All Consuming

I'm currently reading 7 books, listening to 1 album, watching 4 movies, eating and drinking 0 food items, and consuming 1 other thing.

Chris Campbell hasn't consumed anything recently.

327 entries have been written about this.

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A Beautiful Night — 5 years ago


Claire Denis has a gift for capturing small and beautiful details in her films and Friday Night is simply follows a woman as she leaves her apartment to move in with her boyfriend and drives across Paris during the gridlock of a transit strike when she meets a stranger and spends the evening with him. Telling the story elliptically and with a minimal amount of dialogue it’s a poetic sketch of a moment in time.

A Subtle Story About Difficult Choices — 5 years ago


With a powerful performance by Melissa Leo at the centre of the film, Frozen River is an understated look at the choices a woman makes as she tries to make a better life for herself and her children. Set in the winter along the US and Canadian border, it’s the gripping story of how someone gets involved in smuggling people across the border. Shot on location with a documentary feel by Courtney Hunt, it’s a powerful film that presents realistic characters in an honest and brave way.

A Watered Down Adaptation — 5 years ago

I really wanted to like Blindness and thought that it was a pretty safe bet with Fernando Meirelles who directed the heart wrenching “City of God”: as well as “The Constant Gardener”: , but it just didn’t work for me. For some reason I never connected with the characters and the film very much felt as if it was designed and constructed by a very large committee. While there are some nice visual touches, I kept thinking of other films that did the whole breakdown of society thing much better such as Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later and Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men . The large cast and the jumping around between the characters distanced me from what was happening and when a voice-over comes in later in the film, I was wondering how much longer the film was. While it does create the world with some interesting shooting and production design, it just wasn’t very compelling on a human level.

A Melancholy Dystopian Comedy — 5 years ago


They don’t care about pole vaulting. Or dreams.

In the debut feature from Jared Drake (with a script cowritten by his brother Brandon), Visioneers there is an odd and melacholy tone, almost like a darker version of Idiocracy where it all holds together much better. There is a compelling lack of explanation for most of the absurdity in the film, which is at times very funny and at times poignant. One of the most unique films I’ve seen in a while, it’s a meditation on the pointlessness of work and consumerism that pushes things off-kilter to make a satirical point in a much more effective way than if it played it completely straight.

With strong and compelling performances by Zach Galifianakis and Judy Greer it’s a film that is hard to explain or categorize. I’m glad that I didn’t know a lot about it before seeing it as seeing the consistent, but puzzling world emerge was a lot of fun. It’s truly independent and special and I don’t know how it’s going to fit into the distribution system, but I hope that it does get out there.


A story about "Absente" — 5 years ago


Absinthe has been portrayed in popular culture most notably to me in the films Moulin Rouge and From Hell (where Johnny Depp performs the absinthe ritual with a spoon, sugar cube and lights it on fire). When I saw a bottle of Absente brand absinthe at the liquor store, complete with an absinthe spoon, I had to get it.

The ritual involving fire isn’t the traditional way to prepare it, and I didn’t light it on fire. You dilute the absinthe with an equal amount of water that you pour over a sugar cube perched on the spoon on top of the glass.

It’s green (but a look a the label reveals that it’s probably due to food colouring) and when it’s mixed together it becomes a cloudy green. It tastes of liquorice and nicely numbs the tongue (it’s 40% alcohol). It’s nice to sip and made me feel relaxed without feeling sleepy, so it’s a good to have a few combined with good company and conversation.

A Film About A Band That Isn't Here Any More — 5 years ago


In Grant Gee’s Joy Division he tells the story of the band and those surrounding it. It’s stylish filmmaking and he pieces together the interviews, photographs, sounds and archival footage skillfully to create a full and moving portrait of a band that only had two albumns before the suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis. Gee’s previous music documentary about Radiohead and their OK Computer tour, Meeting People is Easy was a downbeat and fascinating existential look at the soul-draining process of a gruelling tour. With Joy Division Gee relies on archival footage and audio presented in a visually interesting way. It’s respectful and for me it provided context for the Manchester scene and the people there. Some of the visual touches are quite clever with a running motif of titles that identify “Places That Aren’t There Any More” and displaying iTunes-like visualizations for audio-only interviews. It has just enough of the story and music to tell the story and give us a glimpse into the lives of the people who formed the band and who were left behind.

