Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Top 10 Films of 2015 So Far

We made it to the half way point! As we move into the final 6 months of the year, I thought I'd take stock of my top 10 films released in the UK in 2015 so far. Even though Amy and Inside Out come out in July, I'm including them here as I was lucky enough to see them in Cannes. Otherwise, all of these were released in January to June in the UK.

As usual, because of my stubborn insistence on going with UK release dates, many of you who read this may consider these films to be 2014 releases, especially all the Oscar contenders. Still, hopefully UK readers will understand our collective pain at getting some of these later than other countries!

Surprisingly, I've actually reviewed all of these for a change so just click the titles to be magically transported to my reviews of these films at Starburst Magazine, Tastic Film, and this very blog.


10. The Theory of Everything


"The Theory of Everything is an inspiring tale of a great mind, perfectly rendered by a powerful and mesmerising performance from Eddie Redmayne."


9. Testament of Youth


"This is an incredibly moving story, driven by a brilliant performance from Vikander and a vital message that still resonates tragically today."


8. Birdman


"Inarritu directs with a visceral mixture of simplicity and complexity. Long takes complement the fluid dialogue, while the drumming score and use of real locations keep things grounded, even as Riggan really starts to lose his mind. Unlike the superhero movies it rails against, Birdman is smart and requires way more than one sitting to fully appreciate its complexity."


7. Whiplash


 "Whiplash is a film that strives for perfection and brings out the thrill in low budget, committed and quick filmmaking having been shot in just 18 days. It is a film about the sacrifices required to be the best at something, even if it means cowering in front of a madman and losing the enjoyment in doing what you love."


6. Ex Machina


"Ex Machina is an exciting and often challenging watch. Garland has surrounded himself with an expert team, meaning the film is gorgeous to watch, despite its limited locations. Its look and its sounds are essential to its gripping tale of men and machines. Compelling, claustrophobic, cutting edge and clever, Ex Machina is as smart and satisfying as science fiction gets."


5. Inside Out


"If you’ve ever wondered what’s going on inside someone’s head, Pixar have created a wonderfully inventive answer in Inside Out. Back at the absolute top of their game, Pixar’s latest is fresh, funny and positively bursting with emotions from joy to sadness. Crammed full of ingenuity, it’s a film that has been sprung from the very best minds of Pixar. With its perfect blend of high concept idea with intimate themes, Inside Out is a new peak for the animation studio."


4. Coherence


"Coherence is inconceivably thrilling; a must see if you want your head scrambled by comets and quantum mechanics."


3. Amy


"To even the most hardened of critics, Amy is a heart wrenching reminder of the deceased star’s enormous talent, and an early contender for Best Documentary."


2. Wild Tales


"Wild Tales may not get ten out of ten for all of its six short stories, but with its dazzling direction and audacious storytelling, it is clearly the work of an exciting cinematic genius."


1. Mad Max: Fury Road


"Strap in, say goodbye to your fingernails and prepare for a white knuckle ride of epic proportions. Mad Max Fury Road is everything and more that you could hope for from an action film, and viewers will be left shaken from its incredible levels of vehicular mayhem. Director George Miller may have taken twenty years to get this to the screen but his efforts have paid off with a film that rushes by in a breathless barrage of explosions and insane stunts."


So that's me done. I'd love to know your own top 10s of the year at this point, or what you think of my own list. Drop me a comment if you're feeling conversational, argumentative, or simply depressed and need someone to talk to.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

RIP James Horner: Titanic Suite

The man who composed one of my all time favourite movie soundtracks has passed away. RIP James Horner. You will be missed. And thank you so much for creating this. It was the perfect complement to an incredible film.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Secret Cinema Striking Back with Star Wars


Secret Cinema is back breaking the first rule of being Secret Cinema again. Surely no one in the entire UK thinks that there is anything secret about this particular cinema experience anymore. Well I suppose, we don't know what goes on exactly behind the closed doors of the Secret Cinema, but I'm sure you can read many reports online from those lucky enough to have already attended.

After the Back the the Future events proved so popular last year, Secret Cinema has returned with The Empire Strikes Back this year, riding a renewed wave of Star Wars mania as we all wait impatiently for The Force Awakens.

Apparently, Empire is now back in the top 10 of the UK box office as 8000 people have already attended the experience. They are putting on 100 performances over the next few months, running until 27th September. I'm surprised to hear that there are even some tickets still available, though with that hefty price tag, I suppose I shouldn't be that surprised.

