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Posts Tagged ‘The Gift’

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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It’s that time of the month again.  Having only posted twice in August, September is here already and it’s time to look back at the films I watched last month.

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation: Tom Cruise is back for the fifth instalment of the franchise.  Whilst each of the other films had its own identify, or to be more precise the identity of their directors  this film draws its identity from within, from the earlier films.  The franchise has found it character the way Bond did with Goldfinder.  Any flimsiness in the plot is forgotten as it is so much fun.  The standout is relative newcomer Rebecca Ferguson.Mission Impossible Rogue Nation

Fantastic Four: After a fantastic debut with Chronicle Josh Trank was the obvious choice to reboot the Fantastic Four.  Or was it too obvious, is the origin story too close to his first feature?  With the director disowning the film before its release, it was never going to be good, but it isn’t as bad as the critical pounding suggests.  The cast is good and give good performances but the story is just dull.Fantastic Four

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

Precinct Seven Five: Documentary about the man dubbed the dirtiest cop in NYPD history.  Told with a mixture of talking heads and archive footage. With more than a hint of Goodfellas the unrepentant subject makes for an interesting and enthralling documentary.Precinct Seven Five

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: Guy Ritchie’s movie based on the 60’s TV show.  Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer have great chemistry with each other and co-star Alicia Vikander.  The 60’s setting is perfectly evoked in style and look.  The action won’t satisfy those expecting Bond or Bourne but that isn’t the point.the-man-from-uncle

Trainwreck: A rom-com that subverts many of the ideas of the genera often to great comic effect.  Written by Amy Schumer and directed by Judd Apatow.  Schumer is very funny in the lead but the direction is sloppy and flabby.  Scenes are too long and the story looses direction in the middle.Trainwreck

Paper Towns: Based on a novel by John Green most likely to Cash in on the success of The Fault In Our Stars.  Coming of age drama that although not totally original actually has some interesting to say about the genre.Paper Towns

Hitman: Agent 47: A reboot of a movie based on a video game that has most of the same problems as the original movie.  The action scenes are good but the thin plot is stretched too far, the rest of the film is filled with dull exposition.Hitman Agent 47

No Escape: An American arrives in an unnamed southeast Asian country (it borders Vietnam so that leaves China, Laos and Cambodia or a fictional country) just as coup is getting underway.  A tense tail of people trying to survive out of their comfort zone.  Has some good scenes, Owen Wilson does a reasonable job playing against type in straight role but Lake Bell is totally wasted.No Escape

Mission: Impossible was such fun it came close but the movie of the month is:the gift movie poster

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