28 April 2014

The Double, 2013 - ★★★★

A great film that I think will only get better on subsequent viewings.

It also confirmed my view that Eisenberg will make a great Lex Luthor.

April 28, 2014 at 10:04PM

John Carter, 2012 - ★★½

For a while I was really enjoying John Carter and getting ready to stand up with the film's fans to fight against the critical mauling it received on release. Unfortunately the second half of the film is really dull and I lost interest but it didn't deserve to be a failure as there's still a lot more to like than in most films.

One thing I did notice is that the CGI worked really well with the live action (in the first half anyway, like everything else it gets worse as the film progresses). I couldn't help but wonder if this was a result of being directed by somebody with a background in animation.

April 28, 2014 at 09:54PM

26 April 2014

Party Central, 2014 - ★★½

Watched on Saturday April 26, 2014.

April 26, 2014 at 09:17PM

Muppets Most Wanted, 2014 - ★★★

There's enough fun to keep a smile on your face and make it an enjoyable experience but sadly not enough to make it great.

April 26, 2014 at 07:38PM

White House Down, 2013 - ★★★½

Rolls out every action movie cliche but in the most fun way. It's a shame there a few too many dodgy moments and CGI helicopters which slightly spoil the enjoyment.

April 26, 2014 at 12:11PM

22 April 2014

Rio, 2011 - ★★★½

I enjoyed this more than I was expecting especially after seeing quite a lot of negative reviews. Perhaps after watching the awful Chicken Little everything else seems great in comparison. Nice animation, solid story and good performances.

April 22, 2014 at 11:49AM

20 April 2014

Jason and the Argonauts, 1963 - ★★★★

A solid adventure that keeps up the pace throughout, unlike a lot of the other Harryhausen films I watched last year. It's interesting to watch after complaining about the CGI effects in Noah yesterday. The same problem of mixing effects with live action is visible here but for some reason I have less of an issue with Harryhausen's work. Perhaps the real models do blend better than CGI, perhaps it is just easier to admire the work that goes into physical effects. Having said all that the famous skellington battle is still surprisingly realistic (or as realistic as fighting skellingtons can be) and effective.

April 20, 2014 at 02:35PM

Noah, 2014 - ★★★½

I was always going to be interested in Aronofsky film but was worried this was going to be too mainstream. When I started hearing more about, the fallen angels and pro vegetarianism piqued my interest again. The start of the film is deliciously bonkers, mostly in a good way. Falling somewhere between epic blockbuster and visionary art house it's not wholly satisfying but there is a lot to admire. Unfortunately it's another film let down by weak CGI, until we find a way of blending live action and CGI effectively can we please just stop. Once the waters come the film switches focus to inside the ark and the quality of the film improves immensely. Tense and dramatic, the craziness switches to be character based and it's a welcome relief that saves the film from falling apart.

April 20, 2014 at 02:25PM

Ikiru, 1952 - ★★★★½

I was so immersed in the story that I almost failed to notice just how great the film was. From the wonderful opening introductions that seem just as relevant 60 years later, to the closing singing on the swing the film is full of great moments. The silence after visiting the doctors, the entrance to the night club are two more great moments. The final act was unexpected but works bringing together one of the most honest films about life and death.

April 20, 2014 at 02:05PM

The Grey, 2011 - ★★★★

I was going to call this one of the best action films of recent years but it isn't really an action film. Mostly a survival story but the almost super natural wolves means it works as a horror film as well. Some of the visual effects are distracting but the excellent sound design does a great job of creating atmosphere and tension without having to show too much.

April 20, 2014 at 01:53PM

18 April 2014

Chicken Little, 2005 - ★

There's a certain pedigree to Disney films that even the lesser ones are worth watching. This falls so short of that standard I'm surprised it ever got released. The story is terrible, the animation lacklustre, bad songs and terrible use of pop hits. The only good thing is that it was recently a low scoring answer on Pointless so the majority of people don't even know it exists.

April 18, 2014 at 02:14PM

Filth, 2013 - ★★★½

I wanted to love Filth; before, during and after. I don't even think my expectations were that high but everything about it felt like I should be liking it more. That means it's hard for me to pick faults, all the individual components seemed right but for some reason it didn't click together until the final scenes. There's nothing particularly wrong with how the film is directed but perhaps it required a more visionary or experienced director to really bring the story to life.

