16 April 2018

BPM, 2017 - ★★★

It quickly became apparent that I wasn't in the right mood to watch this but the problem is I'm not sure if I ever will be. When watching a film I try and forget about the real world but at the moment there just seems to be so much wrong and so much to fight for that I couldn't really handle much more.

I knew it was a long film but it felt even longer. The pacing never felt right and the switch to a more personal story in the second half came too late but also seemed to take away some of the drive.

I wish I'd loved the rest of the film even a fraction of how much I loved the completely fantastic final scene.

April 16, 2018 at 09:30PM

Funny Cow, 2017 - ★★★

Great performances, enjoyable cameos and some interesting structural choices but the Funny Cow ends up being less than the sum of the parts.
It wasn't the film I was expecting and I was surprised how little focus there was on the stand up comedy - it's almost as if she could have been doing any job. I also can see why some people may be offended by some of the choices of material, I was left wondering why one joke was used for a breakthrough moment. I think the film is only trying to reflect the sexist/racist/homophobic attitudes of the times but it treads a fine line any may be too much for some.

April 16, 2018 at 09:15PM

Hamlet, 2018

Watched on Saturday April 14, 2018.

April 16, 2018 at 09:01PM

09 April 2018

X-Men: Apocalypse, 2016 - ★★½

James Mcavoy, Michael Fassbender and Oscar Isaac are three of the best actors working today and here they are at their very worst. If these guys can't make the lines work then it really must be some terrible writing. The editing (or lack of it) is much worse, dragging every scene out far longer than necessary contributing to an excessively long running time. There are some entertaining moments, Quicksilver arriving at the mansion feels refreshingly unique, but really isn't much here to get excited about.

April 09, 2018 at 10:01PM

06 April 2018

Ready Player One, 2018 - ★★★★

It's so much geeky fun that I managed to overlook the simple plot barely made any sense.

April 06, 2018 at 01:21PM

05 April 2018

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, 2016 - ★★★

Enjoyable enough but I'm not really sure if there was much point to any of it.

April 05, 2018 at 09:29PM

03 April 2018

The Lost World, 1925 - ★★★★

Really enjoyable and aged better than some more recent effects heavy films. This was a recently restored version offering to be the most complete but if anything it could do with a few cuts - I don't know how many times anybody needs to see a Brontosaurus in the mud.

Live improvised piano by Johnny Best.

April 03, 2018 at 05:08PM

Below Zero, 1930 - ★★★

Watched on Monday April 2, 2018.

April 03, 2018 at 04:47PM

02 April 2018

The Silent Child, 2017 - ★★★★

A worthy Oscar winner, left me wanting more.

April 02, 2018 at 10:34AM

Loving Vincent, 2017 - ★★★½

Am amazing achievement in animation which is beautiful to watch (especially on the big screen) but the story is fairly basic and it's often a distraction trying to place the actor's voices and faces.

April 02, 2018 at 10:27AM

Ghost Stories, 2017 - ★★★★

I'd heard very good things about the play on which this is based and so my expectations were fairly high. I assume on stage they made use of writer/director/star Andy Nyman's background in magic to deliver impressively clever scares in real time but on film the stories don't feel that special and just come across as 'movie magic' we've all seen before.

So the individual stores may not be that great but I was always intrigued by how they were all connected and how everything would come together. I spotted an early sleight of hand which meant I had some idea that nothing was quite as it seemed but this perhaps added more rather than detract anything. Now I keep remembering things (the car reflection, the movement in the attic, the photo) which make much more sense once you know what is going on so I suspect it will be a film that stands up to repeated viewing and discoveries.

April 02, 2018 at 10:15AM

The Book of Life, 2014 - ★★★

It's start of with worryingly cheap looking animation but fortunately that stays in the real world and the stories told take place in much more beautifully animated places. It's unfair to compare this to Coco but it's also hard not to and Pixar's newer film is so much better.

April 02, 2018 at 09:59AM

Split, 2016 - ★★★½

Engaging and effective even though it did lose me a bit with the (first) ending which just seemed a bit silly. It being an M. Night Shyamalan I should have expected it would go somewhere different but I was distracted by the other thing I already knew about and didn't turn up until the final coda.

April 02, 2018 at 09:48AM

31 March 2018

Sing, 2016 - ★★★★

A massively overlooked film from 2017 although from the other Letterboxd reviews it would appear I'm in a minority who thinks so. The animation is wonderful, it's directed with an energetic charm and makes brilliant use of all the songs. It may end up as just another "putting on a show" but all the characters are built up and performed so well, it's a show you want to see (even if it does go on a bit too long).

March 31, 2018 at 03:41PM

Isle of Dogs, 2018 - ★★★½

There's lots of good stuff packed into Isle Of Dogs and some really great moments (I was completely won over by the prologue) but somehow it never managed to come together in a satisfying way. I've heard others say that there is too much going on and as a result the plot gets lost and I'm inclined to agree. It looks amazing, the different animation techniques all work well together and all the performances are great but it's lacking something and at times feels like a Wes Anderson parody.

