I don’t hate ‘Emily in Paris’ because I’m a bloke. I hate it because it’s crap…
I’ve come under a bit of flack lately. Specifically because I absolutely hate ‘Emily in Paris’ (2020). The argument goes something like this. It’s an idea that I don’t get Darren Star’s terrible TV show because I’m a 24 year old bloke. I’m not a teenage or twentysomething girl who is clearly the target audience and so I don’t understand every young girl’s wildest female fantasies of romantic cities, sexy languages and hunky French men.
Well, firstly. That’s not every girl’s female fantasy. The idea that there is such a thing as a female fantasy that every woman aspires to is a joke and sexist itself. And, secondly, let me make this clear. Just like with ‘Sex and the City’ (another Darren Star monstrosity), I don’t hate ‘Emily in Paris’ because I’m a man and therefore the wrong audience. I hate it because it is RACIST, SEXIST, XENOPHOBIC and really just vile.
The question of why I hate ‘Emily in Paris’ isn’t gender specific. It’s that it’s not gender specific - I hate it because it presents a completely unrealistic and putrid portrait of womanhood. I say that as a bloke and Emily Cooper might as well be a man in drag!
OPINION: CAREY MULLIGAN WAS WRONG FOR ‘PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN’ NOT BECAUSE SHE WASN’T SEXY, JUST TOO CLASSY
Margot Robbie would’ve been better suited to the role because she has more of a bad girl image.
On this level, she is certainly an odd choice for the role of a vengeful, murderous best friend to a rape victim who spends her nights faking drunkeness, seducing men and murdering them. The role requires her to wear lots of make-up and dress in a way that is clearly sexually provocative. Clearly designed to allure men and hit their sex drive.
Of course, women shouldn’t be judged on looks, just like men shouldn’t. They should be judged on brains and acting talent. On this level, Mulligan is certainly a better actress than Robbie. But I do think she was wrong for the role of Cassie Thomas. Not because she’s less sexy than Margot Robbie, but because her image just doesn’t sit right with that kind of role.
It wouldn’t have made a difference anyway. ‘Promising Young Woman’ sucks and that’s not sexist...
Facebook and other social media has become a playground for secondary school bickering.
It’s been 2 years since I quit my Facebook now. I quit for a good reason - I’d lost a sense of what Facebook was about. I had become quite obnoxious and was posting angry facebook statuses angrily and forthrightly imposing my political views on others. But mostly I was pissed off to my knees by the idiotic, incessant secondary school bickering that some people seem to specialise in and use Facebook as a platform to play the moral police.
There’s a select group of individuals on Facebook - often loony, smug left-wingers - who, whenever anyone says something controversial, start frothing and greatly overreacting; acting like they have the moral high ground. When, in actuality, they’re possessing and demonstrating exactly the same bigotry and moral superiority as the person they are criticizing.
Let me take you back to 2018. I was an angry, confused young man. I posted a crude and tasteless joke about sexual harassment which in hindsight was probably not the most sensitive thing to say.
Within minutes, my post was hounded with comments. People calling me a “misogynist” and “sick”. I also find it ironic that the majority of these people who made these comments were men and thus had no experience of female sexual harassment. Women commented too, but were much more polite. This only went to show their loony left-wing, Champagne Socialist bigotry.
The only person who showed any sensitivity was ironically someone who had experienced sexual harassment herself. She won’t be named as this is a personal post. She privately messaged me, not wanting to defame me publicly like many others seemed intent on doing less out of social justice than a desire to put me down, and spoke a productive, polite and detailed discussion on why this post upset her. She explained to me how hurt she was by my joke and it made me feel very emotional. That she, despite how much offence I caused her, was willing to hear my side of the story.
I screwed up on that count. It was a poor joke. But it did not promote the kind of rhetoric the FB “moral police” secondary school bickerers responded with.
I wish more people could demonstrate such sensitivity. And stop using Facebook as a platform to mock others.
Carey Mulligan’s performance is a little too classy for this kind of role. I’m not saying the lead actress needed to be sexy necessarily, just a bit more trashy in her personality and image. Margot Robbie perfected this with her trash-talking, arse-kicking Harley Quinn in ‘Birds of Prey’ which was a far less serious movie and far more fun. I can’t understand why Mulligan has attracted so much awards attention for this performance. It all looks a bit like bad drag.
