The Nightman of Nevermoor was directed by Devon’s own, Chris Thomas and it was made on a shoestring budget of just £3,000, which was raised via crowdsourcing. The 50-minute short is a staggering achievement for the production crew, showcasing their filmmaking talents, while also illustrating their ability to work to a limited budget and time schedule.
If you’ve haven’t read part one and two of my Top 10 Films of 2013 I’ll provide you with a brief recap
#10 Keanu Reeves
#9 Side by Side (Kenneally, 2012)
#8 Doctor Who: Day of the Doctor (Hurran, 2013)
#7 You’re Next (Wingard, 2011)
#6 Frances Ha (Baumbach, 2012)
#5 The Great Beauty/La grande bellezza (Sorrentino, 2013)
#4 Spring Breakers (Korine, 2012)
Just as Matt Smith’s time as the eleventh Doctor has ended, so to must my countdown conclude -Geronimo!
If you’ve haven’t read part one of my Top 10 Films of 2013 I’ll provide you with a brief recap; there was a lot of love for Keanu Reeves and I make no apologies for that. End.
But seriously, the countdown thus far looks a lot like this
[Read more…] about The best films of 2013 (part 2)
2013 has been a fantastic year for cinema, with great films likes Gravity (CuarÃ³n, 2013), 12 Years a Slave (McQueen, 2013), Upstream Colour (Carruth, 2013) and the Herzog produced documentary, The Act of Killing (Annonymous, Cynn & Oppenheimer, 2012) all debuting -whether on national release or at film festivals. However, none of the aforementioned made my cut, despite their obvious brilliance.
Right, let’s get started
Frances Ha is the tale of Frances (Greta Gerwig), a 27 year old who has drifted through life and isn’t really sure who she is. However, she’s getting to a point in her life when things are beginning to change -not least her friendship with her flatmate, Sophy (Mickey Sumner). When Sophy decides to move in with another friend, it sets about a period of self-discovery and we’re fortunate enough to be along for the ride.
12 Years A Slave is Steve McQueen’s adaptation of Solomon Nothup’s gruelling memoir. Its story revolves around Solomon, played by the excellent British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor in a career highlight. A free man and an accomplished violinist living in New York, Solomon is tricked into to joining a travelling show and promptly sold into slavery.
All Cheerleaders Die is a ‘subversive’ horror film based upon a decade-old project between the film’s directors Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson. Its stars are relatively unknown with the exception of an un-credited and brief cameo from Michael Bowen -who was most recently seen terrorising Jesse Pinkman and Walter White as white supremacist Uncle Jack in Vince Gilligan’s, Breaking Bad.
Amat Escalante’s Heli won him the Best Director gong at this year’s Cannes. Heli depicts a working class family thrown into the Mexican drug world, a dangerous place of police corruption and violent criminals -notably, it features a very graphic torture sequence not for the faint-hearted.
Hide Your Smiling Faces marks the dÃ©but of Daniel Patrick Carbone. It’s a bold take on childhood, growing-up, loss and a film that shies away from sentimentality; in short it’s no Stand By Me.
Locke stars Tom Hardy as Ivan Locke, a structural engineer on the eve of his biggest project to-date. During his career, Locke has built himself a highly respected reputation, but in one night, all of that is thrown away because of a one-night-stand, nine months earlier. Locke depicts Ivan’s journey from Wales to London as he races to support the mother of his unborn child, while jeopardising his marriage and career.
Judi Dench and Steve Coogan star in Stephen Frears newest film, Philomena. Dench plays the titular Philomena (or Phil to her friends), a woman who after 50 years decides to find her son, who she was forced to give up for adoption after conceiving the child outside of marriage. Along for the ride and to document her story is the reluctant former BBC broadcaster Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan).
This is one of the films of the year. It is an gloriously imaginative Well I don’t know what it is. To call it a thrill-ride would be to overlook the masses of humanity the film carries in its core, and to call it a poignant drama would be to overlook the moments that left me breathless. Truth is, it is both of these things and quite a bit more.
I could see what director Guillermo Del Toro was trying to do. I can. This is a film clearly meant to be a giant, Star Wars-esque thrill-ride, full of wonder and excited and giant robots and giant monsters and explosions and those little character moments that give the whole thing pep.
And it is giant -this is a ‘big’ movie, with an enormous sense of scale matched only by Man of Steel, which is similarly disappointing. The monsters and robots crash and thud along the screen, giant hulking things that don’t just hit each other, but collide.
