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Posts Tagged ‘Leave No Trace’

  1. The Shape Of WaterThe Shape Of Water

  2. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing MissouriThree Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

  3. Phantom ThreadPhantom Thread

  4. A Quiet PlaceA Quiet Place

  5. ThoroughbredsThoroughbreds

  6. Leave No TraceLeave No Trace

  7. In The FadeIn The Fade

  8. Cold WarCold War

  9. WidowsWidows

  10. WildlifeWildlife

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If you are reading this site, you are probably a movie fan and will have seen a lot of these films, but many people won’t have heard of them.  This a shame, as they are all great!

Loveless: A couple going through a divorce are oblivious to the effect it is having on their young son.  The film is totally devastating and heartbreaking.  If you see it you will probably love it, but never want to see it again.  Nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year, and BAFTA for Best Film Not in the English Language.  Director Andrey Zvyagintsev made his name with The Return (2003) and is best known for Leviathan (2014), also nominated for Foreign Language Oscar.Loveless

Dark River: Following the death of her father, Alice (Ruth Wilson) returns home for the first time in 15 years to take over the tenancy of the family farm.  Here she has to confront ghosts of her past, and her brother who now runs the farm.  Always reliable Ruth Wilson is on sensational form.  Director Clio Barnard is best known for the innovative documentary The Arbor (2010) and The Selfish Giant (2013). Dark River

You Were Never Really Here: A traumatized (Joaquin Phoenix) veteran, with a penchant for extreme violence finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy while tracking down a missing young girl.  What it lacks in plot and action, it more than makes up for in mood and atmosphere.  Phoenix has never been better.  Director Lynne Ramsay’s first film since the excellent We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011).You Were Never Really Here

Thoroughbreds:  Two teenagers (Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy) reconnect and rekindle their unusual friendship after drifting apart a few years before.  A film that doesn’t always go where you expect.  Darkly funny and satirical, not to everyone’s taste, but it really got under my skin.  Sadly one of Anton Yelchin’s last films.  Director Cory Finley’s feature début.Thoroughbreds

Beast:  Set in a claustrophobic isolated community on the Channel Island of Jersey; a troubled young woman falls for a seductive but secretive stranger who may or may not be a serial killer, whilst also having to deal with an overpowering mother.  Fantastic performances and a plot filled with just enough ambiguity.  Director, Michael Pearce’s feature debut. Beast

Revenge:  A young woman fights for survival, and to inflict terrible, bloody, and violent revenge on the three men who have wronged her.  She does so with a minimum of clothing.  All this sounds crass, cheesy and unoriginal; however, Revenge offers something new and interesting, possibly because it is written and directed by a woman!  Director Coralie Fargeat’s feature début.Revenge

Leave No Trace: A troubled veteran and his teenage daughter are living outdoors and off grid, until they are discovered and forced to reintegrate into society.  A film that says so much about society today both in its text and subtext.  Masterful filmmaking from director Debra Granik who amazingly hasn’t made a movie since Winter’s Bone (2010). Leave No Trace

Hearts Beat Loud: A father and daughter form an unlikely songwriting partnership at a time of transition in both their lives.   Possibly the most lightweight and disposable film on the list, but certainly the warmest and most charming.  Director Brett Haley’s fourth feature, the first of his that I have seen. Hearts Beat Loud

The Rider: Brady Jandreau, a rodeo rider and horse trainer unable to ride following a near fatal head injury, plays Brady Blackburn a rodeo rider and horse trainer unable to ride following a near fatal head injury.  A stunning exploration of identity and masculinity, that could possibly only been told by a woman.  Director Chloé Zhao’s second feature. The Rider

Cold War: A passionate love story starting in 1950s Cold War Poland.  The skill, artistry and restraint to tell such an epic story in just 88 minutes is pure art.  The film looks incredible, sounds amazing and will rip your heart out.  Director Pawel Pawlikowski has won three BAFTA’s: Best Film Not in the English Language for Ida (2013), Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film for My Summer of Love (2004) and Carl Foreman Award for the Most Promising Newcomer for Last Resort (2000).  Cold War is on the short (of nine) that will be whittled down to five for next year’s Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year nominations. Cold War

Bonus pick – Tully: This is a movie that shouldn’t be on the list, it screams mainstream, or at very least popular indie hit; directed by Jason Reitman, writer by Diablo Cody, starring Charlize Theron.  On top of this, it is also fantastic.  The reviews were good, those who saw it liked it, but for some reason (poor marketing?), it failed to find an audience.  Hopefully it will find an audience on the small screen.  So much more than its synopsis, and it has Charlize Theron! She may disappear into a Lady Gaga shaped shadow when it comes to the Oscars, but you will be hard pressed to find a better performance this year. Tully

