I have enjoyed all ten movies I have seen this month, but one stands out as a joyous and timeless classic of its genre, which will be movie of the month?
Fast & Furious 7: The franchise has morphed beyond all recognition since its first incarnation fourteen years ago. Made under the shadow of the untimely death of star Paul Walker the film is totally stupid and but is tremendous fun. In the month since I saw it, it has clocked up over a billion dollars.
While We’re Young: Noah Baumbach’s comedy drama combines the themes of a midlife crisis with intergenerational jealousy. It has more than a whiff of Woody Allen and is as good as Allens best of recent years. Ben Stiller has again proved to be a good actor with the right material.
John Wick: Bonkers over stylised ultraviolent revenge thriller. Breaking from the current trend of fast cutting the film has some of the best fight scenes in recent memory. Keanu Reeves is perfect taking on elements of many of his previous characters.
Cinderella: Kenneth Branagh’s live action take on a story we have seem many times before. On the surface it is very vanilla and by the numbers, this is what will probably make it timeless. Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham Carter are great and have fun in the more showy roles, Lily James and Derek Jacobi give great performances.
Good Kill: Back in 1986, Tom Cruise’s character Vincent in The Color of Money spoke about gamers being the future of warfare. More recently he has suggested that a Top Gun sequel would involve drones. Gattaca director Andrew Niccol has beat them to it, reteaming with Ethan Hawke. A gripping story that could possibly be the first truly modern war films. It is however a little to low key for its own good.
The Woman in Gold: Despite the well known story and the terrible trailer, it is actually a decent film. Helen Mirren is good but her Austrian accent distracting. The wartime scenes with Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany are better than the modern day scenes.
The Salvation: Surprisingly for a film shot in South Africa and directed by Danish Dogme95 director Kristian Levring The Salvation is one of the best westerns of recent years. Mads Mikkelsen and Eva Green are both excellent.
Avengers: Age of Ultron: There is so much going on with ever expanding cast and a plot that not only has to tell a coherent story but also has to open threads for several future films. It is a miracle that Joss Whedon keeps so many plates spinning. As with previous films, Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow is still the most interesting character.
Child 44: Based on Tom Rob Smith’s acclaimed debut novel of the same name, that in turn was based on real events. Well acted particularly by leads Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace but let down by an unfocused story and a lack of direction.
The Falling: British coming of age drama set in a girls school. To many viewers Maisie Williams will be the most recognisable thatnks to her part in Game of Thrones, Maxine Peake is as brilliant as you would expect, but newcomer Florence Pugh is the most memorable. I have heard criticism of the final act, for me this is one of the strongest things about the film that helps it linger in the mind.