Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

And the winners are...88th Academy Awards



Picture
Win: The Big Short
Upset: The Revenant
Wish: Brooklyn

Director
Win: George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road
Upset: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for The Revenant
Wish: Lenny Abrahamson for Room

Actor
Win: Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant
Upset: None
Wish: Matt Damon for The Martian

Actress
Win: Brie Larson for Room
Upset: Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn
Wish: Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn

Supporting Actor
Win: Sylvester Stallone for Creed
Upset: Mark Rylance for Bridge of Spies
Wish: Mark Ruffallo for Spotlight

Supporting Actress
Win: Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl
Upset: Kate Winslet for Steve Jobs
Wish: Rooney Mara for Carol

Adapted Screenplay
Win: The Big Short
Upset: The Martian
Wish: Brooklyn

Original Screenplay
Win: Spotlight
Upset: Inside Out
Wish: Inside Out

Cinematography
Win: The Revenant
Upset: Mad Max: Fury Road
Wish: Carol

Film Editing
Win: The Big Short
Upset: The Revenant
Wish: Mad Max: Fury Road

Visual Effects
Win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Upset: The Martian
Wish: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Production Design
Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Upset: The Revenant
Wish: Mad Max: Fury Road

Costume Design
Win: Carol
Upset: Mad Max: Fury Road
Wish: Carol AND Cinderella

Makeup and Hairstyling
Win: The Revenant
Upset: Mad Max: Fury Road
Wish: Mad Max: Fury Road

Original Score
Win: The Hateful Eight
Upset: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Wish: Carol

Original Song
Win: Youth
Upset: The Hunting Ground
Wish: Youth

Sound Editing
Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Upset: The Revenant
Wish: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Sound Mixing
Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Upset: The Revenant
Wish: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Animated film
Win: Inside Out
Upset: Anomalisa
Wish: no comment

Documentary
Win: Amy
Upset: Look of Silence
Wish: no comment 

Foreign Language
How any film but Song of Saul could win this is unimaginable. For so many reasons. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Top of the class. Romantic films for Valentine's Day

I am not one to celebrate this holiday, but I am very much someone who shouts about the joy of love - experiencing it, watching it and in both getting consumed by its giddiness. Below are ten films that never fail to sweep me off my feet. And yes, I've somewhat cheated with number 2 but who can deny Baz Luhrmann heady heights for romance?

10. Cinderella

9. The Sound of Music

8. The Quiet Man

7. Beauty and the Beast

6. Before Sunrise 

5. The Apartment 

4. Edward Scissorhands

3. True Romance 

2. Australia, Moulin Rouge!, Romeo + Juliet, Strictly Ballroom

1. Much Ado About Nothing 

Honorable mentions: All That Heaven Allows, CarolThe English Patient, Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Philadelphia Story, A Room with a View, Sense and SensibilityShakespeare in Love, Sleepless in SeattleWeekend

Friday, February 12, 2016

An image to treasure.

I'll be the first to put my hand up and say that Freeheld isn't a great film, but it is certainly one that packs an emotional punch. In cinematic terms there is one huge reason to celebrate this film, and one that I found as significant as the real life (and important) story being told - Ellen Page. Now I don't think all homosexual characters should be played by openly homosexual actors but how refreshing is it to watch a young, successful and openly gay film star has played a young, openly and contented gay character? It was incredibly moving to watch her to perform and feel that American cinema is changing... Perhaps it isn't indicative of a change (especially as the film hasn't performed or been received particularly well, and the superior female relationship film Carol found itself snubbed by major award bodies) but we can still hope. And no doubt Ellen Page has a great career ahead of her, playing all sorts of characters.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

How do you describe a feeling?

The loss of a loved one is a large-scale tragedy that feels impossible to share with those outside your immediate circle. It's one of the most testing aspects of life. Especially when it leads to loneliness.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

And the nominees are...88th Academy Awards

As everyone who enthusiastically engages with the Oscar race will say - it's been a very odd year. I'm not sure I have an opinion on why it's particularly odd, perhaps there simply isn't a film for anyone to rally behind properly? The Revenant with its indie roots becoming a box-office hit led by a Hollywood treasure is the closest we have right now, and that indeed may made it the frontrunner. Sadly the oddness hasn't encouraged award bodies to stray from their usual fare starring white male leads doing one thing or another. And I think we will see many of those films being celebrated tomorrow - but hopefully with some female led films that seemed possible frontrunners (for a nomination at least) at some point: Brooklyn, Carol and Room. My nominations may be quite optimistic (see: the exclusion of Trumbo) but who knows what new surprises are ahead...

