Michael McClure (Film-lover)
British "Augenmensch" who finds in cinema a venting outlet for liberalism and intelligence
I am what the Germans call an “Augenmensch” (an eye person). I love spectacle and what can be appreciated by the eye, whether it be a baroque church, the beauty of a High Mass, lovely women in a fashion show, the cities of Paris, Venice or Rome, beautiful men and the best of cinema.
Ever since when, as a 9-year-old, I saw the sun rising over the desert to the fabulous music of Michel Jarre in Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean, 1962), the approach of von Aschenbach’s steamer chuffing towards Venice in Death in Venice (Luchino Visconti, 1971) to the sound of the Adagietto of Mahler’s 5th Symphony or Angelica Huston’s beautiful account of her lost love of Michael Furey in John Huston’s adaptation of James Joyce’s The Dead (1987), I have believed that cinema is an important and vital way to access our deepest emotions and understanding of life.
I am no cinema snob. I don’t necessarily rush out to see the latest art house hit. I am not necessarily interested in genre. I am happy to see an Ealing Comedy, a Carry On Film, a war movie, a rom-com or a documentary. What I do care about is that a film is honest, its makers know what they are doing and do not propagate badly thought out or exploitative ideas.
I have been going to the cinema for years. In my twenties, it was virtually every Saturday night (perhaps I should have been clubbing). The BFI has been for me ever a wonderful haven of liberalism and intelligence, especially in the darkest days of Thatcherism. I still love it when the lights go down, the censorship certificate is shown, and the studio credits are displayed.
Throughout my life, I have been involved in many things, the law, market research, language teaching, three degrees and my excellent friendship with Victor Fraga, DMovies’ founder. I hope to bring you honest and informative reviews.
Other posts by Michael McClure
A Paris Education (Mes Provinciales)
French drama about the desire to become a film auteur slips into familiar cliches and trappings, despite some very strong performances - out on Monday, May 11th [Read More...]
Homeless people in Cincinnati take over the local library seeking shelter from the bitter winter, stirring up tensions and raising moral questions - in cinemas Friday, February 21st [Read More...]
A Streetcar Named Desire
Elia Kazan's adaptation of Tennessee Williams illustrates the brutality with which society marginalises and isolates people - back in cinemas on Friday, February 7th [Read More...]
The travails of a middle class black American family are the central pillar of this mostly effective tearjerker - now on VoD [Read More...]
Documentary about anti-Putin Russian millionaire exposes the contradictions of a country that's neither democratic nor entirely "evil" (as Westerners like to paint it) - in cinemas Friday, December 13th [Read More...]
La Dolce Vita
Fellini's portrayal of the ennui of the 1960s remains as current as ever, as our society becomes intoxicated with trivia, diversion and pointless celebrities - now available on Mubi [Read More...]
Biopic of slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman details the struggle of Black Americans on their way to freedom, and it's a film that all people should see - now on VoD [Read More...]
Sons of Denmark (Danmarks Sønner)
Politically explosive Danish movie exposes a country infested with racism and xenophobia, as the far right ascends in a phenomenon with shocking parallels to Germany in the 1930s - watch it for free at home with ArteKino during the month of December, plus in cinemas on Friday, December 13th [Read More...]
Mystify: Michael Hutchence
The handsome and energetic rock star led a tragic life, complete with drug abuse, dysfunctional relationships and a major accident - documentary is now available on VoD [Read More...]
The Shiny Shrimps (Les Crevettes pailletées)
Homophobic coach has to grapple with loud and frivolous gay polo team, in this well-meaning and entertaining French comedy - on VoD on Monday, January 13th [Read More...]
Young girl in 19th century Snowdonia struggles to keep her family together, in Gothic period drama with flavours of horror - on VoD on Monday, December 11th [Read More...]
Are You Proud?
The history of LGBTQ+ Britain in the past 50 years is the central pillar of this sobering doc, which both celebrates and raises questions about the achievements of the community - now available on VoD [Read More...]
Kursk: The Last Mission
Colin Firth stars as well-intentioned UK navy captain who led the British efforts to rescue the crew of the Kursk, in submarine drama infused with geopolitical flavours - in cinemas, digital HD, and now also on Netflix [Read More...]
The Lift Boy
The only way is up! Indian tale about social about social ascension and elevators is delightful to watch, yet it falls in the trappings it set out to avoid - now available on Netflix [Read More...]
Sometimes Always Never
Tragedy turns into amusement, in this elaborate trinket of British filmmaking dealing with scrabble and starring a magnificent Bill Nighy - now available on VoD [Read More...]
Strangers on their way to a wedding bond through their mutual hate of pretty much everything and everyone they know, in romcom featuring Keanu Reevs and Winona Ryder - in cinemas Friday, May 10th [Read More...]
Let There Be Light
Proselytising piece of evangelical propaganda demonises Islam and atheists, in addition to being extremely poorly crafted - stay away from cinemas this Good Friday [Read More...]
Aretha Franklin's performance from 50 years ago is soulful and uplifting, reminding us that music transcends religious traditions - now available on VoD [Read More...]
Musical drama starring Natalie Portman examines the allures and pitfalls of modern celebrity culture, yet it never explicitly tackles its false values - in cinemas Friday, May 3rd [Read More...]
The Third Wife
Exquisite Vietnamese drama investigates a society where tradition and social expectation govern the lives of everyone, and a woman is defined by the ability to reproduce - now available on VoD [Read More...]
Caustic and stringent satire of Silvio Berlusconi's Italy is one of the most subversive pieces of political filmmaking you will see in a long time - in cinemas Friday, April 19th [Read More...]
Mommy and daddy are elated as their little son shows signs of rapid development and extreme intelligence, unaware that these are symptoms of something very sinister - now available on Netflix [Read More...]
Is this the Irish Daniel Blake? Young mum-of-four faces poverty and homelessness in a Dublin that has little time for those caught on the wrong end of the capitalist system - in cinemas Friday, March 8th [Read More...]
The White Crow
The story of Rudolf Nureyev's defection to the West becomes a British film directed by Ralph Fiennes, and it examines the ballet dancer's unapologetic "outsiderness" - now available on VoD [Read More...]
Monsters and Men
Afro-American man accidentally witnesses and films the police killing of another Afro-American, in powerful drama about getting trapped in the machinations of power - in cinemas Friday, January 18th and on VoD on Monday, January 21st [Read More...]
Biopic of French writer Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette starring a stunning Keira Knightley details her struggle to overcome strict societal constraints of the Belle Époque and to become an artist in her own right - now available on VoD [Read More...]
British public school spin on Cyrano de Bergerac features a dazzling Alex Lawther as the school runt, yet it fails some of the rules of a good farce - now available on VoD [Read More...]