27 October 2014

Sharknado, 2013 - ★★★

Disappointingly this was not as bad as I was hoping. What seems ridiculous is actually handled well although things do get silly towards the end. It's also a great example of how to effectively make a film on a tight budget. Most of all it's fun.

October 26, 2014 at 11:39PM

26 October 2014

Colombiana, 2011 - ★★½

Mostly forgettable, or that's how it seems as I'm struggling to think of anything to say. It does show how low Luc Besson (as writer) has fallen and that Lucy may not have been great but was a massive step back in the right direction.

October 26, 2014 at 11:35PM

Rampart, 2011 - ★★★

As a film it's fine but after 5 seasons of Southland it did feel like I'd seen it all before.

October 26, 2014 at 11:32PM

Don't Worry About Me, 2009 - ★★½

When an actor turns to directing I always hope that some of the skill of their directors has rubbed off over the years, especially when they are an actor like Morrissey who are usually worth watching. It's a shame then that Don't Worry About Me is nothing special, there's nothing particularly wrong either but I had hoped for more.

I was watching the film late one night before it expired on iPlayer and fell asleep halfway through. The second half, when I was more awake, had a lot more heart and was much more engaging as as result.

October 26, 2014 at 11:29PM

Keith Lemon: The Film, 2012 - ★★

As puerile and as lewd as expected but surprisingly a much better film than any reviews would have you believe. It's not going to change your opinion of Keith Lemon (I dislike the character but remain fascinated by the performance and continued mainstream success) but there is a story, a slight satire and a string of entertaining and bizarre cameos.

October 26, 2014 at 11:20PM

This Is Not a Film, 2011 - ★★★

This is not a film, or is it? It's hard to know anything for certain but for 75 minutes there are enough ideas thrown out to think about. It's a shame that there isn't more background on Panahi's arrest and situation or how we ended up seeing these results because on it's own it lacks context.

October 26, 2014 at 11:15PM

19 October 2014

Obvious Child, 2014 - ★★★½

An enjoyable debut film and definitely interested in seeing what Robespierre and/or Slate do next.

Trailer paradox: I would have enjoyed it more if most of the best bits and plot points weren't in the trailer but I wouldn't have gone to see it if I hadn't seen the trailer.

October 19, 2014 at 06:53PM

The Black Balloon, 2008 - ★★★

A bittersweet coming of age story which also manages to cover the family dealing with autism in a heartfelt way. I occasionally worried if Luke Ford's performance as Charlie was too stereotypical but learning the writer/director has autistic siblings lent more authenticity to everything.

October 19, 2014 at 06:28PM

R100, 2013 - ★★½

Strange. Just strange. Unfortunately it's also too repetitive before it really gets interesting.

October 19, 2014 at 05:48PM, 2010 - ★★½

I was under the impression that Noel Clarke was a good director (although it looks like I never got around to seeing Adulthood) but no one could make that conclusion from this mess. It's a shame because interlocking stories are usually a good idea and that aspect just about works. The film is frequently visually impressive, however the writing is appalling bad in places and embarrassingly immature throughout. The many great cameos are another reason the film isn't a complete write off and the whole thing ends up being entertaining despite it's many flaws.

October 19, 2014 at 05:36PM

Leviathan, 2012 - ★

I'd been wanting to see Leviathan since Leeds Film Festival last year where it emerged as one of the most divisive films of the festival. I always think it's a good sign when a film can completely split an audience. Of course, that also means there's a risk that you'll end up hating the film and that's what happened here. It's not always the point to "enjoy" a film but I found nothing to like, appreciate, enjoy or interest me. The only saving grace was the shot of the gulls and even that is repeated too many times.

So not only a disappointment but also the reason why I've changed the explanation of my star ratings.