A Thrilling Transatlantic Adaptation — 5 years ago


I briefly saw a review of Guillaume Canet’s Tell No One and kept my eye out for it, hoping that it would make it to a theatre near me or show up on DVD. Then one day in a bookstore a copy of a novel called “Tell No One” was misplaced on a stack of other books, then I realized that the French film was an adaptation of an American novel. Later that day in my local video store I saw the DVD, which surprised me as I didn’t think that it was released on DVD yet. Luckily there was a limited DVD release in Canada earlier this year, so while there is another release in the fall, I was able to see it now.

It’s a subtle and beautifully constructed thriller that carefully tells the story and slowly increases the pace as the story progresses. In retrospect it’s a bit improbable, but within the film, it sucked me in. The broad and simple outline is that a man who dearly loves his wife loses her in a seemingly random attack. Eight years after her death he receives an email that apparently indicates that she’s still alive. With a shifting tone and a skillful touch with a great cast, it starts out as a story of love and loss, and then changes seamlessly into a thriller. I loved watching the characters and piecing together the story, which is why I’m not revealing many details at all.
Tell No One is a great psychological thriller for grownups that teases us with enigmas built around fascinating characters.

A Dark Set of Ethical Dilemmas — 5 years ago


With so much anticipation, I was excited, but slightly dreading attending The Dark Knight as I was afraid that it wouldn’t live up to the hype. The problem was that I watched the trailers a few times and couldn’t help be start to construct the film in my mind. Luckily the film of the trailer isn’t really the film that I saw.

Christopher Nolan (and his co-screenwriter Jonathan Nolan) set up a series of ethical decisions that the main characters must make in the film as well as setting up an interlocking web of characters and their opposites. What distinguishes good from evil, right from wrong, or us from them. The film starts off by establishing the context of the situation in Gotham and then alternates between action and character development. The action is expertly done without the excesses of Nolan’s first Batman film.

The cast is great and Christian Bale continues his solid interpretation of Bruce Wayne / Batman, but with the addition of Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent and Maggie Gyllenhaal replacing Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes, it seems to balance things out more and makes the cast much more interesting. But the centre of the film is really Heath Ledger with his twisted and frightening performance as the Joker.

It’s a entertaining, but dark summer film that keeps you thinking about what happened and the idea of the superhero long after the film is done.

An Oblique Glimpse of Evil — 5 years ago


I would say that the less you know about I Can’t Sleep going in, the better. Claire Denis makes beautiful, elliptical films that sneak up on you and leave most of the work at making sense of things to the viewer. In I Can’t Sleep we’re introduced to a set of characters and as the film progresses we find out why they are in the film and how they are connected. Denis plays with the sound, so at times we hear the ambient sound from somewhere else and don’t hear what characters are saying since it doesn’t really matter. In the background of everything are a series of unsolved murders of elderly women, but Denis wisely doesn’t focus on that, but on the people as we watch them interact and go about thier lives in a film that explores themes of alientation and evil in a subtle and indirect way.

Slightly Dark and Fun Summer Movie — 5 years ago


The second Hellboy film from Guillermo del Toro, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, gleefully stays within the B-movie confines of the original. With more elaborate creatures and a tighter story than the first film, it’s good fun with some beautiful images and moments between the characters. You can tell that del Toro and the cast are having a great time as they fight supernatural foes and struggle with relationship issues. It’s delicate balance, but I love the characters and the visual splendour of the film kept me interested and entertained. I like a film that is happy and secure in the world that it creates.

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