Category: Film

Film Review: Bridge of Spies

Posted on by 5WC in Film

I mentioned in my review of ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King how, in my mind, I liken King to Steven Spielberg. That they have reached the pinnacle of their industries and, as such, command respect and admiration through sheer reputation alone. To borrow a sporting term “they are a safe pair of hands”, however, this idealistic thinking forces their association to raise expectations. Whether justified or not.

The reason I say that is because the one Stephen King novel I’ve read I didn’t really enjoy, and Spielberg has produced an interesting reel of films over the last decade that seem to swing wildly in quality (Lincoln versus War of the Worlds and the 4th Indiana Jones film for example). So maybe the mental image I hold, that they can produce no wrong, is in fact, not entirely right? Read more

Film Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

Posted on by 5WC in Film

The Hunger Games saga seems to have been around forever. Trying to think back to when I first saw Jennifer Lawrence arrive on the big screen as Katniss Everdean, fighting for her life, in the opening salvo of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy, it seems like a life time ago. Apparently, it’s only been 4 years, but it’s reached such a saturation point that I would have sworn it was longer.

I remember that opening movie well because I had turned my nose up to it for a long time (it was teenage dystopian nonsense after all) but watching it, it provided so much more, and me so wrong. It sucked me in and, while it pre-dates the reviews on this blog, won me over with the deep emotive messages it so easily conveyed. It felt real and scary, had me panicked and on the edge of my seat. Yes, it’s teenage dystopian nonsense, but it is nonsense about characters I inexplicably came to care about. I wanted them to be safe. So when Catching Fire arrived I was expecting a lot, only to be left disappointed by a film that felt beyond the “difficult second album”  and instead appeared disjointed and unconnected to the level or depth and empathy the first film had created. Read more

Film Review: Carol

Posted on by 5WC in Film

It is fair to say that Carol, Todd Haynes first film since his strange Bob Dylan biopic ‘I’m Not There.’ in which 6 different actors all played the titular role (including Cate Blanchett), is never going to be a mainstream movie. Its appeal will never be broad and I fear it’s going to be forgotten long before it’s time. And that, in part, is a shame.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a cult classic waiting to be discovered, there is no rough diamond in need of a polished. What there is, however, hidden beneath a ponderous exterior, is a very thought provoking look at not only the power within a relationship, but also, the power within forbidden love and the psychology of desire, lust and passion that encompasses it. While they approaches these subjects from very polaristic starting points, I came away from Carol thinking it’d make a great companion piece of The Duke of Burgundy. Read more

Film Review: The Martian

Posted on by 5WC in Film

I have an interesting relationship with Ridley Scott. I cite Gladiator as one of my few “turn to” movies, those films you can just watch over and over without losing any impact. He directed Blade Runner and Alien, Hannibal and Black Hawk Down. I like his films, and yet recently he’s lost his way. Prometheus teased as a modern spin to his Alien franchise but simply crushed my expectations leaving me bored, confused and feeling completely flat; whilst Exodus: Gods and Kings arrived with a trailer promising an epic scale and spectacle that not only failed to appear, was so monotonously dull I actually fell asleep!

Then we have Matt Damon. The man who very nearly destroyed James Bond through his character Jason Bourne. I have always been a fan ever since he stole the show from underneath Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting and even though he often has a smugness to him that oozes a arrogant knowledge of just how good he is I somehow still forgive him all his ills. So when I heard he’d teamed up with Ridley Scott to make a science fiction story called The Martian, it’s fair to say I was expecting something with a bit more of a serious edge. Read more

Film Review: Suffragette

Posted on by 5WC in Film

I was born in the 1980s and while I remember a time before our lives were turned into binary code and broadcast through mobile phones, wireless internet and satellite television, I have lived in a disjointed but equal society my entire life. I am not going to argue that men and women have equal rights, they don’t. You just have to look at the board of directors of the FTSE100 or even the general pay gap to realise society still doesn’t understand women are as capable as men, but, I live at a time when women have found their voice, even if the bigoted majority, still stupidly, refuse to listen.

I’m a man. I don’t face the discrimination of the fairer sex; but I neither do my peers. I’ve just started a psychology degree with over 200 fellow students. There are only 7 men. We are all set the same work, the same deadlines and can even all vote (assuming nationality) should we chose. We can even all apply for the same job in 3 years’ time (assuming we all pass). Yes, societal statistics show my chromosomes apparently give me an advantage, but I can guarantee 193 psychology students won’t be chaining themselves to the fence in protest. Read more

Film Review: The Lady In The Van

Posted on by 5WC in Film

To me, Alan Bennett is the name of a playwright, and nothing more. I certainly couldn’t name a play he wrote or tell you anything about him. 1850, 1950 or alive today I wouldn’t have a clue. So when I saw the trailer for The Lady in the Van I took it entirely on face value. I just soaked in the light hearted, silly and implausible story, set against a backdrop of witty humour and charming fun and made a mental note to keep an eye out for its release.

