25 July 2016

Pandora's Box, 1929 - ★★★½

When thinking about silent films it's too easy to focus on the comedies or horrors and forget about the drama. It's also easy to think that these were innocent times but Pandora's Box throws out all kinds of debauchery. It's a shame that the film is so long and the first part in particular really drags but part two is a lot more enjoyable.

Screened as part of the Yorkshire Silent Film Festival with a brilliant live score by Jonathan Best.

July 25, 2016 at 04:23PM

Queen of Earth, 2015 - ★★★

A few days later and I'm still trying to make sense of this. I think I liked it and I definitely liked that it's open to many interpretations. I haven't decided if it's a horror, psychodrama or science fiction or how much of what unfolds was real or in somebody's head. Not that it really matters or if it was a bit of all of those things, combined with the compelling performances is what makes it good.

July 25, 2016 at 04:09PM

23 July 2016

Star Trek Beyond, 2016 - ★★★★

The best Star Trek film I remember seeing. It isn't perfect and it would be quite easy to list many things that are wrong but does that matter if I was having so much fun? The story may not be great but the script and how the characters react to the story and each other is just fantastic. The action scenes are too long and noisy but most of them do feel fresh and original. Jaylah is a wonderful character and in the ever increasing shared universes of cinema would it be too much for her to get a spin off movie.

3D: There are a few scenes when 3D is used and makes a difference but probably not enough to compensate for the many low light or fast moving scenes.

July 23, 2016 at 04:08PM

The BFG, 2016 - ★★★½

Mark Rylance is just fantastic as The BFG, it really is a great performance and the animation looks great. In fact all of the film looks great but there is still a problem that the live action doesn't smoothly blend into the digital world (which I don't remember happening with The Jungle Book). It was an unnecessary distraction whenever Sophie was in Giant Country (but not when the BFG was in London) which made me wonder if it would have been better to animate everything.

There are bigger problems that despite ticking all the right boxes it gets a little flat and dare I say dull in the middle. Fortunately a trip to the palace is magically joyous so the film ends on a high, it's just a shame that level couldn't be maintained throughout. John Williams score also lacks something apart from the end credit music.

3D: Didn't notice the 3D at all which may be a good thing but not sure if it added anything.

July 23, 2016 at 03:49PM

17 July 2016

Magic Mike XXL, 2015 - ★★½

The road movie part is good fun but once they arrive at their destination the film goes nowhere. Of course if you're watching the film for the overlong "male entertainer" show at the end you'll probably think completely the opposite.

July 17, 2016 at 11:06PM

10 July 2016

The Neon Demon, 2016 - ★★★★

Two thirds of this are absolutely film-of-the-year fantastic but the final third goes to all sorts of strange places that just make it difficult to stay on board. I think I 'liked' what happened towards the end but I'm really not sure.The soundtrack is consistently brilliant and definitely one of the best of the year

July 10, 2016 at 10:17PM

Spy, 2015 - ★★★

Lots of fun but perhaps not as great as I was expecting.

July 10, 2016 at 01:26PM

Tale of Tales, 2015 - ★★½

I didn't know anything about Tale of Tales before it's release and it was only as I heard more and more favourable reviews that I thought I should try and see it. It was Mark Kermode and James King who finally convinced me by both saying it was something that needed to be seen on the big screen. I had a feeling that if I liked the film I would really like it but there was also a chance I wouldn't like it at all.

I'm sure James King said something about seeing it at the cinema because on a smaller screen it might just look cheaper. There are many moments when it looks wonderfully cinematic but it never manages to escape the overall feeling of it being a big europudding television special. I love television (perhaps even more than cinema) and hate using this is a criticism but I could never get over it. It's not just the look of the film but also the structure which felt like it would be better suited to a TV series. The three tales don't really intertwine so you have to wonder why they couldn't just be told separately. None of the stories are really that great and every time they do start to engage (which they all do at least once) the focus switches to another, dragging out the running time to an increasing level of frustration and boredom. Three 30 minute episodes could've been fantastic.

Lovely end credits though, or perhaps I was just glad it was over.

July 10, 2016 at 12:02PM

03 July 2016

Orchids and Ermine, 1927 - ★★★★

Another film and group of filmmakers that I knew nothing about so I'm grateful to the Yorkshire Silent Film Festival for giving me chance to see this really enjoyable film.

July 03, 2016 at 10:06PM

A Pair of Tights, 1929 - ★★★★½

A wonderful introduction to Anita Garvin with Marion Byron

July 03, 2016 at 10:00PM

The Grim Game, 1919 - ★★★½

Perhaps more interesting than enjoyable but there's also a lot to enjoy especially the plane stunt at the end.

July 03, 2016 at 09:58PM