28 November 2016

13th, 2016 - ★★★★

This would come across as a powerful and fascinating documentary any time but now, after Trump's win, it feels even more timely. It's a well put together film that's only really let down by a distracting technique of having interview subjects talking into one camera but filming them from the side.

November 28, 2016 at 11:00PM

25 November 2016

Joy, 2015 - ★★★★

Joy was the first film I saw in the cinema this year, I really liked it back then and as a result it's been hovering around the top of my best films of the year list. Everytime I look at the list I keep thinking was Joy really that good or is it's position just a result of how I add things to the list (add at the bottom and move it up if it's better than than the previous entry). When I saw it was available to watch on NowTV I thought I'd give it another go and I was surprised to find how much I still like it. As I said back in January it may not be a great film but it is a collection of great scenes. This time I kept thinking it was skating around the edge of brilliance but never quite getting there. There is so much to like and if it hadn't been for the epilogue I'd be tempted to give it 5 stars.

November 25, 2016 at 11:50PM

#LIFF30 Audience Award

Best New Feature 1-20
Best Retrospective 21-30

Short Film City

1. Timecode
2. It’s Alright
3. When You Hear the Bells
4. The Bald Future
5. Spring Jam
6. Home
7. Homebodies
8. Mr Madila
9. Bamboo Temple Street
10. The Bathtub

  1. Mindhorn
  2. Train to Busan
  3. A Man Called Ove
  4. Tomorrow
  5. Moonlight
  6. A Monster Calls
  7. A Silent Voice
  8. Life, Animated
  9. My Life as a Courgette
  10. Meru

...plus 20 more. View the full list on Letterboxd.

November 25, 2016 at 08:12AM

20 November 2016

Arrival, 2016 - ★★★★

My second Amy Adams film of the weekend and whereas Nocturnal Animals was brilliant throughout this grows towards its greatness. I was left confused behind the motivations but perhaps that isn't too important because this isn't the real story. The amount of time spend on the final scenes suggest it is supposed to be a revelation but it's clear much earlier what is happening which may have taken something away from me. Rather than being the brilliant film I was expecting (and others are seeing) I was left satisfyingly impressed much like I have been with all of Villeneuve's films.

November 20, 2016 at 07:58PM

Nocturnal Animals, 2016 - ★★★★★

Three different stories perfectly blended together. Mark Kermode described it as a completed jigsaw and what pleased me the most was how different all the pieces were. It's similar to this year's Hell Or High Water and The Neon Demon but much better than both, there are many times when it feels like a David Lynch film. The story within the story is the main drive but everything around it fits so well and comes together for such a satisfying ending (although I may be the only person to think that).

November 20, 2016 at 07:41PM

18 November 2016

30 Films I Didn't See At #LIFF30 (but wanted to)

I saw 44 feature films at LIFF30 and there were still so many films I couldn't see (in alphabetical order).

This list doesn't include and films I've already seen such as

A United Kingdom
Under The Skin
Jurassic Park
Lost In Translation
The Virgin Suicides
Harold and Maude
The Matrix

...plus 20 more. View the full list on Letterboxd.

November 18, 2016 at 07:10PM

17 November 2016

Toni Erdmann, 2016 - ★★★★

#LIFF30 Film 44: A wonderfully odd, awkwardly funny film that could have been great if it wasn't so damn long. It's worth persevering for two truly brilliant stand out sequences towards the end of the film.

ps - Don't like the poster choice on Letterboxd

November 17, 2016 at 11:30PM

16 November 2016

Wild, 2016 - ★★★½

#LIFF30 Film 43: Another strange beautiful story about love, obsession and loneliness, something of a theme at this year's festival. It's a shame there are too many moments that don't make sense for this to be a really great film.

November 16, 2016 at 11:34PM

Graduation, 2016 - ★★★½

#LIFF30 Film 42: Slow but in a satisfying way although ultimately it is far too long. I kept expecting something to happen but things are mostly 0t as a mystery which is as infuriating as it is pleasurable.

