Monster’s Ball (2001 USA)

This is a typical male erotic fantasy, the hesitant white man dutifully tending to the jungle goddess because she’s damaged and begging to be repaired. What the film really wants to do is titillate its audience with the prospect of hot black- on- white sex. Whilst the entire film is shot with economy, using very little coverage, its famous sex scene is shot from every possible angle (and more if you buy the director’s cut). The director wants us to leer at Halle Berry’ chocolate flesh- the film treating the audience to delightful little snippets of Berry’s berries and pert little cheeks. End result: white audience gets a slice of jungle fever, whilst passing it off as grief coping. As for me, my White Guilt O Metre could only reach as high as 4 out of 10. [Read more…]

Ask The Dust (2006 USA)

1939. John Fante writes “Ask the Dust” about a young man embarking on a literary career. Years later a young Robert Towne voraciously devours Fante’s novels, most of which attempt to paint a portrait of early 20th century Los Angeles. Decades pass. Towne embarks on his own literary career. He scores big with his script for Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown”, a LA noir influenced and flavoured by Fante. Towne and Fante personally meet in the 1970s. Fante dies in 1983. Two decades later Towne adapts “Ask the Dust” for the screen… [Read more…]

Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)

Angela's Ashes bookA boy growing up in the slums of Limerick, Ireland, starving, freezing and surrounded by the people real families are made of. In a time when memoirs became the finest expressions of high literary art, “Angela’s Ashes” ascended with alacrity to become the most exalted of them. The author paints a watercolour of bleak, smog filled, rainy streets so vivid that I sense the mist rising off the River Shannon and hitting me in the face. [Read more…]

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