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

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Top of the class. Performances 2015.

  1. Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years
  2. Cate Blanchett in Carol
  3. Tom Courtenay in 45 Years
  4. Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn
  5. Colin Farrell in The Lobster
  6. Beth Rowley in Diary of a Teenage Girl
  7. Alfredo Castro in From Afar
  8. Jacob Tremblay in Room
  9. Brie Larson in Room
  10. Michael Caine in Youth and Rooney Mara in Carol
Honourable mentions: Jessica Chastain in Crimson Peak, Nina Hoss in Pheonix, Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything, John Lithgow in Love is Strange, Alexander Saarsgard in Diary of a Teenage Girl, Rachel Weisz in Youth, Kirstin Wiig in Diary of a Teenage Girl

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

10 moments to cherish...cinema 2015

1. Star Wars awakens
I didn't love it as much as the majority of fans (of which I am firmly one) and audiences, but I am still very grateful that JJ Abrams created a solid seventh film that was vastly superior to the prequels and celebrated the charm of the original trilogy. It's just a shame the narrative felt too safe and stuck too close to A New Hope. (I could also have included this film for a variety of its moments including BB8's thumbs up, Rey's dream(?) sequence, C3PO interrupting a romantic moment between Leia and Han, and Adam Driver's performance).

2. Women in film 
Is it me or does it feel like a particularly exciting year for women in film? Firstly female-led films were incredibly prominent in blockbusters (The Force Awakens, Mad Max: Fury Road), indie hits (Still Alice, Carol, Room, Brooklyn, Suffragette, Girlhood, Diary of a Teenage Girl) and comedies (Spy, Trainwreck) - all of which were not driven by romantic narratives involving men. Of course there needs to be more women behind the scenes in creative roles, but this has been a solid year. Here's hoping this continues to improve over the next few years. 

3. Ireland on film
Whether it has been stories focused on Irish stories (Glassland, Song of the Sea, Brooklyn), filmed in Ireland (The Lobster, The Force Awakens) or Irish filmmakers (Room), this has been a very strong year for Ireland's presence in cinema. Throw into that Viva, shortlisted for the Foreign Language Film Oscar, and Irish movie stars doing well in a range of films (Domhnall Gleeson, Brendan Gleeson, Michael Fassbender) and it seems like Ireland has had a very strong film presence indeed in 2015.

4. Jessica Chastain in Crimson Peak
Although just missing my list of top 2015 performances, I am in complete lust over Chastain's work in Guillermo del Toro's flawed yet charming film. She creates a character who manages to make you enjoy and fear equally her camp yet terrifying behaviour. Perhaps to the detriment to the film as I wanted her to succeed (as much as I like Mia Wasowski who's perfected the odd girl lost persona displayed opposite so many of my favourite actors - Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman, Glenn Close). 

5. Julianne Moore winning an Oscar
What more do I have to say? She has deserved industry recognition for years and has been an important personality in supporting some of cinema's greatest filmmakers.

6. Romance isn't dead
After the live-action reboot/reimagining/whatever of Maleficent, I dreaded all similar endeavours by Disney. The decision, in my mind anyway, to create something that gave Sleeping Beauty more grit and resonance for a contemporary audience robbed the adaptation of the original's charm. Thankfully their next attempt was much more faithful to the naive and simple tale of the original, Cinderella deserves its place in lists of the best 2015 films (like my own in a few days). Let's hope that their future adaptations continue down this road and forego any gritty (and dare I say unnecessary) additions. 

7. Spy proving that spies don't have to be misogynistic
I have many problems with Spectre but the main one is its treatment of women. In short, I think it's unforgivable that the series continues to create female characters for ornamentation even when they're initially introduced otherwise. To everyone involved: watch Spy and sort this out. Spy not only puts a woman front and centre of its story, it's also much more entertaining, gripping and rewarding than Spectre. Paul Feig to direct the next Bond, anyone? 

8. The Brazil sequence in Jupiter Ascending
Despite popular opinion to the contrary, I am a fan of Andy and Lana Wachowski and didn't think Jupiter Ascending was as bad as everyone made out. It wasn't great but it had some very great moments, including this one inspired by (and featuring!) Terry Gilliam. A blissfully odd and entertaining 10 minutes.