November 16, 2016 at 11:28PM

The Wailing, 2016 - ★★★½

#LIFF30 Film 41: After a slow start (or was I just too tired) things quickly escalate to thrilling switches between genre and sub genre. It was already too long before the final act which stretches things out to a tedious level introducing unecessary twists. When my answer to the question "so what was she?" genuinely was "who cares" something has gone wrong

November 16, 2016 at 05:29PM

Suntan, 2016 - ★★★★

#LIFF30 Film 40: This story was never going to end well but not knowing how bad it may be turn out to be (or not) was really what kept me engaged throughout.

November 15, 2016 at 11:58PM

15 November 2016

Moonlight, 2016 - ★★★★

#LIFF30 Film 39: I knew nothing about this going in apart from how well it was being received. To begin with I struggled to see where all the acclaim was coming from but each transition built on the last for everything to come together in an incredible finale. It's so common now for films to fall apart in their third acts so it's pleasing to see somebody actually building up to a satisfying conclusion.

November 15, 2016 at 11:55PM

The Autopsy of Jane Doe, 2016 - ★★★★½

#LIFF30 Film 38: This may be the best horror film I've seen for some time. Funny, scary, gruesome and only firmly based in reality for as long as it needs to be.

November 15, 2016 at 11:47PM

The Noonday Witch, 2016 - ★★★½

#LIFF30 Film 37: A really strong first half gives way to a muddled ending. Having had more time to reflect on it I think I have a better idea of what they were trying to achieve and so the ending didn't seem as bad. It's a lot better than The Vee Vee Itch though.

November 15, 2016 at 11:41PM

14 November 2016

Headshot, 2016 - ★★½

#LIFF30 Film 36: Something's gone quite wrong if an action film isn't engaging enough to fully hold your attention. I didn't think I was tired going in but I just kept closing my eyes and when I opened them again people were still fighting. I thought it might be unfair to rate but people more alert than me seem to think it was even worse than what I saw.

November 14, 2016 at 11:30PM

Here Is Harold, 2014 - ★★★★

#LIFF30 Film 35: Constantly chucklesome but doesn't manage to deliver the real satisfying moments it needs to be great. It does have the best use of bubble wrap in cinema though.

November 14, 2016 at 11:17PM

Mothers of #LIFF30

The most memorable mothers of this years festival.

November 14, 2016 at 01:02PM

13 November 2016

Assassination Classroom: Graduation, 2016 - ★★★★

#LIFF30 Film 34: It was a brave move to switch direction and tone for the sequel but for me it made this the better film. Like the first film it's still too long and there's far too much time spent in the flashbacks but it develops real depth to sit alongside the craziness of the original.

November 13, 2016 at 11:42PM

Kids Police, 2013 - ★★½

#LIFF30 Film 33: It may be a one joke movie but it's a good joke. It's a just a shame the concept is let down by a weak story and terrible acting (sorry kids). Would've been better if they'd taken a script for a serious cop film and tweaked it. It is fun though.

November 13, 2016 at 11:37PM

Hacksaw Ridge, 2016 - ★★★★

#LIFF30 Film 32: I had no expectations from this and perhaps as a result I was left really impressed. It's a remarkable story and a really well made film. I wish more time had been spent before the Ridge because that's the really interesting part, although I suspect most people will disagree. Once at the Ridge it does just become another war film albeit an incredibly intense and well shot one. It's also a shame that real life footage is used at the end to repeat some of the stories, rather than legitimise what we've just seen it had the opposite effect for me and left me feeling manipulative and wishing it had been saved for the "making of" documentary.

November 13, 2016 at 11:32PM

Mindhorn, 2016 - ★★★★★

#LIFF30 Film 31: The funniest film since What We Do In The Shadows. I'd forgotten how fantastic it is to see an incredibly funny film in a packed cinema. We laughed so hard we probably missed half the jokes.

Followed by an equally excellent and slightly surreal Q&A with Julian Barratt Simon Farnaby.

November 13, 2016 at 11:20PM

It's Only the End of the World, 2016 - ★★★

#LIFF30 Film 30: Great performances, incredible tension but ultimately amounts to nothing.

Note: Not sure how much my impression was impacted by somebody in the audience fainting or threatening to faint and needed to be taken out during the scene with Louis and his mother. I'm not sure if I ever really got back into the film after that.

