Sunday, 27 December 2015

December Watch List

La Belle et la Bete
I had that there was to be a French film of Beauty and the Beast and I was pleased to see the cast. Vincent Cassel as the beast and Lea Seydoux as Belle. The story follows the original fairytale up to a point. The Beast's backstory is different, in this version, he was happily married but he was obsessed with hunting a golden deer. Even after his wife begs him to stop, he kills the deer only to see it transform into the deer. Then theres a bit about her father being god of the forest and he punishes the king turning him into a beast. Then theres a side story involvong Belle's brothers (note in the original story she has no brothers) who are in debt. They send the debters to the Beast's castle as it has money, jewels and other fine things. The relationship between Belle and the Beast also felt rushed which is a shame as the film is amazingly beautiful to look at and the story is an interesting adaptation. I think of the Disney one and can't help but compare. Still, if you manage to track down a decent version of the film, it's definitely worth a look. 3/5   

I've read many articles and reviews of 'Carol' based on Patricia Highsmith's The Price of Salt and they all praise the film for various reasons, some different, but they all say, this is a love story, a simple love story set against a difficult background and at a time when things were'nt easy. Carol's sexual orientation is never said outright, it's implied. Therese is just starting to understand her own but again, nothing is labelled, which I feel makes the love story between these two women all the more meaningful. Therese even tries to discuss love at one point with her clueless boyfriend. He says he loves her but she openly asks if he has ever fallen in love with a boy, hinting at her own feelings for Carol. While Therese is almost carefree and young, Carol is burdened with a husband who won't let go and a daughter who she will do anything for. Her troubles hang over the couple at the centre and in the end become each other's undoing, until Carol breaks the mould and defies convention. She says she cannot go against her own grain. She illustrates how painful it is to live a lie and does her best to continue life the way she wants but what she wants is Therese. The film is beautiful, particularly when Carol and Therese first meet, but at times so tragic. The tragedy is elevated by the quietness of the film and the characters looks towards each other, so much is conveyed in a look. But do not despair there is a happy resolution to this love story. Both leads are brilliant in their own way, the fuss that surrounds the film is deserved and understood. 4/5 

Bridge of Spies  
 I'm not Tom Hanks's biggest fan and I wouldn't see a film because he's in it. To be honest I'm not a massive Spielberg fan either but I like most of his films, I mean, Jurassic Park/World, it's pretty darn hard to beat Dinosaurs (but Star Wars did). The reason why I so desperately wanted to see this based on fact film about how a Russian spy was defended by a good and moral insurance lawyer who then went on to negotiate an exchange for an American pilot in East Berlin, a place where no one wanted to be, I wanted to see it because the Coen Brothers co wrote the screenplay. That's how much I needed a Coen Brothers fix. I'm too impatient to wait until February for Hail, Caeser! Tom Hanks is one the greatest 'everyman' character actors. He slips into James B. Donovan's shoes like a glove and I was honestly moved by his performace and determination to get both the American pilot who crash landed and the poor American student, wrongfully arrested. He wants them both, no one gets left behind. Although a little one sided, the film depicts the AMericans has being too quick to judge and not really thinking it through, except Donovan of course, it shows the Americans being far 'nicer' than the Russians and the Germans. It was too biast but a brilliant cast and story none the less. I was please to notice the Coenesque dialogue from the first few scenes, such great writing. I also noted, as did my friend who I saw it with, that the film was slow paced but still had your attention throughout, there wasn't a moment I looked at my watch. A slow moving thriller, it's something that you have to be skilled at. Ok, yes, I just really love the Coens. 4/5

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars is just such a big deal at the moment I will say nothing until the New Year and my thoughts on it. I leave you with my rating which is 5/5. I will write a separate post for the film.


  1. The costumes in La Belle et La Bete were beautiful. If you happen to chance upon the 1946 version I recommend you watch it. Carol was also a wonderful film, loved both the leads. I agree with your assessment that Bridge of Spies was slow paced but it didn't feel like it. Tom Hanks always delivers on roles like this. The Force Awakens was fantastic, loved Daisy Ridley in it!

  2. I was thinking that - I need to see the silent film version too (if I'm thinking of the right thing). I absolutely loved Rey (and BB8), I'll write something more in depth in the New Year. Star Wars deserves it.

  3. Oh you must see the Cocteau version from 1946-This is THE telling of this great fairy tale in my book. I want to see bridge of Spies as I remember when this incident actually took place but don't know much since I was a kid. Of course I want to see Star Wars.

  4. I am aching to see Star Wars again, such a great film. I think I should have added 1946 version to my Blind Spot list. I could save it for 2017 list :)