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, Skarsgård'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

01 March 2018

Trophy, 2017 - ★★★★

I wasn't sure if I should watch this because I'd heard it might just make me angry. It is mostly a quite balanced film trying to convey the views from all sides of a complex issue. However my problem was with those people with whom I most strongly disagreed. Of course I was never going to agree with them but at two points they present such pathetic and misguided justifications for what they do and then have the audacity to say anyone who disagrees is an idiot. That's when I got angry. It's not just a case of disagreeing, it's more that there is no logical or sane argument to be made. They are killers, what they are doing is a disgusting display of humanity and the fact they are proud of what they do only makes matter worse.

Watching it so close to the Parkland shootings only highlighted that this mentality is much bigger than the issues covered in the film and I can only hope that this time things are going to start to change.

Rant over. It's a shame the film couldn't present an intelligent argument for these people (perhaps because there isn't one) because the other groups all make valid points for what they do.

This was the 90 minute Storyville edit shown on TV and not the longer version released in cinemas.

March 01, 2018 at 05:23PM

26 February 2018

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, 2017 - ★★★★★

Just as good on a second viewing. Laughed and appreciated different things, less shocked by the surprises but they still made sense and still don't really understand the criticisms.

February 26, 2018 at 08:40PM

The Third Murder, 2017

Witholding a rating for this because I realised early on that I hadn't been paying attention and had no idea what was going on. I don't think it was a fault of the film because it certainly looked good and it sounded like everybody else got much more out of it.

Another one to catch up with when I have time to give it my full attention.

February 26, 2018 at 08:38PM

Gook, 2017 - ★★★★

I enjoyed this but finding it hard to pin point why. Possible the best use of the f word in a long time.

February 26, 2018 at 08:32PM

Night of the Living Dead, 1968 - ★★★★

It's amazing how well this has aged and nearly impossible to comprehend how it was received in 1968.

February 26, 2018 at 08:29PM

That Good Night, 2017 - ★★★★

An emotional goodbye to John Hurt, introduced by his widow at a festival where he was patron made this a special screening of a fine film.

February 26, 2018 at 08:27PM

Tawai: A voice from the forest, 2017 - ★★★½

Lots of interesting things were covered and even though there's some beautiful cinematography it did feel like it would be better suited to a TV series.

Plus Q&A with Bruce Parry

February 26, 2018 at 08:17PM

A Fantastic Woman, 2017 - ★★★½

A Fantastic Woman indeed but I kept hoping she'd get more to do. It felt like it was constantly building towards something but never got there although perhaps that was the point.

February 26, 2018 at 08:14PM

A Monster Calls, 2016 - ★★★★★

Such a great film. Even though I knew what was coming, and the entire film shouts from the tree tops that there aren't always happy endings, it still completely got me.

I'd forgotten how beautiful the animated sequences were.

Introduction and Q&A with Lewis MacDougall

February 26, 2018 at 08:02PM

Sicilian Ghost Story, 2017 - ★★★½

It felt like I fell asleep 45 minutes before the end of the film and dreamt my own strange ending and I think I mean that as a compliment.

February 26, 2018 at 07:55PM

Heartstone, 2016 - ★★★★

My highlight of #KeswickFilm festival, it's arguably too long but it get so much else just right. Fantastic performances, wonderful characters, a sincere honesty in the portrayal of developing feelings and relationships between friends, family and a small community.

Plus Søren Malling is always a bonus.

February 26, 2018 at 07:51PM

Directions, 2017

I didn't get to see all of this but I liked what I did see and will try and get to see it in it's entirety again.

February 26, 2018 at 07:36PM

La Isla, 2016 - ★★★

Entertaining enough but felt like the differences between the island and cities could have been handled better.

February 26, 2018 at 07:33PM

23 February 2018

Edie, 2017 - ★★★★

It’s hard to imagine a more suitable film to open the Keswick Film Festival. Very enjoyable and enriched by a large and appreciative audience.

February 23, 2018 at 09:44AM

Edie, 2017 - ★★★★

Watched on Thursday February 22, 2018.

February 23, 2018 at 09:39AM

My Keswick Film Festival 2018

All the films I saw at the 19th Keswick Festival. 

Doubt I’ll have time to review these until after the festival.

  1. Edie
February 23, 2018 at 09:38AM