Q&A with storyboard artist Jay Clarke.

March 31, 2018 at 03:35PM

29 March 2018

Boy, 2010 - ★★★★

Completely charming and a great indicator of what greatness Waititi would go on to make.

March 29, 2018 at 08:11PM

18 March 2018

78/52, 2017 - ★★★½

Amazing to think there is a 90 minute documentary talking about a single scene which leaves you wanting more. There's lots of great points and insight but also more than a few moments when you think people are perhaps reading too much into something. Ironically the film could be edited better, it jumps around too much and isn't helped by distracting music.

March 18, 2018 at 04:26PM

Suffragette, 2015 - ★★★

Well intentioned but lacking something, pretty much what I was expecting really.

March 18, 2018 at 04:06PM

The Levelling, 2016 - ★★★½

It's not usually a good sign when I completely forget that I've watched a film. I don't think The Levelling is particularly forgettable, it's full of intrigue, strong performances and a rural British grimness we've seen in Dark River and God's Own Country. On the other hand I did forget I'd watched it and so it can't have had that much impact.

March 18, 2018 at 03:55PM

13 March 2018

Annihilation, 2018 - ★★★★

Yes I'm annoyed that I can't see this in the cinema. At home it was good but the final act deserves so much more than the living room can ever provide and if I'd experienced it in a cinema then it could have been a 5 star experience.

Digital distribution is supposed to make it easier to exhibit films. I don't understand why this couldn't get a limited release and also be available on Netflix. I believe there are plenty of people who would still pay to see it especially if it was a one-night only event screening. I'm glad it's on Netflix so more people will see it and I can watch it again but it deserves more. Netflix, cinemas and distributors need to sort out their issues so people can see content how they want to see it and why not premiere new Netflix TV shows in cinemas?

As for the film, for me it was all about the climax which took everything to another level. Before that I was unsure where it was going (in a good way) but glad I was along for the ride. Frequently incredibly beautiful, often strange and with a depth that is so often lacking. I think there is more to appreciate on subsequent viewings and that's one reason why I am pleased it is on Netflix.

March 13, 2018 at 05:37PM

The Final Year, 2017 - ★★★

There are a few moments when it feels like this has been edited to contrast more with Trump and there really didn't seem to be any need to do that. The material and contrast is strong enough without having it forced. There's a sadness about looking back on a more sane time but also a surprising amount of hope. The thing I took away was how presidential Obama was and not just compared to Trump, but also the Bushes and Bill Clinton. For younger people (like the kids of Parkland) it is all they'll really know and therefore not surprising that they want change.

March 13, 2018 at 05:24PM

08 March 2018

The Shape of Water, 2017 - ★★★★

I'm pretty amazed that this won the Best Picture Oscar, not because it didn't deserve it (although it wouldn't have been my choice) but because it's so far from what I think an "Oscar film" is.

The film didn't completely work for me. I admired it a lot and wanted to like it more but tonally I thought it was all over the place. Perhaps I'm becoming prudish as I get older but there didn't seem to be any need for so much sex, nudity and gore. Without those things I think it would have worked better and felt more magical. The main romance is believable but also seems to come out of nowhere and feels very under developed. It all looks and sounds fantastic though and the attention to detail is pretty spectacular. It does feel like another film that may get better on repeated viewings because there is a lot of depth to just about every aspect.

March 08, 2018 at 06:44PM

04 March 2018

Lady Bird, 2017 - ★★★★

There's so much to like about Lady Bird but apart from a couple of scenes towards the end I'm not sure how special I found it.

The next day I did wake up with a sense that there was an authenticity to everything about the film that I maybe didn't appreciate as I was watching it and that is to be applauded.

March 04, 2018 at 07:21PM

Shane, 1953 - ★★★

I wonder if I would have appreciate this more if I'd seen this projected at Keswick Film Festival where I attended a talk on director George Stevens. At home, with ad breaks, I got distracted which says more about me than the film. Anyway it's good but I'm not sure if it's really for me.

March 04, 2018 at 03:43PM

Mute, 2018 - ★★★

Mute doesn't get off to a great start. It's unengaging with weak performances and does just feel like another Blade Runner rip off. The world in which it takes place is odd; sometimes it looks great but other times it looks like they couldn't quite afford to do what they wanted. Perhaps it's a problem with it being on TV that it instinctively just feels cheaper.

Once the story gets underway I did find myself getting more and more drawn in. Forget about Blade Runner (and even the futuristic setting, which serves little purpose) and just take it as a sleazy noir and it suddenly becomes a lot more enjoyable. Yes, SkarsgÄrd's character isn't that interesting but he moves the story forward and the focus should always have been on Rudd's character. The darker turns the film takes are really interesting and it's perhaps not odd that people have issues with them but it's strange that critics of the film think they serve no purpose when they drive the final act.

I ended up enjoying it and I hope it finds an audience somewhere down the line.

March 04, 2018 at 03:38PM