Momentary Cinema’s First Year: A Re-Glance

And so an end of the first year in the life of Momentary Cinema has been reached. It has been a pleasant and enjoyable experience working on this film blog and I am gratified that it has reached many people across the world – comments about the blog and its contents from people I know and people I have never met have been truly positive and complimentary. Thank you.

Of course, Momentary Cinema would have never excelled if it hadn’t been for the passion and hard graft shown by my co-writers Robin Stevens and Alan Matthews. What was initially an invitation to write a post on ‘whatever you want, as long as its about film’ soon turned into a regular contribution of entertaining essays and insights into the world of film (and television). I am glad to say now, that Robin and Alan are officially part of the Momentary Cinema team.  Much of what we craft up is a result of our regular discussions about movies and TV: the drama, the entertainment, the art or whatever you’re having really!

Here, I provide a synopsis of all the posts from the last year (now counting over 40!), combined into one convenient list for your use (hyperlinks attached)…

The End as the Beginning

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It all started back in November last year with this treatise about the showcasing of the end of the world on the big screen – indeed, inspired by a certain madness that had recently gripped the US:

The End of the World as They Show It

Kirk Douglas

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In honour of one of the oldest living legends of the screen reaching his century mark, I decided to post a few reviews of Kirk Douglas’s films back in December: Paths of Glory, Ace in the Hole and Spartacus:

Kirk Douglas at 100 and Paths of Glory

Archive Review – Ace in the Hole

Archive Review – Spartacus

Adaptations

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The first ‘series’ of the blog was titled ‘Adaptations’. The focus here is on discussing various film adaptations of novels. I kicked off proceedings with the true story of the bear-evading Hugh Glass and the two screen adaptations based on it: Man in the Wilderness and The Revenant. This was followed by a look at two of the more famous adaptations of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby: Jack Clayton’s restrained take in 1972 and Baz Luhrmann’s unrestrained take in 2013.

Adaptations Part 1: The Revenant and Man in the Wilderness – The Story of Hugh Glass

Adaptations Part 2: The Great Catastrophe of Adapting Gatsby

An unofficial addition to this series was a review post by myself and Robin on two versions of The Beguiled (Don Siegel’s film in 1972 and Sofia Coppola in 2017), which were both adaptations of Thomas P. Cullinan’s 1966 novel ‘A Painted Devil’.

The Two Reviews: The Beguiled (2017) & The Beguiled (1971)

I am hoping that the next inclusion in this series will be on two adaptations of George Arnaud’s novel The Wages of Fear: Henri-Georges Clouzot 1953 film of the same name and William Friedkin’s Sorcerer from 1977.

The European Masterpieces

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Another series that began in earnest in February of this year was entitled ‘The European Masterpieces’ – a look at some of my personal favourite films that have been made throughout Europe. The first looked at the two-part French drama Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources (1986), and the second part looked at a trilogy of Italian films by the master Michelangelo Antonioni: L’Avventura (1960), La Notte (1961) and L’Eclisse (1962):

The European Masterpieces Part 1: Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources

The European Masterpieces Part 2: L’Avventura, La Notte and L’Eclisse

JJ’s Stand-alone Posts

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Here is a list of my random essays on film and documentaries from the last year. These include my thoughts on Jean-Luc Godard, Werner Herzog, documentaries about films, Aboriginal Australian films, Middle Eastern films, American road movies, the depictions of Nazis on film and Hollywood representations of Ireland:

Werner Herzog: The Mind of a Visionary Genius

Dreams and Madness: 6 Great Documentaries about Making Film

Survival Day: Reflections on Aboriginal Australia in Film

Godard et La Nouvelle Vague: A Collision of American and European Cultures

Films from The Middle East: A Short Selection

The American Road Movie: Driving Away From the 1960s Counterculture

Nazism and the impact of World War II as depicted on Film

Hollywood Fieldtrips to Ireland: The Good, the Bad and the Uafásach*

Robin’s Stand-alone Posts

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The first guest post I received was from Robin Stevens back in December and this was a brilliant, in-depth essay on all the ins and outs, as well as the real-life situations of many of the cast and crew, of the timeless classic Casablanca. He followed this up in the middle of this year with a affectionate and enlightening appraisal of George Stevens’ marvelous A Place in the Sun:

The War-torn World of Casablanca (by Robin Stevens)

Shades of Light and Dark in A Place in the Sun (by Robin Stevens)

Alan’s Stand-alone Posts

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Alan Matthews hopped on board in June and he produced a series of high-quality and entertaining posts that touched on a whole range of films and subjects. As stand-alone posts, he has taken a close look at Peter Weir’s blockbuster from 2003 Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (and its background and influences), and recently he offered a sort-of ode to the legend of John Wayne by focusing on his swansong film The Shootist:

Lost in the Fog: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (by Alan Matthews)

“The most celebrated shootist extant” – John Wayne and The Shootist (by Alan Matthews)

The ‘Movie Rules’

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Alan also began a few series too, which we hope to continue into the new year. The first was a light-hearted explanation of certain movie ‘rules’. As Alan always reminds us:

There are certain rules known only to a select few by which it is possible to predict the quality of movies. The origin of these rules is often obscure and difficult to explain.

