31 December 2016

2016 Time Capsule

The 20 films released in the UK during 2016 I'd save over all others.

Subject to change after some new year catch ups.

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

December 31, 2016 at 02:52PM

We're Going on a Bear Hunt, 2016 - ★★★

Simple but quite charming animation which never reaches the greatness of The Snowman but also doesn't need the comparison.

December 31, 2016 at 01:47PM

Best 2016 releases on Netflix UK

...plus 2 more. View the full list on Letterboxd.

December 31, 2016 at 12:52PM

Ethel & Ernest, 2016 - ★★★★

Beautiful animation which manages to be both heartwarming and heartbreaking.

December 31, 2016 at 12:24PM

30 December 2016

Film of the week 2017

Selecting one film each week that should be worthy of your time.

Starting this with the New Year Day's releases.

Based on UK release dates.

  1. A Monster Calls

    It seems like Assasin's Creed is a bit of a dud but that still leaves a choice of this or Scorsese's Silence. This is likely to appeal to more people than Silence but I'm still worried it will be as bad as The Impossible.

December 30, 2016 at 01:07PM

Unreleased in the UK 2016

The best films I saw in 2016 which have not been released in the UK. Most of these are coming out in 2017 but many still don't have a release date.

In alphabetical order.

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

December 30, 2016 at 11:44AM

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, 1989 - ★★★★

Watched on Thursday December 29, 2016.

December 29, 2016 at 11:37PM

The Artist, 2011 - ★★★

I really loved this when I first saw it but perhaps that was the magic of watching something so refreshingly different with a full appreciative audience in a (nearly at the time) 100 year old cinema. Somehow it had lost the magic when I watched it on TV. Perhaps it was the TV, or perhaps I've seen more silent films in the last five years so it didn't seem as special. This time it felt too long, stretching out the admittedly thin plot. I was also surprised that the music wasn't much stronger which may also be because over the last few years I've listened and appreciated to more film music. It was still enjoyable and wonderfully made, just lacking a lot of what made it so special when I first saw it.

December 29, 2016 at 11:32PM

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 1984 - ★★★★

The weakest of the three Indiana Jones but a lot better than I remember from the last time I saw it. It's a shame there's so much greenscreen/matte work that really dates the film.

December 29, 2016 at 11:21PM

2016 The Regrets

The films of 2016 (based on UK releases apart from OJ which I'm not sure was released here) which I regret not seeing.

Alphabetical order.

December 29, 2016 at 11:55PM

28 December 2016

Disappointments of 2016

The new films I saw during 2016 that disappointed me the most. I struggled to put this list together which is a good thing but I'e also been more selective about what I went to see.

December 28, 2016 at 01:03PM

Love Actually, 2003 - ★★★

I thought I liked this more but in the 3 years since I last watched it a lot must have changed and I suspect the backlash, which has certainly become more apparent this year, will continue to grow. It's actually bad much more than it's good; creepy, sexist, objectifying women, body shaming and very little of it makes any practical sense. It's less of a shock that Curtis (who has always been a hero of mine) when out to make the rapey The Boat That Rocked.

I still kinda like Love Actually though.

December 28, 2016 at 12:41AM

27 December 2016

A Christmas Story, 1983 - ★

For years I've seen this come up in American lists of the greatest Christmas films (as well as the odd Christmas quiz) and wondered why it wasn't really known in the UK. I've known about it for some time now and kept a look out and as far as I know it still hasn't been shown on British TV that much. At least now I know why; it's absolutely awful and perhaps the best example of an anti-Christmas Christmas film.

It's an awful story about an awful child. It's badly told, filmed, acted and narrated. Nearly everybody in the film behaves terribly I assumed that there was going to be a Scrooge-like lesson learnt when they all stopped being such insufferable little shits and learnt the value of Christmas. Instead they continue to lie, deceive, lust after guns, bully, fight, disrespect each other and generally be horrible to each other. There is one moment when the father reveals the present that actually feels magically but the kid really doesn't deserve it so even that's tainted. Just when you think it's all over it throw in a bit of casual racism in case you hadn't suffered enough.

