Oranges & Sunshine is a very impressive debut feature, looks like it… MoreOranges & Sunshine is a very impressive debut feature, looks like it runs in the family as Jim Loach seems to be a chip off the old block. I very glad to hear it too, although this film isn't in the same style as one of his fathers, it's as good as one of his and it has the heart of one. I don't think I've ever seen a bad Emily Watson performance, here she cements herself in being one of my all time favourite actresses and is surrounded by a competent cast. I did know of the story and its eventual conclusion; the apology from the British government just over a year ago, but that doesn't stop the climax and the minutes leading to it from being some of the most tense and thrilling in resent years. In fact, the last film that gave me tingles like this was Route Irish - Ken Loach's last film! With two Loachs working today, cinema just got that little bit better!
Jack goes Boating is subtle and heartfelt. It's the gentle, real and… MoreJack goes Boating is subtle and heartfelt. It's the gentle, real and awkward love story amongst the deluge of brash not-particularly-funny rom-coms that are in abundance. Visually, it's a triumph for Philip Seymour Hoffman in his directional debut, his supporting cast are also brilliant, Ortiz, Ryan and Rubin-Vega pretty much carry the film. My only criticism, and it's quite an important and harsh one I'm afraid, is that it is very boring. I realise the importance of the subtlety of this film, but it's Seymour Hoffman's nothing performance that really suffocates this film that is desperately trying to come up for air. It's a shame, I really did like this film, I liked the story and I liked the characters, it just didn't have that spark it should have - Jack himself being the major issue.
You don't have to be a cynical old Scrooge like me to see through this… MoreYou don't have to be a cynical old Scrooge like me to see through this transparent nonsense. The moral message is totally confused, just when it becomes time to explain themselves, someone throws a dwarf in the air like it's funny and socially acceptable. Where exactly was Santa born and in what time period? At least it got one thing right, Christmas is all about receiving - that's it. I would say that this is just another capitalist consumer Coca-cola Christmas story but I don't think the writers are that intelligent. The only redeeming feature was the support for people living in their brothers shadow scene but then even that felt like a wasted opportunity. I can't say I was that disappointed though as it pretty much matched my low expectations. Directed by David Dobkin, ah now it makes sense!
A sci-fi version of High Noon set in deep space, with an early 80's… MoreA sci-fi version of High Noon set in deep space, with an early 80's vision of the future, a great soundtrack, and some great performances. Connery is great, Sterhagen brilliant and Berkoff at his psychotic best. Underrated by many and passed off as just another sci-fi but it's a really good thriller, a logical progression respectfully done with obvious affection to the original.
A great example of Anglo-French cooperation, yes, it really does… MoreA great example of Anglo-French cooperation, yes, it really does exist! Bourvil, Louis de Funès and Terry-Thomas in the same film! Why have I only just heard of this film, being a fan of It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, The Great Race and Monte Carlo or Bust it is pretty much an unmissable film for me. The script, story and physical comedy are all of the best quality. These guys fought and lived the second world war and here they are making a comedy of it. Isn't that a wonderful thing!? I'm not sure if films like this will ever be made again and that makes me sad but still, we have this film to treasure and treasured it should be.
After reading up on Richard Atwater's original story it is clear to… MoreAfter reading up on Richard Atwater's original story it is clear to see it would need updating for a modern retelling. However, any magic Atwater's 1939 novel had was urinated on, frozen and sold to kids as a new flavour of Popsicle. I like Penguins, you like Penguins, we like Penguins and so film producers like Penguins. Penguins equal money at the box office, so you could probably make a badly written film that was loosely based on a much loved kids story, stick the most irritating man in the lead role, make misjudged suggestions on ideology, marriage and the difficulties of parenthood (because Kids just love hearing about how hard it is to have kids, be a grown-up, get divorced etc), include poor quality CGI and a sickeningly sweet (not to mention pointless) sub-plot about a restaurant and you'll probably still make money. If you think that buying a child a Penguin to make up for missing their school performances because you selfishly have to work for a living is fun idea I think you need to recheck the definition of fun. If you think that you have to somehow make it up to your kids for missing their school performances/sporting events etc because you selfishly have to work for a living then you are a fool, this film is all yours!
Putting to one side the fact that the infuriatingly annoying theme… MorePutting to one side the fact that the infuriatingly annoying theme song played at the end of nearly every scene, Lucky Jim is a dated but very pleasant British comedy. I like Ian Carmichael a lot but he may have been a little too over the top here but forgivably so, he's just not a slapstick comedian. I think my biggest grudge is that there just isn't nearly enough of Terry-Thomas. The script is however perfectly adapted from the source novel. The satire and whimsical humour are covered accordingly and it's a joy to see them come to life on screen after reading the book.
The partnership between writer-director Zal Batmanglij and… MoreThe partnership between writer-director Zal Batmanglij and writer-actress Brit Marling goes from strength to strength but just a little bit at a time. I really liked the story but at times it all gets a little too wishy-washy. What should be an edge of your seat thriller, ends up being a little bit of a cold drama. The performances are good, I'm not a big fan of Ellen Page but the brilliant Patricia Clarkson and Toby Kebbell make up for it and Brit Marling and Alexander Skarsgård have good chemistry between them and both have an eerie watchability about them that is impossible to look away from. The East's strength is the brilliantly written script and its focus on what is important as far as storytelling goes. To conclude the film as the credits are still rolling was effective and original and I look forward to seeing more from the writing duo but lets have less ambiguity and more provocation.
Robert Altman is a hit or miss director for me. I liked Nashville but… MoreRobert Altman is a hit or miss director for me. I liked Nashville but like many others, I felt it was too long, over complicated and a little too deconstructed for my tastes. It's this signature deconstruction of Altman's that I've always had trouble with. Other directors have made 'busy' films but no one quite takes it to the dizzying levels that Altman did. The cast is fantastic as our their performances. The film is 50/50 when it comes to great scenes though and that is one of the main reasons why I say it is overlong. When a film is good I want it to last for as long as possible but Nashville seems long purely because of bad editing. It's quite frustrating at times as you've got a multitude of craftsmanship on show but it is ultimately diluted. I understood the message but many haven't but to ask anyone to re-watch something as long and unfocused as this is asking a little too much from your average viewer in my opinion and overall, as much as I liked it, it is pretty overrated.
I enjoyed Easy Virtue but I don't think it was all that it could have… MoreI enjoyed Easy Virtue but I don't think it was all that it could have been. I have to say I'm a little surprised by what Stephan Elliott didn't do though, rather than what he did do. There were hints of F. Scott Fitzgerald's flare, Evelyn Waugh's wit and P.G. Wodehouse's off-beat humour but none of the "..cheek and chic, pose and poise" of its author, Noel Coward. The cast were good, Jessica Biel's being the standout performance of the film which I have to admit surprised me as much as it did entertain. Kristin Scott Thomas and Colin Firth were also very good as was all of the supporting cast, I just don't think they were allowed to be everything they could have. The film had all the ingredients it needed and yet came across as a Sunday night TV special. Good but just not flamboyant enough.