9. Girls being girls
The group of four girls having a night away in a hotel room with stolen dresses and Rihanna in Girlhood. Magical.

10. Love at first sight
There have been many terrific moments representing and celebrating that moment when you meet someone who captures your imagination and excitement. My personal favourite would be Emory Cohen's in Brooklyn but throw in The Force Awakens, Sunset Song, Carol, Youth, Cinderella, The Theory of Everything, Into the Woods and The Testament of Youth.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Top of the class. Theatre 2015.

  1. Carmen Disruption (Almeida Theatre)
  2. Oresteia (Almeida Theatre)
  3. Gypsy (Chichester Theatre Festival)
  4. hang (Royal Court Theatre)
  5. People, Places and Things (National Theatre)
  6. Here We Go (National Theatre)
  7. The Lorax (Old Vic Theatre)
  8. Liberian Girl (Royal Court Theatre)
  9. The Man In the Women's Shoes (Loco and Reckless Theatre Productions Ltd.)
  10. Temple (Donmar Warehouse)
Honourable mentions: Brainstorm (Islington Community Company), High Society (Old Vic Theatre), Jane Eyre (National Theatre), The Motherfucker with the Hat (National Theatre), Tipping the Velvet (Lyric Hammersmith)

Monday, December 28, 2015

My year in film. 2015

45 Years
Beasts of No Nation
Big Hero 6
Crimson Peak
Diary of a Teenage Girl 
The Duke of Burgundy
Ex Machina
Far From the Madding Crowd
Force Majeure 
From Afar 
Inside Out
Into the Woods
Jupiter Ascending 
Jurassic World
The Lady in the Van
The Last 5 Years
A Little Chaos
The Lobster
London Road
Love is Strange
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian 
A Most Violent Year
Pitch Perfect 2
The Queen of Ireland
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Song of the Sea
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Steve Jobs
Still Alice
Suite Francaise
Sunset Song
Testament of Youth
The Theory of Everything 
While We Were Young

2015 to see: Body of Spies, The Good DinosaurMistress America, Pan, Shaun of the Sheep, Tangerine, The Tribe

Sunday, December 27, 2015

10 moments to 2015

1. Nicole Kidman returning to the stage
No explanation required I'm sure. Here's hoping she continues to work on stage and with new material that would otherwise may not find their way to a mainstream audience.

2. Live stream of The Iliad
There have been few theatre events that have captured my excitement quite like the Almeida Theatre's live stream featuring over 60 actors reading The Iliad. It was glorious and undoubtedly will lead to future inspirational uses of digital by arts organisations. Bravo...

3. Programming of the Almeida Theatre
...and that goes for the whole programming at the Almeida Theatre which continues to be the most exciting theatre in London. Under the directorship of Rupert Gould, the theatre creates work that is (mostly) sublime in its combination of ambition, resonance and theatricality. Of course there are some duds (hello Bakkhai!), but that doesn't diminish its highs.

4. Imelda Staunton as Mama Rose
I have been lucky enough to see many exceptional stage performances but nothing compares to this one. Incredible.

5. The set change in Hangman
What a moment. To say more would be to spoil it for those lucky enough to have a ticket for its West End transfer.

6. Caryl Churchill's return
Although it divided audiences, Here We Go is an enticing (and I believe, a terrific) piece by this British playwright who will have a lengthier piece at the Royal Court early next year.

7. Diana Nneka Atuona
Liberian Girl was her first play and that alone highlights Diana as one of the UK's most promising new writers.

8. Dance sequence in High Society
Staging this revival in the round at The Old Vic resulted in one of the most immersive experiences for an audience assigned to a seat. A glorious feeling that brought this slight musical to a full, rich life.

9. #wakingthefeminists
There are many arts institutions that need to review their attitudes towards diversity, and the world took note when Ireland's Abbey Theatre announced a key season of programming that did not reflect the society and subject it claims to represent.

