All posts by Tim Kimber

Author.

Publishing and podcasts

Morning all, and happy Monday!

There’s a new International Oscar Showdown up, pitting The King’s Speech against Danish film In A Better World, which is basically comparing historical accuracy with fictional melodrama. Check it out here.

I’ve also set up a dedicated website for the International Oscar Showdown reviews, with brief intros to each year’s match-up and links to them so you can read on Medium for free. That way, if you enjoyed one, you can go back to the landing page and pick another easily.

Here’s the dedicated website: https://internationaloscarshowdown.wordpress.com

Excitingly, the review series caught the attention of one podcast producer who does deep-dives into the foreign-language Oscar category, and has asked me onto the show to talk about the 1998 winner Life is Beautiful, which we’re recording next month. Keep an eye out for that!

In the meantime, stay safe, be well, and have a gin & tonic.

Cheers

Another Oscar Showdown

Hello everyone. Just a quick post to tell you about the latest International Oscar Showdown. The latest instalment reviews the winners from 2012 – comparing The Artist with Iranian film A Separation.

It’s been a real eye-opener writing this series, not least learning about Iran’s stringent film censorship, and how filmmakers from the country rely on metaphor, obfuscation and hyper-reality to get their viewpoints past the censors.

What’s more, filmmakers in Iran frequently face incarceration for breaching these rules of religious propriety. One award-winning director, Mohammad Rasoulof, has been sentenced to a year in prison for “spreading propaganda” against the Islamic State in his recent film There Is No Evil. Rasoulof has been banned from leaving the country or joining any groups or societies for two years.

So it is remarkable that a film like A Separation by fellow Iranian director Asghar Farhadi manages to shine a light on the nation’s frustratingly bureaucratic systems of justice or the needlessly restrictive notions of religious female sanctity.

Anyway, it’s a good movie, and you should watch it.

In a slight change of the format, I’ve gone back and added trailers at the end of all the review articles, so you can get an instant idea of the aesthetic and tone of the films, if you haven’t yet seen them.

Click here to read the latest Showdown!

Carpentry and criticism

Good day to you all! I hope you are well, and enduring the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune with good humour. Strange times, strange times indeed…

I’ve been filling my time – between work and my family – with some carpentry projects, recently. I built a dining table over the last couple of weeks (see the picture above), with an iroko worktop to match our kitchen, and will be making two benches with the same materials in the coming weeks. It’s been fun!

We have used it once for dinner, and we didn’t even end up on the floor. Success!

cof
cof

I also made this tiered herb planter for the garden, which remains standing, though we have had less luck actually growing plants in it. Still, it looks nice.

Meanwhile, Swarns and I continue our odyssey through the Oscars, and recently deliberated between 2013’s Best Picture winner – Argo – and its Best Foreign-Language Film counterpart – Amour.

It was fun to figure out what doesn’t sit right with Argo, and wonder how it got the top gong, and I kept coming back to Mission: Impossible for its amazing Langley vault scene, and – less well known – the Denzel Washington movie Out Of Time. There’s an amazing sequence in that movie where Denzel – the chief of police – has unwittingly committed a crime, and must obfuscate the evidence as it emerges in the police station, frantically intercepting faxes, modifying phone records and getting identified by a doddery old lady who has trouble telling black men apart.

It’s top-quality suspense, and it involves a fax machine. Brilliant.

There’s just not the same wit in Affleck’s movie.

Anyway, here’s my review of Argo and Amourhave a read!

2013

 

Posts, projects and a pandemic…

Hello everyone. Just a quick update to tell you I’ve posted two pieces recently: one for a movie mag site called Frame Rated about coronavirus affecting cinemas and what that might mean for the future of filmmaking, and a new instalment in my International Oscar Showdown series, featuring harrowing slavery drama 12 Years A Slave versus The Great Beauty, a weird hedonistic Italian film about a socialite in Rome who finds himself in a creative rut.

It seems most of my creative output has been in these movie articles recently – and I think that’s because freeing up the cognitive bandwidth to write an entire novel these days feels as fantastical a concept as the damn books I try to write. Between the one-year-old running around my house and a job that has only intensified since lockdown, there’s been very little space left to tackle the sheer breadth of thought required to envision a book in its entirety.

Still, writing is writing, and these articles are a nice way to hone my skill. I hugely, hugely appreciate every read I muster, so thank you to those of you who are (a) interested in this stuff, and (b) have time yourself to read them!

Meanwhile, I’ve been inspired to write a sci-fi anthology – I realised I had a small but varied catalogue of short stories that, with some not inconsiderable work, would make an admirable collection. Smaller nuggets of fiction certainly feel more manageable!

Anyway, thanks again for reading my stuff. Feel free to share if you like it! And let me know what you think in the comments.

Big love, and stay safe, you excellent maniacs

Tim

International Oscar Showdown – 2015

Good morning lovelies. I know you’ve all been clamouring for more retrospective Oscars reviews, so here you are, you lucky devils!

The 2015 winners make for an interesting duel. On the one hand there’s Birdman, Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – [yes, that it is its full title] – a movie about a Hollywood actor trying to make something artistic and meaningful, and failing.

Up against it is arthouse movie Ida, a serious, dour, black & white film about an orphaned nun confronting her Jewish roots in 1960s Poland.

I mean, come on! It’s a little on the nose, isn’t it?

Anyway, you can read the review here.

Do comment if you enjoy the review, or even disagree with my analysis! I would love to hear from you.

All the best, you maniacs x

Tim

International Oscar Showdown – 2016

Hello movie fans!

