with hip hop acts. Around 1992, I was tracking in a Hawthorne studio with rap group after rap group, … Read More

JOBS

Poffy The Cucumber

Dude, Where’s My Computer? An uninspiring movie about an inspiring innovator, JOBS is a schmaltzy biopic of Apple Computer’s pioneering founder and edge-of-science-fiction visionary, Steven Paul Jobs (1955-2011). JOBS (written by Matt Whiteley and directed by Joshua Michael Stern) turns the life of this driven inventor madman thinking machine into a soppy three-act melodrama that hits all the requisite Hollywood … Read More

HOUDINI 2014

Poffy The Cucumber

The trick is not to fall asleep… Uh-oh, narration. Uh-oh, magic. Uh-oh…. HOUDINI. Adrien Brody stars (narrating interminably) as Harry Houdini, the greatest magician in history. But from this biopic, you’d never guess it. Upfront, Houdini is a god among men; an icon, innovator, pioneer, legend. And Adrien Brody, a fine actor, does his best with what he’s given to … Read More

THE GREAT HOUDINI

Poffy The Cucumber

The Great Snore-dini. The great magician, escapist and mysteriarch, Harry Houdini (1874-1926), lived such a storied life that it is impossible to capture any semblance of it in the fleeting medium of the feature film. The best we can hope for is Tony Curtis flashing a winning smile or for Johnny Depp to flash a winning bangle, and to then … Read More

MITT

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On Planet Mitt, no one can hear you fake-laugh… Not everybody is comfortable with the idea that politics is a guilty addiction. But it is. They are addicts, and they are guilty and they do lie and cheat and steal – like all junkies. And when they get in a frenzy, they will sacrifice anything and everybody to feed their … Read More

FEYNMAN: THE CHALLENGER

Poffy The Cucumber

A Smart Guy for Dumb People. A scientist at the opening of FEYNMAN: THE CHALLENGER describes Richard P. Feynman: “He was physics with a human face”; able to transform the esoteric worlds of theoretical physics into lay speak. In other words, A Smart Guy for Dumb People. He was a roarer, a rogerer, a gorger and a puker. And a … Read More

LINCOLN

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When Republicans bore resemblance to the human species… A bunch of old, out-of-touch white guys babbling about slavery. The Republican Party hasn’t changed much. Well, back then, as the party of LINCOLN, they were trying to free the slaves; nowadays, they’re working to get them all back. My main question about this ambitious film is: With all the camera operators, … Read More

THE IRON LADY

Poffy The Cucumber

The Mannish, The Myth, The Legend. The Soviets dubbed British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher “Iron Lady” as an insult. Now, in a swoon of reappropriation – like headbanger, jarhead, Dead-head, gay, Yankee, Obamacare – the epithet is reclaimed as a tribute. If you watch THE IRON LADY with no prior knowledge of Margaret Thatcher’s policies, don’t worry, you’ll leave the … Read More

MR BLUE SKY: THE STORY OF JEFF LYNNE & ELO

Poffy The Cucumber

Into The Blue… MR BLUE SKY documents the career and works of singer, songwriter, producer, guitarist, vocalist, keyboardist, control freak, all-round nice guy, and (according to Paul McCartney) total twat – Jeff Lynne. Lynne has always been one of the most underrated musicians in the world, and one of the most unassuming. With this documentary from veteran musicologist Martyn Atkins, … Read More

RICHARD PRYOR: OMIT THE LOGIC

Poffy The Cucumber

Bigger, Blacker, Badder and Drunker. Was Richard Pryor the first Black Comedian? Yes, there was Cosby before him, but Bill Cosby – even though technically a black man – was a white comedian. Prior to Eddie, Martin, Morgan, Sinbad, Tucker, Rock – there was Pryor. RICHARD PRYOR: OMIT THE LOGIC is a 2013 retrospective of the hard life and harder … Read More