31 March 2016

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, 2016 - ★★★

Well it's not a bad film but it is a film full of bad moments. Pointless, incoherent, badly written scenes that should have been left on the editing room floor (or kept for trailers for upcoming films). If films still came on reels, there was more than one occasion when I'd have assumed they were being shown in the wrong order. It's never entirely clear what is a flashback, dream, hallucination or reality and perhaps that's partly deliberate but it ends up just being incoherent.

Despite my dislike of long films I never really got bored during the excessive running time. The climactic battle is another pointless run-in with a CGI creation but also delivers one of the most satisfying moments in the film. There's lots to like throughout, I'm sure everybody will agree on Affleck and Gadot but I think I'm in a minority who also loved Eisenberg as a psychopathic Zuckerberg-like Luthor. It's just a shame that all the good moments are broken up by terrible or pointless moment but I found myself just sighing, rolling back my eyes and continuing to enjoy the next part of the film.

The biggest problem I keep questioning is how much better this would have been without the trailers. It would be easy to argue that the trailers are better than the final film (especially when edited together in chronological order youtu.be/K3rHg57OhDg). Do all the terrible moments in the film stand out so much because we're already familiar with all the good bits from the trailers? Should Wonder Woman and Doomsday have been left to be revealed in the film? Perhaps all those jarring non sequitur would have been better suited as stand alone moments in teasers and trailers. Of course we'll never know now but I can't help think that they've done more damage than good.

March 31, 2016 at 09:45PM

29 March 2016

Far from the Madding Crowd, 2015 - ★★★★

Unfamiliar with the story my main reason for seeing this was Vinterberg's direction. Apart from one brief sequence with a uniformed Troy in the forest there is little that puts this above any of the costume dramas we've become accustomed to on TV and certainly nothing to match the brilliance of Festen or The Hunt. However there is a lot to admire in the storytelling and performances, especially as Mulligan (who like Lily James and Anna Kendrick who I also watched in Cinderella and Pitch Perfect this weekend) have a certain charm that shines through whatever role they are playing. Like many of the characters there is a persistence to the film that ultimately delivers although more satisfactory than some of the character's fates.

March 29, 2016 at 02:54PM

Spike Island, 2012 - ★★★

Manages to capture some of the magic of the importance of music (live or otherwise) but doesn't deliver anything too special overall.

March 29, 2016 at 02:39PM

Cinderella, 2015 - ★★★½

Get's the job done and does it well.

March 29, 2016 at 02:34PM

An Honest Liar, 2014 - ★★★★

A fascinating unravelling of truth and lies which delivers far more than expected.

March 29, 2016 at 02:29PM

Aliens, 1986 - ★★★★

I was surprised to find myself thinking that Aliens hasn't dated that well. It feels very much like a film of it's time, an 80s action movie rather than an all time classic (which I thought Alien was when I saw it again a few years ago). Perhaps it was the late night screening in a very warm cinema which meant I was too tired to really appreciate it. I did still enjoy it but mainly as a familiar hit of nostalgia.

March 29, 2016 at 02:27PM

When Marnie Was There, 2014 - ★★★

Even as a lesser Ghibli films there is still something special such as how beautiful so many of the scenes are. It made me want to seek out more Ghibli wallpapers for my computer. I started wondering how great a video game collaboration between The Chinese Room and Ghibli, possibly with Dontnod could be. Perhaps these distractions were why I never felt as invested in the story. Or perhaps it wasn't really a story for me. How many times have we now seen a young girl sent to the countryside for the summer? I was also distracted by the English dub, trying to place the actor's voices. So I didn't find the mystery that interesting or satisfying but I completely understand how it may appeal to others more.

March 29, 2016 at 02:19PM

Pitch Perfect, 2012 - ★★★★

Putting aside my growing obsession with Anna Kendrick there's really nothing about this that I should have liked and certainly not as much as I did. It's entirely predictable, full of stereotypical characters, doesn't always make sense and features music far removed from my usual taste. And yet it's full of great moments; Kendrick's charm, the commentators and just all comes together so well. The attempts at gross-out humour feel were the only parts that didn't work for me but for the rest of the film I couldn't help smile throughout.