10. Kids doing it for themselves...mostly
The National Theatre has had a solid year but it excelled when it brought Brainstorm to its Temporary Theatre, celebrating the work of young people who created something very special indeed. Theatre practitioners of all ages should watch and take note.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Top of the class. Theatre performances 2015.

  1. Imelda Staunton in Gypsy (Chichester Festival Theatre)
  2. Denise Gough in People, Places and Things (National Theatre) 
  3. Lia Williams in Oresteia (Almeida Theatre)
  4. Ralph Fiennes in Man + Superman (National Theatre)
  5. Bertie Carvel in Bakkhai (Almeida Theatre)
  6. Brian Gleeson in The Walworth Farce (Landmark Productions)
  7. Juma Sharkah in Liberian Girl (Royal Court Theatre)
  8. Sally Messham in Tipping the Velvet (Lyric Hammersmith)
  9. Kristen Sieh in RoosevElvis (Royal Court Theatre)
  10. Anna Francolini in (National Theatre)
Honourable mention: Marianne Jean Baptiste in hang (Royal Court Theatre), Simon Russell Beale in Temple (Donmar Warehouse)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

An irresistible statement.

"I just don't understand it."

Sunday, November 15, 2015

5 wishes for...the Oscar race 2015

  1. The Irish do incredibly well led by Lenny Abrahmason nominated for Director, Emma Donoghue for Adapted Screenplay and Saoirse Ronan for Actress. 
  2. Michael Caine is nominated for the best performance of his career in Youth.
  3. Alicia Vikander becomes a genuine star. She's already a wonderful actress.
  4. 45 YearsCarol and The Suffragette aren't forgotten.
  5. Quentin Tarantino is not automatically celebrated, unless he is deserving!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A quick celebration.

I missed Spy on its cinema release and have just caught up with it on DVD - and what a treat! Not only is it a terrifically entertaining film but it's a refreshing representation of women in a genre (action film) where they are historically under/misrepresented. It's especially wonderful in comparison to Spectre, a film with very poor representations of women. Can Paul Feig continue his great work? And what impact will his trailblazing have on Hollywood? He's made Melissa McCarthy an unlikely leading lady, done the unthinkable by directing a female Ghostbusters and sidelined romance in favour of friendship for his female protagonists - he's a gem in an industry crowded with filmmakers innately unaware of the gifts female-driven stories can offer audiences. Here's hoping producers, directors and writers are taking note.

Monday, October 26, 2015


One of my favourite 'series' on this blog is back. And for a very sad reason - the death of Maureen O'Hara, Ireland's first and most memorable movie star.

Being Irish and a film buff I have always had a fondness for O'Hara, who's personality was as large as her presence on screen. Although it's been on my shelf for too long, I had never watched The Quiet Man until the evening of her death. And what a glorious film it remains. It deserves its status as a classic, and we shouldn't fear an ill-judged representation of Ireland. This isn't a realistic view of Ireland, but its definitely not as poor as more recent examples (PS, I Love You and Leap Year jump to mind...). And, of course, O'Hara is enchanting. As she is in Jamaica Inn, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Miracle of 34th Street and The Parent Trap - the three films I know her best for.

It is a sad loss, but what a life and career. She'll be forever treasured on film.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

10 thoughts on...Brooklyn

I can't think of a better way to restart this blog than writing about a film with a story that is very close to my being - a story of Irish immigration and the loss of home. Or you could call it a old fashioned romance, but that's secondary to myself - an Irish immigrant with a forever changed idea of 'home' since moving to London in 2009.

1. Saoirse Ronan
It only seems fitting that we would start by celebrating the film's greatest asset. Ronan has always been a charismatic presence on screen but never has she had the opportunity to play a leading lady in this scale - a performance and character equal to Kate Winslet in Titanic and the late Maureen O'Hara in The Quiet Man (more on her very soon). It is exciting to watch a young actor explore new depths and excel. She is an incredible talent.

