Broadsheet Movie Barometer


MovieHeader9(1)Black Mass

BLACK MASS (122 minutes, 15A) Directed by Scott Cooper. Starring Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch.

Johnny Depp can’t resist another dip into the dress-up box for this Boston crime drama, but the results are far more impressive than any of his recent output would lead us to expect.

Black Mass spans the 25 year-period when James “Whitey” Bulger (Depp) headed the notorious Winter Hill gang. Beginning in 1975, Bulger forges a mutually beneficial alliance with his childhood friend and FBI agent James Connolly (Joel Edgerton), whereby Bulger feeds information on rival gangs to the FBI, and in return his illegal activities are overlooked. Bulger takes out his competition and Connolly gets promoted, but there’s trouble ahead, naturally.

Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart) finds some inventive ways of presenting shots and transitions with a creative flair that keeps things interesting. There is however a noticeable slump in the final act. The factual basis of the material often ties the film down and prevents it from realising the dramatic potential of The Departed or The Town.

It must be said that as Bulger’s powerful diplomat brother, Benedict Cumberbatch fails to convincingly pahk his cah in hahvahd yahd, but the rest of the supporting cast (including Kevin Bacon and Jesse Plemons) are terrific. Besides, this is Johnny’s gig, and he is utterly terrifying. He brings an unpredictable, savage intensity to the role that is mesmerising. It’s a pleasant surprise to see Depp acting again, because he’s rather good at it. With sequels to Alice in Wonderland and Pirates of the Caribbean on the horizon, perhaps we shouldn’t get used to the idea.

Note: Black Mass is currently on limited release. It will be on general release from 25th November.


LOVE (135 minutes, 18) Directed by Gaspar Noé. Starring Aomi Muyock, Karl Glusman, Klara Kristin.

With films such as Irréversible and Into the Void under his belt, we should be well accustomed to Gaspar Noé testing our levels of patience and endurance, but here the filmmaker crosses the line from provocation to outright trolling.

Love is essentially two hours of unsimulated sex – in 3D – with 15 minutes of story wedged in-between the cracks (fnar). Murphy (Karl Glusman) receives a phonecall informing him that his ex-girlfriend, Electra (Aomi Muyock) is missing and possibly suicidal. He then eats some opium and reminisces about all the weird sex they had together. And that’s an awful lot of sex… sex in parking garages, sex in niteclubs, and a 10-minute threesome that’s like watching snakes fighting on a bed with Harold Faltemeyer’s Top Gun Anthem playing over the top.

Yes it’s shocking, but for all the wrong reasons. Clunky dialogue such as “I’m just really in my head right now” and a risibly pretentious voiceover give the impression of a bad student film. The first-time actors are fine at standing still, staring and autoerotic activities such as ejaculating, but their inexperience is woefully apparent in scenes where speaking (or actual acting) is required.

It’s all very tiresome. The 3D sex is a gimmick, and can’t disguise the fact that Noé has nothing to say. Tommy Wiseau should watch his back. Love may yet displace The Room’s reputation as the “Citizen Kane of bad movies.”


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32 thoughts on “Broadsheet Movie Barometer

  1. Clampers Outside!

    I enjoyed Black Mass. And I’d agree Johnny does some proper acting again in this. I disliked, if not hated his character at times in the film, which is a good thing :)

    The most surprising thing I found in it is that the film does not overplay the Irishness of it all. Him being Irish doesn’t really play much in the story except for the small scenes around his love of the IRA, which in itself is a very small part to his character.

    1. :-Joe

      Oh, dear…

      It only sounds awful if you listen to this very lazy, biased, dismissive review that’s topped off with casual contempt and a nice big spoiler-esque negative description. It’s like something from RTE’s dept of information control, approved by the Catholic Voice and PR’d by the IONA institute. Down with that sort of thing, Ted!….

      Clearly, he doesn’t like the film, any of the previous films or the director himself and that’s because ….?
      Tell us why you don’t like it? He can’t because he probably doesn’t know how to but can’t event bring himself to try. Instead he’s too busy trying to associate it with notoriously bad(but also good in a cult sense) flops. What he fails to even blink at is that people actually respect and like this film maker and like him enough to show his films at places like the cannes film festival if that means anything to anyone. If he even tried to understand the film or knew anything about it maybe he could articulate some thoughts on a meaningful level without resorting to petty, snide remarks.

      I was at the preview screening on Wednesday night. The film is strange, very different to anything you will see in the mainstream, it is arguably deeply flawed too but still interesting, funny and well worth a look and I mean, In 3D in the cinema, not from a torrent download watched on the back of a go pro or whatever. It won’t end up in the oscars(I seriously doubt it) but hey, that’s ok.

      Nothing in the review above is accurate or fair in terms of film criticism, here’s what a real unbiased film critic / journalist sounds like :

      It has nothing to do with liking or not liking the film btw, It’s just an example of decent film criticism/analysis/journalism in general. I’m sure you can find many other negative reviews that are more articulate and cine-literate than this without relying on cheap jokes and witty references.

      I would also recommend people watch “I Stand Alone”, “Enter The Void”, “Carne”, and the oh-so controversial “Irreversible” if you can stomach a film that tells a story about rape( Only five people walked out of the screening I watched it in)

      All the “gratuitous”, “shocking”,”depravity” accusations are over-blown and exaggerated, mostly by mainstream critics with no sense of what art-house or independent or real cinema is about. Usually on some self-righteous, moralising, agenda based in knee jerk reaction and sensationalism.

