Sunday, 27 November 2016

November Watch List

Looking back through my year's watch lists and comparing them with last years', I've noticed that I don't go to the cinema that often. I think its to do with the working 9-5 nowadays. Working shifts you can fir films in here and there. Weekends are spent with friends/family and tiredness sets in. I miss the cinema. Watching films at home is nice and all but I miss going to the cinema after work. 

Christmas with the Coopers
 A festive film from last year that is just like any other the studios troll out. The review should be on Vulturehound HERE.  2/5 

Dog Eat Dog
Hated this. Thought I wouldn't but I did. Full review is on Vulturehound HERE. 2/5

Doctor Strange
 When it was announced that Mr Cumberbatch was to be cast as the sorcerer supreme, I was excited along with everyone else (apart from the Matthew Modine supporters), with the casting, but as time grew nearer to the release date and with each trailer released I grew less excited. There is something very irritating about an English actor putting on an American accent. It’s a small thing but it really annoys me. Same with an American putting on a British accent. Back to the story, Dr Strange is an arrogant genius (stop me if you heard this one before). He is a gifted surgeon and very wealthy (of course) but after a tragic accident, his hands are never the same. Desperate for a cure, he travels east to Kathmandu and eventually ends up being trained as a sorcerer by the Ancient One (a brilliant turn from the wonderfully enigmatic Tilda Swinton). Strange’s big nemesis is the dark forces and the name of the game isn’t spells, being able to travel via sling ring, or even the weird dimensions, it’s about time. Not knowing the character that well was not useful. Luckily I had my friend with me who knows about these things. I got him to explain things I didn’t quite get. The film overall was pretty good but we both left the cinema feeling something was missing. I can’t see future Strange films, it seems he might work better within a larger group popping when needed. I was also annoyed at the blandness of Rachel McAdams character, Christine. I’m waiting for the day she plays a different character, back to her Regina George days. It was also sad to see Mads Mikkalsen underused from the start, same for Chiwetel Ejiofor who ends up with a weird complete 180 degrees on his character with no development. But thank gad for Swinton. At the end of the film, when there was an infinity stone revealed and we didn’t even know it, it started to feel like everything was falling into place. It also felt a bit pokemon, gotta catch em all. One left to pop up in Ragnarök, Black Panther or GOTG vol2 or even Captain Mavel. 3/5 
Nocturnal Animals
I tried to read the book in time before the film arrived. But it arrived the day before I saw it. Having missed the film at LFF, I was pleased to see the swift release. Based on the novel, ‘Tony and Susan’ by (author name) the film differs from the book. With a screenplay written by Tom Ford as well as directing, there is fine cut feeling throughout. It is beautifully shot as expected and leaves you with a hole in your stomach, the feeling that things aren’t resolved. Susan (Amy Adams) is a woman who has everything. She works for a gallery, has a magnificent house, a dashing husband (and later you  find out she has a daughter). But she is unhappy. She doesn’t care about the art in the gallery, her house is run by maids and assistants and feels cold and empty and her husband is cheating on her. She received a manuscript written by her ex-husband who she once shared ideals with. She was an artist, he was a writer, but she slowly became her mother, as apparently, we all do. The book is dedicated to her and is even name after her in a way. The film is of two parts alongside each other, with the book being about a horrific incident and the lengths someone would go to for revenge. This seems to be what Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal) is doing within the novel and externally. He is slowly taking revenge on Susan. It’s a brilliant film but the novel story is devastating. Michael Shannon is the detective in the story and his scenes are so intense, this man just has screen presence that is hard to forget or ignore. Apart from the feeling that things will never be resolved, I would say it’s one of the best films of the year. Also, anyone who is planning on watching this, don’t be alarmed by the opening credits sequence. 4/5 
Maggie's Plan
 Having missed the film at the cinema, I was keen to see it. But Maggie’s plan wasn’t quite what I had expected. Yes Greta Gerwig places another version of herself, an amalgamation of her previous characters. This one, Maggie, wants to have a child and doesn’t want to wait. But not long before she is about to impregnate herself with an old school friend’s donation, she meets John, a ficto-critical anthropologist, whatever that is, and who is also trying to write his novel. The two fall in love, breaking up his marriage to artist Georgette. But from here I was confused. Possibly down to the trailer that makes it seem like a humorous harmless comedy but it’s more about how people make mistakes. It should have been called Maggie’s mistake not plan. She likes to control things but in the least imposing way. John and Georgette seemed like a good match maybe with a few issues that aren’t explored enough. The funniest scenes are when Maggie is with her friend/ex-boyfriend and his wife/Maggie’s colleague. It’s funny in a few places but ultimately it feels like the story went round the block to get next door. 3/5
Adult Life Skills
Another film I missed the cinema but lucky I watched this month. Anna (a brilliant Jodie Whittaker) is about turn 30 years old but she lives in a shed in her mum’s garden. After the death of her twin brother, Anna retreated into her imagination and refuses to move out. She lives in the middle of nowhere Yorkshire, working at an obscure activity centre and makes films with her thumbs in her shed. She is going through something painful and is haunted by the loss of her twin. But her mum still tries to get her to move on. She finds an odd connection with a seven-year-old cowboy who becomes inspired by her and eventually accepts herself and moves on. It’s brilliant. Growing up and moving on is difficult enough but add death too and seems impossible. Funny and redeeming and with added random moments just make it great.  4/5
Gun Crazy
This was originally meant to be in my Blind Spot list but it was booted off as I wasn’t going to be able to find a copy of the film to watch. Luckily 6 years after reading about it a book about film violence I read for my dissertation, the BFI came to my aid. With only a couple of screenings on, I got to see the classic film noir on the big screen. The story is about Bart (John Dall) and Laurie (Peggy Cummins) who fall in love over their obsession with guns, hit hard times and go on the run, robbing shops, banks and a factory. The whole way through it feels like one will betray the other in between their emotional scenes and carefully planned robberies. What made this film stand out were the scenes where the lovers are driving their car and the camera is placed behind them. They are really driving dangerously through cities and the dialogue seems more natural. It also ramps up the excitement of each crime. The cool down scenes aren’t filled with awkward silences but instead these really love each other and are deluded into thinking they can get away, even right up until the end. A fantastic film with even had a small role from a very young Russ Tamblyn, an extra delight. They really don’t em like they used to. 4/5
Mr Right
It looks like this film will not be getting a cinema release here. It was shown at the Edinburgh Film Festival this year but that’s about it. To be fair, it’s a fun film but it’s not amazing. I just really love Sam Rockwell and the fact that Tim Roth appears, doesn’t hurt either. Rockwell plays Francis, a notorious contract killer who has had a change of heart. He now kills the people that hire him. At the same time feeling sorry for herself sad case Martha has just been cheated on by her boyfriend and doesn’t really have much going on. By chance these two meet and its love at first sight (mostly on Francis’ side). He tells her he’s a killer and is quite open about what he does, but of course she thinks he’s joking. Meanwhile a mafia type gang is hunting Francis down as well as his old partner in disguise. But Francis wants to do is be with Martha. It’s funny and rather sweet in places but its not anything you may have seen before. What makes it delightful is Rockwell and to a lesser extent Anna Kendrick who usually irritates me. 3/5