I haven’t been writing much over the past month, it isn’t because I have been busy watching films with only nine visits to the cinema all month.
Mr. Turner: Mike Leigh’s portrait of J. M. W. Turner is loving without being sentimental. It is beautiful without being twee, but most surprising is just how funny it is mainly thanks to Timothy Spall. The 150 minute running time flies by.
The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman: I’m surprised by the mixed to negative reviews it has received, I really enjoyed it. A trashy Euro thriller with a American lead, it is surprising Luc Besson’s name isn’t attached! Shia LaBeouf, is finally showing some of the promise of his early films such as A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, Evan Rachel Wood is always worth watching even with a wafer thin character to work with.
Say When (released as Laggies in other countries): Introducing the idea of a “quarter-life crisis” as twenty-something Keira Knightley takes time off from her normal life by hanging out with teenager Chloë Grace Moretz. Knightley is choosing some interesting roles and Moretz is proving there is more to her than Hit Girl. The film is at its best when Sam Rockwell is in it, that sadly isn’t often enough. Knightley was cast as a replacement for Anne Hathaway who was busy filming Interstellar, speaking of which:
Interstellar: Astronauts travel through a wormhole looking for a habitable planet to replace the dying earth. A more personal and emotional film than we are used to from Christopher Nolan, but far from his most accessible. The cast are all excellent particularly Mackenzie Foy as Matthew McConaughey’s 10 year old daughter. The photography is stunning (Hoyte Van Hoytema in for Nolan’s regular Wally Pfister). The end is sure to divide opinion.
The Drop: A low key crime thriller based on a Dennis Lehane novel, notable as James Gandolfini’s final film. A film that seems to have divided critical opinion, it does have its flaws, but on the whole it is a very good film elevated by a great performance by Tom Hardy and a killer ending.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1: To take the weakest book in the trilogy and split it into two movie is a cynical commercial move top extract as much money as possible out of a profitable franchise. That said the film is quite good, the tone is different to the first two. The only real downside it doesn’t work as a complete film, it is part one. This may not matter when it can be enjoyed with part two.
The Homesman: Tommy Lee Jones second feature as a director sees him return to the west, but he refuses to call the movie a western. A harsh and sombre film, but one that is lifted by great performances from Jones and Hilary Swank.
Get On Up: The James Brown bio-pic seems to be earning praise for Chadwick Boseman’s fantastic performance but criticism for confusing chronology. I agree with the former but actually think the disjointed chronology helps not hinders the narrative.
What We Do In The Shadows: Vampires get the mockumentary treatment thanks to the Flight of the Conchords team. The deadpan Spinal Tap style delivery takes a little time to get into but when you adjust to it, it is very funny.