Does this movie glorify sexual assault on men and women? Not quite. But it’s neither smart, sexy or funny enough to really cut to the heart of the subject matter. I just found it a colossal bore.
‘Promising Young Woman’ is on Sky Cinema and Now TV now.
12A, 120 Mins
‘Minari’ is directed by Korean-American director Lee Isaac-Chung and is semi-autobiographically based on his upbringing in rural America. The year is 1983 and Korean immigrant boy David (Alan Kim) moves from California to a new plot of land in Arkansas. Here his father Jacob (Steven Yeun) hopes to grow Korean produce to sell to vendors in Dallas.
One of Jacob’s first decisions is to decline the services of a water diviner and digs a well in a spot he finds of his own. He enlists the help of local man and Korean War veteran Paul (Will Patton). Jacob is optimistic about his life ahead in Arkansas, but his wife Monica (Han Ye-Ri) is disappointed by it and worries about their son David’s heart condition. Jacob and Monica work sexing chicks at a local hatchery and argue continuously while David and his sister (Noel Kate Cho) eavesdrop…
There’s some remarkable similarities between this brilliant coming-of-age drama and Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ (2014). These are especially evident in the opening scenes which see David looking out of a bus window as he moves into his new house. I imagined ‘Hero’ by Family of the Year - a ‘Boyhood’ classic - playing in the background. Like ‘Boyhood’, ‘Minari goes to suggest that growing up can be both fun (like when David picks for Minari plants) and scary (like in the tragic and terrifying film ending).
What this film has which ‘Boyhood’ doesn’t have is a culture clash element. I liked the relationship between Jacob and Korean War veteran Paul. The two men are at odds with each other as the latter was at war in the former’s country. They connect over small things like thatching the roof of Jacob’s new house and it’s a really nice friendship.
This film speaks from the heart about the immigrant experience and that’s evident in the bilingual mix of Korean and English which is lended to the dialogue. It’s also been a source of controversy as ‘Minari’ was not eligible for the Best Drama Golden Globes because it was 50% in Korean and only 50% in English. Thankfully it’s now been nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.
Steven Yeun gives a great performance as Jacob - bilingual, eloquent and insightful at the highs and lows of being an immigrant. I especially liked the relationship with his children.
Then there’s Han Ye-Ri as the grandmother who is amazing. She’s the beating heart and soul of the film - the ultra-conservative Korean matriarchal figure. But she also has a soft side which is exposed in her relationship with David. A scene where she picks the titular minari with him speaks and moves volumes.
‘Minari’ builds to an epic tragedy ending. It involves a house burning and grandmother trapped inside. The shot of the grandmother coming out of the burning building could easily have walked off the set of ‘Titus Andronicus’. Very powerful stuff.
‘Minari’ is topnotch Oscar viewing. A coming-of-age family drama with a big heart and lots of head. This is my favourite to win Best Picture. Wouldn’t it be great if another foreign language film won again?
‘Minari’ is on multiple platforms now.
Johnson has faced a lot of criticism for his handling of the pandemic. Last March, he told us “we’ll send Covid packing within 12 weeks” - only for the 1st lockdown to last 4 months. He became complacent last summer with the Eat-out-to-help-out scheme; claiming a 2nd lockdown would be disastrous only to impose a fragile and irresponsible tier system that was a lockdown missing only the name.
This didn’t stop there being an actual 2nd lockdown and it was a complete disaster. Schools were open when they should have been shut and most shops open for Click and Collect. The numbers still soared over the winter and yet Boris planned on giving us a 5-day window to meet over Christmas. That got cancelled the moment the numbers were against him.
It also didn’t stop there being a third lockdown which we are currently in and are now hopefully coming out of. The next 2 months and gradual, necessarily steady lifting of restrictions will be crucial to predicting Johnson’s Prime Ministerial legacy. If the country falls into a third wave and 4th lockdown, I doubt the public will be so forgiving. I doubt his party will be so forgiving for that matter. They might remove him and put Rishi Sunak at the top instead. He’s so far proved to be the wannabe star and most popular Tory politician this pandemic.
I’m reminded greatly now of Boris’ fragile situation and that of Gordon Brown in 2008. Brown was an iron-fisted Chancellor - Blair’s right hand man and the longest-serving one in post-war history. He desperately craved to be Prime Minister, but, when he finally got the job in 2007, he appeared to not know what to do with it. He chickened out of calling an early election which he probably would have won and there were massacres at the polls and accusations of incompetence.