April 18, 2014 at 02:11PM

16 April 2014

Teenage, 2013 - ★★★

Like many others I found the archival footage fascinating but the recreated sections are unnecessary and misleading which ultimately makes you question exactly what you are seeing.

April 16, 2014 at 11:07PM

The Rum Diary, 2011 - ★★★

Better than expected but nothing that special.

April 16, 2014 at 11:01PM

West Side Story, 1961 - ★★★★

With a great ending and those fantastic songs still ringing around in my head I came out of West Side Story having really enjoying the experience. The film looks great, especially the 70mm version I saw as part of Bradford's Widescreen Weekend, the colours and streets all so vivid.

Taken as a whole though I think the film is severely flawed. The "love at first sight" sequence is magnificent but the resulting relationship feels completely unbelievable. It isn't helped by all taking place over a couple of days; would Maria still side with Tony after only knowing him for hours or am I just a cynical bastard. It feels futile to complain about the dancing in a musical but I thought the opening dance (which many seem to love) completely tedious, overlong and just inappropriate for the characters (although the camera choreography is pretty special). Fortunately the rest of the dancing is much more suitable and less jarring. I also found a lot of the songs didn't work that well either and would have preferred a shorter film with fewer songs.

Overall I came out happy but it's not one of the greatest musicals I was expecting.

April 16, 2014 at 07:06PM

14 April 2014

For a Few Dollars More, 1965 - ★★★★

If A Fistful Of Dollars is nearly a musical then this is nearly slapstick. I wasn't expecting so much humour which does makes everything much more enjoyable. There are many great moments but it's also a long film and takes it's time to reach the great finale.

April 14, 2014 at 01:23PM

11 April 2014

Lad: A Yorkshire Story, 2013 - ★★★

It's easy to see why Lad keeps picking up audience awards as it's so affable but also a serious and at times quite moving story. The Yorkshire countryside is put to great use but the simplistic story may be too sweet for some people. Amateur but heartfelt performances carry the film through rounding off an impressive debut.

April 11, 2014 at 01:21PM

08 April 2014

Magic Camp, 2012 - ★★★

The secret of making a good documentary may just be finding a group of really interesting people. Magic Camps gets this right by find a great selection of kids attending Magic Camp and following them through a week long lead up to a competition. It's a shame the documentary isn't more cinematic but the interesting subjects are enough to carry the film.

April 08, 2014 at 10:42PM

In a World..., 2013 - ★★★½

An impressive cast (I'm fairly sure no words in the opening of a film are better than "Nick Offerman") and a great idea is nicely put together but the story falls apart a bit towards the end (also not helped by a bad Blinkbox experience). A debut film full of promise making Lake Bell definitely a name to watch out for.

April 08, 2014 at 10:37PM

The Bourne Ultimatum, 2007 - ★★★★½

On this viewing of the trilogy it's Ultimatum that comes out on top as my favourite. Perfectly building on everything that has come before and tying everything together in an intelligent way.

April 08, 2014 at 10:31PM

Locke, 2013 - ★★★★

Tom Hardy may put in a great performance but I think he is miscast and his presence (and accent) is distracting. I joked that this was the big screen adaptation of Marion And Geoff but in all seriousness I think this would have been excellent with somebody like Rob Brydon in the lead.

April 08, 2014 at 10:26PM

The Bourne Supremacy, 2004 - ★★★★

Older and wiser I can see that the Greengrass sequel is better directed so it's a shame that the story isn't as strong as Identity not to mention full of implausible moments and plot holes.

The final car chase may have been original at the time but looking at it again today it clearly drags on far too long and soon becomes boring; a problem we still see repeated in nearly every action film since.

This screening was introduced by Brian Cox who really is excellent throughout the film.

April 08, 2014 at 10:23PM

Haunter, 2013 - ★★★★

If you're planning on seeing Haunter you should avoid the awful trailer which not only makes the film look worse than it is but also reveals many of the mysteries the film slowly unravels.

Taking inspirations from many sources it still manages to remain original, offer up plenty of shocks and tells a great story.

April 08, 2014 at 10:07PM

The Bourne Identity, 2002 - ★★★★

When Bourne Ultimatum came out I rewatched the first two films and was surprised at how great this first part was. A few years later and it may not be the masterpiece I thought then but it's still a great, intelligent and original (for the time) action film.

April 08, 2014 at 09:59PM

Salting The Battlefield, 2014 - ★★★★

The third part of the trilogy is more of the same: a great cast delivering fantastic performances to tell a solid story.