      Meanwhile many people around the world enjoy these films for what they are.


      1. rory

        I didn’t think the review was that bad. Aside from the ‘Citizen Kane of bad movies’ comment (I have my doubts that Noe could make something as bad as The Room.)

        You might like ‘In the Realm of the Senses.’ It’s available on dvd now.

        What was the audience reaction to Love when you saw it? I assume, among other things, the film is intended to arouse; was there any self pleasuring or sex going on in the audience?

  2. Prop Joe

    Where can I see Black Mass today or tomorrow?! I’ve been waiting forever for this film and I don’t want to watch it online

    1. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

      According to IMDb it’s due to be released in Ireland on 27th Nov.

      -When you say ‘I don’t want to watch it online.’, what do you mean?
      Do you want to see it in a cinema?
      Are you including ‘off-line’ in your definition of ‘on-line’? (Because if you aren’t…)

      1. Prop Joe

        Are you even serious?
        Did you read what was written above? “On limited release” at present and general release next week, it’s the 25th in Ireland, at least that’s when I’ll be going to see it.
        As for not wanting to watch it online – I don’t want to stream an illegal copy of it – Even if I did I would still go and see it, I go to the cinema regularly and I also pay for music, so sod off ballbag

    2. Frilly Keane

      Here I saw it about 3 weeks ago. I dunno whetevyere all going wi’this release nonsense

      I liked it
      But wasn’t wetting meself if I’m being honest
      The script was slight enough I thought
      In fact twas strengthened with the Hollywood tonnage Depp and Cumbersome

      BTW folks I was in Boston in the 80s
      And while I’ll confirm the accent out’ve ’em was as I remember from the Irish there
      This filum definatly played down the tiocfidh that was going on
      And they all wore their ‘Im Irish’ness on the outside

      1. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

        whetevyere all going wi’this release nonsense’ (sic)

        Yeah, ‘release nonsense’

        What year is it?

        1. John

          Looks like he/she somehow saw it before it was officially released, 3 weeks ago. Therefore that would indicate that to he/she the release date is nonsense. Comprenez-vous?

          1. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

            Je vois ce que tu veux dire, Jacques.
            -Do you mind if we speak in English from now on?

            What was the question again?
            -Illegal downloads or something, was it?

            You’re asking the wrong innocent person.

          2. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

            Frère Jacques, frère Jacques,
            Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous?
            Sonnez les mati…

            I give up.

            -There used to be a time when you could have a bit of banter in the early hours, have a few ferocious fights on-line and meet up in a pub a few weeks later and laugh about it.

            The internet has turned to 51it.

            I give up.
            (For tonight anyway.)

  3. Smashmouth

    Joel Edgerton is the best thing in Black Mass. Depp is decent but overall the film is just your bog standard gangster flick

  4. :-Joe

    Go and see “LOVE” in 3D in the IFI… like nothing you have ever seen before and it’s not a gratuitous sex film or a porno.


    All these films are woefully bad and not even worth watching for free.

    Black mass is watch-able but mostly disappointing and pointless drivel let down even more by hilariously bad casting, apart from some of the non-lead roles. It’s obsessed, not with the real character it is based on but only showing Burton’s muse as being more violent than even a real pirate might have been. All done, as though it is the key to making us believe in Jack Sparrow’s acting ability. Just another typical selfish and egotistical lead actor driven mess and we’ve seen better gangster storys before anyway.

    Watch one of the many documentaries if you want an interesting, satisfying and entertaining factual account. of Whitey Bolger. I had to watch “Angels With Dirty Faces” just to feel good again.

    The film makers should have been arrested and charged with criminal neglect of storytelling and wasting large bags of cash.


    1. :-Joe

      BTW: I’m convinced some executive in hollywoodland said “How can we get a Zombie into this film” at some point in the pre-production.


      1. Prop Joe

        Joe you strike me as the type of bellend I heard on the way out of Inland Empire in the IFI stating how brilliant it was and throwing complete bullsh*t explanations around with abandon to show they fully understood what Lynch was saying.
        In other words, I would say you are hard work and a complete contrarian for the sake of it.
        You think you are more intelligent than you are. And you evidently look down your nose on your peers and others in general.

        1. :-Joe

          Ye, that was me, well spotted…

          Inland Empire was great though wasn’t it. I had plenty of fun, driving all the ignorant fools mad because they just couldn’t get my level of intellectualised analysis of the great auteur that is David Lynch.

          Pfff..peasants, what can you do…
          Just can’t get through to them sometimes, can’t kill em either, eh?
          You know what I mean…don’t need to waste my time with you.


          1. Prop Joe

            Haha, you’re a pain in the bottom
            Just from your description above of Love, you are an absolute turd of a personality void

          2. :-Joe

            Hahaahh stop messing around…

            You know you love it, following me around the IFI hanging on my every word.

            It’s ok, you can come clean. I knew it was you when I heard that heavy breathing behind me in the darkness the other night.


          3. :-Joe

            Stop playing so hard to get, and tell me what you really think.

            Ahh when it comes to talk of Love, you had me at turd.


  5. Murtles

    I loved Black Mass. After watching Depp in Disney like characters for his last few movies, this really stretches out his acting abilities. The BBQ/dinner scene in Connollys house (no spoilers but it involves the steak marinade) I thought made for uncomfortable watching. Very reminiscent of Joe Pesci’s “Funny, funny how?” scene in Goodfellas.

    1. Murtles

      Oh yeah, watched a bit of Love last night too. Turned it off after the threesome scene, yawn!!! The internet has me ruined.

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