An awful film and a terrible Christmas movie.

December 27, 2016 at 06:27PM

The Gruffalo's Child, 2011

Watched on Tuesday December 27, 2016.

December 27, 2016 at 06:19PM

Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981 - ★★★★★

Watched on Tuesday December 27, 2016.

December 27, 2016 at 06:18PM

NW, 2016 - ★★★★

I enjoyed this a lot and it had a sense of authenticity which made all of the stories feel more powerful. All of the performances were strong and I'd like to have spent more time on all of them but as a 90 minute film it doesn't have any baggage.

December 27, 2016 at 06:14PM

Mascots, 2016 - ★★★

Great in places but overall quite patchy.

December 27, 2016 at 02:06PM

26 December 2016

Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas, 2004 - ★★½

Most of these stories seemed to be Disney characters acting awfully (and out of character?) only to be redeemed by the magic of Christmas at the end. Awful use of music (especially in the Goofy story) and the CGI animation is just weird.

My recording was missing the last story but that may have been a good thing.

December 26, 2016 at 01:25PM

The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993

Watched on Saturday December 24, 2016.

December 26, 2016 at 01:21PM

The Snowman and The Snowdog, 2012 - ★★★

Watched on Saturday December 24, 2016.

December 26, 2016 at 01:20PM

The Snowman, 1982 - ★★★★½

Watched on Saturday December 24, 2016.

December 26, 2016 at 01:20PM

The Muppet Christmas Carol, 1992 - ★★★★

Watched on Saturday December 24, 2016.

December 26, 2016 at 01:19PM

Home Alone, 1990 - ★★★★

Watched on Saturday December 24, 2016.

December 26, 2016 at 01:18PM

24 December 2016

Hail, Caesar!, 2016 - ★★★★

A rewatch to see how this should be positioned in my end of year lists. I still agree with my original review but it's fallen down my list a few places.

December 24, 2016 at 08:58AM

Blue Jay, 2016 - ★★★★

An unexpected delight for the end of the year (I wasn't even aware this film existed). It's perhaps a bit too self indulgent when it spends too much time on the meal but recovers for a great ending.

December 24, 2016 at 08:49AM

Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World, 2016 - ★★★

Starts great but then loses it's way as it meanders through other sections with a lack of focus. It's a shame because there are some really great moments.

December 24, 2016 at 08:42AM

It's a Wonderful Life, 1946 - ★★★★★

Still flawless and great to see it in the cinema after a few years of home viewing.

December 24, 2016 at 08:32AM

21 December 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, 2016 - ★★★½

For a lot of the running time I thought I was going to be joining the small group of people who haven't liked this film. I kept thinking is this really from the director of Monsters and Godzilla, the latter which I enjoyed a lot more than most people. I'd seen some headlines about the third act and assumed this meant it suffered from the usual third act problems and so I'd thought I'd be writing off the experience. Fortunately that was not the case and it's the third act which really makes this film, it's good enough to almost forget how dull I found the first parts of the film.

I think I was just bored and not entirely following what was going on (or foolishly on my part, not remembering when this was set). The 3D conversion was much more distracting than any of the CGI characters (blurred lighting, strange depth focus) and apart from the scenes in the archive tower offer no enhancement. I look forward to seeing the film in 2D and like The Force Awakens suspect I may enjoy it more. The format is unlikely to help the ropey (intentionally so?) dialogue but having a better understanding of what's happening and how it plays out may make the setup more enjoyable.

So I ended up enjoying myself, it's great having a dark mainstream film and it's nice to see a known universe used for something a bit different. K-2SO is by far the best thing in the entire film and I hope that on a second viewing I can find more to appreciate in the long setup to the finale.

December 21, 2016 at 01:36PM

20 December 2016

The Lone Ranger, 2013 - ★★½

I really can't understand how at any point when this was being made somebody didn't question why it was over two hours long. The length wouldn't be so bad if anything actually happened in the middle section. It's a shame because it would be nice to see a good action filled western adventure and this does that for the opening and closing sections but then just nothing in the middle.

