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Archive for March, 2017

Dom 5

I had a couple of Oscar articles planned before the awards but was ill at the time and didn’t get around to it, I also didn’t get around to posting Sixth Annual Groovers Movie Awards.  Better late than never! All awards are chosen by me and the criteria for eligibility is decided by me.  The categories for the awards given aren’t always the same year on year.  The award, is called the “Dom”, if you don’t know the relevance you need to watch the movie Fandango (1985).

Best Film: Should I christen it the Denis Villeneuve  award?  For the second year in a row the best movie of the year is directed by Villeneuve: Arrival

arrival

Best Director: Tom Ford. Proving A Single Man wasn’t a fluke, Ford is back with Nocturnal Animals.  The second best movie of the year and one that is directed with a precision reminiscent of David Fincher, past master John Ford.

NOCTURNAL ANIMALS

Best Performance: This is where it gets complicated, do you give Amy Adams the best performance award for Arrival or Nocturnal Animals? It doesn’t matter, you would be right either way.

Amy Adams

Most Fun Movie of the Year: Sing Street, John Carney’s story of a teenager who starts a band for the most noble of reasons, to impress a girl, is fun, funny and charming.

sing-street

Best Horror: To be honest, Green Room, Jeremy Saulnier’s follow-up to Blue Ruin is more a violent thriller than an horror, but it is shocking, violent, bloody and visceral; all the elements of a great horror.

green-room

Breakout Star: The startling thing about the breakout star, Anya Taylor-Joy is how out of nowhere that she came.  Last years winner Alicia Vikander had been a star of TV and film in her native Sweden for a decade before her moving to English language movies.  Prior to The Witch, Taylor-Joy has just two IMDB credits, a bit part in Vampire Academy and an episode of TV Show Endeavour.  As well as her sensational performance in The Witch she is also fantastic in the underrated Morgan and  Split.

Anna Taylor Joy

Fandango Award: Kelly Fremon Craig – Fandango was writer/director Kevin Reynolds debut (and best) feature, and the first notable movie for star Kevin Costner. It gives its name to this award for the best breakout film-makers of the year:  This years winner; Kelly Fremon Craig had just one credit as a writer before writing, directing and producing The Edge of Seventeen.  As the director of the best teen movie in a generation she is in some pretty impressive company: John Hughes, Mark Waters, Michael Lehmann, Richard Linklater and Nicholas Ray.

THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN

Dom 5

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Choose life. Choose Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and hope that someone, somewhere cares. Choose looking up old flames, wishing you’d done it all differently. And choose watching history repeat itself. Choose your future. Choose reality TV, slut shaming, revenge porn. Choose a zero-hour contract, a two hour journey to work. And choose the same for your kids, only worse, and smother the pain with an unknown dose of an unknown drug made in somebody’s kitchen. And then… take a deep breath. You’re an addict. So be addicted, just be addicted to something else. Choose the ones you love. Choose your future. Choose life.

t2 trainspotting

I saw T2 Trainspotting back in January on general release.   I didn’t get around to writing about it at the time so wasn’t going to bother.  With the North American release imminent now is as good a time as any.  However, there is little point in reviewing it as there are already a plethora of opinions online.     

To talk about T2 Trainspotting, first we have to go back to the original film from 1996.  Trainspotting was a special film in its day.  In 1996 I was a student and immersed in the culture of the day.  Times were good, it was pre 9/11, the economy was booming after the recession of the early 90’s, Brit Pop was at its height, The England football team weren’t.  At the movies Richard Linklater, Kevin Smith and particularly Quentin Tarantino were spearheading a new independent cinema that spoke to our generation, but they are all American.  Trainspotting was different, Trainspotting was British, Trainspotting was ours.  Overnight Trainspotting posters started replacing Reservoir Dogs posters on the walls of every student house in town.  It was the tinny glimmer that a British film industry could make modern contemporary and exciting films.

Trainspotting-Poster

The first thing that is worth mentioning is that Trainspotting wasn’t really set in 1996.  Based on Irvine Welsh’s novel from three years before it, a date is never actually mentioned but it feels more like the late 80’s early 90’s, a less hopeful time.  The Choose Life mantra dates back to the Katharine Hamnett T’shirts of the mid 80’s.  Did this squalor make us feel even better about the time we were living in?  The new film appears to be set in the modern day, Renton’s new choose life speech tells us how it all went wrong and how we have a less optimistic outlook, making it truly a film for 2017 and the political climate.

Irvine Welsh

Back in 1996, there was a certain buzz about Trainspotting long before release, partly thanks to the cult status of Welsh’s novel but more to do with Danny Boyle’s feature début Shallow Grave from two years before.  I still went to see the film with a certain amount of trepidation because of the subject matter.  How much fun could a film about heroin addicts be?  But Trainspotting isn’t about heroin, it is about life, it is about the choices we make.   It doesn’t glorify heroin, but it doesn’t condemn its protagonists, it glorifies life.  Along with well drawn characters, this is what lets the film be both compelling and devastatingly funny.

