Jared Hess’s Napoleon Dynamite, released in 2004, is funny. Really, really funny. It is a character-based independent film detailing the adventures of the socially inept, bullied, eponymous hero, Napoleon, played by Jon Heder. The plot could be mistaken for a kitchen-sink drama directed by Mike Leigh. There were even rumours that it started life as a serious film, but looking at Napoleon himself, such a sublime comic creation, it would have been mocked. That the filmmakers saw what comedy gold they had on their hands is merely good judgement.
Edgar Wright was born in 1974, and has carved a career for himself through TV with the wonderful Spaced, which starred Simon Pegg and Nick Frost â€“his most frequent collaborators -short films, and low-budget cult films that have attracted a massive following.
Looking at the Oscar nominations (and Bafta winners), it isn’t surprising that this didn’t get a mention. After all, it’s not exactly awards fodder: psychotic 12 year old murdering junkies and using the c-word? Drug lords beating up said girl? Superhero films doing the most un-superhero like things? You would be forgiven for thinking that this is a dark, brooding film that is to be taken with the utmost seriousness at all times. You would be wrong. Kick-Ass was the most entertaining film of the year.
Kim Ki-Duk is something of a machine: between his debut in 1996 and the time of writing, he has written and directed 15 films. 3-Iron, along with Crocodile, is generally regarded to be one of his best. The moody, romantic tone is perfectly matched with the sense of despair and longing, and the shimmering artistry lines up perfectly with the true original of a plot.
In this addition to the Will Ferrell/Adam McKay semi-improvised comedy collection it appears that a change of tac has been put in place. It seems that an actual plot has been stuck to, and while this will divide people, it does show that, to a certain degree at least, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Taking its signature character from what is (in my opinion) the greatest TV show ever made, In The Loop arrived in 2008 to relatively little fanfare. It’s no surprise, really. In these times of Due Date and the Hangover, a film that relied on the boring old world of politics and the actual engagement of the brain was never going to do fantastically. And yet critics loved it, drowning it in a sea of four and five star ratings. There was even talk of Oscars in terms of Peter Capaldi’s incredible performance as the ‘lovable’ spin doctor (although finding a non-swearing clip would be nigh on impossible). In short, I loved every sweary, angry moment, and I would even go as far as to say that this film is my favourite comedy of all time.
Resisting the urge to spam the word ‘perfect’ 1,000 times, I sit at my computer to ‘review’ this mind-blowing film. Yet I must begin by sating that this film can’t be done justice by a review. It really, really can’t. It has to be viewed to fully get a measure of what it is like. It is also something of a Marmite movie -the reasons I think it is so good are the very same reasons as to why others loathe it.
As I stepped into the cinema to watch this fantastic, sunny indie, I took a good look at the poster. This is touted as one of the best films of the year (Sight and Sounds November film of the month -no mean feat). And yet the poster shows nothing but a light-hearted, gentle film that won’t tax the brain-cells too much. But while there is a very sunny feel to the film, I think that there is something a lot more powerful hidden in here, waiting to get you when you least expect it.
The most different apocalypse film for some years, Children of Men was both original and stylish films.
This French film has become one the most famous foreign films to cross over in recent years. At once offbeat, different, and with lashings of fantasy splendour, this French film from Jean-Pierre Jeunet kicks the living daylights out of any other film from Hollywood, through sheer imagination, inventiveness, and a strange, almost schoolboy like, love.
12 Angry Men, is, undoubtedly, one of the greatest films ever made. Short, snappy, and carrying a brilliant message about what we are like inside (among lots of other things), it stands out because of a combination of things which elevate it to something very special indeed. It heralded a new hero for the celluloid: Henry Fonda as Juror #8.
In the US, this film has been ousted as one of the clangers of the century, a confusing, bland, boring piece of non-cinema that marks a new low for failing director M Night Shyamalan. And, upon seeing it over here, it really is not hard to see why.
Much like the other films of Christopher Nolan, Inception is clever. It is so clever, in fact, that I think it will become the next Matrix, and it will even surpass it for combining so many little elements that elevate the movie into the realm of masterpiece.
David Fincher is, undoubtedly, one of the greatest filmmakers alive at the moment. Ever since his first masterpiece, Seven, he has been churning out good film after good film, winning favour with critics and the public alike. It is also evident, however, that he is a director obsessed with the darker things in life, and a good majority of his films explore themes of death, obsession and more death (two of his films are about a serial killer; most of them have death of some sort in there). All in all, then, The Social Network is different from everything we’ve seen from the man so far. And it is truly brilliant.