It is only a thrill-ride inasmuch as a film that packs in three prologues and an hour of exposition can be considered thrilling. It was plodding and dull, and the character moments were non-existent -instead we got vague types and archetypes -the cold general masking a warm heart, played by Idris Elba. The comedy relief scientists, played by Charlie Day and Burn Gorman. We get the protagonist with emotional baggage in the form of a dead brother (why don’t you remind us again, ham-fisted script?), played by Charlie Hunnam. The grizzled but loving father, and the cocksure, hotheaded son, Max Martini and Rober Kazinsky. The (only) female, providing a sort of love interest for the protagonist called Mako Mori, played by Rinko Kikuchi. Also Ron Perlman turns up but I have nothing to complain about there, because he’s Ron Perlman.
As you might have gathered, there is very little character despite what is established within the first five minutes of us meeting them. I cannot judge their performances to the extent that it is quite hard to judge something that is established and repeated for two hours.
The story has potential for simple-minded fun, as it involves a rift in our ocean leading to giant, destructive monsters (Kaiju) coming through -we build ‘monsters of our own’, giant robots called Jaegers, to tackle these monsters, because nukes would be too dangerous, although I quickly began to wonder quite what the point of that was, because as in the Avengers, Man of Steel, and countless others, buildings, cities and presumably people are totalled, levelled and killed anyway.
The Jaegers work by having two people operate them, connecting mentally over ‘the drift’, whatever that is, to control the robots through their actions -one person for each side of the brain. Don’t be fooled by thinking that these Jaegers are fast-moving machines like the Transformers -they are slow, and when they are dropped into the sea (why they couldn’t be lowered is beyond me), you half expect them to not get back up again. Perhaps they will be improved for the sequel.
It is not, really, all bad. Perlman is underused but is excellent when he is onscreen, and there was a sequence I particularly enjoyed where we see a young Mako traversing her ruined city, trying to avoid the giant Kaiju in her wake- the scene was clearly influenced by Joon-Ho Bong’s ‘The Host’, a vastly superior monster movie, but no matter. It also carries a lightness of tone and spirit that is a perfect counterweight to the dark and po-faced tone of Man of Steel, or Transformers. But this is all to no avail, as the human core is non-existent, and I could not connect at any point.
Perhaps I’m being harsh, as this is clearly a well-meaning, unpretentious film that is only trying to be escapism, but The World’s End was also escapism, and it was vastly superior escapism than this. The first expository hour dragged on and on, and then when the frenetic and muddy editing of the action-packed second half hit, I found myself struggling to see who was doing what to who and to why- it became a mess. It was dull and exasperating, a film that is clearly trying to be this generation’s Star Wars, but my advice would be to just show your children that instead. They might learn a few things about character, nuance, emotion and plot on the way.
I knew precious little about Liberace before I saw this film, and I’m not going to claim to be a genius on the topic after seeing this film either. What I will claim to be a little bit more knowledgeable about is a relationship presented here, a relationship that’s funny, true to life, and ultimately very emotive. It’s one of those rare movie relationships that actually gets it right -this is testament to the acting on display here. Matt Damon and Michael Douglas utterly, utterly convince as the couple at the centre of this film.
It’s an interesting time for superheroes. We’re bang-slam in the middle of a weighty revisionist period that has churned interesting and mixed results. On the one hand, we’ve been given Christopher Nolan’s excellent Dark Knight trilogy, which did the impossible and made Batman believable. Then on the other, we’ve had the Avengers, a film I didn’t enjoy very much that was indistinguishable from Transformers in its woeful third act, and crucially offered no emotional hook other than ‘you’ve seen these people in films before’.
Before I begin this review, I would first like to say that while I have read F Scott Fitzgerald’s book, it was some years ago, and the finer details of the plot and meaning have escaped me since. As such, I am going to avoid comparing this movie to the book and simply take it on its own terms.
This 2011 French megahit from writer/director duo Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano is a crowd pleaser in every sense of the world. The second most popular film in France ever, and the 62nd best film of all time according to the ever-faithful IMDB, this films tells a nice story of two likeable people, one who is a quadriplegic and one who is a mild criminal, who come together through necessity and form a bond that leaves both of them better off afterwards. There are some laughs, a few tears, precious little conflict, a nicely framed narrative, and, oh yes, it’s based on true events.
Craig Zobel’s indie flick has generated a storm of controversy around the world, with multiple reports of walk-outs at screenings. But sadly it doesn’t have the courage of its convictions.
If rumours are to be believed, Side Effects may very well be Steven Soderbergh’s final movie (following his upcoming TV drama starring Michael Douglas as Liberace).
The master of outrageous genre mayhem is back – Quentin Tarantino shocks, confounds and astounds once more with his new pulp epic, Django Unchained.
Devon actors Sam Morgan and David Rees reunite for Ghosts.
Two recent documentary releases make for an interesting comparison – and both are already candidates for best film of 2013.
In this section I list my three greatest discoveries in the world of orchestral film scores.
In this section, I list my three greatest discoveries in the world of film.
2012 has come an end and so I take a look back at the cinematic year.