So, as Simon aka Sick Boy asks Mark Renton: what have you been up to, For 20 years? For a start, director Danny Boyle and star Ewan McGregor had a famous falling out over the studio’s insistence at casting the more bankable Leonardo DiCaprio in The Beach.  This gap has made a difference.  Boyle has spoken about how they tried to make a sequel after ten years based on Welsh’s follow up novel Porno.  The twenty year gap has given the story and its characters space to breath.  The film starts with Renton running on a treadmill, a perfect juxtaposition to his running from security guards after shoplifting in the opening to the first film.  Sick Boy, Spud and Begbie are all doing about what you would expect of them.  Spud (Ewen Bremner) is the biggest revelation of the movie, the least used and often comic relief of the first film becomes the most significant and poignant character of T2.  I have never seen a sequel that uses so much of the original film.  The nods and flashbacks are a great risk, but actually provide many of the films best moments.  Along with flashbacks to the main characters as children this not only makes for an interesting film, it also adds extra colour to the original film.

t2-trainspotting-teaser

I was lucky enough to catch a screening of the original film a week before seeing the sequel.  Anyone planning on seeing T2 should re-watch Trainspotting first to get the most out of both films.   In the movie, Sick Boy accuses Renton of being  nostalgic, “You’re a tourist in your own youth”.  The film is nostalgic, in fact, it is both more nostalgic and melancholic than I expected but no less enjoyable.  It isn’t as good as the original but Trainspotting set the bar so high I didn’t expect it to be, most fans won’t be disappointed. 

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Please do not adjust your set, normal service will resume shortly.  For the first time since starting this feature in June 2009, I have failed to post my movie of the month list.  Hit by cold, chest infections and chronic man flue not only have I not being writing about movies, I have not being going to see them.  I had plans to see the last two Best Picture Oscar Nominations Fences  and Moonlight; as well as the one off screening of Foreign Language contender Toni Erdmann.  Sadly none of this happened, I still have a couple of days to catch Moonlight and Fences but have missed my chance to see Toni Erdmann until it crops up on Netflix or similar.  So what did I see?

Hacksaw Ridge: A film of two halves, the war film is brilliant, the build up was to sentimental and preaching. andrew-garfield

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter: The final Resident Evil movie until the inevitable reboot.  It is as dumb and convoluted as the previous five films, but it is also good fun and never boring.resident-evil-the-final

Hidden Figures: The true story of Africa American woman working at the heart of NASA at the height of the space race.  A feel good movie without the baggage of sentiment. Octavia Spencer received an Oscar nomination, the other two leads: Taraji P. Henson and Janelle Monáe are just as good as is Kevin Costner in a supporting role. hidden-figures

 Loving: The true story of Richard and Mildred Loving a mixed race couple whose marriage was deemed illegal in 1958 Virginia.  Cleverly concentrating on the couple and  not the legal case, Ruth Negga and  Joel Edgerton are both outstanding. loving

Fifty Shades Darker: It’s easy to poke fun at this film, I would rather look for the positive, sadly there is little positive to say beyond the charisma and comic timing of star Dakota Johnson, she and co star Jamie Dornan deserves so much more. fifty-shades-darker

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk: An interesting little film told mainly in flashback.  Surprisingly good largely thanks a great performance from unknown Joe Alwyn.  There are also some great supporting performances especially from Kristen Stewart. 1289347 - BILLY LYNN'S LONG HALFTIME WALK

20th Century Women: Back in 2010 writer / director Mike Mills gave us Beginners.  A film about his late father.  Now he is back with one about his mother.  Set in the late 70’s it is a very modern movie with some quirky storytelling.  Annette Bening is sensational, Elle Fanning and Greta Gerwig are also great in supporting roles. 20th-century-women

John Wick: Chapter 2: Three years ago John Wick gave us a bonkers over stylised ultraviolent revenge thriller. This sequel is basically the same again.  It doesn’t offer anything new but is just as much fun as the original.  john-wick-chapter-2

Lion: True story of a five-year-old Indian boy who gets lost on the streets of Calcutta before being adopted by an Australian couple.  25 years later he attempts to track down where he is from with the help of google earth.  Both Sunny Pawar and Dev Patel are excellend as the older and younger versions of Saroo. lion

What a choice, we have the worthy of Loving and Hidden Figures or the fun of John Wick: Chapter 2, which is movie of the month? I could make a case for all three as well as 20th Century Woman.  Close call but movie of the month goes to:hidden-figures-movie-poster

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