Random Chaos

… the consequences of not concentrating …

The Anarchy****

By William Dalrymple For reasons which become clear reading this timely history, Brits have closed out the history of India and our role in conquering it. We all know about the American War of Independence (coincidentally caused by dumping unsold Indian tea in Boston), but who has heard of the the Great Bengal Famine of…

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Ad Astra ***

Directed by James Gray Brad Pitt probably deserved his Oscar more for Ad Astra than Once Upon A Time In America as the entire film is focused on his attempts to find his father (a very underused Tommy Lee Jones) lost around Neptune. Gray has had made no secret of the film using the structure…

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Dolittle*

Directed by Stephan Gaghan Everything that can go wrong with Hollywood is amplified in the disastrous Dolittle. It’s a $175m vanity project built around Robert Downey, a personable actor who had a few lucky breaks, but is not the draw he thinks he is. It really is all about Robert and was even reshot to…

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Emma.***

Directed by Autumn de Wilde Do we need another Jane Austen Emma? Probably not, but Emma. (note the full stop) is a frothy confection with a winning cast which runs through the plot with ease. The costumes and designs win out over a script that struggles initially to establish the plot and characters. However, from…

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The 25 Page Rule

I used to read books I didn’t enjoy to the bitter end. Time, however, is running short. If it hasn’t caught my interest by 25 pages, it’s off to the charity shop or back to the library. A good sign of this is a reluctance to even pick the book up. Worse, finishing these books…

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Top Ten of the Century

After reading the Empire list of the best films of the Century, it seemed a good idea to put together my own list. The criteria is simple. These are all films I would happily watch again, and probably will in the coming year. 1 No Country for Old Men 2 Mulholland Drive 3 Inception 4…

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Parasite*****

Director Bong Joon-ho Picking up on themes from his Snowpiercer, Boon delivers a clever critique of the inequalities in society without resorting to the soapbox. There are echoes of Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden’s Tale with its story of hustlers invading a rich man’s home, but the beautifully constructed script wrong-foots the audience throughout. A cast…

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Atlantics ****

Director Mati Diop  Set in Dakar, Senegal, Atlantics at first seems a story of unrequited love as young Ada prepares for a loveless arranged marriage whilst her true love Sulemaine, despairing of his prospects, joins the exodus of young men to Europe looking for work. As fears grow about the men’s fate, the film takes…

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