Spling reviews Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far on Foot, The Gentlemen and David Lynch: The Art Life as broadcast on Talking Movies, Fine Music Radio. Listen to podcast.
Good morning – welcome to Talking Movies, I’m Spling…
This week, we’re talking about a biographical comedy drama, a crime caper and a biographical art documentary.
Starting off with a film now on Amazon Prime…
DON’T WORRY HE WON’T GET FAR ON FOOT
On the rocky path to sobriety after a life-changing accident, John Callahan discovers the healing power of art.
Director: Gus Van Sant
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill and Rooney Mara
– Van Sant’s latest offering is essentially a blend of his experimental and accessible approach bridging the divide between Elephant and Good Will Hunting.
– A biopic centred on divisive cartoonist John Callahan, who was too edgy for MAD magazine and The New Yorker, it explores the man’s lifelong struggle with alcohol and a life-changing event that left him paralyzed with limited upper body movement.
– Now widely known for bringing Arthur Fleck into focus as the new and grittier Joker 2.0, Phoenix is supremely watchable, mirroring Van Sant’s appetite for the arthouse-going-drama genre.
– Riffing off Callahan’s cartoons, which reflect his penchant to flirt with edgy, raw and controversial it’s also a timely biopic toying with society’s heightened sensitivity toward everything.
– It’s refreshing to see a quadriplegic lead character in a feature film and Phoenix captures the nuances of Callahan’s rehabilitation, alcohol dependency and abandonment issues without becoming flippant or overly sympathetic.
– He’s supported by dependable co-stars in Mara and Black with an almost unrecognisable Hill playing a tough love sponsor and mentor.
– The wry comedic undertone lightens the true weight of the drama in a similar fashion to the biopic of National Lampoon’s Douglas Kenney, A Futile and Stupid Gesture.
– The film’s edit is ambitious yet captivating, creating flashbacks and flashforwards to offer an all-encompassing portrait of the man through his wild sense of humour and overcoming challenges with a little help from his friends.
A solid 7 on the splingometer!
Moving on to a film now on Showmax…
An American expat tries to sell off his highly profitable marijuana empire in London.
Director: Guy Ritchie
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam and Hugh Grant
– Guy Ritchie has made a name for himself, often referred to as the British Tarantino, with a slew of distinctly British crime thrillers such as: Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and RocknRolla.
– While it’s been two decades since Snatch, the prolific director has turned to franchises such as Sherlock Holmes in the meantime, coming back to The Gentleman to reveal he’s still got it!
– Featuring a stellar cast including Grant, McConaughey, Hunnam, Farrell and next generation talents Henry Golding and Michelle Dockery, they flesh out a cast of typically oddball characters.
– A blend of Ray Winstone and David Brent from The Office, Hugh Grant is the scene-stealer dropping his typically posh act for something much more guttural in every sense of the word.
– Being The Gentleman, the wardrobe and fashion gives this film a modern pageantry that may serve as an inspiration.
– Ritchie has a knack for writing dialogue that’s witty in its own earthy schlock, almost melodic and punctuated by expletives.
– Populated by a usual suspects line-up with dangerous agendas, this is a violent yet comical crime caper.
– A “very Guy Ritchie film”, he tips the hat to many of his previous films such as Sherlock Holmes with a similar round-up, featuring a poster for The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
– It’s unabashedly rowdy film, essentially a stoner comedy crime caper that’s plenty of fun brandishing a kind of mindless entertainment with bolshy performances.
A satisfactory 6 on the splingometer!
And finally a documentary now on DVD…
DAVID LYNCH: THE ART LIFE
Artist and filmmaker David Lynch discusses his early life and the events that shaped his outlook on art and the creative process.
Directors: Rick Barnes, Olivia Neergaard-Holm and Jon Nguyen
– David Lynch is regarded as one of the greatest contemporary film directors, arguably one of the greatest of all-time.
– His brooding, dark, surreal and mind-bending films have entertained and exasperated audiences for decades.
– Serving as an origin story, we rewind to his earliest days before his film grant gave him unprecedented access to a whole new playground that culminated in Eraserhead.
– Getting the story from Lynch who also serves as a primary narrator, this is essentially an all-access pass to his childhood, early days as an art student and gravitation toward the moving picture.
– A true creative, influenced by the art spirit which he came to interpret as the art life, old photographs and exclusive footage are relayed as we unpack his creative process.
– Spliced between the storytelling we see the artist at work in real-time, referencing many of his artworks and exploring some of the moments that inspired them.
– The custom recording studio has a spooky ambience, but results in podcast quality sound.
– While this detracts more than it adds, this all-access documentary is fascinating, inspiring and captures the essence of Lynch’s true creative genius.
– Artful in its own right, the documentary uses sound and visuals in an attempt to reflect Lynch’s trademark aesthetic, mood and style.
– It’s a real gem for Lynch enthusiasts and a curiosity to those with an artistic bent that leaves you wanting more.
It did just enough to get an excellent 8 on the splingometer!
So just to wrap up…
DON’T WORRY HE WON’T GET FAR ON FOOT… while choppy, Van Sant’s film is compelled by two fine performances, a curious true story, good pacing and an amusing tone… A solid 7!
THE GENTLEMEN… a stellar cast, crisp wardrobe, witty banter and a spectrum of oddballs make for a brash yet fun comedy crime caper in the key of Ritchie… A satisfactory 6!
DAVID LYNCH: THE ART LIFE… this intimate all-access art documentary captures the essence of David Lynch’s early life, creative genius and inspiration… An excellent 8!
For more movie reviews, previous Talking Movies podcasts and upcoming Bingeing with Spling watch parties visit splingmovies.com.
And remember, Don’t WING it, SPL!NG it!