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Posts Tagged ‘Thoroughbreds’

  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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Avengers: Infinity is going to be the biggest movie of the year so there is no competition for the movie of the month.  Things aren’t that simple.  Here are the movies seen this month:

A Quiet Place – A family try to survive in dystopian near future by avoiding monsters who hunt by sound. Instead of the usual walls we see people hiding behind in other movies, the family live in a fortress of silence. What’s the point of walls and locked doors when the monsters can rip through them! Comprising of essentially just two acts, built on tension rather than horror. The slow build-up is perfectly paced to setup the excellent finalé. The ideas aren’t necessarily new or original, but they are used well; the simplest of building materials as Chekhov’s gun! The cast are all excellent from John Krasinski (who also directs and co writes – very much against type) and Emily Blunt to the kids who include Millicent Simmonds who we will be seeing later this month in Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck. Keeping explanation and exposition to a minimum works in the movies favour to create a very satisfying horror thriller.A Quiet Place

Thoroughbreds – I went into this movie knowing virtually nothing about it. I hadn’t read a review or synopsis and hadn’t seen a trailer. I am really glad I saw it this way and for that reason I advise the same of anyone wishing to see it and will not give a synopsis myself. Billed as a drama/thriller, it is also darkly funny. Anya Taylor-Joy and Olivia Cooke have proven to be two of the most exciting young actresses in their short careers to date. Here they are perfectly cast and give stunning performances. Utilising a small cast, mainly focussing on its two leads it’s no surprise that writer-director Cory Finley conceived it as a play. Shot with confidence and visual flair, it is amazingly Finley’s first movie in any capacity. Surly a film to divide opinion, I loved it.Thoroughbreds

Ghost Stories – Professor Goodman (Andy Nyman) works as a debunker of the supernatural. Things start to get a bit weird when he is asked by a fellow sceptic to investigate three cases he believes to be real. The structure makes it feel like the portmanteau horror’s that Hammer used to make, and like those movies it isn’t as satisfying as regular narrative. The overall tone is of quirky weirdness rather than horror. One of the three stories creates a real sense of dread, but the film is never scary, in fact a lot of the tension is undercut by comedy. Written and directed by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman who originally produced it as a stage play, I understand this is more successful than the film version.Ghost Stories

Death Wish – The 1974 Michael Winner/Charles Bronson movie has a poor reputation; although I haven’t seen the film for over 20 years, I remember it being good and think its reputation is based more on the increasingly poor sequels. Horror director Eli Roth’s remake moves the action from New York to Chicago; Bronson’s architect becomes Bruce Willis, trauma surgeon. The characters new profession is well used within the plot. The script by Joe Carnahan really isn’t bad, its derivative and predictable but it holds up as a narrative. Willis does a good job playing Bruce Willis and the action is understated and gritty. The film fails to say anything important or original about crime, justice or, vigilantism but as a disposable genre movie it works well.Death Wish

Beast – A troubled (they always are in a film like this) young woman lives with her overpowering mother, and farther who appears to be suffering from dementia. In the shadow of the perfect life of her sister and out of step with the world, until she meets an equally troubled young man. As the “us against the world” romance blossoms the subplot of a murder mystery comes to the fore making the viewer wonder who the beast of the title actually is. First time director Michael Pearce fills the movie with metaphor, and keeps just enough mystery and ambiguity to keep the story compelling. The cast are all excellent from the young leads to the more recognisable supporting players. The setting, the Channel Island of Jersey is used to full effect creating an environment that is sometimes inviting, at others hostile, the skill that the changes are traversed belies the directors lack of experience.Beast - Still 1

Funny Cow – Told with a very effective nonlinear narrative, Maxine Peake plays a female stand up comedian in 70/80’s Northern England. Unnamed throughout the film, Peake’s character is credited as Funny Cow, a honour placed upon her by a fellow comedian. Don’t be fooled by the synopsis or title, this is far from a comedy. Dealing with abusive fathers and husbands, depression and alcoholism it is a far darker film than you would ever expect. It is however, filed with fantastic performances, particularly from Maxine Peake. There are also enough moments of brevity and levity to keep the viewer engaged. A hard film to love but a compelling one you can’t turn away from.Funny Cow

Every Day – Don’t be put off by the lukewarm reviews, there is more going on here than many are giving it credit for. A teenager wakes up in a different body every morning. He/she spends a day borrowing someone else’s form, and tries not to impact too much on the hosts life; until he starts to form a relationship with a girl. Comparisons have been made to the TV show Quantum Leap, but this character has no mission, and no self to return to giving freedom to explore many things including identity and morality. The film also has great fun playing with the tropes of teen and high-school movies. The high high-concept is let down by inconsistent pacing and a lack of focus, it is still an enjoyable watch.Every Day

Wildling – A young girl is raised by her father in isolation before being exposed to the outside world. Billed as a horror, this movie is more of an adult fairytale, but these genres are so closely linked, it really doesn’t matter. The concept is good, and the conclusion is satisfying if a little predicable. Bel Powley is excellent and perfectly cast in the lead, but Liv Tyler is given nothing to do and is totally wasted.Wildling

Avengers: Infinity – Ten years of Marvel movies have been leading up to this point, the arrival of Thanos, the franchises chosen big, bad. The series so far has introduced so many characters, it would be impossible to service them all. Amazingly the film manages to give everyone (except a few characters left on the sidelines for future use) reasonable screen time without slowing the narrative. The action scenes are fantastic and the character interactions are often devastatingly funny. The problems are with the narrative; I can’t expand on this and keep this spoiler free, beyond saying that it is most likely part of the setup for the next film, a setup that could be satisfying or infuriating.Avengers Infinity

Battle Royale & Audition – I also went to a double bill screening of these two Japanese modern classics; both are just as brilliant and messed up as I remember.Battle Royale and Audition

The obvious choice is the brilliant horror, A Quiet Place.  Beast came totally out of leftfield and has really stayed with me, on reflection, my letterboxed score was a little low.  But none of these is movie of the month, that honour goes to: Thoroughbreds. Thoroughbreds poster

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