2. Nick Hornby's adaptation of Colm Toibin's novel
Sadly, I think Hornby's adaptation is rather too faithful to the source novel and yet focuses on the less interesting element. The film focuses on the romances and hits each of those main beats from the book but this overshadows the actual reason for her homesickness: loneliness. There is little time to settle with Eilis and her homesickness feels meaningless before she is swept off her feet. And there seems little reason why should would remain in Ireland after the excitement of Brooklyn. More than this, Hornby has made each character less complex and robbed the narrative of some bite in the process. Still, this may not seem apparent to those audiences unfamiliar with the book.

3. The boys
How could you not fall for Emory Cohen's Tony or Domhnall Gleeson's Jim? They give good performances representing two very different types of futures for Eilis.

4. Ireland on film
It is exciting (particularly after watching The Lobster a few days ago also) to see Ireland represented so beautifully on film. It's also incredibly exciting to see a genuine Irish story being told by an Irish director with Irish actors, who excel in both leading and supporting roles. And with Lenny Abrahamson doing well with the film adaptation of Emma Donoghue's Room, Irish talent is doing very well in film indeed...

5. Father Flood
...which makes me more frustrated by the casting of Jim Broadbent (an actor I do love) in the role of Father Flood. I know he is an Oscar winner but there are many great and celebrated Irish actors that could have done wonders with this role. Ciaran Hinds, Brendan Gleeson or Stephen Rea to name just three!

6. Audience appeal
Will this film attract an audience? It feels too old fashioned and melodramatic for a mainstream audience, which is exactly what the marketing campaigns seems to be hoping for. I hope this doesn't result hurting the reputation of the film, which deserves to have a special place in the hearts of certain type of audience.

7. Oscar appeal (a running thought for most films over the next few months)
Could this go down well with Oscars? I think they'll be too busy with more 'serious' fare to give this film too much attention other than an Actress and Adapted Screenplay nomination but perhaps I'm wrong? There are 5-10 Best Picture slots after all, perhaps it'll repeat An Education's trio of nominations?

8. Will there be more Colm Toibin on screen?
I hope that the film's success will result in at least one more screen adaptation of Toibin's work. Nora Webster is a terrific novel, with a plumb part for an older Irish actress, which could be adapted wonderfully for television. I hope there's some inspired producer out there with the same thought...

9. Homesickness
Is a terrible thing. It may not be given the most compelling or engaging portrayal here, but it is certainly a heartbreaking thing. I am glad that I don't suffer it too much any more, but like Eilis this is to do with meeting someone who has swept me off my feet. Is it safe to balance your happiness of such a relationship?

10. Melodramas
More please. I can't get enough of this type of sweeping, emotional filmmaking with women at the fore - Titanic, Australia, Far From Heaven, Testament of Youth...these films may vary in quality but they all have a very special place for me due to their sensibilities.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The return.

Life sometimes gets in the way.

That's my excuse for the months of silence on this blog (for the very few of you that may have been reading). And for those of us in love with film, it's one that we see much of in our the lives of our favourite characters. Now I'm returning, with a backlog of films that I have loved over the last few months (A Dairy of a Teenage Girl, Brooklyn, Glassland and Girlhood to name just four) and some significant personal changes that I would have thoroughly enjoyed communicating through film. Most of this I will share for anyone who may care but most of all for me. It became clear how much joy I got sharing my (significant or insignificant) thoughts and feelings of/about film.

So hello again folks!

Sunday, March 01, 2015

10 thoughts on...87th Academy Awards

(Firstly apologies for the delay. I blame life, work and a boy)
  1. Julianne Moore has an Oscar.
  2. Although I would have given the top awards (Picture, Director and Original Screenplay) to Boyhood, I can't be too unhappy with Birdman's wins. It is a great film and an exceptional choice by Oscar...
  3. ...thankfully they didn't go with the more usual Oscar fare in contention, The Theory of Everything.
  4. Julianne Moore.
  5. I'm glad I didn't stay up and watched it this year, there was a lot of cringe.
  6. Lady Gaga should do a medley of great film musicals every year. That performance may be my all time favourite at the Oscars.
  7. When will Amy Adams have an Oscar?
  8. How did Michael Keaton lose to Eddie Redmayne if the Academy liked Birdman enough to give it the top three prizes?
  9. What will Patricia Arquette do next?
  10. Bring on next year.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