It's bigger than the Back to the Future events were last year too. There will be actors, DJs, bands and hundreds of people dressed as a variety of different characters and creatures wandering around the secret location before they all settle down to actually watch the film.  

It all sounds rather incredible and overwhelming and the tweets I've read about it so far have been very positive.

‘The Force was strong - @secretcinema was out of this galaxy #RebelX’ @leeisaacs1
‘Epic intergalactic eve with @secretcinema #usetheforce’ @Leonora_O
‘Secret Cinema Star Wars is the most awesome thing EV-ER’ @tommcfly

·SECRET CINEMA presents STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK takes place from 4th June – 27th September 2015Tickets are available here:  www.secretcinema.org/tickets  

Arrival times are from 5.30pm to 6.30pm Tuesday to Sunday. 
 
Get more information about Secret Cinema here:

Spectre Extended TV Spot - Bond gets Belluci Up Against Wall



We all know that James Bond can be a bit of a grubby sex pest, but Spectre looks to be taking Bond's ways with the ladies to unprecedented levels of creepy. Or maybe Daniel Craig menacingly saying his name with his face only centimetres from Monica Belluci's face is meant to be sexy and appealing. I don't think it's just because I'm a dude, but if someone introduced themselves to me while I was backed up against a wall and had their nose about to touch mine, I'd be tempted to shove them backwards down the stairs.

The latest TV spot for Spectre shows Naomie Harris struggling to deliver some godawful sounding exposition about how the new film will link back to Skyfall, before revealing some stuff we've already seen in the previously released trailer. We get that awesome 'kite dancing in a hurricane' line again before a bunch of shots of the big action set-pieces.

Christoph Waltz is still purring from the shadows (and definitely not bald or stroking a cat), but the car chases, helicopter attacks and plane crashes look like they are going to be an absolute blast.

Sam Mendes has set the bar bloody high with Skyfall so it will be exciting to see if he can outdo himself with Spectre. Just please get Craig to back off Belluci. Anyone would think Bond had watched Irreversible too many times and is about to reenact its most bloody horrible scene by the way he's harassing her.

With this, The Martian and Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 all released in the same month, November is going to be a busy month at the cinema.


Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 Trailer Brings War to Capitol

Katniss is back for the fourth and final time in the brand new trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2. It's time for the people of Panem to rise up and overthrow that mean old bastard President Snow. But at what cost will victory come?
 
Those who have read the books will know all too well just how dark this final chapter goes. Author Suzanne Collins was not kidding when she decided to write her stories based on the sickening shit she saw on the news in wars around the world (and reality TV shows).

Mockingjay Part 2 should be the most adult of all Katniss' adventures and that's really saying something after the firebombings, genocide and kids killing each other ruthlessly for the entertainment of the rich of the previous installments.

We also finally get to see Brienne (Gwendoline Christie: future Star Wars star) from Game of Thrones in this trailer and she manages to look pretty terrifying just with one sideways glance.

I wasn't a massive fan of the final book in the trilogy but I think they've done a great job of adapting it so far, so I'm hoping the final film is going to end this franchise on a high note.

More trailers at I Love That Film

More on The Hunger Games




In cinemas across the UK from 19th November 2015

This franchise has grossed more than $2.2 billion at the global box office, so it's pretty safe to say that this final chapter will be a huge smash at the box office in November.

Uwe Boll Talks Retarded Wizards in Forests

Man I hope Uwe Boll loves golf. It seems the director is at least quitting Crowdfunding and at best, quite possibly quitting filmmaking altogether. I think I've only seen one of his movies so it doesn't bother me whether he quits making films or not, but I love this video.

After his campaign to get Rampage 3 crowdfunded didn't work out, he took to YouTube to deliver a massage to us all.

Never mind the fact that I'd never heard of Rampage 1 or 2, Uwe Boll has just gone up in my estimation after seeing this video.

I'm sure he's not as bad a filmmaker as everyone says either. He's clearly got a wonderful sense of humour, as evidenced in this video where he says we should all go fuck ourselves and then hints that he will be retiring to play more golf. Fair play to him.

Uwe you've earned it. Go kick back. Forget about Marvel and retarded wizards in forests. Forget about Rampage 3 or whatever old shite you were trying to get kickstarted. Nobody wants it, so why get worked up about it? Get out your clubs, polish your balls and head out on the fairways.

Maybe you could even do a bit more part time vlogging please?