The first, and slightly obvious, thing to say about The Lady in the Van is that it is aimed as the tea and biscuits market. The older, retired, “goes to the cinema on a wet Sunday afternoon to sleep of the indulgence of roast beef, potatoes and a Yorkshire pudding” viewer. It knows that it is playing to its audience in the same way as Marigold Hotels, Mr Holmes and Helen Mirren films knew too. It’s grown up, analogue film making, where the story and the characters run riot over any idea of special effects or CGI trickery. Read more

Film Review: Slow West

Posted on by 5WC in Film

If I’m honest, I’m really not the biggest fan of Westerns. Too often I find them reflecting their environment being dry, coarse, stifling and slow. Yet for some reason I continue to happily watch them, only to be disappointed, as again they fail to invoke any emotional response besides boredom. The Homesman being a perfect example from my recent past. So it should come as no surprise that when people started to proclaim a Western to be “the perfect Western… the real deal” I forgot all that went before and accepted the unexplainable pull of its promise.

That perfection came from John Maclean’s first feature film – Slow West. And whilst I expected it to pass me by, purely as it didn’t appear the type of film that would naturally get a widespread big screen release, I was given optimism when the poster for it appeared on the wall of my local multiplex. My fear was founded though, and even with the advertising, it never arrived so I’ve had to wait, and wait, for it to finally be released ‘on-demand’ before I could get a chance to see whether, this time, it would finally provide me with a Western I actually enjoyed. Read more

Film Review: Spectre

Posted on by 5WC in Film

Bond is back, and so are Daniel Craig and Sam Mendes. Looking to follow up the phenomenal success they had together on Skyfall; Spectre, the 24th instalment in the Bond franchise, has always been stuck slightly in predecessor’s shadow with a weight of expectation to deliver upon its shoulders far greater than it really deserved. In fact, it’s fair to say that aside from Star Wars: The Force Awakens no other movie this year has been waited for with such anticipation, and I’ll admit, I am one of those piling on the pressure to deliver, after all, I named it in my 10 movies of 2015 I couldn’t wait to see.

Sadly though for me, it just doesn’t deliver. It’s not a bad film, it’s purely a case that there are more negatives than positives to come from it. My biggest complaint against it is that nothing really makes sense. The plot appears to be individualistic yet formulaic. This is the story of Daniel Craig as Bond and so, all too often, it’s trying to tie up ideas and clarify characters from any one of his previous three outings into a story that is meant to come together and complete the tale. It’s a back to the future plot. A completing of the circle. Read more

Film Review: Legend

Posted on by 5WC in Film

Possession may be nine-tenths of the law but reputation carries more weight and it’s fair to say that the Kray twins have some reputation. The stories of the life they lead, the violence they commanded and the fear they instilled still as powerful, and as shocking, today as it was in the 1960s. They may no longer be alive, they may no longer walk the streets, but still there is that little tinge of fear inside you when you talk about them. Fear that saying something out of turn may still cause a ripple and a repercussion.

I am not fascinated by the brothers, but I know their story. I know the outline plot to real life events that surrounded them and so, when I saw Tom Hardy (and Tom Hardy) bringing them back to life I was instantly hooked. As twins their characters really were the polar opposite, the virtual split of a single entity. One good, one mad but together very, very bad. And it appeared that Brian Helgeland’s latest film Legend was about to bring their individual parts, clearly and violently, back to life. Read more

Film Review: The Diary Of A Teenage Girl

Posted on by 5WC in Film

I have noticed over the last few years that films classification appears to be getting tamer. Movies that I would expect to be an 18 arrive bearing a 15 instead. Whether society is just becoming numb, more accepting or blind is another debate, but it’s obvious that in the digital world we now live in where content of any desire is so easily accessible, what we are prepared to let people see at younger and younger ages is ever changing.

It is, therefore, surprising when the debate turns full circle. When the outcry isn’t that a film is available to an audience too young to understand it, but rather, that it’s been too harshly judged and as a result, completely shut out the exact people who should be viewing it. The Diary Of A Teenage Girl is in that exact situation. It’s been given an 18 certificate due to the prolonged and repetitive sexual and drug related nature of its story, but that’s it point. It is trying to talk to teenage girls about the pitfalls and dangers of sex and drugs and coming of age, but in doing so in such a graphic way it’s shut the door on them. Read more