Suffragette (2015), which follows a group of women belonging to the British suffrage movement. At the centre of the film is Carey Mulligan's Maud Watts, a working-class East Ender who toils long hours in a laundry for pitiful wages, married to an apathetic husband (Ben Whishaw) and with a child to care for.Read More »
Right Now, Wrong Then (2015). Employing a structural gimmick to far more interesting effect than last year's The Hill of Freedom (2014), Hong explores how slightest change in the wind can alter the course of life. Naturally, he does this in a whimsical tale that wends its way through the foothills of a tentative romance. It's endearing, but unlikely to convert those that have previously resisted the director's charms.Read More »
★★★☆☆New Yorkers staring skywards from below the World Trade Center, struck by a sense of terror and confusion, evokes dark memories of the not too distant past. However, in The Walk (2015), the latest film from Robert Zemeckis, the onlookers' bewildered emotions are mingled with admiration, awe and sheer disbelief. This is due to French high-wire walker Philippe Petit (played with characteristically boyish charm by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) attempting to traverse a cable linking the towers at 1,400 feet above terra firma.
★★★★☆As much as writers and film critics in particular like to pronounce upon storytelling and the experiences of others, some tales are so miraculous and awe-inspiring that any words will completely fail them. The expression 'triumph over adversity' is used altogether too frequently nowadays to describe all manner of things - such as a wannabe singer's journey to stardom on a TV talent show - when it should be reserved for stories like the one told in Unbreakable: The Mark Pollock Story (2015).
Prisoners (2013) and Enemy (2014), returns with Sicario (2015), a bleak, powerful and beautifully realised trip to hell. It's a significant film - a French Connection (1971) for the drug-fuelled Mexico-US border war - full of pessimism, moral ambiguity and tension. With a ponytail and dressed-down intensity, Emily Blunt plays Kate Macy, an FBI officer fighting a losing battle against the encroachment of the Mexican cartels in Arizona.Read More »
The Nightmare (2015) squanders the subject in a shallow, messy and frustrating documentary that tends towards the pseudo-intellectual and paranoid rather than a well-balanced and structured enquiry.Read More »
★★★★☆The words of real-life residents involuntarily entwined with the horrific Ipswich serial murders of 2006 are uttered verbatim in the innovative and powerful London Road (2015). After a successful run as a National Theatre stage show, the musical drama has been adapted for the screen by British director Rufus Norris. The film blends elements of drama, musical and documentary to produce something wholly unique - a taut examination of the reactions and subsequent coping mechanisms of those enveloped by tragic events.
Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould), but The Choir (2014) is a fairly airless coming-of-age tale whose exquisite, ethereal soundtrack often manages to tug at those heartstrings even if the unfolding narrative doesn't. It's the type of drama which looks like it was commissioned primarily with the grey pound firmly in mind.Read More »
★★★★☆That the onset of sound in cinema was going to be a problem for Charlie Chaplin, no one appreciated more than the little tramp himself. For several years he persisted in making essentially silent film or for the best part wordless films - i.e. City Lights (1931) and Modern Times (1936) - with sound effects and score synchronised. His contempt and perhaps fear of the development can be heard in his comment that putting sound on film was like painting a statue. He had a vested interest, but his analogy was also wrong.
Catch Me Daddy (2014) is a small film that has made an impressively big noise wherever it has featured. Making an impression on its world premiere 2014 Cannes Film Festival, its star Sameena Jabeen Ahmed won an award at last year's BFI London Film Festival for her portrayal of Laila, a young girl hiding out in a small Yorkshire town with her boyfriend (Connor McCarron).Read More »
The Martian (2015), is to be considered as evidence, then the answer is 'not likely'. Based on the novel by Andy Wier, here Damon excels as botanist Mark Watney, who is forced to rely on his expert know-how and good old American can-do attitude to survive after been left for dead on the surface of the Red Planet.Read More »
Snowtown director Justin Kurzel's visually inventive take on the Scottish play Macbeth (2015), starring Michael Fassbender as the murderous Thane and Marion Cotillard as his Lady. Scotland is in the grip of civil war and the survival of King Duncan's (David Thewlis) reign depends on a final battle with the loyal Macbeth commanding his troops. The battle is bloody and brutal but with a stylised 300-like aesthetic of slow motion interlaced with bloody detail. Banquo (the ever excellent Paddy Considine) and Macbeth meet up with the weird sisters - four rather than three here - and are gifted/cursed with their fatal prophecies.Read More »
Convenience (2015) starts with a bang as half naked Shaan (Adeel Akhtar) runs from the Russian mafia down a wet street as music pounds in the background, bringing to mind the kinetic energy of Danny Boyle's Trainspotting. It won't be the last influence to be cited in Keri Collins' spritely, entertaining if somewhat shop worn British indie-comedy. Shaan, it turns out, has inadvertently run up a huge bill at a local strip club and leads his pursuers back to his flat.Read More »
By Our Selves (2015), a barmy reconstruction of a four-day walk/escapade that Clare took from the asylum near Epping Forest, where he was confined, heading for Helpston in Northamptonshire. Toby Jones has the thankless task of portraying the escapee, wandering about looking befuddled while a variety of voices recite poetry and letters, or mutter against a soundtrack that mixes ambient noise and electronic fluttering.Read More »
Funny Ha Ha (2002), Mutual Appreciation (2005) and Beeswax (2009) possess a tenderness and interest in their characters that few filmmakers are capable of.Read More »
★★☆☆☆In a grey, rainy London, hued blue to add further sombre foreboding, the indomitable Harry Pearce (Peter Firth) finds himself in a familiar position: watching an op go south via screens in a new and improved Thames House, stuck between a rock and a hard place. Bharat Nalluri - who directed half a dozen episodes of Spooks - has created a feature based firmly on show which is at the same time expansive and reductive in its cinematic scope and only partly successful in its attempt to catapult the property from tube to silver screen.
P'tit Quinquin (2014), which premièred on French television last year and is now released in its entirety as a singular work on DVD courtesy of New Wave Films.Read More »
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