26 July 2015

Extract, 2009 - ★★★

This isn't a great film, at times it's quite remarkable but it's also harmlessly enjoyable. Had it been Judge's first film it would be a writer/director to keep an eye on to see what they did next. I had to double check it was Ben Affleck, it may be his best role so far.

July 26, 2015 at 06:06PM

Inside Out, 2015 - ★★★★½

Inside Out is really quite remarkable and it's amazing how deeply touching it manages to be on several different occasions. It may well be Pixar's and 2015's most important film so it's a shame that I found it lacking something to bring all the wonderful small and thoughtful moments together in a more satisfying conclusion.

July 26, 2015 at 06:05PM

Ant-Man, 2015 - ★★★

For many people, me included, it will be impossible to watch Ant-Man and not wonder what could've been under Edgar Wright's direction. How it's turned out is a conventional but highly enjoyable comic book film. It does feels different from the rest of the franchise so much so that the MCU references often feel forced. One scene in particular feels like it could have just been in the script as


I've read a few things about the weak story and plot holes but to be honest I didn't notice and was just glad there wasn't the usual Marvel climax.

July 26, 2015 at 05:59PM

Dear White People, 2014 - ★★★½

I'd been looking forward to this since it's US release late last year so it was perhaps inevitable that it would be a little disappointing. The biggest problem is there is so much going on (important messages, humour, stylish visual touches) that the end result is quite muddled. However it is enjoyable and funny (although not as funny as it should be) and offers up endless talking points that would make it a great starting point for any discussion on race.

July 26, 2015 at 05:55PM

13 July 2015

Amy, 2015 - ★★★★

As a follow up to Senna and already knowing the briefest details of Winehouse's tragic life, it came as no surprise that Amy was an incredibly effective and sad film.

Her story is told simply and chronologically with few surprises but it's so well put together. Early conversations about Tony Bennett initially feel like standard documentary fare but take on more significance later on. Perhaps the most beautiful parts of the film are the moments when the lyrics of the songs come to life to reveal their devastating depth and meaning; it's these lyrics that are the real story of Amy.

The thing that stuck with me the most though feels a little strange. The film starts with a strobe warning, which for a music documentary doesn't feel unusual. It didn't occur to me that Winehouse's live shows were probably not huge light shows. The strobing effects are used in the paparazzi scenes and literally shine a blinding light on just how terrible this behaviour is. Somebody in the film mentions the "british press" and it's really sickening to know that this is something your home country is known for (although I'm sure the US tabloid press is pretty bad as well). I found myself thinking how can this be allowed, in a way I usually only feel whenever the gun control argument frequently crops up in the US - can you not just see it's fundamentally wrong.

However a horrible inevitable truth is that without all the press coverage of Amy's life it feels like it would be impossible to make most of the film.

The film raises other serious issues about addiction, depression, substance abuse, the desire for fame from those with no talent and how those with the talent are forced down the paths of fame. It also shows how these issues are often misunderstood and simply overlooked when it should be obvious they need to be talked about more.

July 13, 2015 at 09:53PM

11 July 2015

Beware of Mr. Baker, 2012 - ★★★½

Point a camera at somebody as interesting as Ginger Baker and you're likely to get a good film but this is more than just that. Great use of interviews, archive footage and animation add a lot to make this another great music documentary.

July 11, 2015 at 10:24AM

02 July 2015

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, 2015 - ★★★★

This felt like a much better made film that The Ecstasy Of Wilko Johnson which I saw earlier in the day. Although I'm not a big fan I feel like I've heard Cobain's story many times before, this offers up a new take on things and is surprisingly intimate at times.

I did struggle to get through so perhaps it is too long but it was also at the end (3:30am) of a long, drunken day in the Sun.

July 02, 2015 at 10:29PM

The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson, 2015 - ★★★

A really wonderful story and insight but unsure how well it works as a film. The inclusion of other films is often distracting and there are some odd choice such as a shot of heaven in A Matter Of Life Of Death after Johnson declares he doesn't believe in God.

July 02, 2015 at 10:23PM

Kingsman: The Secret Service, 2015 - ★★★★

A huge amount of fun, mostly predictable but always enjoyable and perhaps a perfect choice of film to watch in a field with alcohol.

Shame about that moment at the end which really doesn't feel right and it's inclusion completely unnecessary.

July 02, 2015 at 10:18PM