December 20, 2016 at 08:10AM

18 December 2016

Krampus, 2015 - ★★★

This is such a good set up, a great cast and really well designed film but once it all gets going it loses it's way and never reaches its potential as a horror or comedy. I just wanted to go back to the bickering family Christmas film.

December 18, 2016 at 11:59AM

National Theatre Live: No Man's Land, 2016 - ★★★½

Watched on Thursday December 15, 2016.

December 18, 2016 at 11:54AM

Christmas in Connecticut, 1945 - ★★★½

A farcical screwball comedy with more than enough Christmas charm to gloss over the strange parts that don't make much sense.

December 18, 2016 at 11:52AM

13 December 2016

Get Santa, 2014 - ★★★

A charming addition to the Christmas canon. It may not become a classic but it's good enough even if it does rely too much on (not so) special effects towards the end. Worth watching just because Jim Broadbent is one of the best on screen Santa Clauses.

December 13, 2016 at 09:29PM

11 December 2016

How the Grinch Stole Christmas, 2000 - ★★★

Watched on Saturday December 10, 2016.

December 11, 2016 at 09:46AM

My Picturehouse Membership Top 5 2016

2016 is nearly over. It has been a tumultuous year for politics and icons of popular icons have fallen - but what will be remembered in terms of cinema?

Each year Picturehouse staff are invited to take part in an end-of-year poll to find out our collective favourite film. Every team member is encouraged to enter and recent winners include George Miller's furiously thrilling Mad Max: Fury Road, alien curiosity Under The Skin and sci-fi triumph Gravity. This year, we'd like to get the opinion of you - our Members!

The Rules:

Enter your five favourite films of the year in any order.

Each film must have had its official cinema release date this calendar year (1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016). This rules out Star Wars: The Force Awakens, for instance, which was released in December 2015 despite it showing widely in UK cinemas during the early part of this year. Beyonce's triumphant Lemonade was not released theatrically so will be discounted too. Not sure of the UK release date of a particular film? You can use the search function on the Launching Films website to double check.

Re-Releases (such as Blue Velvet, Barry Lyndon etc.) or Screen Arts events (NT Live, RSC Live, Met. Opera, TED Talks etc.) will also be discounted.

December 11, 2016 at 09:39AM

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1, 2014 - ★★½

This series hasn't really done anything for me so far and this hasn't changed my mind. I guess I'll watch the final part just to see the whole thing out but wondering if I should bother.

December 11, 2016 at 08:25AM

Mustang, 2015 - ★★★½

For all the emotions and terror Mustang covers it's the way it captures the infrequent moments of joy that really stand out.

December 11, 2016 at 08:24AM

08 December 2016

Arrival, 2016 - ★★★★

I'm glad I went to see this again. I did like it when I first saw it but as I heard more and more about it, I started to feel like I'd missed quite a lot. This time I was in a much better frame of mind and appreciated it a lot more. Still don't think it's up there with Interstellar but glad I saw it again.

December 08, 2016 at 10:27PM

05 December 2016

Your Name, 2016 - ★★★★

When I decided to see Your Name all I knew about it was that it had been popular in Japan and was getting great reviews. I obviously wasn't the only person to know this because that initial screening sold out before I got my ticket. In the few days between that screening and the one I eventually made, I coincidently happened to find out that it was a body swap film. I'm glad I knew this going in because the start of the film is really messy and I think had I not known vaguely what the film was about it would have been really frustrating. I think it's deliberately confusing but it feels like it could've been handled much better. I do think it will work much better on subsequent viewings when you're not constantly playing catch up.

Fortunately things quickly get better as it becomes clearer what's happening. The film is very funny in places and looks amazing; there are some parts which look photo realistic without ever feeling out of place. Just as things are starting to make sense, everything stops making sense but this time in a good way and it's here where the film really steps up to become truly great. It's a shame that the opening isn't as strong as it should be and other things such as subtitling issues (top and bottom of the screen at the same time, no subtitles for song lyrics) because when it is all working, it's really quite magnificent.

December 05, 2016 at 10:34PM