Best Picture
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Brooklyn
Carol
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Room
Spotlight
Straight Outta Compton
Upset: Creed
Refusing to acknowledge: Trumbo

Best Director
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for The Revenant
Thomas McCarthy for Spotlight
Adam McKay for The Big Short
George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road
Ridley Scott for The Martian
Can't believe he won't be nominated but hope he is: Todd Haynes for Carol
Upset: Lazslo Nemes for Son of Saul, Steven Spielberg for Bridges of Spies 
Wishful addition: Lenny Abrahamson for Room

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett for Carol
Brie Larson for Room
Charlotte Rampling for 45 Years
Soairse Ronan for Brooklyn
Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl
Upset: Jennifer Lawrence for Joy

Best Actor
Matt Damon for The Martin
Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant 
Michael Fassbender for Steve Jobs
Michael B Jordan for Creed
Eddie Redmayne for The Danish Girl
Upset: Johnny Depp for Blackmass
Wishful addition: Michael Caine for Youth, Tom Courtenay for 45 Years
Refusing to acknowledge: Bryan Cranston in Trumbo

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Jason Leigh for Hateful Eight
Rachel McAdams for Spotlight
Rooney Mara for Carol
Alicia Vikander for Ex-Machina
Kate Winslet for Steve Jobs
Upset: Joan Allen for Room, Jane Fonda for Youth
Wishful addition: Julie Walters for Brooklyn
Refusing to acknowledge: Helen Mirren for Trumbo

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale for The Big Short
Mark Ruffalo for Spotlight
Mark Rylance for Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stalone for Creed
Jacob Tremblay for Room
Upset: Paul Dano for Love and Mercy, Idris Elba for Beasts of No Nation, Tom Hardy for The Revenant, Michael Shannon for 99 Homes

Original Screenplay
Bridge of Spies
Hateful Eight
Ex Machina
Son of Saul
Spotlight
Upset: Inside Out

Adapted Screenplay
The Big Short
Brooklyn
Carol
The Martin
Room
Upset: Steve Jobs
Wishful addition: 45 Years

Cinematography
Carol
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martin
The Revenant
Sicario
Upset: Bridge of Spies
Wishful addition: Room

Costume

Brooklyn
Carol
Cinderella
The Danish Girl
The Revenant
Wishful addition: Far From the Madding Crowd
Refusing to acknowledge: Trumbo

Production Design
Carol
Cinderella
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Upset: Bridges of SpiesRoom
Wishful addition:: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Editing

The Big Short
Carol
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Spotlight
Upset: The Martian

Visual Effects
Ex-Machina
Jurassic World
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Upset: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Make-Up and Hair
Mr. Holmes
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Upset: Blackmass

Original Score
Carol
Hateful Eight
The Danish Girl
Inside Out
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Upset: Bridges of Spies
Wishful addition: Cinderella

Original Song
50 Shades of Grey
Furious 7
Pitch Perfect 2
Southpaw
Youth

Original Score
Carol
Hateful Eight
The Danish Girl
Inside Out
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Upset: Bridges of Spies
Wishful addition:: Cinderella

Sound Editing
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Sound Mixing
Inside Out
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Sunday, January 10, 2016

10 thoughts on The Hateful Eight

1. This is not Django Unchained 
My experience of watching Django Unchained was hellish. I found it disturbed in its depiction of history and was unable to take joy in Quentin Tarantino's usually romp. Perhaps I should revisit it as these feelings were non-existent whilst watching Inglorious Basterds, instead I'd cite that as one of my favourite of Tarantino's films - but for now I am simply relieved that the majority of The Hateful Eight did not cause me discomfort, unless it was intended. Other than...

2. That rape scene
Whatever Tarantino was exploring with the well-crafted sequence with Samuel L Jackson, I fear that he was not thinking about a gay audience. A charismatic performance from Jackson will hopefully provoke the audience to reflect on the meaning of the oral sex his forces a white male to perform rather than causing seeds of homophobia to grow. If I was to make a generalisation about the audience for a Western by Tarantino, then I think this is a dangerous depiction to be sharing. Perhaps I should give Tarantino more credit but for now this sequence will makes me uneasy.

3. Ennio Morricone and the music
What a joy to have him score this film and Tarantino shows more restrain than usual in his sparse but effective use of music throughout.

4. Snow is beautiful
I've yet to immerse myself into The Revenant but watching the grand, beautifully shot scenes full of snow has geared me up for more.

5. Samuel L Jackson
This man is a treasure to cinema, particularly when he's required to stretch his acting muscles as Tarantino always does (well maybe less so in Kill Bill). I wish other filmmakers would take note and give him more opportunities to showcase his talent.

6. I do love a 'Who Done It?'
This and the BBC's recent adaptation of And Then There Were None has ignited my interested in this type of narrative. There's been plenty of great films already (Gosford Park being the first one to spring to mind!) but here's hoping there's some more, especially from new voices like Tarantino.

