Posts tagged Film
You Were Never Really Here

Lynne Ramsey returns with a brutal, difficult film that has a very genuine heart.  Joaquin Phoenix is Joe.  Joe recovers girls who have been trafficked.  When Joe takes on a job to recover the daughter of a New York senator, things take a dark and violent turn.  While not an easy watch, the heart Ramsay and Phoenix instil make this a remarkable film.

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Phantom Thread

Paul Thomas Anderson returns with Daniel Day-Lewis (in what is possibly his final role) as Reynolds Woodcock.  Reynolds is a dressmaker in 1950's London whose latest muse, Alma (a sumptuous Vicky Krieps), gets deeper under his skin than he expects or believes is possible.  Phantom Thread is an astonishing acheivement by all involved.

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Dunkirk

Heroic failure is something that Britain has always done well.  With Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan has crafted an incredible film about an incredible event.  With that as his setting, Nolan may have made his best movie yet.

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Baby Driver

For as long as he can remember, the great chase films were whirling around in Edgar Wright's mind (as they do us all).  Great films like Walter Hill’s The Driver, John Landis’ The Blues Brothers and Richard C. Sarafian’s incredible Vanishing Point to name but three.  For twenty odd years, Wright has  wanted to honour them and put his own, very singular, stamp on the genre.  With Baby Driver he has crafted something special, his very own car chase musical.

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Their Finest

Their Finest does that difficult thing of being funny about a period and reverential about it at the same time.  And above it all is Gemma Arterton.  Her performance is subtle, humorous, strong and committed.  Their Finest is one of those increasingly rare occasions where a film happily sits across generations and manages to please all.

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Life Moves Pretty Fast by Hadley Freeman

Life Moves Pretty Fast is a race through why 80's films were better, deeper and better (did I mention better?).  Hadley Freeman's look back at some of the standout films of the decade is a fabulous conversation on that era and why we've lost that heart in our films today.

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Rogue One

Disney's newest gamble is Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, a film set between the events of Episode III and in the weeks leading up to Episode IV.  Dropping the film into the middle of the cannon is risky and needs a steady hand.  It is a gamble that has paid off, correcting the overkill of Abrams approach and shedding a new and complex light onto the heart of the rebellion.

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La La Land - LFF Review

I went to the cinema the other evening and I cried.  Not a terribly rare occurrence, easily sentimentally manipulated movie-goer that I am.  But this night, I saw something magical.  Film is in itself is a magic trick.  Twenty-four still images being shown to you a second that your brain interpenetrates as movement in the light.  The movement in the light that is La La Land reminded me of what cinema truly can be.

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The Magnificent Seven

The latest remake of The Magnificent Seven is out now.  What ever you do, do not take a shot of mezcal for every western cliche you see, it'll kill you.  It is an enjoyable film but, with all these great pieces in place, it is a cliche ridden missed opportunity that could have been so much better.

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Tickled

When you hear about a documentary about the world of Competitive Endurance Tickling, that response you just had, yep that one just then, was probably the same as mine.  And yet, when you watch David Farrier and Dylan Reeve's film, you see that it is not a film about extreme sports or tickling for that matter, but very much about the state of America, class and the vices of privilege.  Tickled, it is needless to say, is a terribly odd and rather scary journey.

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Look Who's Back

Look Who's Back is a smart and incredibly timely satire.  This is adaptation as it should be, taking a strong source and expanding on it, yet keeping the "soul" of the source material.  Look Who's Back really sends a shudder down your spine, while your laughing consistently all the way through.  This film is an odd, scary and brilliant combination.

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Room

Ensconced in my favoured aisle seat in NFT1 at the BFI, the lights came up at the end of Room and, as I attempted to look manly as I wiped the tears from my eyes, I felt shattered.  Last year Son of Saul had left me feeling like I’d taken a good kicking, with Room, it felt like every emotional sinew had been wound taut and then played by Rodrigo y Gabriela for two hours. Room is a remarkable achievement.

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SPECTRE

A New Bond film is a special thing.  You see all kinds of people excited for something that at the best of times is plain silly fun.  With the forth Daniel Craig Bond film, SPECTRE, upon us, we have been having a bit of a golden time with our old 007.  While I had issues with Skyfall, hopes for the second Sam Mendes Bond are high.  SPECTRE has been out for over a month now and by the half full cinema I saw it in, it is engaging with the masses and raking in a fair amount of coin.  The thing is, I really can't see why?  This is a Bond film that makes no sense whatsoever and that is based against the history of a franchise where sense has never been a reliable commodity.

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Bridge of Spies

Whenever a Steven Spielberg movie lands, you know two things, it will be beautifully made and it will get lost in sentimentality with a sweeping score to tell exactly how you should feel.  A film by Steven Spielberg is cinematic manipulation done to perfection.  Spielberg is the master of this and you always get your money's worth, despite the quality of the overall product.  Now, we have Spielberg turning his hand to the cold war thriller and finally gets his hands on Mark Rylance, a move which works a dream.

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Son of Saul - LFF Review

You never walk into a film cold.  You always carry something with you.  These days, with them interwebs, it is even harder not too.  Trailers tell every bit of a film, the days of mystery are gone.  Yet, when you walk into a film about the Holocaust, no matter what the film's pedigree, there is a sense of foreboding.  When you are walking into a Cannes Grand Prix winner and your fellow festival goers troop in with buckets of popcorn, frankly, I thought I was in the wrong cinema.  I'd opted for a beer, which, as it turns out, was not strong enough.

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Slow West

Having grown up with Westerns, you'd think I'd come to them predisposed to loving them.  Not so much.  For every good Western, there are a saddlebag of worthless entries to go alongside.  But, the Western is the one genre where, against the backdrop of a huge, never ending sky, just about any tale can be told.  The Western in itself has been around since before cinema and hold a place etched in the public's mind.  Given that the period depicted in most Westerns, normally called "The Old West", lasted only about four years, it has been a magnet for our imagination since the dime novel of the 19th Century.  The Western has evolved, slowly, from Cowboys and Indians, to White Hats versus Black Hats, to Revisionism and then to Realism. 

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Cinderella

Nearly twenty years ago, I settled down to watch Kenneth Branagh's unabridged adaptation of Shakespeare's Hamlet.  I'd only ever read Hamlet in its entirety and getting comfy, I settled in for the four hours of what turned out to be one of the most beautiful films I've ever seen.  Branagh's Hamlet is utter gorgeous to look at and the cast are on top form.  Alex Thomson's camera uses every millimetre of the frame to great effect, capturing the opulence and the squalor that only nestle in great adaptations of Hamlet.  So why am I prattling on about a film that is older than most of the audience of Branagh's live action take on Disney's 1950 crown jewel, Cinderella?  Well, frankly, there are moments in Cinderella that blow me away the same way Hamlet did. 

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The Face Of An Angel

When is a film about a murder, not a film about a murder?  Well, when it is The Face of an Angel.  Michael Winterbottom's new film tries to look at a murder from the viewpoint of someone looking at the people who are creating the viewpoint we consume.  Lost yet?  It is an ambitious attempt to try and get past the hyperbole and look at the impact of a murder.  And the murder they have chosen is one of the most well documented murders of our times, that of Meredith Kercher.

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The Keeping Room - LFF Review

The American Civil War in popular history is remembered as one of the "Good Wars".  The North fighting for emancipation and freedom, the South for slaves, cotton and molasses.  And to a greater and lesser degree, that was the case, the big picture.  The problem with any war is in the detail, there are no good wars.

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