March 29, 2016 at 02:06PM

Delicatessen, 1991 - ★★★★

When I first saw Delicatessen (16-17 years ago) it was unlike anything else I'd seen and all the more amazing as a result. Today it's influence can be seen in many places and the film had less impact on me. There's still something wonderfully delightful about the almost clockwork nature of the strangeness taking place in, under and on top of the building.

March 29, 2016 at 01:52PM

25 March 2016

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, 2015 - ★★★★

A fascinating and well balanced insight into a subject I was surprised to find I knew very little about.

March 25, 2016 at 08:44AM

20 March 2016

Day One, 2015 - ★★★★½

Watched on Sunday March 20, 2016.

March 20, 2016 at 06:30PM

Stutterer, 2015 - ★★★★★

Watched on Sunday March 20, 2016.

March 20, 2016 at 06:29PM

Everything Will Be Okay, 2015 - ★★★★

Watched on Sunday March 20, 2016.

March 20, 2016 at 06:29PM

Friend, 2015 - ★★★

Watched on Sunday March 20, 2016.

March 20, 2016 at 06:28PM

Ave Maria, 2015 - ★★★

Watched on Sunday March 20, 2016.

March 20, 2016 at 06:27PM

Machete Kills, 2013 - ★★★

If you're in on the joke (this is a joke, right?) then it's quite enjoyable but it's also a bit of a mess and could do with something else that just made it better.

March 20, 2016 at 12:46PM

The Wolverine, 2013 - ★★★

I've never been a big fan of the 'original' generation of X-Men, although I suspect the first film might have been diluted by weaker sequels and spin-offs. This is fairly enjoyable until the boss fight finale which doesn't work particularly well. There's also some already dated animated/CGI sequences such as the train fight which just look out of place.

March 20, 2016 at 12:37PM

15 March 2016

Anomalisa, 2015 - ★★★★

I'm still not sure what to make of Anomalisa. I liked it, quite a lot actually but I don't really know why. Perhaps it's because it's all so real in spite, or perhaps because, of the animation. I wish the film had a stronger final act because that didn't work so well for me.

March 15, 2016 at 07:31AM

13 March 2016

Bell, Book and Candle, 1958 - ★★★

A so-so romantic comedy that is elevated by the always-great presence of Stewart and Lemon.

March 13, 2016 at 08:37PM

11 March 2016

Bone Tomahawk, 2015 - ★★★★

Best Western 2015-16. The dialogue is sharper and funnier than The Hateful Eight. The journey is more heartfelt and gruelling than The Revenant. The more extreme moments feel a little out of place but that only makes things even more horrific. Throughout it all, even seconds after *that* moment, there was something that made me smile (and quite often unexpectedly laugh out loud), making this one of the funniest yet bleakest films I've seen.

March 11, 2016 at 06:56PM

07 March 2016

The Lost Honour Of Christopher Jefferies, 2014 - ★★★½

It's the strong central performance that grabs your attention throughout the two hours (which I watched as a single film) and keeps you involved even though you may already know how things pan out.

March 07, 2016 at 08:01PM

Rams, 2015 - ★★★

Simple, effective and very funny in places, just not sure if it was worth a trip to the cinema.

March 07, 2016 at 07:55PM

05 March 2016

High-Rise, 2015 - ★★★½

As I was watching High-Rise I could tell it was a film I'd want to revisit. This may have been because it felt like it had already been around for a long time, as if it was actually made in the 70's and not just set then. There's also so much going on that I'm sure I missed out on lots of things. The dreamlike (or more accurately nightmarish) quality of the film also slips over you.

Unfortunately I think my appreciation of the film was marred by the venue. On Twitter I described the Everyman as a bar that happens to show films rather than a cinema that serves food and drinks. Leed's screen 3 was better than some of the other screens used during the film festival but still quite bad. Far too hot, the screen too low and obscured by the many bobbing heads constantly nipping out to the bar or toilet. Music from the bar drifted into the screen when the doors were open and the noise and smell of food provided another distraction. I've also never seen trailers before a preview screening especially not when the director was present to introduce the film. The trailers for The Secret Life of Pets, Zootropolis and Kung Fu Panda 3 also seemed inappropriate for the audience and one of them was in 3D before a 2D film. This all pushed the start time back meaning I would have missed the last train home, fortunately I'd decided to drive so I could stay for the excellent Q&A.

I know it's wrong to use the bulk of the review to complain about the venue but it really did detract from the whole experience.

