Saturday, 29 November 2014

November Watch List

1. Mr Turner  

There has been quite a bit of hype surrounding this film as it is meant to be Mike Leigh's final film, but do believe the hype, the film is indeed a masterpiece. Having not known much about the painter, my parents both love his work, it was interesting to see him at his height of fame and prestige. I too, am now in awe of his work. The paintings are beautiful. Timothy Spall who portrays Turner, actually learnt to draw and paint over two years in preparation. It felt that Leigh had been waiting for the right time for Spall to play this part, great casting. It is technically a biopic but there is a sense of quiet drama worked in, which is Mike Leigh's speciality. Maybe a bit on the long side, the film was still a delight to watch and interesting to learn about art. That may sound pretentious, but its true. 4/5

When I was telling others about the film, they asked 'is it a true story?' its not, but it feels like it is which just makes it more terrifying. It is not a horror story, its about how cruel and detached humans can be and the lengths they will go to succeed and THAT is terrifying. Louis Bloom is both a hideous person and one of the most compelling characters in the film, this year at least. Jake Gyllenhaal has been receiving praise from all over and he does deserve it. I blinked twice when I saw him on screen, it really does dig deep into this character. The story is about Louis, a thief who buys camera equipment and a police scanner and stalks the streets of LA waiting for a possible accident or crime to film then sell to cable news shows. He does this after watching a van pull up alongside a car crash, Bill Paxton, a nightcrawler for years, jumps out and films the police save a woman trapped inside. Louis is inspired. He begins selling his 'moral questioning' footage to a low rated Cable news channel, building a reputation. He sons makes bigger demands and even blackmails a producer. But when a huge murder story breaks, things seem to get worse and I don't mean for Louis. Creepy, barely describes the film and the characters actions. But despite the horrible things happening, its not gory nor scary its human nature at its worst and its hard to look away. A brilliant and very chilling thriller. 4/5

They've been friends for years and are almost inseparable. But when Paige (Gillian Jacobs) gets a boyfriend, then later engaged, she seems to have less time for Sasha (Leighton Meester). Two best friends, one is straight, the other is gay, one moves on while the other is stuck. Its not a new concept, close friends then someone 'gets in the way'. What was refreshing about this film was that it was actually about friendship and appreciating each other. Sasha wasn't annoyed or upset that Paige had a boyfriend because she was in love with her, she was sad because she feels like she's lost a friend and it was great to see this portrayed so well. The side of the side of the story is that Paige is quite uptight, lawyer and has to have everything perfectly done, while Sasha is a slacker, dating younger girls, has a job she hates and wants to write music but never seems to. They are opposites and thats the main reason why things come to a head. Its a great drama, simple story, human and realistic characters. 3/5

'Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met at midnight

In the hanging tree'

Like others, I was very annoyed that the last book was being split in two. My favourite book in the trilogy is Catching Fire and Mockingjay least, but the film, was amazing. The film stays close to the book, obviously adding the much needed interludes from the Capitol and scenes of rebellion from some of the other districts. It's a cliche, but its an emotional rollarcoaster from start to finish, its not wonder Katniss goes s little crazy in the book, they show less of her breakdowns in the film though, this speeds things up and makes her a stronger character. The book is all told from Katniss' point of view and a lot is lost there, but the film is structured perfectly, introducing characters are story goes smoothly along, not bombarding the audience with them unnecessarily. Another welcome change is Effie Trinket. In the book Katniss' prep team have a larger role but Effie is substituted in, replacing them and another character which was understandably cut out. 

Changes aside. This film is a lead up to the fight in the Captitol, showing us how they rally the districts into rebellion and fighting. This idea makes far more sense then everyone just fighting. For a YA book, its very bloody and violent but that may be part of the appeal. This is also the film where Katniss and Peeta are separated. They are used against one another but they share a connection. Peeta, no spoiler here, is being tortured, obviously and still protecting Katniss, while Katniss is refusing to help District 13 in fear Peeta will be harmed. The two of them are most definitely the heart of the film, even though Peeta has far less screen time. The use of the book's song 'The Hanging Tree' is brought to life in the most beautiful yet tragic moments in the film. I may be making a bigger of this film, but it truly is a Hunger Games dream. Only problem, waiting for part 2. 5/5

Alan Turing was the man who broke the enigma machine code the Nazi's used during the second World War, he was then, years later, arrested for 'gross indecency'. This basically meant he was arrested and convicted for being gay, as in the 50's this was illegal. The film is split between the time his team of code breakers worked on the enigma machine, when he is arrested and his time at school. The film and by extension uses its characters to pose the question, was he a war hero or criminal. Its a brilliant story alongside a tragic time in a person's life. Alan Turing was given a posthumous pardon in 2012, long overdue. Cumberbatch is excellent as Turing, outsiders being speciality. The code breaking team are also brilliant, even Keira Knightly. It is different type of war film, it focuses on those fighting at home, not with violence but those trying to prevent attacks, strategising and breaking codes. It is also a biopic, second on the list. At first you do not feel attached to Turing but then when he starts to open up to a friend and flashbacks to his school days are shown, his character and suffering is revealed, you feel sympathy for him. A brilliant bio war film that shows a another side the war and what happened, that you don't often see. 4/5

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