5 wishes for...87th Academy Awards

  1. Nothing prevents Julianne Moore (finally!) winning Best Actress.
  2. There is more entertainment, of a more sophisticated kind than Ellen's style last year.
  3. Boyhood wins Best Picture and Best Director.
  4. Song of the Sea wins Best Animated Film.
  5. It's entertaining. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

And the winners are...87th Academy Awards

Best Picture
Win: Birdman
Upset: Boyhood
Wish: Boyhood

Best Director
Win: Alejandro G. Inarritu for Birdman
Upset: Richard Linklater for Boyhood
Wish: Richard Linklater

Best Actor
Win: Michael Keaton in Birdman
Upset: Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything
Wish: Michael Keaton

Best Actress
Win: Julianne Moore in Still Alice
Upset: None
Wish: Julianne Moore

Best Supporting Actor
Win: J.K. Simmons in Whiplash
Upset: None
Wish: Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher

Best Supporting Actress
Win: Patricia Arquette in Boyhood
Upset: None
Wish: Patricia Arquette

Best Animated Feature Film
Win: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Upset: Big Hero 6
Wish: Song of the Sea

Best Original Screenplay
Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Upset: Birdman or Boyhood
Wish: Boyhood

Best Adapted Screenplay
Win: The Imitation Game
Upset: Whiplash
Wish: Inherent Vice

Best Foreign Language Film
Win: Ida
Upset: Leviathan

Best Documentary Feature
Win: CitizenFour
Upset: Last Days in Vietnam

Best Editing
Win: Whiplash
Upset: Boyhood
Wish: Whiplash

Best Cinematography
Win: Birdman
Upset: Ida
Wish: Mr. Turner

Best Original Score
Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Upset: The Imitation Game
Wish: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Original Song
Win: Selma
Upset: Begin Again
Wish: The LEGO Movie

Best Costume Design
Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Upset: Mr. Turner
Wish: The Grand Budapest Hotel or Inherent Vice

Best Production Design
Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Upset: Mr. Turner
Wish: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Upset: Foxcatcher
Wish: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Sound Editing
Win: Birdman
Upset: Interstellar
Wish: Interstellar

Best Sound Mixing
Win: Whiplash
Upset: Birdman
Wish: Interstellar

Best Visual Effects
Win: Interstellar
Upset: Guardians of the Galaxy
Wish: Interstellar

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Monday, February 09, 2015

10 thoughts on...Oscar season 2015

  1. How good is it that the Julianne Moore celebration has become a reality?!
  2. If I was responsible for selecting the winners this would have been a season focused on Boyhood but it is refreshing that we have a race for Best Picture that feels wide open. Or at least less predictable than usual...I still think (and hope) Boyhood will take the top prize but wouldn't be surprised if Birdman was to beat it. Or if The Grand Budapest Hotel swept the board.
  3. It's a shame Ralph Fiennes wasn't nominated for Best Actor.
  4. I have shamefully not watched much of the awards ceremonies themselves.
  5. It can't be possible that Eddie Redmayne will win Best Actor, right?!
  6. When will Amy Poehler and Tina Fey be invited to host the Oscars?
  7. It's too much to wish that Dick Pope wins Best Cinematography for Mr. Turner?
  8. I now like Felicity Jones.
  9. 2014 wasn't a great year for film. And the award season seemed to ignore some of the better ones (Nightcrawler, Under the Skin). Boo.
  10. I am less excited than usual. Hence a decrease in the amount of blog posts. Sorry.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Friday, January 30, 2015

Monday, January 26, 2015

An irresistible question.

"Wouldn't it be wondrous if perfectly commonplace people gave each other a round of applause at the end of the day?"