November 13, 2016 at 12:21AM

12 November 2016

Two Lovers and a Bear, 2016 - ★★★★½

#LIFF30 Film 29: Loved this. There's an unexpected moment that changes everything making it feel like anything could happen in the rest of the film. It's that unexpectation that really drove the film for me and with the charming performances made it one of my favourites of the festival.

November 12, 2016 at 11:52PM

Old Stone, 2016 - ★★★★

#LIFF30 Film 28: I knew about hit and run incidents in China so I knew how this was likely to play out. It did so stylishly until the messy ending which should have been so much stronger.

November 12, 2016 at 11:48PM

Heat, 1995 - ★★★★

#LIFF30 Film 27: Is it too harsh to call this a collection of 5 star moments in a 4 star film? I don't know when I last saw Heat or how much of it I actually remembered but I certainly held it in high regard. This time it just felt far too long but I don't know what could be cut. Perhaps it just works best as an indicator of the last time Pacino and DeNiro were actually really good?

November 12, 2016 at 11:42PM

The Handmaiden, 2016 - ★★★★

#LIFF30 Film 26: Not at all the film I was expecting and all the better for it. I should've loved everything about it (humour, nonlinear, smart) but once again felt like I was too tired to fully appreciate it so look forward to giving it another go outside the festival.

November 12, 2016 at 12:26AM

10 November 2016

The Lure, 2015 - ★★★½

#LIFF30 Film 25: I liked everything about this but due to my tiredness did struggle with it a little. Did I miss something or did it jump around quite a bit? Can't wait to see it again sometime though.

November 10, 2016 at 11:47PM

They Call Me Jeeg Robot, 2016 - ★★★

#LIFF30 Film 24: There may be a good film in there somewhere because it's certainly a great concept. The tone is all over the place which makes it difficult to watch and there's something very amateurish about how it all comes together. Disappointing but maybe a sequel will be better.

November 10, 2016 at 11:41PM

09 November 2016

Life, Animated, 2016 - ★★★★

#LIFF30 Film 23: An uplifting film that's as much about growing up as it is about autism and Disney.

November 09, 2016 at 11:39PM

Piano, 2015 - ★★★★

Watched on Wednesday November 9, 2016.

November 09, 2016 at 11:30PM

Jonas and the Sea, 2015 - ★★★

Watched on Wednesday November 9, 2016.

November 09, 2016 at 11:29PM

The Empty, 2016 - ★★

Watched on Wednesday November 9, 2016.

November 09, 2016 at 11:27PM

Ivan's Need, 2015 - ★★★

Watched on Wednesday November 9, 2016.

November 09, 2016 at 11:25PM

The Birth of a Nation, 2016 - ★★★★½

#LIFF30 Film 22: An incredibly powerful and well made film.

I didn't know (or had forgotten) about the real life controversy before I saw and rated the film.

November 09, 2016 at 11:21PM

A Man Called Ove, 2015 - ★★★★★

#LIFF30 Film 21: My favourite film of the festival so far and the first I unquestionably gave a 5 star rating. It shouldn't have worked, it's a variation on a story that's been told many times before, it's too sentimental in places and it probably is too long. But it does all work, perfectly bringing together humour and humanity and on days like today that's all you need.

November 09, 2016 at 11:07PM

Arctic Superstar - ★★★★

#LIFF30 Film 20: One of those documentaries so full of interesting people that it doesn't matter that there isn't much of a story or anything clever about the filmmaking.

November 09, 2016 at 12:23AM

Mother, 2016 - ★★★

#LIFF30 Film 19: Another solid "festival" film, I wish the rest of the film had been as inventive as the conclusion which feels tacked on rather than integrated into the story.

November 09, 2016 at 12:19AM

Schneider vs. Bax, 2015 - ★★★★

#LIFF30 Film 18: I enjoyed this a lot even though it was lacking something and often felt like entire scenes had been lost in the editing.

November 09, 2016 at 12:14AM

Hedi, 2016 - ★★★

#LIFF30 Film 17: A middling film, fine to watch but also nothing really that special.

