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Posts Tagged ‘Revenge’

I will be posting my top ten favourite movies of 2018 later this morning.  Before that, here are the nearly made it movies, the ones I loved that just missed out on the top ten:The Next Best Movies Of 2018.jpg

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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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My worst month ever for blogging with no posts since my April movie of the month. Having only seen eight movies, I can’t claim to have been busy watching films, here are the eight contenders:

Tully – I know it is as fashionable now to dislike Diablo Cody, as it was fashionable to like her a decade ago, but I still like her writing, especially when combined with director Jason Reitman (Juno and Young Adult). Set in the days leading up-to the arrival of her third child, and the weeks following the birth, Charlize Theron plays Marlo. Her rich brother with an annoyingly perfect wife/life hires a night nanny to help her cope. Enter Tully (Mackenzie Davis), a free-spirited 21st century Mary Poppins. From here things go exactly how you would expect for a while. To say any more would be a spoiler, going in with as little knowledge as possible would be best. Another reminder that Charlize Theron is one of the best working actors in Hollywood.Tully

Journeyman – We join World middleweight boxing champion Matty Burton (Paddy Considine) as he is about to defend his title. The Journeyman of the title, Burton appears to have had a long career with lots of fights. We learn little snippets about his back story rather than being given swathes of exposition. What follows is powerful and emotional movie that is about a lot more than boxing. Given this is Paddy Considine’s second films as a director, I should be talking about his directing, however, his fantastic performance is the heart of the film. Jodie Whittaker is also brilliant as Considine’s wife. I am looking forward to whatever Considine decides to do next.Journeyman

Breaking In  – You have seen it all before, a typical home invasion movie that offers nothing new or inventive. This is probably why it is getting sniffy reviews. However, it does offer a little more than that. It is straight home invasion movie that doesn’t rely on a high concept, twist ending or shoehorning a 2nd genre. The plot doesn’t rely too much on characters making stupid choices. It has a perfect B movie 88 minute runtime. And best of all it has Gabrielle Union who is fantastic in the leading role. On the downside; the villains are one dimensional archetypes, and the setup is a little slow.Breaking In

Revenge – You can’t go into a film called Revenge without having an idea of what it is going to be about.  When the cast is made up of an attractive girl and three older men, the rest of the story becomes clear.  But there is another factor, the writer/director is a woman, Coralie Fargeat.  The setup and much of the plot are by the numbers, as is the cameras gaze, but it changes as the film progresses.  The results are violent and bloody, very bloody.  The film doesn’t have anything new or profound to say, buy it also isn’t as empty and shallow as the synopsis suggests.Revenge

Deadpool 2 – If you have seen the first film, you will know what to expect. By definition it lacks the originality, but is as funny as the original. The greatest revelation is Zazie Beetz who is excellent as Domino. I wouldn’t mind seeing a third installment, but also wouldn’t be bothered if this is the last one.Deadpool 2

Filmworker – After appearing in Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon Leon Vitali gave up acting and essential became Kubrick’s assistant.  Filmworker is Vitali’s bizarre, extraordinary story. Essential viewing for fans of Stanley Kubrick, probably of little interest to others.Filmworker

Solo: A Star Wars Story – Like many, I didn’t want this movie to be made. Han Solo works better as a character with a shady back-story, there is no millage in exploring it.  Having said that, taken on its own merits the film is good.  It works as a space action adventure that George Lucas intended with the first film, and uniquely in the franchise (except the original film) it stands on its own and can be enjoyed without any other prior knowledge of the series.  Alden Ehrenreich is really good in the lead and the rest of the cast are also strong.  You can’t see the joins between the original and replacement directors.  However, I have to go back to my original problem, why make this film, why not make new film about a new character in the universe?Solo A Star Wars Story

On Chesil Beach – I love Ian McEwan’s novel On Chesil Beach.  Told in flashback using two first person narratives and containing a lot of inner monologue, it was always going to be a tough film to adapt.  In some ways McEwan is the worst person to adapt the story, in other, he is the worst person to do it.  The result is largely faithful to the story and the themes of the novel, it loos sensational and is really well acted, but just lacks the emotional weight of the novel. ON CHESIL BEACH.JPG

We have to go back to the start of the month for my winner, edging out Revenge by a whisker, my Movie of the Month is Tully.Tully movie poster

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There is already a lot of speculation about the death of director Tony Scott yesterday. Rather than join the speculation I would rather remember the joy he gave me and millions of others who grew up with his movies. While his brother Ridley Scott has made some classic films, Tony makes movies, feet up with beer, pizza and a big smile on your face movies. The mid to late 80’s saw a reinvention and renaissance of action movies where they became credible mainstream entertainment, a small number of directors where at the forefront of this, they include: John McTiernan, Richard Donner, James Cameron, Kathryn Bigelow and Toney Scott. With an often imitated visual style and string of hit movies, he has been a hugely influential director. He was also a prolific producer of both movies and TV shows including interestingly Stoker, Chan-wook Park’s first English language movie (set for release in 2013).

He has worked with some of the biggest stars of the last quarter century: Tom Cruise: Top Gun (1986) and Days of Thunder (1990). Eddie Murphy: Beverly Hills Cop II (1987). Kevin Costner: Revenge (1990). Bruce Willis: The Last Boy Scout (1991). Denzel Washington: Crimson Tide (1995), Man on Fire (2004), Deja Vu (2006), The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009), Unstoppable (2010). Will Smith: Enemy of the State (1998). Robert De Niro: The Fan (1996). Brad Pitt: Spy Game (2001).

I have seen all Tony Scott movies (except The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3) and enjoyed them all even the less well received ones like Domino (2005). But here are my favourites:

The Hunger (1983) wasn’t successful on its release but has gained a cult following amongst fans of vampire movies including me.

Revenge (1990) is possibly Scott’s most under appreciated movie. A tough revenge thriller starring, Kevin Costner, Anthony Quinn and Madeleine Stowe. Having received mixed reviews on release it was finally appreciated in the mid 90’s when Quentin Tarantino declared it one of his favourite movies.

True Romance (1993): Largely faithful to the Quentin Tarantino screenplay it is Based on a, it received the ultimate praise when Tarantino declared he was happy with the outcome. Perfectly cast and full of memorable moments, it is probably my favourite Tony Scott movie.

Spy Game (2001): received positive reviews but was only a moderate success. Robert Redford and Brad Pitt are fantastic together, the films pace and structure are perfect. Its lack of action disappointed many viewers but they kind of miss the point. A great spy movie that deserves another look.

Man on Fire (2004): That most unusual of movies, a remake better than the original (it and the 1987 movie of the same name directed by Élie Chouraqui, starring Scott Glenn were both adapted from a novel by A.J. Quinnell). The kidnap, revenge thriller is elevated by a monumental performance by Denzel Washington fresh from his Oscar winning Training Day.

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