The first rule concerns the British actor Micheal York and the remakes of his films that should never have been made, while the second rule instructs on the different cuts that can be made of same movie:

Rule 47: Never remake a movie which has previously starred Michael York (by Alan Matthews)

Rule 21: The ‘Director’s Cut’ is always the best version of the movie, except when it isn’t (by Alan Matthews)

TV Series that originated from Films

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Both myself and Alan also offered a short two-part series on cinema and its ongoing, some would say losing, battle with television. It looked at many examples of TV shows that had expanded directly from ideas, themes and characters first shown in a film:

The Sun Always Shines on TV – Part 1 (by Alan Matthews)

The Sun Always Shines on TV – Part 2 (by JJ McDermott)

Music in Film

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Myself and Alan also tried to settle our personal favourite film scores by making two separate lists. The two posts obviously highlighted our different tastes when it comes to music, but I think we are both respectful of the choices:

The Settling of Scores: 7 of the Greatest Musical Compositions in Film

The Score is Not Settled: 7 More Great Cinematic Musical Compositions (by Alan Matthews)

Music was also on the agenda for an earlier piece I done last December, which looked at specific scenes that utilise a song or a musical performance (very well, in my opinion):

An Unexpected Musical Interlude

Exploring Hitchcock

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A further series of posts was recently begun by Robin on the films and career of Alfred Hitchcock. This three-parter had Robin write about Rebecca, Rear Window and The Birds, while I offered a look at The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), The 39 Steps, Secret Agent, Frenzy and Family Plot. The series was concluded by Alan with his intriguing insights on Vertigo and Psycho.

Exploring Hitchcock: Part 1 – A Deeper Look at Rebecca, Rear Window and The Birds (by Robin Stevens)

Exploring Hitchcock: Part 2 – The Early Masterpieces and his (not so) Grand Finale (by JJ McDermott)

Exploring Hitchcock Part 3: Don’t read this! – Vertigo and Psycho (By Alan Matthews)

The Movie Reviews

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Between the three of us, myself, Robin and Alan, we were all quite busy watching new films throughout the year and were happily able to communicate our thoughts on some of these with a series of review posts. We first provided an overview of all the movies we seen in the first half of the year (just to catch up) and then began with a short review format, as listed below:

JJ, Robin and Alan’s Round-up of the Year in Film…So Far

The Three Reviews: Dunkirk (2017 Christopher Nolan)

The Two Reviews: Ghost in the Shell (2017 Rupert Sanders)

A Few New Reviews: A Ghost Story, American Made, Atomic Blonde and Logan Lucky

The Two Reviews: The Trip to Spain (2017 Michael Winterbottom)

The Two Reviews: Maudie and It

The Two Reviews: Mother! (2017 Darren Aronofsky)

We intend to write a combined discussion which reviews 2017 in film and TV and have this released just before the end of the year. My own review of last year’s films is found here if you want to have another look:

The Time Has Come: A Review of Some Films From 2016

Blade Runner 2049

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There were some films that stood out more than others this year and Blade Runner 2049 was a good example. Alan wrote extensively about the film before and after it was released, while myself and Robin contributed a combined review of it:

Fear for the Future: Blade Runner 2049 (by Alan Matthews)

The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear 3D Glasses – A Review of Blade Runner 2049 (by Alan Matthews)

The Two Reviews: Blade Runner 2049 (2017 Denis Villeneuve)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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Alan also provided his optimistic thoughts on the upcoming Star Wars movie The Last Jedi in a preview post, which also included an interesting look-back at all of the Star Wars movies past. The three of us anticipate writing up a review of The Last Jedi once it has made its way to a cinema near us in mid-December, so watch out.

Hope for the Future – Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (by Alan Matthews)

Finding Escape

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I will finish off on a piece I wrote back in February, having had just watched and enjoyed La La Land. The focus here was on films that provide nostalgia and warmth. Enjoy…

Escaping This World Through Film

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