I haven’t done an Oscar Showdown for a long time, mostly because we started watching the 2016 winner of Best Foreign-Language Feature, Son of Saul, and had to stop half way for some reason. Thing is, I couldn’t muster the resolve to return to it for almost two months…

For those of you (most of you?) who aren’t familiar with this Hungarian movie, Son of Saul is probably the most harrowing depiction of Auschwitz ever committed to film. It is an astonishing piece of cinema, while being extremely difficult to watch.

I recommend it, though it’s difficult to recommend a good time to watch it. It’s like Schindler’s List, or Citizen Kane… or trying to get Swarns to watch the Godfather trilogy. You can’t just say “oh, do you fancy watching this Hungarian holocaust film?” – it is not a whim movie.

Anyway, I reviewed that and Spotlight for the 2016 International Oscar Showdown – if only Mad Max: Fury Road had won, eh? I don’t know what the Academy is up to, sometimes, I really don’t.

I’ll continue to post links to the Medium post via my Twitter feed, because clicking through to Medium from Twitter is free for you, my lovely, lovely readers.

 

I hope you all are well and staying sane. Wash your hands, black lives matter, Johnson out, and all that jazz…

Big love xx

Tim

International Oscar Showdown – 2018 & 2017

Hello again!

If, like me, you have a bit more time on your hands for some reason, why not spend it reading about movies? Remember the cinema? No, me neither.

I’ve continued my look back at previous Oscar years to see if – prior to this year’s trailblazing winner Parasite – any other winner of Best Foreign-Language Feature really ought to have beaten whatever won Best Picture that year.

In the first review, Roma beat Green Book hands down, but can Chilean transphobia movie A Fantastic Woman beat weird gothic romance The Shape of Water? And can Iranian domestic drama The Salesman overcome gay coming-of-age movie Moonlight?

I’ll continue to post links to the Medium post via my Twitter feed, because clicking through to Medium from Twitter is free for you, my lovely, lovely readers.

Hope you enjoy the read. And all the movies are cracking, so seek them out if you can.

Hope you are all well and staying safe.

Much love

Tim

International Oscar Showdown!

Hello!

Would you like something to read that isn’t about Deadly Pandemics; or how to manage working from home while raising children during a quarantine; or ideal hand-washing methods and the perfect ditties to hum while scrubbing your digits?

ME TOO

So I started this movie review series, inspired by Bong Joon-ho’s groundbreaking triumph at this year’s Oscars. Parasite was the first non-English-language movie to win Best Picture, which is crazy!

So, I wanted to go back and see how many times the Best International Feature Film was objectively superior to whatever the Anglosphere managed to serve up.

Thought I’d run this in reverse-chronological order, which brought up the hilarious comparison between Green Book and Roma.

Have a look here!

 

 

Please press the clap button if you have a Medium account. You can applaud up to 50 times, apparently, though I’m not sure it deserves that many clicks, frankly.

Hope you are all well and staying safe.

Much love

Tim

Ambiguity, duplicity, hypocrisy – this is British politics now

Hello!

What a lovely time we’re all having. What charming chats. Such playful political bantz. Terrific raving, spittle-flecked tirades. Families broken asunder. A Christmas election. What a lovely… lovely time.

I wrote a thing about why politics is so shit these days.

As far as I can tell, it’s down to a breakdown of language – if no one can agree on the meaning of words, then no meaning can be gleaned from an argument. The futility of trying to debate this slippery eel is what frustrates us.

The word in question, of course, is “Brexit”, which exists in some kind of inter-dimensional phase space, enveloping contradictory co-ordinates in the minds of millions of people, simultaneously one thing while being absolutely not that particular thing at all, thank you very much.

What we need is a quantum Brexit that manages to sustain these impossible paradoxes – perhaps we can stay in the customs union, single market and retain freedom of movement, while simultaneously having blue passports, over-fished oceans and racism? I mean, it’s not ideal…

Anyway, I wrote about it here: link.medium.com/ZrbhInEsX1

A special note, though, on how ambiguity has led to duplicity and hypocrisy: we did not define Brexit, and that left it open to abuse. Lies – though challenged – went unpunished. And lies won the day. Consequently, deceit is now a mainstay of debate.

Meanwhile, we have politicians who declare their opinions emphatically, only to change them as their boss is replaced, and a new opinion must be adopted in order to secure a cabinet ministership. Theresa May, Nicky Morgan, Michael Gove, Matt Hancock; the list of gutless hypocrites goes on and on, one day professing this, the next professing the opposite. I hate it.

The state of it is depressing. So, please, just vote the Tories out, will you? They’ve given us nine years of a stagnant economy, rising in-work poverty, even more national debt, food banks, shocking homelessness, cruel cuts and now the poison pill of an unidentifiable Brexit that threatens the very fabric of our nation.

We deserve better than this. And so do our kids.

Peace.

(please read my piece: link.medium.com/ZrbhInEsX1 and click the clap button a lot if you have a Medium account!)

*Title photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

What IF: the highs and lows of making babies in your thirties

I haven’t written anything on this blog for a while, but that’s mainly because we’ve been rather busy looking after The Boy. Love him.

But I wanted to write about how we came to have Coen, because there’s a lot of taboo in this country around fertility and IVF, and maybe by sharing this, other people will feel more at ease talking with their friends and family about what they’re going through.

It’s a story that chronicles a number of years, so it’s a bit long, and for that I apologise, but I had lots to say!

I’ve posted it to Medium, my other blog site, because it looks a bit more professional and open to the public than this hidden little spot in this corner of the internet. The link is below. Do let me know in the comments if you found it interesting! And do share if you think you know anyone who would appreciate it.

You can read it here.

Big love to you all!