Redux version, I forgot one – A Prayer Before Dawn: A brutal and haunting movie about Billy Moore, a British boxer who finds himself in a brutal prison in Thailand, a true story of based on Moore’s book. A lot of the dialogue is in Thai without subtitles, an effective but disconcerting choice.  Director Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire’s second movie, a decade after his first Johnny Mad Dog.A Prayer Before Dawn

 

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After a rather lean June, normal service is resumed in July with ten movies, none of which disappointed.  Only one can be movie of the month, here are the contenders.

Leave No Trace – Debra Granik’s long awaited follow-up to Winter’s Bone.  A quieter and more subtle movie than her previous film, but like Winters Bone its strength lies in a combination of taught direction, and fantastic performances, here from Thomasin McKenzie and the always reliable Ben Foster.Leave No Trace

Sicario 2: Soldado – Sicario is one of my favourite movies of recent years.  I was sceptical as of a sequel especially without director Denis Villeneuve and star Emily Blunt.  On a positive note, writer Taylor Sheridan is back.  Looking back at the original film, while Emily Blunt is the audiences way into the story and gives the strongest performance, Josh Brolin and particularly  Benicio Del Toro are the most interesting characters.  While not as good as the original, it is still an excellent movie with Del Toro excelling in what has morphed into the leading role.Benicio Del Toro

Hereditary – Superior horror that relies on tension and suspense rather than jump scares.  The centre of the movie is Toni Collette’s sensational performance.  I’m not sure the greatest or defining horror of the era tags are earned but it certainly has more to offer than most movies of the genre. Hereditary

Ocean’s 8 – The latest instalment in the Oceans franchise swaps the original cast for an all female one.   As a con/heist movie it offers nothing new to the genre, but that really doesn’t matter when the stars are as charismatic and watchable as Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett.  I would certainly be happy to see oceans nine and ten. Ocean's 8

Whitney – I wouldn’t call myself a Whitney Houston fan, I liked her earlier pop records from the late 80’s but never go got the whole diva, greatest singer in the world  claims of her mid career.  The second film about her in as many years, I didn’t see the Nick Broomfield film so learnt a lot here.  A solid film with some startling revelations but not as compelling as  Amy (2015), Janis: Little Girl Blue (2015) or even Kevin Macdonald’s Marley (2012). Whitney-UK-poster

Mary Shelley – The story of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin from just before she met Percy Shelley  upto and including the publication of Frankenstein.  An atmospheric and involving story that takes a few liberties with the facts as you would expect, and to quote Mark Kermode, ” there are plenty of “chubby, herm!” moments”.  Elle Fanning is always interesting to watch. Mary Shelley

The First Purge – The original Purge film was an interesting concept that did really well.  As you would expect for a Blumhouse Production, the first sequel expanded on both the idea and the scope of the film.  The third film was had run out of ideas so largely repeated the second film.  This latest film is a prequel going back to the origin of The Purge.  There is an interesting plot point that is very contemporary and prescient, but other than that, like part three, they have run out of ideas.  Unless someone has an interesting way direction to take the story, The First Purge should be the Last Purge. The First Purge

Hotel Artemis – Drew Pearce’s feature debut is a high concept sci-fi built on great characters, played by a fantastic cast.  A little more than the action film the trailer promises, it has more than a hint of High Noon. It is also often very funny usually because of Dave Bautista.  I could have done without Charlie Day. Hotel Artemis

First Reformed – Paul Schrader is back on form with a film in the transcendental style that he has spoken about so much in the past.  Ethan Hawke is on career high form at the heart of the film.  Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a religious Father Toller’s (Hawke) crisis is an existential one, not religious.   Not widely released, but worth searching for.   First Reformed

Mission: Impossible – Fallout – Back for the sixth instalment of the franchise, and breaking with tradition it has a returning director, frequent Tom Cruise collaborator Christopher McQuarrie.  Despite the near two and half hour runtime you don’t get a moment to breath.  The plot that initially seems complicated is actually very simple, and also totally superfluous, this is all about the spectacle.   Possibly the best of the series, if not it comes a close second. Mission Impossible Fallout

Of the ten, four make the shortlist: Sicario 2: Soldado is better than many previous winners.  Mission: Impossible – Fallout comes close as proof that a big budget franchise movie can still be a great film.  Ultimately, Leave No Trace comes a close second to the haunting First Reformed. First Reformed poster

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