Then came the financial crisis in 2008. “Crash Gordon” was what the Tories nicknamed him. He was widely blamed for not having the money or capacity to deal with the global credit crunch thanks to rampant overspending on welfare, healthcare and education. He was seen to have left Britain in its biggest debt for 300 years.
Brown was mocked by David Cameron when he had a slip of the tongue and said he “saved the world” instead of “saved the banks”. He didn’t do it alone - revitalizing the economy globally required a team effort from world leaders including Barack Obama and Angela Merkel. But nowadays Brown’s “save the world” mantra is widely considered to be true - he recapitalized the banks and got the global economy back to a healthy medium.
Like Brown, Boris is in charge of shepardeering the country through its worst crisis in centuries. We haven’t seen a global pandemic on this scale since the Spanish Flu - just like we hadn’t seen a financial crisis on the scale of the 2008 crash since the Wall Street crash of 1929.
And, like Brown, Boris has been hugely scrutinised and criticized for his handling of the crisis. I certainly think a bit less optimism and a bit more realism could have been needed to raise the morale of the nation. But then I think to myself, could I do any better?
Boris and Brown faced criticism and scrutiny in the moment because any leader tasked with revitalizing a nation wrecked by a juggernaut was going to receive so. The difference is that Brown is now widely considered a pariah once the crisis was over and the economy back on track. His pricey stimulus package is now considered the saviour of the nation.
Johnson ought to take note. If he gets his judgement right and gradually and steadily brings us out of lockdown within the next 2 months, he will be considered a post-war Prime Ministerial saviour. A Prime Minister mocked at the time of the crisis, but looked back upon as a man who really did save the nation...
RIP Helen McCrory
She was married to ‘Homeland’ star Damian Lewis who was the first to break the news of her passing. He broke the news on Twitter saying McCrory had died “peacefully at home”. Lewis said: “I’m heartbroken to announce that after a heroic battle with cancer, the beautiful and mighty woman that is Helen McCrory has died...surrounded by a wave of love from family and friends”.
My thoughts are with the Lewis family and my mum who knew McCrory. She was a fabulous actor who bore an uncanny resemblance and impression of Cherie Blair opposite Michael Sheen as Tony.
Mads in Indiana Jones 5
The film marks another franchise this Danish icon is boarding following reports that he will replace Johnny Depp in ‘Fantastic Beasts 3’.
I’d love to see Mikkelsen in a villainous role - he’s brilliant at that on TV in ‘Hannibal’ and in ‘Casino Royale’ (2006); chewing up the scenery with typical Scandi relish. ‘Indiana Jones 5’ opens July 29th, 2021.
Virtual Academy Awards
The organizers of April 25th’s Oscar show including ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ director Steven Soderbergh had earlier said that it “would not be an option for nominees to zoom in for the show”. But, according to the Hollywood Reporter, in a group call with all nominees, the producers outlined plans to set up venues in London and Paris as uncertainty over travel restrictions prevailed.
Frankly I think this is the right step in the right direction for Oscars. The Zoom ban was toxic considering a large proportion of this year’s nominees are Brits who are still under lockdown restrictions. Having signposted venues for nominees to give their speeches might become the norm in the post-Covid world of awards ceremonies…
Lip-biting Lady Di
In the pictures, Stewart smiles at the camera with a layered blonde bob along with a tartan blazer and diamond engagement ring that appears to be copies of those sported by the real princess.
Jack Farthing will star as Prince Charles and the supporting cast includes Timothy Spall, Sally Hawkins and Sean Harris.
Stewart looks unrecognizable. She certainly looks the part with her blonde locks and piercing blue eyes. But she needs to get her perpetual habit of biting her bottom lip under control. That always made her very annoying in the ‘Twilight’ movies…
Almost the entire team who starred in the 2019 film are returning for the sequel including Asher Angel and Zachary Levi. David F. Sandberg is directing again from a script by Henry Gayden and ‘West Side Story’ star Rachel Zegler also joins the cast.
Mirren is no stranger to parts in action-packed franchises. She’ll next appear in ‘F9: The Fast Saga’, returning as Queenie Shaw and she also played an assassin in ‘Red’ (2010) and its sequel ‘Red 2’ (2013).