April 08, 2014 at 09:55PM

05 April 2014

The Abyss, 1989 - ★★★★

25 years later The Abyss is still a great film and makes me worry even more about the current state of Hollywood action films.

April 05, 2014 at 12:36PM

The Dirties, 2013 - ★★★★½

An incredibly impressive piece of filmmaking, especially as a debut feature. It's easy to see why it reignited Kevin Smith's desire to make films and offers so much hope and inspiration to a new generation of filmmakers. The film also has a lot to say and does so in an entertaining and thoughtful way.

April 05, 2014 at 12:21PM

Tracks, 2013 - ★★★½

I enjoyed Tracks and once again Mia Wasikowska is fantastic but I'm not sure if there is anything particular good or bad about the film. Perhaps a problem of seeing a merely good film amongst great and interesting films at a festival is that they pale by comparison, viewed elsewhere I may have rated this higher.

April 05, 2014 at 12:03PM

Hell's Hinges, 1916 - ★★★★

Showing at Bradford International Film Festival with live musical accompaniment by Neil Brand and The Dodge Brothers this was a five star experience. The music added so much to the film and was a joy to hear. The film is also really good, nearly 100 years old but it still feels incredibly modern and surprisingly dark.

April 05, 2014 at 09:57AM

The Big Melt - ★★★

I'm sure this would be much better with the live music or even just in the cinema; watching alone on TV it loses what I can only imagine originally made it special. It starts off slow but does build into an epic sounding conclusion.

April 05, 2014 at 09:38AM

02 April 2014

Calvary, 2014 - ★★★★★

Best film of the year so far (excluding all the 2013 US release). I should say more but don't know where to start.

April 01, 2014 at 11:57PM

Moving, 1993 - ★★★★½

For most of the running time Moving is a great film but towards the end it escalates into something really special.

April 01, 2014 at 11:51PM

01 April 2014

Under the Skin, 2014 - ★★★★

Perhaps it's too obvious to say that Glazer's film gets under the skin but it does. This was my only opportunity to see the film and I was worried because I knew I wasn't in the right mood. Perhaps my tiredness helped, it certainly felt like a dream and in the best possible way.

April 01, 2014 at 11:44PM

Everybody Street, 2013 - ★★★★★

Considering I like documentaries, street photography and New York it probably shouldn't have been a surprise just how much I loved this film. If there are criticisms then perhaps too many photographers are featured but each of them is interesting. I was surprised to find the film is less than 90 minutes as it packs in so much and is all topped off with a wonderful soundtrack.

This screening at Bradford International Film Festial was preceeded by the short film Flo (vimeo.com/89258867) and Flo Fox is another wonderful character who would have fitted into Everybody Street perfectly as well.

April 01, 2014 at 11:42PM

Beyond The Edge, 2013 - ★★½

Despite the feature length and some stunning 3D photography this always feels like a TV documentary. The story of conquering Everest is interesting but this mixture of old, new and recreated footage is often confusing and, more significantly, misleading.

I had no idea if what I saw when (SPOILERS) they reach the top was even real, let alone Everest. Constantly questioning what you are seeing is more distracting the 3D retro fitted photographs used throughout.

April 01, 2014 at 11:35PM

Twenty Cigarettes, 2011 - ★★★★

It's so rare to be able to take the time to just look at something. Here we are presented with 20 people smoking a cigarette, one after another with no introductions, explanations and next to no dialogue. Occasionally we hear sounds off screen, frequently the subject sees something but Benning's camera never moves away from the faces. The results are completely fascinating.

April 01, 2014 at 11:30PM

The Escapist, 2008 - ★★★★

Hardly a single moment is wasted constructing this great escape story. As much as I enjoyed Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes I hope Wyatt returns to making more interesting films like this.

April 01, 2014 at 11:27PM

Easy Street, 1917 - ★★★★

Another Chaplin great.

April 01, 2014 at 11:26PM

The Immigrant, 1917 - ★★★★½

Along with The Gold Rush this is another example of not just how great Chaplin was but how well his films have stood the test of time.

April 01, 2014 at 11:25PM

A Story of Children and Film, 2013 - ★★★★

It's always a delight hearing somebody speak with passion and anybody with a fleeting interest in film should be mesmerised as Cousins meanders through many lesser known films featuring children. The amount of (previously unknown to me) films is just staggering, I made a list here: boxd.it/cULW

April 01, 2014 at 11:23PM