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Posts Tagged ‘A Most Violent Year’

As I decide on my top ten movies of the year, here are the films I loved but didn’t make my top ten:

A Most Violent Year: Don’t be misled by the title and trailer, this isn’t a violent action movie but a classy crime thriller with fantastic performances from Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain.a most violent year

Amy: Director and producer Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees are back with portrait of singer Amy Winehouse.  As compelling as Senna (2010), the real brilliance of the film isn’t the telling tale that played out in front of the worlds press, but the less know and more intimate story of the tragic figure.Amy

Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance): Winner of four Oscars (Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Cinematography).  Michael Keaton is perfectly cast as an actor once famous for playing a superhero trying to reinvent himself as a stage actor.  Probably director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s best film to date.michael keaton birdman

Bridge of Spies: True story of a cold war soviet spy, the lawyer who defended him and the ultimate exchange in Berlin.   Director Steven Spielberg does what he does best delivering tension and suspence as well as comedy.  Mark Rylance and Tom Hanks are both on top form.  Rylance has to be a good bet for best supporting actor Oscar.Bridge Of Spies

Brooklyn: Story of a young woman who moves from small town Ireland to Brooklyn in the early 50’s.  A surprisingly low key film but totally enthralling, largely thanks to Nick Hornby’s great script and another standout performance from  Saoirse Ronan.Brooklyn

Crimson Peak: A movie of the month winner, but it doesn’t quite make my top ten.  A spiritual successor to The Devil’s Backbone to, to paraphrase a quote from the movie it isn’t a ghost story, it is a story with ghosts.  Mia Wasikowska and Tom Hiddleston are good, Jessica Chastain is fantastic and clearly having a blast.crimson peak

It Follows: Another  movie of the month winner that just misses my top ten; Superior horror with an original antagonist.  The style and the soundtrack are reminicent of the late 70’s and early 80’s.  Maika Monroe impresses in the lead, a young star on the rise to look out for.It Follows

Man Up: British romantic comedy centring on the fallout of a woman who finds herself on someone else’s blind date.  Lake Bell is fantastic and Simon Pegg provides good support.Man Up

SPECTRE: Skyfall was my favourite film of 2012, following Skyfall always going to be an impossible task, and to say isn’t as good doesn’t mean it isn’t a really good film.  Pulling together all the elements of the previous three films to create a story arc for Daniel Craig’s Bond feels forced but taken on its own merits it really works.SPECTRE

The Gift: A confident début as feature director by actor Joel Edgerton.  What starts out looking like an 80’s/90’s yuppies in peril thriller becomes something far more interesting. Edgerton co stars with Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall, all three are excellent. The end has divided opinion, but I think it is perfect for the film.

The Gift Gordo

The Gift Gordo

The Lobster: Set in a strange unexplained dystopian society where single people are turned into an animal of their choosing if they fail to find a partner.  The strangest film I have seen for a very long time, I really loved it, but I am really not sure why.the lobster

The Martian: Held together by a great turn from Matt Damon but kept tripping along by director Ridley Scott who has crafted a surprisingly funny and easy going movie.  Scott’s best film since the underrated Kingdom of Heaven a decade ago.the martian

Wild: The true story of Cheryl Strayed, a young woman who decided to walk the thousand-mile Pacific Crest Trail.  We begin to understand  her motivation through flashbacks as the film unfolds.  Well constructed with great use of music and an excellent performance from Reese Witherspoon.Wild

Watch this space for my top ten of the year some time before Christmas.  

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Possibly the best month of movies since I started the Movie of the Month feature.  had they come out last year Birdman, Whiplash, Ex Machina and Kingsman would all have made my top ten. 

Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance): An actor once famous for playing a superhero plays an actor once famous for playing a superhero.  I fully expect Michael Keaton to win the best actor Oscar.  Probably director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s best film to date.michael keaton birdman

The Theory Of Everything: The story of Stephen Hawking and his wife Jane.  Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones are both excellent but the film is a little conventional and pedestrian.the theory of everything

Into the Woods: Adaptation of Stephen Sondheim musical where The Brothers Grimm characters trip over each other in the woods.  Surprisingly enjoyable for a musical but lacking the depth I was promised by fans of the stage version.  Emily Blunt and Anna Kendrick are great, Johnny Depp is terrible, Meryl Streep is okay but not worthy of an Oscar nomination.INTO THE WOODS

Taken 3: Plot spoiler (not really its in the trailer) Famke Janssen’s character is killed in the first act, she probably insisted on this so she wouldn’t have to make a fourth film.  Not as bad as has been reported but offering nothing new to the franchise or genre.take 3

American Sniper:  A return to form for director Clint Eastwood.  It has divided opinion being accused as being both flag waving propaganda and unpatriotic.  For me it tells the story of a troubled man  disturbed by his experiences told in such a way that it is open to interpretation.   The fact it is promoting such debate is a good thing.  With a box-office fast approaching $300million it is Eastwood’s highest-grossing film to date.American Sniper

Whiplash: A young drummer a prestigious music school joins the band a of a demanding teacher/conductor Fletcher.  One of the most intense films I have seen in years.  I expect J.K. Simmons to pick up the best supporting actor Oscar.Whiplash-5547.cr2

Wild: The true story of Cheryl Strayed, a young woman who decided to walk the thousand-mile Pacific Crest Trail.  We begin to understand  her motivation through flashbacks as the film unfolds.  Well constructed with great use of music and an excellent performance from Reese Witherspoon.Wild

Ex Machina: Is Alex Garland’s directorial debut an exploration of what it is to be human, a psychological thriller or just a sci-fi drama? It really doesn’t matter, it is just brilliant. Ex Machina

A Most Violent Year: A misleading title and trailer aside this is a classy crime thriller with fantastic performances from Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain.a most violent year

Kingsman: The Secret Service: Both a homage to and a parody of James Bond, it scores points for being fun, funny and clever.  It is extremely violent and there are aspects of the plot that will dived opinion.kingsman

The Gambler: Remake of the 1974 film of the same name written by James Toback and starring James Caan.  The sometimes unconvincing Mark Wahlberg is very good despite playing an unlikeable character.THE GAMBLER

Birdman, Whiplash, Ex Machina are all better films, the movie of the month is Kingsman simply for how much fun it is and how much I am looking forward to seeing it again. Kingsmankingsman posters

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My top ten most anticipated movies for the coming year, along with the release date and the reason I am looking forward to them:

American Sniper – I am praying for a return to form from Clint Eastwood, and the trailer is excellent. 16th January

Whiplash – Great word of mouth.  16th January

Ex Machina – I am a fan of Alex Garland as a writer and am interested to see what he is like as a director.  Plus, the trailer looks interesting. 23rd January

A Most Violent Year – Great cast, interesting trailer. 23rd January

Kingsman –  The Secret Service: Another off centre action/comedy from Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman. 29th January

Blackhat – Michael Mann’s first film in 6 years.  20th February

Mad Max: Fury Road – I am such as fan of the original films I wasn’t keen on the idea of this but the trailer looks amazing. 15th May

Crimson Peak – I am keen to see anything from Guillermo del Toro. 16th October

Spectre – A new Bond film is always exciting, the success of Skyfall has upped that.  23rd October

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Can J.J. Abrams do for Star Wars what he did for Star Trek? 18th December

Also keen to see: John Wick, Jupiter Ascending, Child 44, Jurassic World, Furious 7, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Tomorrowland, Mission: Impossible 5 and The Hateful Eight (we probably won’t get it in the UK this year).

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