When I used to collect records, the vinyl kind, back in the eighties there was one artist whose music touched my heart to such an extent, that I would buy anything they produced. Anita Baker hit a musical and critical peak in the eighties, the release of her album Rapture, pushing her into the national consciousness. I bought her next album without even hearing a track, so enamoured with her sound I was at the time. Music was still mostly an aural experience then, not the social media driven industry it is now. Visual is king now.
I have written before about how I will and do watch anything that Joss Whedon is involved with. The creator of the glorious Buffy The Vampire Slayer television show and the criminally short-lived Firefly, I have rarely been disappointed with any of his output. Aaron Sorkin is another whose writing will get me to seek out a show, though not with the same acolyte like favour with which I approach a Whedon works.
After the dynamic Whiplash, I was eager to see Damien Chazelle’s follow up and La La Land did not disappoint so I look forward to his future works. Like most, I will either look for a subject matter of interest, recommendations from friends or, as a bit of a film fan, work by people who have impressed me before. It does not always work out well. I am quite the fan of David Fincher, director of Seven and most recently the excellent Gone Girl, but I could not get through Zodiac, especially as – spoiler alert – I realised there could be no resolution as, based on a true story, the serial killer had never been caught. An hour in I switched it off.
I also, like so many, love a Martin Scorsese film, but I have also been underwhelmed by some of his biggest hits and the slower paced, earnest efforts. There is a director working currently whose name on a film project guarantees my attention and that is Christopher Nolan. In tandem with his brother, Johnathan – who along with his wife, Lisa, created the unmissable Westworld television series – Christopher Nolan has brought not only some of the most watchable films to the big screen but also some of the most intelligent. Famed for the Dark Knight trilogy, he also made my favourite film of 2010 in the mind scrabbling Inception, the great, if mildly indulgent Interstellar and the staggeringly gripping The Prestige.
Nolan’s latest film, due for release in mid-July, is a film covering a dark period in British history. Set to be an epic retelling of the battle, Dunkirk will once again feature a stalwart of Nolan’s in Cillian Murphy, he of the haunting eyes. As is Nolan’s way, the scale looks grandiose, no doubting that the battle scenes will be full-on, visceral, heart-thumping depictions of the worse elements of war and battle. I am still not even slightly excited for this new film.
I have never been a fan of war films. I have yet to get through even the first hour of Apocalypse Now, Saving Private Ryan held no interest whatsoever for me, I watched Black Hawk Down on a recommendation and can only remember a lot of helicopters! War films really are not my thing. I have seen a few old classics; The Bridge On The River Kwai, The Great Escape, Full Metal Jacket, M.A.S.H, to name a few, but even the Midas touch of Tarantino failed to elicit a liking for war films, with Inglorious Basterds my least favourite of his films and I include the risible Deathproof in that.
I probably will succumb to the Nolan pull and end up seeing Dunkirk as I love his cinematic verve. I probably should get around to watching Apocalypse Now as it is considered the benchmark in war films. Maybe, hopefully, I’ll enjoy it.