7. Non-actors shouldn't be given parts
Tarantino is terrible for this but Zoe Bell and himself shouldn't appear in his (or anyone's) movies. Is that unfair to ask?

8. Christoph Waltz and Tim Roth
Was it just me or did it seem that Tim Roth had been cast in a role that may have been intended for Christoph Waltz? I like Roth (he's terrific in Reservoir Dogs) but he does not have the charisma to equal Waltz, and his character felt a bit flat...

9. Where are the great characters?
...which could be applied to every character minus Jackson here. As much as I didn't like Django Unchained, it still had a handful of great characters to join the spectacular array Tarantino has written and directed on screen.

10. What will Tarantino do next?
I'll definitely be watching.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Would I get married again?

"No, I want to be standing outside the bathroom of my boarding house forever. Of course I do. That's why I go to that wretched dance very week. I want to be waiting outside my own bathroom while some bad tempered fellow, with hair growing out of his ears, reads the newspaper as he sits on the toilet. And I'll wish I was back here, talking to you."

Thursday, January 07, 2016

And the winners are...Golden Globes 2016

Film - Drama
Win: Spotlight
Upset: Carol
Wish: Carol or Room

Film - Musical or Comedy
Win: The Big Short
Upset: The Martian
Wish:  The Martian

Actor - Drama
Win: Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant
Upset: None 

Actor - Musical or Comedy
Win: Matt Damon for The Martian
Upset: None
Wish: Matt Damon

Actress - Drama
Win: Brie Larson for Room
Upset: Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn
Wish: Saoirse Ronan

Actress - Comedy or Musical
Win: Jennifer Lawrence for Joy
Upset: Lily Tomlin for Grandma
Wish: Lily Tomlin

Supporting Actor
Win: Sylvester Stallone for Creed
Upset: Mark Rylance for Bridge of Spies

Supporting Actress
Win: Alicia Vikander for Ex Machina
Upset: Jennifer Jason Leigh for The Hateful Eight
Wish: Alicia Vikander

Director
Win: Georga Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road
Upset: Todd Haynes for Carol
Wish: Todd Haynes

Screenplay
Win: Spotlight
Upset: The Big Short
Wish: Room

Original Score
Win: Carol
Upset: The Revenant
Wish: Carol

Original Song
Win: 50 Shades of Grey
Upset: Youth
Wish: Youth

Animated Feature Film
Win: Inside Out
Upset: Anomalisa

Foreign Language Film
Win: Son of Saul
Upset: None

Saturday, January 02, 2016

If only...

...someone else had directed The Danish Girl.
To mark a new year, here is a new strand of post that will allow myself to dream of what could have been. Perhaps a bit negative for 2 January? Anyway...it is always disappointing to watch a film that does not seem to have a connection to its director. Tom Hooper is an accomplished and obviously capable director but there is little evidence in his new film that he was interested in the film's themes of gender and sexuality. Instead he seems to force its characters to conform into gendered roles that does not reflect the reality of their situation. Gerda (passionately portrayed by Alicia Vikander) is the committed, doting wife who supports her husband despite his selfish and harmful actions. It follows the status quo of countless films where women stand by their men. This project would be an exciting opportunity to explore society's attitude towards gender and sexuality, instead it dodges the more interesting aspects of the real relationship between the two in favour of a conservative narrative. Imagine if someone like Todd Haynes or Pedro Almodovar had directed this? (Or Marielle Heller!) Now that could have been a wonderful film...instead we have a film with some fine performances hiding a dangerously conservative adaptation of a very complicated relationship.

Friday, January 01, 2016

Top of the class. Most anticipated films of 2016.


  1. Anomalisa
  2. Hail, Caesar!
  3. The Light Between Oceans
  4. La La Land
  5. It's Only the End of the World
  6. Son of Saul
  7. Julieta
  8. Nocturnal Animals
  9. The BFG
  10. Ghostbusters

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top of the class. Film 2015.


  1. 45 Years
  2. Diary of a Teenage Girl
  3. Carol
  4. Girlhood
  5. Cinderella
  6. London Road
  7. From Afar
  8. Brooklyn
  9. Room
  10. Glassland
Honourable mention: The Force Awakens, Mad Max: Fury RoadThe MartianPhoenix

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Top of the class. Directors 2015.


  1. Andrew Haigh for 45 Years
  2. Todd Haynes for Carol
  3. Lenny Abrahamson for Room
  4. Celine Sciamma for Girlhood
  5. Marielle Heller for Diary of a Teenage Girl
  6. Lorenzo Vigas for From Afar
  7. Terrence Davies for Sunset Song
  8. George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road
  9. Rufus Norris for London Road
  10. Gerard Barrett for Glassland
Honourable mentions: Kenneth Branagh for Cinderella, Ruben Ostlund for Force Majeure, Ira Sachs for Love is Strange