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Oooh, podcast show notes! Feel the excitement!
First an apology for the slightly sketchy audio quality of the first ten minutes - it gets better, honest.
Possibly the best film we'll cover comes first, with the excellent albeit utterly infuriating Taxi Cab To The Dark Side, a harrowing document of the current US attitude of ignoring those pesky 'human rights' that those pesky suspected terrorists ought to have. How pesky! The film, however, is recommended to all although it will make you HULK SMASH level angry.
Possibly the worst film we'll cover next, I'm Not There. A quite extraordinarily pretentious sort of documentary about Bob Dylan, seemingly written through a veil of mescaline. With elements of Dylan character spun off into entirely separate characters played by the likes of Heath Ledger, Christian Bale and, bizarrely, Cate Blanchett. Just about the most insufferable film you'll see, this rambling, messy nonsense steadfastly refuses to make a lick of sense and makes Baby Jesus cry. Avoid.
Lars and the Real Girl is an oddball comedy drama about a mentally challenged young lad who orders himself a lifelike sex doll, claiming her to be a real girl. The entire isolated community for no readily discernible reason rally round and indulge his delusion and laughter ensues, in small quantities. Decent enough film, but what Oscar's doing talking about it is something of a mystery.
BAFTA might think that Atonement is the best film of last year, which from our status as the Internet's Only Reliable Film InfoNode we now debunk as being total horse droppings. An insufferable parade of shallowly sketched stereotypes and wooden performances, this holds about as much interest as your average party political broadcast. I think the last ten minutes of so are quite special, but whether it's worth suffering through the vat of tripe that precedes it is an entirely different matter.
Another of the annual Oscar Mental Illness Brigade, Away From Her mentions Alzheimer's disease then runs away, cruelly ignoring the characters in the film and giving us little reason to care about them. Soundly acted, but the story is somewhat lacking.
Beaufort tells us of a Lebanese fortification currently in IDF hands, although they're about to pull out of the area. Hezbollah still like rocketing the place and killing some of the soldiers, which they can't help but feel is something of a waste of life given that they're about to leave. Seeming to skirt around issues rather than tackle them, it's difficult to point at much it does wrong, per se, but it's somewhat underwhelming.
The other candidate for best film covered in this podcast, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is an affecting tale of a man suffering 'locked in syndrome'. Able to communicate with the world only by blinking, he dictates his memoires to his therapist and his touching, vibrant explanations of his life and imagination produce a very good film that I'm very fond of.
We round of with a despairing chat about the state of 2007 and a few notes of hope for 2008.