Fortunately the Q&A with Wheatley was very interesting and enjoyable.

March 05, 2016 at 12:26PM

A.K.A Nadia, 2015 - ★★★

I know I was too tired to fully appreciate this film. It appeared to be a well made film with lots to say but I struggled to stay engaged.

March 05, 2016 at 12:09PM

The Wolfpack, 2015 - ★★★

I wish I'd seen this cold because the revelations would have had more impact if I'd known nothing about them. Unfortunately the film never explores anything in enough depth to make it that interesting once revealed. There is a better film to be made about the Angulo family and it even feels like the making of this film would provide more answers.

March 05, 2016 at 12:08PM

Dukhtar, 2014 - ★★★½

A familiar 'on the run' film but a lot more interesting because of the unfamiliar environment and circumstances.

March 05, 2016 at 12:02PM

The Last Explorers On The Rio Santa Cruz - ★★★

Watched on Saturday February 27, 2016.

March 05, 2016 at 11:58AM

Karun, 2015 - ★★★

Watched on Sunday February 28, 2016.

March 05, 2016 at 09:34AM

04 March 2016

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, 2014 - ★★★

I hoped I might appreciate this more on a second viewing but my opinion didn't really change. It always felt like I should be enjoying it more than I actually was.

March 04, 2016 at 07:07PM

Lapse Of Honour - ★★★½

Another impressive directorial debut at #KFF17, like The Violators it has it's flaws but places Rayna Campbell on my radar as a director to watch.

Followed by Q&A with Rayna Campbell

March 04, 2016 at 07:05PM

The Closer We Get, 2015 - ★★★★

A fascinating and intimate documentary which would have been just as compelling if it only focussed on caring for the mother after her stroke. The fact that even more family secrets are revealed during the film makes it even more remarkable.

Followed by Q&A with Karen Guthrie

March 04, 2016 at 07:04PM

03 March 2016

Court, 2014 - ★½

Most films and television use the court room to deliver drama, tension and excitement. Court portrays the dullness and tedious procedural nature of real life. The film is slow (although well shot) to the point that every passing minute rips away another piece of patience. Early on I realised that film would probably end on a overly long held static shot that would irritate me. It did, but that was not the final scene and another entirely superfluous ten minutes destroyed what little good feelings towards the film that remained.

It is a well made film but in no way pleasurable, almost exactly the opposite of ChickLit which opened the festival.

March 03, 2016 at 10:08PM

Life in a Fishbowl, 2014 - ★★★★

A film of three intersecting stories that would have been better as two. None of the "banking" stories add anything and it feels like the film would have been so much better without them. The prostitution story also feels quite cliched and as it's main purpose appears to be to join the stories together you end up thinking that could've been told better as well. Most of the rest of the film works really well though, making me think there is a 5 star film in there somewhere.

March 03, 2016 at 09:59PM

The Violators, 2015 - ★★★★

An impressive debut which the director acknowledges was influenced by Clio Barnard and Andrea Arnold. There is a familiar feel to it all but it's all done so well. Not everything works, tonally Rachel often feels like she's stepped in from another film but I didn't see where the story was going (which feels like a rarity these days). The final third doesn't
work as well as it should to bring everything together in a more satisfying way but that was only a small complaint. Both director Helen Walsh and star Lauren McQueen are ones to watch.

Followed by Q&A with director Helen Walsh.

March 03, 2016 at 09:52PM

The Second Mother, 2015 - ★★★★

Often uncomfortable to watch but also full of charm, joy and laughter with a strong lead performance from Regina Casé.

March 03, 2016 at 06:41PM

02 March 2016

The Yes Men Are Revolting, 2014 - ★★★½

Informative, entertaining and frequently very funny. It's a shame that there isn't a stronger narrative thread throughout the film because it often feels episodic and perhaps focusses too much on their personal lives without offering much insight.

March 02, 2016 at 08:58PM

01 March 2016

ChickLit - ★★½

Perhaps better suited for television rather than the cinema there's a feeling throughout that the great cast should be producing better results. This was a preview and there were several sound issues and some colour grading problems which hopefully will be resolved before release. Despite the slightness and broad appeal I found myself laughing along with the audience at several moments. Perhaps not a great film but one I did enjoy.

March 01, 2016 at 07:45PM