The Martian Trailer Typecasts Matt Damon


Poor old Matt Daaaaaaaaaamon. You'd think somebody in Hollywood had it in for him. First he got stuck out in the far reaches of space in Interstallar and now he's all on his lonesome again in the new trailer for sci-fi thriller The Martian.


Don't feel too sorry for him though. First, Christopher Nolan. Now, Ridley Scott. Matt Damon is getting his pick of the great directors in Hollywood. Maybe all this solitary stuff on faraway planets is Damon just trying to get away from all these other Hollywood actors and their spoiled behaviour on sets. Have you seen the cast list on this one?


Kristen Wiig, Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Donald Glover, Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena and Chiwetel Ejiofor. That all adds up to a lot of talent and just maybe a lot of tantrums that Damon got to mostly avoid.

This looks great so far but as it's not out till November, I hope this is the one and only trailer we'll get. It's already over 3 minutes long so we really need to see nothing more of this until we sit down to watch the film in cinemas thank you very much. 

More trailers at I Love That Film



Monday, 8 June 2015

Terminator Genisys Featurette with James Cameron


This is the moment all Terminator fans have surely been waiting for. It seems that James Cameron has finally given a muted seal of approval to Terminator Genisys.

People have been hating on the film ever since the first pictures and trailers were released. It looked good from the casting but then people started getting antsy as soon as the trailers started showing flipping school buses.

Personally, I love the direction it's going. John Connor turns villain, old Arnie battling young Arnie and Sarah saving Kyle? What's not to love?

Anyway, what do you think about this featurette? Does James Cameron have a gun to his head, a sack load of money waiting off camera, or is this a guy who really believes in this movie?

What's new in the latest Terminator Genisys trailer?



Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Spy Review: Secret Weapon, Jason Statham



Before they take on the all-girl Ghostbusters reboot, Melissa McCarthy and writer-director Paul Feig hook up to pastiche the none-more-male world of spy movies.

Jude Law is the dashing spy of the title until he messes up by shooting the only man who knows where a stolen nuke is hidden and then ends up getting bumped off by the nuke dealer’s ruthless daughter. Stepping up to take over from Law’s agent is the woman who has been sitting in a bat-infested CIA basement, yelling commands into his ear in order to keep him one step ahead of his enemies. Melissa McCarthy is the mild-mannered desk jockey who emerges from the basement to track down Rose Byrne, playing the Bulgarian arms dealer who can help her find that missing nuke.
Along the way, McCarthy is aided, but mostly hindered by Jason Statham’s cocky ex-CIA agent and Miranda Hart’s fellow basement dweller. She must overcome the disrespect of her colleagues in order to regain her self-worth and hopefully stop the annihilation of an American city at the hands of terrorists.


Spy is a showcase for McCarthy’s comedic range but by keeping her constrained for much of the first half of the movie Feig misses a trick. The lonely, sad, lacking in self-confidence and love struck McCarthy that fawns over Jude Law’s superspy and is scared to stand up for herself is far less fun than the unleashed McCarthy of the second half. This is much closer to the woman we all fell in love with in Bridesmaids. When McCarthy finally gets to kick ass and drop an arsenal full of foul-mouthed insults on anyone in her way, it’s like an eruption of awesomeness and Spy finds its groove.

The Bond references come thick and fast with sexy opening credits, slick production values and some fight choreography making this a convincing blockbuster, but it takes McCarthy unchained to give Spy the kick it needs. When McCarthy and Statham are bad mouthing each other, sparks fly and Spy has its fair share of hilarious moments. With some brutal comic violence and even more wince-inducing put-downs, it’s a shame that by the end Spy resorts to a 50 Cent cameo for laughs. Also, more of Rose Byrne and less of Miranda Hart would always be welcome.

While Feig and McCarthy are on fine form, Statham steals every scene he’s in and gets the biggest laughs in the script. It’s a shame, as if Feig and McCarthy can just forget about making McCarthy a sympathetic frumpy figure and instead let her cut loose like a Tasmanian Devil, Spy could have been bigger, ruder and funnier from start to finish.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Cannes Film Festival Day 6 and 7: Inside Out, The Chosen Ones and Sicario

On my last two days at the Cannes Film Festival, I saw 7 films, taking my total over the 7 days to 21 films.

Check out links to all my writing on Cannes here.

The films I saw on Monday and Tuesday were:

The Measure of a Man (La Lois du Marche)
Inside Out
The Chosen Ones
Marguerite and Julien

Sicario
Trap (Taklub)
Office (O Piseu)

That's it from Cannes for this year.