30 May 2016

Love & Friendship, 2016 - ★★★★

Oh this is fun and neatly summed up by Mark Kermode as "the most politely impolite film of the year." It's just a joy to watch with an acerbic wit running throughout and frequently laugh out loud funny.

May 30, 2016 at 10:52AM

U Rated

May 30, 2016 at 10:45AM

28 May 2016

Of Horses and Men, 2013 - ★★★

Dark and peculiar with a strange sense of humour and often surprisingly moving but didn't come together as strongly as it should to be considered great.

May 28, 2016 at 03:49PM

27 May 2016

Everybody Wants Some, 2016 - ★★★★

A really enjoyable experience with a fantastic soundtrack. Like Sing Street it captures the period perfectly and could easily fool you into thinking these were your actual memories. There may be a bit too much testosterone on display (but that's part of what the film is about) and two brief nude shots feel gratuitously from another decade but there's very little else to complain about. It already feels like this will stand the test of time and hopefully we'll get to see more from the largely unknown cast.

May 27, 2016 at 10:22AM

Hillsborough, 1996 - ★★★★

Still utterly devastating but could have done with a longer running time because at times it feels rushed (although that was perhaps more to do with the legal status of things at the time it was made).

May 27, 2016 at 10:08AM

A Monster in Paris, 2011 - ★★★

Really beautifully animated and a delight to see a style that isn't the usual Disney/Pixar/Dreamworks/Blue Sky. It's a shame the story isn't as strong and failed to grab me. The modern dialogue often feels out of place but not as much as the songs which don't work at all.

May 27, 2016 at 10:02AM

I Know Where I'm Going!, 1945 - ★★★

Hadn't heard of this before and only watched it because it was the Wittertainment TV Film Of The Week and I happened to catch it. It was fine but didn't feel like anything special.

May 27, 2016 at 09:56AM

22 May 2016

Our Man in Havana, 1959 - ★★★

Nothing like I was expecting but really enjoyable and on a day when I wasn't full of cold may have enjoyed it more.

May 22, 2016 at 08:28PM

Cyberbully, 2015 - ★★★★½

I thought this was an incredibly well made hour of television and was surprised to see it getting low scores on Letterboxd. It feels original and unpredictable, really well filmed with a great performances. It's ambiguity and lack of a complete resolution or closure only made it stronger.

May 22, 2016 at 08:24PM

Second Coming, 2014 - ★★★

It's a good idea to present a fantastical element in a completely realistic way but I'm not sure how well it carries it off. The film is beyond subtle and to me (or at least my Friday night mindset) it wasn't at all obvious what was happening. Had I not known what the film was about I think it would have been completely lost on my. If you have the patience to stick with it and appreciate it's subtleties then I imagine it will be quite rewarding.

May 22, 2016 at 08:19PM

19 May 2016

Future Shock! The Story of 2000AD, 2014 - ★★★

There are some interesting stories and a chance to see some great artwork but it never quite escapes the"look how brilliant we are (even when we're failing)" self indulgence.

May 19, 2016 at 06:41PM

17 May 2016

Lilting, 2014 - ★★★★

Just beautiful.

May 17, 2016 at 01:36PM

16 May 2016

The East, 2013 - ★★★

An interesting premise that doesn't quite manage to reach it's full potential but is different enough to remain engaging.

May 16, 2016 at 08:01PM

15 May 2016

Sing Street, 2016 - ★★★★

John Carney knows how to make music come alive on the screen. There are multiple moments where songs just come alive with a visual flair illustrating what makes them sound so good. He did it in Begin Again and that's pretty much all that happens in Once. Sing Street is closer to Begin Again (a film I liked a lot more than others) than Once but also has similarities to something like We Are The Best. Unfortunately I had the same problem as I had with Begin Again in that I personally didn't like the songs enough to be completely swept away but the fact that I still understood the sentiment warmed by heart and made me smile and cry in a happy sad sort of way.

May 15, 2016 at 04:10PM

Chappie, 2015 - ★★★

Tonally this is all over the place but I quite enjoyed it.

May 15, 2016 at 04:00PM

Captain America: Civil War, 2016 - ★★★★

It's hard not to think about Batman V Superman throughout Civil War. I can't help but feel that the reason Marvel's latest is being heralded as their best is partly down to just how bad Dawn Of Justice was. The two films share many similarities but Civil War understands nearly everything that BvS:DoJ got wrong and is executed with love care and attention. There are some problems though, the story is quite weak and Captain America remains the dullest Avenger. I struggled to remember the Winter Soldier storyline or the importance of the friendship with Bucky so the emotional drive was missing for me. Perhaps it doesn't matter how we get to the central fight but it feels nearly as ridiculous as BvS and certainly feels like they could easily resolve matters just by talking to each other. But that airport fight is just fantastic, with all (twelve?) characters working together brilliantly whilst retaining their own identity and the tone of their individual films. It's the two new characters that stand out as the most interesting things in the whole film and has piqued my interest in their upcoming films when I previously had little interest; compare this to BvS where the other characters were bluntly introduced like a paid for piece of product placement.

So everything continues along and is a huge amount of fun but once again the climatic scenes don't work. The final battle is another tedious punch 'em up that reminded me of Iron Man 2. It's a shame that so many of the Marvel films fall apart towards the end. Again, the reason for the bust up feels completely unmerited and could've been sorted out with a calming conversation but I guess Captain America: Coffee and Chat doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

May 15, 2016 at 03:58PM

08 May 2016

Henry V, 1989 - ★★★

I didn't realise I'd seen this before and apart from Emma Thompson's first scene I didn't remember any of it. I think I'm just going to have to admit to not getting the history plays. This may be regarded as one of the best Shakespeare adaptations but apart from the battles it's far to theatrical for my tastes. The Agincourt sequence is spectacular but by this point I'd already lost interest and it was only when Thompson returns again at the end that I regained interest. I'd happily watch her scenes over and over but it does make me think if the best scene in a film is one that is arguably entirely redundant then something isn't quite right somewhere.

May 08, 2016 at 05:25PM

07 May 2016

Midnight Special, 2016 - ★★★★

One of my most anticipated films of the year and I was left feeling it was satisfyingly good rather than great. Somebody once said that you could probably dispense with the first 20 minutes of most films (which is usually just setup) and jump straight into the story which is exactly what Nichols does. This is a mystery and you're constantly trying to discover what's going on and yet it's never frustratingly unclear. A fantastic soundtrack helps everything along. There's something missing though, the finale isn't bad but it always felt like everything was leading to something really special and on paper it is but in delivery it falters. The end credits feature a "a kind of bastardized version" of the title song by Ben Nichols' band, Lucero which was a great way to end (even if I was the only person left in the cinema to hear it).

May 07, 2016 at 08:56AM

02 May 2016

American Sniper, 2014 - ★★★

Competently made and easy to watch but also feels like a series of missed opportunities to explore much more. I'd forgotten it was based on a true story which perhaps explains why it steers away from the darker more interesting stuff. A muddled ending is literally unfathomable, requiring a trip to Wikipedia to find out what happened.

May 02, 2016 at 05:20PM

Love Is All You Need, 2012 - ★★★½

There's lots of familiar elements here: Danes squabbling at a family gathering, a stunning mediterranean(?) setting, Pierce Brosnan and a title that isn't that far removed from a pop song. However this is quite different from Festen, Melancholia or Mama Mia and ends being a much nicer tale than the total devastation of Festen and fortunately Brosnan doesn't start singing. The central story is satisfying but I was left wanting more from the secondary characters.

May 02, 2016 at 05:13PM