31 January 2016

Room, 2015 - ★★★★★

I've waited over two months to see the second half of Room and it didn't disappoint. The first half remains just as brilliant on a second viewing and if had ended at the point I'd still be satisfied. The final sequence of events in the first part of the film builds to such a satisfying conclusion via a range of emotions.

I was worried that second part would take things in a different direction and not be as effective but it's here that the heart of the film really starts beating. It's great to see both Larson and Abrahams mature into such profoundly brilliant roles (infront and behind the camera) and Jacob Tremblay is just fantastic as Jack.

January 31, 2016 at 10:32PM

29 January 2016

My Most Anticipated Films of 2016 (take 2)

My most anticipated films of 2016 (based on UK release).

In no particular order.

...plus 60 more. View the full list on Letterboxd.

January 29, 2016 at 08:53PM

24 January 2016

Girls On Film 2015

Yes but where are all the good roles for men?

...plus 10 more. View the full list on Letterboxd.

January 24, 2016 at 10:46PM

Performances of 2015

The best performances of 2015

January 24, 2016 at 10:39PM

18 January 2016

The Revenant, 2015 - ★★★

As a series of beautiful moving images The Revenant is absolutely spectacular. As a story, it's a quite dull and lacking any real heart. Most of the more spectacular moments are in the trailer so seem predictable when they do arrive.

A number of small niggles nibble away at the rest of the film. It's hard to take Hardy's Bane voice seriously now that it's been parodied so much. There's blood splatter, snow and condensed breath on the camera lens which is a personal bugbear of mine and always takes me out of the moment. It's so long that my the time a group of characters turn up towards the end I'd forgotten what they were actually doing.

There's almost time to watch Slow West twice and so much more happens in that smaller film.

But boy does The Revenant look good.

January 18, 2016 at 10:22PM

17 January 2016

Tomorrowland, 2015 - ★★★½

It's a shame that Tomorrowland got lost amongst all the sequels, superheroes and Mad Max (not to mention poor reviews). It's great to see an original ambitious film even if it doesn't quite manage to pull everything together as neatly as it should. It all looks fantastic and is further proof that only animators seem capable of merging VFX with live action. In years to come I suspect people will reevaluate this film to great acclaim, which isn't the only thing it shares in common with A.I.

January 17, 2016 at 03:22PM

15 January 2016

The Sound of Music Live!, 2015

Watched on Sunday January 10, 2016.

January 15, 2016 at 09:58AM

12 January 2016

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, 2015 - ★★★★

Every few years a really great film comes along disguised as just another teen comedy. This isn't one of those films but it comes so close with many great touches and a director to watch out for in the future. It's a shame that it sags so much in the middle but perhaps that's just to lure you into it's powerful ending. I didn't think it would 'get' me but it absolutely did.

January 12, 2016 at 09:47PM

Clouds of Sils Maria, 2014 - ★★★★

I've yet to fully understand why I liked this so much. Perhaps it's the way it frequently disappears into itself so you're always questioning exactly what it is your watching. I found it far more effective than something like Birdman or Persona to which it has been compared.

January 12, 2016 at 09:22PM

11 January 2016

The Hateful Eight, 2015 - ★★★★

The Hateful Eight starts very slowly and although there are some great early moments it is also incredibly boring. I'll offer the disclaimer that I'm full of cold so perhaps wasn't in the best state to see the film but I did find myself practically nodding off at points which is something I never thought I'd say about a QT film.

Fortunately things pick up a lot from Chapter 3 and continue to improve through the remainder of the film. The crudity and gore feels immature especially in contrast to some of the more beautiful scenes. In a way it's a shame that Tarantino is so obsessed with cinema because so much of his work would be better suited to the HBO/Netflix world of television.

January 11, 2016 at 09:40PM

10 January 2016

Slow West, 2015 - ★★★★

There's so much to like from the quirkiness through to just how beautiful everything looks. Less than 90 minutes with an absolutely fantastic climax.

January 10, 2016 at 11:26PM

Joy, 2015 - ★★★★

It's always nice when a film's title reviews itself. Like David O. Russell most recent film, Joy often feels like it shouldn't be working but somehow it just does. I found myself thinking that perhaps this isn't a great film but this scene is really fantastic. Then the next scene comes along and it's just as good. And then another. It's only towards the end when it should be delivering a knockout climax that it falters but recovers for the final moments. I left with a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.

January 10, 2016 at 11:20PM

Cinema 2016

Films I saw at the cinema during 2016.

January 10, 2016 at 11:23PM

My Films of 2016

  1. Joy
January 10, 2016 at 11:22PM

07 January 2016

A Most Violent Year, 2014 - ★★★

Of all the films I didn't see last year this was the one I missed the most. Now I've seen it, it's not troubling my top whatever list but it was refreshing to see a gangster film effectively without any gangsters. Great performances, two fantastic chase sequences and a wonderful look throughout but not one that you need to rush to see.

January 07, 2016 at 07:54PM

05 January 2016

Love & Mercy, 2015 - ★★★★

The two different parts of the film really shouldn't work together but like so much in the film they somehow do. The film often ends slips into music biopic cliche ("It's a good vibration") but usually rises above them to present a moving portrait of genius, obsession and madness.

January 05, 2016 at 10:28PM

04 January 2016

Happy Christmas, 2014 - ★★★

A disappointment after Drinking Buddies but an entertaining distraction for 80 minutes.

January 04, 2016 at 12:03AM

Peter & Wendy, 2015 - ★★½

I was without TV reception or internet over Christmas and I wasn't sure if this would be worth catching up with. The two reviews I found in the press appeared positive but the two other reviews on Letterboxd were negative. I've had an interest in the story of Peter Pan for some time so I decided to give it a go and it probably wasn't worth it. Had it been on in the background over Christmas it may have appealed more but on it's own it quickly became dull. It's a shame because the structure (not dissimilar to Sherlock) works well and the Neverland sequences seem to be incredibly faithful to the very dark story (not that I remember it too well - it's been a few years since I last read it). The problems far outweigh anything good; from the ridiculous decision to badly subtitle Tinkerbell through to the distracting performance of Peter Pan. The only other thing worthy of a mention is the strange televisual oddity of Theis Birk Larsen from The Killing talking to Lydia from Breaking Bad.

January 04, 2016 at 12:00AM

02 January 2016

My Most Anticipated Films of 2016

My most anticipated films of 2016 (based on UK release).

In no particular order.

...plus 8 more. View the full list on Letterboxd.

January 02, 2016 at 09:45PM

01 January 2016

Disappointments of 2015

Not bad films but the ones with high expectations that left me disappointed in some way.

Mostly UK releases apart from Victoria which I saw at #LIFF29 and isn't out until April.

January 01, 2016 at 12:53PM

Film of The Week 2016

Setting out to prove that there's a film released each week that is worthy of your time.

Each week I pick one new film.

Based on UK release dates.

  1. Joy

    Wasting no time getting 2016 started with both Joy and The Danish Girl on wide release. Based on the directors' previous work I'd have to go for Joy.

January 01, 2016 at 12:00PM