November 09, 2016 at 12:05AM

08 November 2016

Speedy, 1928 - ★★★★½

#LIFF30 Film 16: Worth seeing just for the footage of New York and especially Coney Island. On top of that you effectively get four Harold Lloyd short films: the date, the cabbie, the fight and the rescue, all of which are wonderful but do drag the film out a little too long.

November 08, 2016 at 12:00AM

07 November 2016

The Battle of the Century, 1927 - ★★★★

Lots of fun and lots of pies.

November 07, 2016 at 11:52PM

Exit Smiling, 1926 - ★★★

#LIFF30 Film 15: Lots of nice moments but unsure how well it all worked together.

November 07, 2016 at 11:50PM

My Wife's Relations, 1922 - ★★★★

Watched on Monday November 7, 2016.

November 07, 2016 at 11:47PM

Les premiers, les derniers, 2016 - ★★★★

#LIFF30 Film 14: Went into this blind and knew from the opening titles that I was going to love it. It may be the best looking film I've seen at the festival but apart from that I'm struggling to identify what I really liked about it and why I couldn't bring myself to give it a 5 star rating. Definitely one for the Letterboxd heart.

November 07, 2016 at 11:36PM

Under The Shadow, 2016 - ★★★★

#LIFF30 Film 13: It's hard not to think of The Babadook but this is a superior film with the terrors of the real world providing as many scares as the supernatural.

November 07, 2016 at 11:17PM

06 November 2016

Don't Call Me Son, 2016 - ★★★★

#LIFF30 Film 12: A fascinating look at identity that ends where other films may start to drag (no pun intended). Personally I prefer to be left wanting more so thought the abrupt ending was a great scene to end on.

November 06, 2016 at 11:31PM

Psychonauts, the Forgotten Children, 2015 - ★★★

#LIFF30 Film 11: I wanted to like the more than I actually did. It's a wonderfully interesting world with great characters (including the best alarm clock) but the whole thing never came together as a whole.

November 06, 2016 at 11:15PM

The Red Turtle, 2016 - ★★★★

#LIFF30 Film 10: Really beautiful and I didn't mind that nothing much happened; would've happily watched more.

November 06, 2016 at 11:12PM

Father and Daughter, 2000 - ★★★

Need to give this another watch sometime because I didn't really take it in at this screening.

November 06, 2016 at 11:03PM

Belladonna of Sadness, 1973 - ★★

#LIFF30 Film 9: One thing I like about film festivals is that you often go into a film knowing nothing about it. This usually enhances the experience but in the case of this film I feel like I needed to be prepared (warned) about what I was going to see. I'm still not entirely sure what I saw but I don't think I really liked it. There were many moments of beautiful animation but these were all ruined by a jarring change of style or yet more sexual violence or depravity.

I might have been more willing to take it in as a late night screening but I suspect lunchtime animated pornography is a bit much for most people.

November 06, 2016 at 11:00PM

Pets of #LIFF30

I love it when an unexpected theme emerges at a festival.

November 06, 2016 at 10:01AM

Train to Busan, 2016 - ★★★★

#LIFF30 Film 8: This is really a disaster movie with zombies and it manages to be a huge amount of fun and pack an emotional punch. Would've been better by ending a minute earlier though.

November 06, 2016 at 09:37AM

Pet, 2016 - ★★★★½

#LIFF30 Film 7: It's hard to say anything about Pet because part of what makes it great is that you never know what's going to happen next. One question though: how did he get that box across town?

November 06, 2016 at 09:32AM

I Am Not a Serial Killer, 2016 - ★★★½

#LIFF30 Film 6: John is such a great character, played wonderfully by Max Records, it's almost a shame when the sub plot takes over. Three moments really stood out: one of the best death threats in cinema, offering to shovel snow and watching somebody cross the road. These insights into John's mind were far more interesting than any of the actual killings.

November 06, 2016 at 09:27AM

The Master Cleanse, 2016 - ★★★

#LIFF30 Film 5: Enjoyable but not too remarkable full of unexpected oddness and charm. It's already short but feels like it would've been better as an actual short.

November 06, 2016 at 09:20AM