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Saturday, January 24, 2015

10 thoughts on...Testament of Youth

  1. It is incredibly refreshing (and oh so rare) that a film as great as this will appear so unexpectedly...
  2. ...which is an unfortunate scenario for the film which was rushed into British cinemas before a proper route through festivals and finding an international distributor. This film deserves better and I hope word of mouth and a US release will give it the audience it deserves.
  3. This is better than all of the Oscar nominated films on UK release right now. 
  4. James Kent (who also directed the wonderful Margaret for BBC TV) is a director with a very exciting future. 
  5. As do the majority of this cast. Particularly the always outstanding Alicia Vikander and the charming Taron Egerton. 
  6. War is terrible.
  7. Every element of this film is incredibly delicate yet powerful. The cinematography, the performances, the music...swoon.
  8. I can't wait to watch this again.
  9. There are many handsome men to lust over.
  10. Will this film find the audience it deserves with a wider release elsewhere and, no doubt, discovery on British television?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sunday, January 18, 2015

10 thoughts on...Foxcatcher

  1. A solid, masterfully directed film that is serviceable. Where are the great films?
  2. I like the decision to forgo much straightforward exposition so that the relationships between the three man characters evolve in a more gentle manner. A compelling approach.
  3. This is a rather cold film. Similar to Bennett Miller's previous work. Perhaps he should follow in the footsteps of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and direct a comedy next...
  4. What is Sienna Miller doing in that thankless role as 'wife'?
  5. Otherwise the cast is terrific, particularly Mark Ruffallo.
  6. I agree with Vanessa Redgrave, wrestling is a low sport.
  7. Horse are beautiful to watch. Is it time we had another horse centered film released?
  8. I am enjoying watching the careers of Channing Tatum, Steve Carrell and Mark Ruffalo. They're very interesting actors and movie stars.
  9. Cool Runnings may be my favourite sports film.
  10. It's a shame that this dark, mature film has been released in the midst of award season movies. It deserves a less packed period to attract a wider audience.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Top of the class. Performances in Moonrise Kingdom.

10. Bob Balaban

9. Larry Pine

8. Kara Hayward

7. Jared Gilman

6. Tilda Swinton

5. Jason Schwartzman

4. Bruce Willis

3. Edward Norton

2. Frances McDormand

1. Bill Murray

Saturday, January 17, 2015

How do you describe a feeling?

"Double shit!"

Saturday, January 17, 2015

10 thoughts on...The Theory of Everything

  1. This suffers the same fate of too many biopics and suffers from an unfocused narrative that is more interested in detail than cinematic storytelling...
  2. ...yet it has much more heart than many of the other examples I can think of. And it's impossible not to be charmed, even if the mechanics behind the sentimentality are rather too visible.
  3. I like fireworks on film.
  4. Felicity Jones delivers an impressive performance despite a poorly written character. The scene where she presents the newly mute Stephen Hawking with a 'letter board' is an example of great acting. I may now be a fan.
  5. Charlie Cox is very handsome.
  6. I would like to see another version of this film where they focused on the experience of Jane. That is where the interesting element to the 'personal' story exists.
  7. Emily Watson deserves better parts.
  8. Outside of Jones' performance this never feels authentic.
  9. What is the point of this film? There are many references to religion versus science, to commitment, to love, to work and (rather oddly once at the end) family but the film never settles to explore any in great detail. It's a bit of a mess.
  10. This is most definitely an Oscar bait film, but not the worst I've seen.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Thursday, January 15, 2015

10 thoughts on...87th Academy Award nominations

  1. I really underestimated the popularity of American Sniper. How does Clint Eastwood do it?
  2. I was very excited to see Alfonso Cuaron and J. J. Abrams announcing the awards and hearing all of the nominees. All categories are important.
  3. I am sad for Nightcrawler, but am (somewhat) consoled that it exceeded expectation by being so prominent during the awards season.
  4. Marion Cotillard being nominated for Two Days, One Night is joyous.
  5. Gone Girl deserved a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay at least.
  6. It seems that the main categories are already sewn up with Boyhood, Richard Linklater, Eddie Redmayne, Julianne Moore, J. K. Simmons and Patricia Arquette winning. Right?
  7. What happened to The LEGO Movie?...
  8. ...But Tom Moore surprises again with Song of the Sea. Hoorah!
  9. That Best Song category looks rather strong. Will Keira Knightley be singing on Oscar night?
  10. I'm not sure how I feel overall.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