October 19, 2014 at 05:15PM

Still The Enemy Within, 2014 - ★★★½

A really well made documentary that offered a lot more insight into the real life setting of Pride. As is often the case with this kind of documentary it feels like it will only ever be appreciated by those already "on side" and the lack of objectivity was a frequent source of frustration. In the Q&A after the screening the producers explained that they had always set out to only tell the story of the miners and their families. Even though the film starts with "this is their story" caption I'd forgotten this and found the lack of any counter views disappointing.

The film also makes too many assumptions about what the audience know and doesn't always explain everything well enough; as the film drags on a little too long towards the end I realised that I didn't fully understand what the strikes were actually about (admittedly this may have just been me forgetting things from earlier in the film). Based on the questions asked during the Q&A, the audience I was in seemed to be made up of ex-miners/strikers, union reps and socialists and understandably the film went down incredibly well.

October 19, 2014 at 12:36PM

14 October 2014

Gone Girl, 2014 - ★★★★

It's a few days since I saw Gone Girl and I'm still wondering exactly what I can say about it. Part of that is not wanting to give anything away even though I suspect there is an awful lot to enjoy here even if you are familiar with the novel or are watching for a second time. On the face of it the story seems fairly conventional and despite the structure of the film (and I'm told, the book) there isn't a lot that's really original. It's true that all those different elements may not have appeared in the same film before and perhaps that's part of the problem; it often feels like you've been jerked from one film to another or some character has walked in from a different film set. But that's also part of the joy. As the story unravels it also appears to become less conventional but I'm not sure if it ever truly does. Throughout there is a constant nagging that Fincher is capable of more and I kept hoping for something smarter in the structure of the film or the unravelling of the mystery. I also found myself wanting to revisit some of his earlier work, does Gone Girl shine a different light on The Game or Panic Room or even Alien 3? How would have this played out if it had been made as a 12 part TV series for Netflix or HBO?

On top of all these questions and mixed feelings about how the film was made, the actual story brings up so many interesting points that I haven't had even begun to think about. Everything I read or hear seems to bring up a new issue and again highlights that there is so much more going on with Gone Girl than initial appearances suggest.

October 14, 2014 at 11:19PM

12 October 2014

Marvellous, 2014 - ★★★★

A title that acts as a review, this is some of the most charming and heartfelt 90 minutes I've watched recently. All of the cast, especially Toby Jones are wonderful. The amazingly true (even if it didn't quite happen like that) story should be an inspiration to everybody. It seems strange that a certain approach is suddenly used half way through but this also works marvellously that you just wish it had been used more from the start.

October 12, 2014 at 11:53AM

Velorama, 2014 - ★★★½

Another great collection of archive film set to great hypnotic music.

October 12, 2014 at 11:14AM

08 October 2014

Maps to the Stars, 2014 - ★★★½

I may not have been completely on board with the first half (which may have been the result of the late screening) but it all unravels in such a deliciously dark way that I'm glad I made the journey out to see it.

October 08, 2014 at 10:35PM

04 October 2014

Web Junkie, 2014 - ★★

A disappointing entry in the Storyville series wasting a potentially fascinating subject area. There's little insight in to any of the groups: "patients", parents or "counsellors". All of the adults come across as clueless, making knee-jerk reactions which only appear to be putting the children in more danger. This aspect isn't even touched on by the film makers and we're left with a dull fly on the wall documentary which isn't even about web addiction (as far as I recall all the "patients" are being treated for addiction to games).

October 04, 2014 at 11:06PM

Saturday Night Fever, 1977 - ★★★

Even though I was unsure if I'd ever seen the entire film before, I knew it went to dark places but wasn't expecting things to get that dark. I'm not sure how well those darker moments sit alongside the lighter and more iconic moments which, to someone the same age as the film, appeared to perfectly embody the 70s and disco.

October 04, 2014 at 10:56PM

Gentlemen Broncos, 2009 - ★★

One of those films were you get the feeling that everybody making the film was having so much fun they failed to see that the film wasn't working. It sounds like it should become a cult classic but nothing made any real connection with me.

October 04, 2014 at 10:13PM