‘Shazam’ should be honoured to have Helen onboard as the villain. She’s a national treasure and I’d love to see her lick up the scenery in a baddie part…
15, 91 Mins
Andy Samberg is Nyles who has a hot, blonde girlfriend named Misty (Meredith Hagner) who he regularly has sex with. On November 9th, Nyles wakes up next to his girlfriend on the wedding day of Tala and Abe (Camila Mendes and Tyler Hoechlin). At the reception, Nyles delivers a touching impromptu speech with the big relief of Tala’s sister, Sarah (googly-eyed Cristin Miloti) who is the drunk and unprepared maid of honour.
Nyles and Sarah grow close and, after she shows him Misty cheating on him with police officer Trevor (Chris Pang), are about to have sex in the desert when Nyles is abruptly shot in the shoulder with a bow and arrow. Wounded, he ends up crawling to a nearby cave and warns Sarah not to follow. Concerned for Nyles’ safety, Sarah follows and is sucked into a vortex. When she wakes up, she realises it is November 9th again…
This ‘Groundhog Day’ concept is hardly new for comedy. What matters is the execution. And this film executes its concept excellently…
There are some very funny set-pieces such as Nyles’ encounter with a herd of brachiosaurus. When Nyles gets shot with a bow and arrow. When he repeats Misty’s voice at the same time as his voice - a sly nod to the ‘Dr. Who’ classic ‘Midnight’ (2008)?
Adam Samberg is adorably geeky and goofy. He’s just handsome enough to pull off having a beautiful blonde girlfriend like Misty and just nerdy enough to relate to a woman like Sarah.
I was transfixed by the actress Cristin Miloti. Her eyes just bore into you like Zooey Deschannel on Cocaine. She gives an adorably bubbly and fabulously quirky performance as Sarah worthy of the best of Sarah Silverman.
The two stars have fabulous chemistry. I especially was moved to sniffles by Nyles’ eventual declaration of his admiration for Sarah. It felt like being young and in love again…
‘Palm Springs’ is never going to win Oscars, but it doesn’t need to. It’s just pure, unpretentious fun with added star power and time travel to boot. Definitely worth watching if you want a night-in with your girlfriend…
‘Palm Springs’ is on Amazon Prime now.
15, 121 Mins
The era is the 1940s and Billie Holiday (Day) is targeted by the government in an effort to racialize the war on drugs - aiming to stop her singing the song ‘Strange Fruit’ which was controversial for its lyrics. This film charts Holiday’s battle with drug and alcohol addiction and her promiscuity with men.
Andra Day’s performance is just a marvel. I mean she really is a marvel - undeniably hot and sexy, but also so quail and vulnerable. She looks good when having sex with various men and stuns in a maxi dress. I was also particularly moved by a scene where she hides in a corner and breaks down in tears. She captures Billie’s fragility beautifully.
The settings of this movie are very televisual - Grand Central Station and a lot of dressing rooms. But the camera makes them cinematic - it spins around Billie’s face, angling and perfecting her beauty, but never ogling. It spins around her body during the sex scenes; creating an illusion as though you are watching this on the biggest screen possible. It looks every bit as good at home as it would at the cinema.
The costumes are immaculate. I loved Billie’s tiara and maxi dresses. I loved the colours and the pearls and the golden floors - this film does a brilliant job at recreating the swinging spirit of the 40s in all its un-PC triumphes.
It’s also a very sad story. Billie died at the hopelessly young age of 44 of cirrhosis - a downside of her much-publicized battle with the bottle. I felt like I was watching a modern-day American tragedy where the United States had truly failed this beautiful, black woman and subjected her to horrific racial abuse over a long and torturous career. It’s very sobering viewing.
‘The United States vs. Billie Holiday’ (2021) makes a great companion piece to James Erskine’s documentary ‘Billie’ (2020) from last year. Both beautifully and tragically cut to the heart of this incredibly fragile modern-day American icon…
‘The United States vs. Billie Holiday’ is on Sky Cinema and NowTV now.
Meet Roshan Chandy
Freelance film critic, journalist and writer based in Nottingham, UK. Specialises in cinema.
Roshan's Top 5 Films of the Week
2. The White Tiger (on Netflix)
3. Judas and the Black Messiah (on multiple platforms)
4. News of the World (on Netflix)
5. Sound of Metal (on Amazon Prime)
Follow Me on Twitter
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