10 thoughts on...Whiplash

  1. This is an incredibly well polished film, but one without heart. Rotten or otherwise. Why should we be interested in this story?
  2. I will be sad to see JK Simmons continue his award sweep for this role. I'm a big fan of his work (particularly in Juno) but it feels more like a showcase than an actor. 
  3. Austin Stowell is very attractive. 
  4. There are plenty of incredible films about ambition and selfish sacrifice. I think people should rewatch one of those instead.
  5. Are the actions of these characters supposed to be believable?
  6. Miles Teller is so good in Rabbit Hole.
  7. I wish homophobia was something of the past. 
  8. Where are the women?
  9. I'm going to have heated conversations about this film in future.
  10. If there's one film I wouldn't recommend to people this award season then this is it!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

6 wishes for...87th Academy Award nominations

  1. Nightcrawler continues its surprisingly successful awards season with nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Screenplay. 
  2. Ralph Fiennes is nominated for Best Actor. (He is just so good in The Grand Budapest Hotel!)
  3. That people don't turn on Amy Adams if she is nominated for Best Actress.
  4. Whiplash is snubbed. Even for Best Supporting Actor.
  5. Song of the Sea is nominated for Best Animated Feature.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

And the nominees are...87th Academy Awards

Best Picture
Gone Girl
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything
Upset: Into the Woods, Whiplash

Best Director
Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ava DuVernay for Selma
David Fincher for Gone Girl
Alejandro Gonzalex Inarritu for Birdman
Richard Linklater for Boyhood
Upset: Dan Gilroy for Nightcrawler, James Marsh for The Theory of Everything, Morten Tyldum for The Imitation Game

Best Actor
Ralph Fiennes for The Grand Budapest Hotel
Jake Gyllenhaal for Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton for Birdman
David Oyelowo for Selma
Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything
Upset: Steve Carell for Foxcatcher, Benedict Cumberbatch for The Imitation Game

Best Actress
Jennifer Aniston for Cake
Felicity Jones for The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore for Still Alice
Rosamond Pike for Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon for Wild
Upset: Amy Adams for Big Eyes

Best Supporting Actor
Ethan Hawke for Boyhood
Ed Norton for Birdman
Mark Ruffalo for Foxcatcher
JK Simmons for Whiplash 
Tom Wilkinson for Selma
Upset: Josh Brolin for Inherent Vice, Robert Duvall for The Judge

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette for Boyhood
Jessica Chastain for A Most Violent Year
Keira Knightley for The Imitation Game
Rene Russo for Nightcrawler
Emma Stone for Birdman
Upset: Laura Dern for Wild, Meryl Streep for Into the Woods

Best Original Screenplay
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Upset: Foxcatcher, Ida

Best Adapted Screenplay
American Sniper
Gone Girl
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything
Upset: Wild

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

10 thoughts on...Into the Woods

  1. I am so very relieved that Rob Marshall has decided to embrace the notion that character in film can simply burst into song...
  2. ...and that he seems to understand that a film should can be cinematic. Even if some of the camerawork was distracting (particularly during the 'It Takes Two' number).
  3. I'm not sure why but I would have liked to see David Cronenberg's version of this film instead.
  4. Is this the best vocal cast of all modern movie musicals?
  5. Am I alone in thinking Meryl Streep is rather weak as The Witch?
  6. This could have been much darker. How exciting would that have been? (And how frightening for the largely child audience that somehow found their way into the screening I attended?)
  7. Emily Blunt is the stand out here, her performance a perfect combination of wishful yet neurotic. She deserves a bigger career.
  8. It's a shame the third act doesn't quite work on film. There are many earlier moments when the film soars.
  9. What musical will Marshall approach next?
  10. I still think Merrily We Roll Along would make a fantastic film. But not by Marshall.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

5 wishes for...BAFTA nominations 2015

  1. That they're not afraid to break away from the Oscar frontrunners. Or support films that may not be the Oscar frontrunner but deserve to be (Selma?).
  2. Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton are nominated for Pride.
  3. Under the Skin does well. Would it be too much to hope for Director and Actress nominations?
  4. Ralph Fiennes is nominated for The Grand Budapest Hotel.
  5. Excitement.