Friday, 21 February 2014

12 Years a Slave (2013)

We will constantly be told that 12 Years a Slave is groundbreaking and necessary filmmaking and it is true. A year after Quentin Tarantino placed the slave trade under his unique spotlight, Steve McQueen takes a more sombre look at that bleak part of American history. Comparisons can and will be made to Tarantino’s revenge Western but, aside from the theme that unites them, there is little to be drawn from such an association. Tarantino locks his slaves inside a cartoonish world where the damaged Django is able to gain some sort of catharsis through his violence. Steve McQueen makes this film knowing that there can be no easy answers. Whilst you could easily walk away from Django Unchained feeling that some form of justice has been served, there is nothing to shield you from the horrible truth in McQueen’s third film. Rather than revenge, we are being served up the unpalatable truth. 

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Philomena (2013)

So whilst I’m planning a romantic valentine’s day with vampire Tom Hiddleston, a friend of mine is arranging to take her fiancĂ© to watch the significantly unromantic Philomena: the adaptation of Martin Sixsmith’s book about an elderly woman’s journey to find the son she was forced to give up as a teenager. Not a terrible film but hardly the kind of film you’d consider for a romantic night out.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

I like the idea of vampires. Not romantic and sappy Twilight vampires but back to basics vampires. I’m thinking those who build on the foundations laid out by John Polidori (let us not forget the true father of the literary vampire) and Bram Stoker: basically Lord Byron but with a bigger appetite for blood. So vampires: tick. As you probably also know, I really like Tom Hiddleston (I’m talking worry proportions here). Therefore, after finding myself alone on Valentine’s Day, I made the best of the situation by watching a preview showing of Jim Jarmusch’s vampire love story with friends. I ask you, dear reader, if you can think of a better Valentine’s companion, than sexy vampire Hiddleston. No, thought not.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

It’s 2014 and the world has become a strange place. Matthew McConaughey is fast becoming an incredibly talented actor. Yes, the same man who fronted limp rom-coms How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Failure to Launch is steadily making waves in the industry. After critically acclaimed performances in Mud, Killer Joe and The Paperboy, McConaughey now finds himself nominated for his first Best Actor award. I still find it hard to connect these two people but, as we know, I eventually adapted to proper actor Marky Mark without much emotional upheaval. Maybe I could even get used to the serious but probably still shirtless Matthew McConaughey.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Nebraska (2013)

I always feel strange watching road trip movies because, unfortunately, I suffer from tiny bladder syndrome. Whenever I sit down to watch characters partaking in epic journeys I can’t help but feel a little bit jealous of the idea of not stopping for hours on end. A film depicting a car journey from my own life would have to consist of numerous stops or forced dehydration. Thankfully this doesn’t prove to be the case in Alexander Payne’s Nebraska.

Monday, 10 February 2014

August: Osage County (2013)

I love Meryl Streep. She’s a fantastic actress, she’s an awesome human being and she just doesn’t give a fuck. However, I find myself liking Meryl Streep films less and less as time goes by. She has an increasingly strange habit of choosing to star in really odd and terrible films, particularly ones involving the ridiculous Phyllida Lloyd. Streep is always a reliable and amazing performer but she just doesn’t seem to picking the productions worthy of her brilliance. However, I have been excited about August: Osage County for a while now because of its amazing cast and the potential brilliance from adapting Tracy Lett’s 2008 Pulitzer Prize winning play. Casting Meryl Streep as the unstable head of a fractured and eccentric family and surrounding her with other great actors could only be a recipe for success. Plus, as I’m sure you’re aware by now, I’ll happily embrace anything involving Benedict Cumberbatch’s cheekbones (especially when there's singing involved).

Sunday, 9 February 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

When it comes to saucy films my boss has strange ideas about what classes as outrageous. In his mind The Inbetweeners Movie is about as filthy as cinema gets simply because of the male stripper that appears about half way through. (With that kind of attitude I’d love to hear his reaction to Steve McQueen’s Shame.) He affectionately referred to Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio’s fifth collaboration as “an orgy movie”. I’m not normally one who likes to agree with his hyperbolic and slightly priggish nature but I have to admit that he has summed up the film fairly well. So when another colleague announced that she was going to see the film with her father I couldn’t help but think the entire experience would be utterly cringey. I’d probably have run off to the toilets after 10 minutes and stayed there for the duration.

Friday, 7 February 2014

American Hustle (2013)

I’m not entirely sure whether or not I like David O. Russell. The celebrated writer and director has garnered quite a reputation for himself over the past four years thanks to his award-winning films The Fighter (2010) and Silver Lining’s Playbook (2012). Regular readers will know that I wasn’t exactly wowed by Russell’s supposed reinvention of the rom-com but I couldn’t deny it was of a much greater calibre than the usual Nicholas Sparks adaptation. However, with the still questionable talents of Bradley Cooper in the lead role I could never completely get on board with it. Regardless, the cast list and costume department had got me suitably interested in American Hustle for me to get over my apprehension.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Her (2013)

There is a face that people always make when you bring up Joaquin Phoenix’s name in conversation. Over the years the actor has built up quite a reputation for being wacky and abrasive. This is mainly thanks to his infamous appearance on The Late Show to promote his mockumentary I’m Still Here. Regardless of the way he has behaved in recent years, I still like Phoenix. He is a careful and considered actor who sometimes gets a little carried away with his roles. It takes a certain type of actor to basically front a film on his own and I was looking forward to seeing how Phoenix coped with it for Spike Jonze's fourth film outing. So despite all of the groans I heard when discussing my excitement for this film, I couldn't wait.