Films

Snow In Paradise

Year: 
2014
Director: 
Andrew Hulme
Review: 
Selected for the London Film Festival after competing at Cannes, I had looked forward to this film as a fan of gritty British drama by the likes of Shane Meadows and Andrea Arnold. But I was disappointed. The acting was over wrought and the screenplay banal, mainly consisting of mumbled phrases from over-played East End stereotypes. The main protagonist, a bag man and heavy cocaine user, cracks up over the abduction of his mate (an Asian) and spends the whole film in fits of fury punctuated with a few kips in a local mosque. He also hates his drug dealing boss who has some sort of beef with another older gangster, his Dad's mate, with a smart house in Essex. Someone gets a comeuppance at the end and it's hardly a surprise. There were a lot of facial close-ups against soft focus background shots which were just plain irritating. It was heavy going for nearly two hours and I lost interest in the characters and indeed the story within thirty minutes.
Might appeal to people who enjoyed: 
London based gangster flicks, films dealing with multicultural themes and hard hitting Channel 4 style dramas.

Hannibal (Seasons 1&2)

Year: 
2013
Director: 
Bryan Fuller (Developed by)
Review: 
First off, this is not for everybody it is very, very, very gory and really hard to watch in places. That said the acting, storytelling and special effects are brilliant. If you know the books or the films and liked them this is for you. It takes the characters of Will Graham and Hannibal through the events leading up to Red Dragon. We all know what Hannibal does and is, but the fun is seeing how Graham and the FBI come to the same conclusion. Mads Mikkelsen's version is cooler more other-worldly than Cox or Hopkins with the most fantastic cooking skills, in fact you could be watching an episode of Masterchef at times! Hugh Dancy is wonderful as the conflicted and not quite as mad as Hannibal Graham. And Laurence Fishburne as Jack Crawford never lets you down. And there is a lot more humour than you would expect. Plus any show that has the line "Peter, is that your social worker in that Horse?" must be worth watching. And it looks amazing.
Might appeal to people who enjoyed: 
The Lecter Books & Films. Procedural police dramas. It does have a bit of a Columbo feel at times (we know who the killers are) but with a lot more blood!

The War of the Worlds

Year: 
1953
Director: 
Byron Haskin
Review: 
HG Wells' greatest triumph as a writer, The War of The Worlds adapted well to the 1950s. The key features of the invasion and the failure of mankind's might against the superior Martian technology and the, in places, superbly well done "rout of mankind" are all present. But that's not what we're here for - the real stars of the film are the Martian flying machines which replace the tripods of the novel. Supporting strings are visible but they remain an iconic image of SF cinema as they inexorably stalk hopeless humanity and pour heat rays on Los Angeles, literally destroying Hope as they go. The after effects of the heat ray,little piles of ashes, and the death of Colonel Heffner are nicely done. The sound effects became the default sound for space ray guns up to today. Humanity is portrayed as both heroic-Pastor Collins' futile gesture topping that list- and savage, as a looting mob destroys humanity's last hope, the Pacific-Tec' lab equipment. Thank the stars for the common cold!
Might appeal to people who enjoyed: 
any good disaster movie interspersed with just a little too much stock footage for modern tastes. Fans of Star Trek and The Outer Limits will find this a kindred spirit, albeit a Technicolor one.

Quatermass and the Pit

Year: 
1967
Director: 
Roy Ward Baker
Review: 
The tube extension at Hobbs End is interrupted by an archaeological dig when a fossil skull is found. A strange object initially thought to be a UXB is uncovered; Quatermass becomes involved alongside bomb disposal expert Colonel Breen. Quatermass becomes fascinated by the mysterious object and the strange occurrences that surround it. The story then takes off in all directions: witchcraft,supernatural sightings,ESP and aliens all feature before the loose ends are pulled together in a memorable conclusion. The Underground provides a suitably claustrophobic setting for the growing levels of strangeness and paranoia and the subtext of unthinking racial hatred remains chilling. The special effects and shock level are muted – it’s hard to credit that this once deserved an X-Certificate and despite the typically lurid Hammer film poster there is not the slightest whiff of nudity. This cleaned up print is on at selected cinemas as part of the BFI’s autumn science fiction season.
Might appeal to people who enjoyed: 
Any of the other British SF films of the fities and sixties – this is plot and character driven and hangs together like a John Wyndham tale. It’s also quite like classic Dr Who, but with a big(ger) budget – in fact anyone familiar with The Daemons from the Pertwee-era will recognise a lot of that story in Quatermass and the Pit. Despite it's limitations it stands up well and is more than just an enjoyable period piece.

Gone Girl

Year: 
2014
Director: 
David Fincher
Review: 
It is virtually impossible to write about this without giving away elements of the story - and it is that type of Sixth Sense/Sevenish movie that depends on not knowing what happens next. Unless you've read the book. So what can you review? The storyteling? It's well over two hours but never drags. The acting is excellent - Ben Affleck convincing as the charming, good-looking but ultimately lazy husband ; Rosamund Pike is superb as the ice queen thawed by Damon, who does as well as anyone could with the less plausible elements of the third act; and great support from Carrie Coon as Damon's trusting sister and Tyler Perry as the seedy lawyer. Fincher's direction abetted by Trent Reznor's soundtrack ratchets up the suburban fear and loathing. Above all the film nails how 'true-life crime' doesn't just play out in real time on TV, the protagonists are shaped and molded by TV into archetypes with scant relationship to any truth - culminating in the staged TV confessional sofa interview.
Might appeal to people who enjoyed: 
David Fincher's somewhat bleak view of humanity in Seven or even The Social Network. There is no head in a box here but things fall not far short. Twists and shocks are delivered for the most part expertly and convincingly - only in the third act do we enter another, less convincing, realm than that of the suburban married who realise they have become strangers to each other. It's pulled round to deliver a thumping finale.
tiggerlion's picture

