After a slow start I have seen ten movies this month. They include a re-release of a modern classic and a couple of contenders for my top ten of the year.
He Named Me Malala: Documentary about an extraordinary young woman. The narrative often loses its way but the story is compelling. The animated sections are particularly good and the farther daughter relationship is fascinating. Also nice to see my hometown Birmingham making a rare big screen appearance.
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.
Kill Your Friends: Story of an A&R man at a record studio at the height of 90’s britpop. The film owes a huge debt to the superior American Psycho but. Filled with totally loathsome characters the film is often funny but also quiet gruesome. Disposable and forgettable but enjoyable while I watched it.
The Lady in the Van: True story of a lady who lived in a van on Alan Bennett’s drive. Adapted from a play that was itself based on a memoir. A funny and touching story largely thanks to fantastic performances from leads Alex Jennings and Maggie Smith.
The Hallow: Effective and affecting Irish horror movie that evokes The Evil Dead, Straw Dogs and The Fly amongst many other classic films. Not the most original entry to the genre but hugely enjoyable.
The Hunger Games Mockingjay part 2: The conclusion of the hugely successful film series has some good moments but is ultimately the weakest of the series, this isn’t surprising as it is based on half of the weakest novel. The end suffers from Return of the King syndrome not knowing when to finish.
Steve Jobs: Writer Aaron Sorkin has crafted a three act play based around three product launches over fourteen years. Director Danny Boyle makes it cinematic.
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.
Carol: Shot on 16mm film to stunning effect, a beautiful film with a dreamlike quality partly thanks to the stunning photography. Based on the novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith and containing autobiographical elements. Cate Blanchett is as sensational as you would expect, Rooney Mara is a revelation and possibly the best she has ever been. Borrowing a framing device from Brief Encounter that it uses to great effect.
True Romance: I didn’t see True Romance at the cinema on its original release back in 1993 so jumped at the chance to see it on the big screen thanks the BFI release. Directed by Tony Scott based on a Quentin Tarantino script the film offers some of the best both men have to offer and has really stood the test of time well. (please note: As a re-releases I have included this in my write-up but only new releases are in contention for movie of the month)
The movie of the month is: A hard choice. Despite being a really strong month I keep going back to the second film I saw Brooklyn as the Movie of the Month, but then I saw the majesty of Spielberg on form with Bridge of Spies. They last night I saw the stunning and beautiful Carol. To be honest any one of the three could have been movie of the month, but I am going to give it to