The Equalizer

Year: 
2014
Director: 
Antoine Fuqua
Review: 
My daughter got a 40% discount, so how could I refuse? Besides, I loved Edward Woodward in Callan. As a child, I found it terrifying and compelling. It was my Dr Who. Here, Denzel Washington leads a monastic, regimented life, helping wafes and strays better themselves by making them believe they can be anything they want to be. My mind congealed with its sickly sweetness. Then, the violence kicked in. I could believe Denzel was a washed up, alcoholic pilot capable of pulling off a miracle, but the things he can do in this movie are too much. He's a fit guy, no doubt, but he is older than me. In the TV series, Edward was much more subtle. After that, I had to play cliché thriller bingo until the end so I didn't fall asleep (bad Russians, corrupt cops, tart with a heart, disappearing bar tender, wimps coming good, booby traps, ruthless psychopaths who can't shoot - why do they always slow down when their prey is cornered?). Dull. I did enjoy the brief snippet of Janelle Monáe and Prince.
Might appeal to people who enjoyed: 
Afterwards, I remembered The Equalizer was never a patch on Callan. That was pretty dull after a while too. I can't imagine who might enjoy this film. My advice is to try something else; a meal, a gig, a pub, a night in, a different movie, anything, just not this. I do hope they don't contemplate a sequel. Denzel! Don't do it! You are better than this and you don't need the money. Do something that requires a bit of actual acting rather than the slow walking, soft talking you are reduced to here
sven garlic's picture

August: Osage County

Year: 
2013
Director: 
John Wells
Review: 
With this movie we see the terrible, destructive effects and psychological damage that a lifetime of listening to Eric Clapton records can lead to. It's mostly an act-off between Meryl Streep, with her demented Bette Davis style, tormented rage, and Julia Roberts tight-lipped despair. Such, huge, expressive, tight lips. They are mother and daughter respectively in a absurdly OTT dysfunctional family, such as typically inhabit American independent film. Sam Shepherd's character's departure from the overwrought neurosis seems entirely reasonable. You can't forget it was a stage play but it has it's moments nevertheless. It's actually quite fun in a dark kind of way as long as you can bear Streep's panto style wide-eyed mania, which seems to be her speciality these days.
Might appeal to people who enjoyed: 
A Streetcar Named Desire, What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? , Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? Not that it's in the same league as those classics.
Brookster's picture

Frank

Year: 
2014
Director: 
Lenny Abrahamson
Review: 
So I approached this film with some trepidation as a big Sidebottom fan. But I'm a big Jon Ronson fan too and I trusted Ronson to produce something in keeping with his spirit but something that stood on its own two feet. So while the titular character shares a name and a papier mâché head, he's an amalgam of various outsider and eccentric musicians. Fassbender is excellent, turning in a great performance despite being covered by the head for almost the entire film. As is Domhnall Gleeson's bedroom musician, who finds himself way out of his depth, both musically and in his understanding of his situation. It's a film of two halves; bizarre and funny at first, melancholy at the end. It touches on themes of creativity and mental illness without ever resorting to cliché. The final scenes are heartbreakingly sad. And I Love You All is a great song: http://youtu.be/zOt6ppIBOd4
Might appeal to people who enjoyed: 
To all fans of eccentrics and outsider musicians

Two Days and One Night

Year: 
2014
Director: 
Dardenne Brothers
Review: 
Critically acclaimed and my first exposure to the festival circuit darlings the Dardennes (eg Guardian 5 stars, Telegraph 4 stars), you would think 2D1N is a hard-hitting political attack on zero-hours contracts, redudundancy and the like. Well, yes and no. The set-up is simple: Marion Cotillard (not always convincing as a downtrodden Belgian factory worker) discovers her fellow employees have been given a choice between laying her off or foregoing their annual bonus. Cotillard and hubbie use the weekend before the crucial vote to talk to her fellow employees one by one to convince them to set aside 1000 euros to enable her to keep her job. As the meetings unfold and another doorbell is rung it starts to recall nothing so much as a Source Code about workplace politics. Running alongside this is Cotillard's unfolding mental illness that caused her to take leave of absence in the first place. The two come together in a rather unconvincing moment of crisis and resolution.
Might appeal to people who enjoyed: 
Source Code, Groundhog Day, Eat Pray Love, Dogme, Peter Greenaway - it really becomes quite a strange mix of all of these, at once striving for complete realism (no music, shot in sequence etc), and also completely mannered in its structure. You'll walk out not quite sure what on earth has happened. And you'll marvel at the efficiency of the Belgian health service.

Finding Fela

Year: 
2014
Director: 
Alex Gibney
Review: 
Finding Fela is a documentary about the life and music of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. The original intention was to create a film about the making of the Broadway musical based on his life, and it shows, as creative directors of that event probably take up too much of the running time. But if you're no expert on Fela (and I'm not) then this is a pretty good place to start learning. There are interviews with family and band members, and plenty of documentary footage. The film also doesn't whitewash its subject, tackling some of the darker areas of his personality, as well as celebrating the triumphs. There are many parallels between Fela's life and James Brown's, so the fact they share the funk shouldn't be a surprise. No masterpiece then, but worth a couple of hours of your time.
Might appeal to people who enjoyed: 
Friday night documentaries on BBC4. So most of this site's users then.

Pages

Cheap Ugg UGGs Outlet Cheap UGGs cheap ugg boots cheap nfl jerseys wholesale