Saturday, December 31, 2016



Saturday, December 31, 2016

10 moments to cherish...2016

  1. La La Land. The music; the dancing in the stars; Emma Stone changing her shoes before a big tap number; Ryan Gosling's eyes at the end of the film; the opening number; that epilogue; the auditions; Ryan Gosling beeping his horn; Emma Stone's one woman show; their voices; that sunset; but above all that feeling of pure joy and escapism that the world needs right now. One of cinema's great films.
  2. Drive It Like You Stole It. And the rest of the joyous Sing Street.
  3. László Nemes bringing the horror of the holocaust to horrific life with Son of Saul. 
  4. Robbie Ryan's camerawork in American Honey and I, Daniel Blake. Two very different films that he helps bring to life immeasurably.
  5. The third act of Moonlight.
  6. Celebrated actors pushing themselves. Amy Adams' delivering two great (and very different) performances for two of the exciting directors with Arrival and Nocturnal Animals; Ralph Fiennes proving The Grand Budapest Hotel wasn't a fluke with Hail, Caesar and A Bigger Splash; Mathias Sconehearts' silent observations in Disorder and A Bigger Splash; Ryan Gosling as America's most entertaining and charming leading male with The Nice Guys and La La Land; and Kate Beckinsale reminding everyone she has genuine talent in Love & Friendship. 
  7. I, Daniel Blake suggesting that cinema can be a voice for the unheard and have political agency. Hopefully.
  8. Michael Giacchino's score for Rogue One. Who thought John Williams' score could be equaled in the Star Wars universe?
  9. Visiting Pathé Tuschinski in Amsterdam, Kinemathek in Berlin and Eltz Castle in Germany (a real-life Disney castle). 
  10. Watching Julianne Moore (for Freeheld) and Nicole Kidman (for Lion) in conversation, in the flesh. Being in the same room as Cate Blanchett, Ben Whishaw, Lindasy Duncan and Maggie Smith. Interviewing Ralph Fiennes, Jane Horrocks and Glenda Jackson.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Top of the class. Film 2016.

  1. La La Land
  2. Son of Saul
  3. Arrival
  4. Nocturnal Animals
  5. Moonlight
  6. Everybody Wants Some!!
  7. Little Men
  8. The Neon Demon
  9. The Nice Guys
  10. Sing Street
Honourable mentions: I, Daniel Blake, Rogue OneVictoria, Zootropia 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Top of the class. Performances 2016.

  1. Géza Röhrig in Son of Saul
  2. Amy Adams in Arrival
  3. Ralph Fiennes in A Bigger Splash
  4. André Holland in Moonlight
  5. Trevante Rhodes in Moonlight
  6. Emma Stone in La La Land 
  7. Sasha Lane in American Honey
  8. Ryan Gosling in The Nice Guys
  9. Kate Beckinsale in Love and Friendship
  10. Elle Fanning in The Neon Demon
Honourable mentions: Laia Costa in Victoria, Isabelle Huppert in Things to ComeJake Gyllenhaal in Nocturnal Animals, Ashton Sanders in Moonlight, Meryl Streep in Florence Foster Jenkins

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Top of the class. Directors 2016.

  1. Damien Chazelle for La La Land
  2. László Nemes for Son of Saul
  3. Barry Jenkins for Moonlight
  4. Tom Ford for Nocturnal Animals
  5. Denis Villeneuve for Arrival
  6. Ira Sachs for Little Men
  7. Nicolas Winding Refn for The Neon Demon
  8. Ken Loach for I, Daniel Blake 
  9. Richard Linklater for Everybody Wants Some!!
  10. Sebastian Schipper for Victoria 
Honourable mentions: Andrea Arnold for American Honey, Shane Black for The Nice GuysAlejandro González Iñárritu for The Revenant, Charlie Kaufman for Anomolisa

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

10 thoughts on Rogue One.

1. I'm never going to call it 'a Star Wars story'
Awful subtitle. 

2. What a refreshingly diverse cast
It's a joy to see tentpole film's like this lead the way for mainstream casting. I would suggest that the gender, sexuality or race of the main protagonists is irrelevant and thankfully that didn't result in a white and male ensemble. Instead it is truly mixed. Well other than...

3. Why are there so few women outside of Felicity Jones?
It seems odd that she is alone, especially in the scene where *spoiler* some rogue rebels support her. I also wasn't too impressed when Diego Luna returns to save her at the end. It's terrific to see a strong female character leading the film, but she could definitely have had female company and saved her own life.

4. How can you replace John William's score!?
With Michael Giacchino's truly great music. It respects the melodramatic style of the original music but, dare I say, gives it a more nuanced presence at perfect moments. *Spoiler* I will forever treasure the moment when the imperial starships shall through the defence field in the final battle. A perfect combination of visual, music and story. 

5. The cameos
There were so many small cameos from actors from the stage (Danny Mayes) and screen (Geraldine James). Always a joy with Star Wars.

6. This is Star Wars 
But bolder. And more thrilling to watch. I was never keen on the idea of spin offs but I am now converted and hope that Disney ensure they all meet the heights of their first attempt.

7. CGI resurrections 
I'm not sure how I feel about this, especially for the deceased actor who makes a return. Ultimately I could not stop myself from turning into a giddy child when he arrived on screen, but afterwards felt uncomfortable. And a little bit unconvinced that the technology is there to truly make that work...yet.

8. Droids are the best
It's no secret that my favourite characters in the Star Wars universe are C3PO and R2D2 (and I'm a big fan of BB8), so it shouldn't surprise anyone that K2SO is probably my favourite new character. Another camp yet much edgier version of his fellow droids. 

9. There's not just good or bad guys
I think this is almost the most striking element of this film. Diego Luna, in particular, kills an innocent person and thoughtlessly follows the commands of the rebel alliance who we themselves acting in a questionable way. This doesn't have the moral clarity of the other films, and it's all the better for that.

10. Overall how does it compare to the other seven films?
This is something I will think about further but I think it matches the highs of the other films (the final battle sequence, the humour between characters, the romantic moments, the final sequence with Darth Vader) yet has too many flaws (the first 40 minutes, the lack of characterisations) to be a truly great film, which I think the original trilogy are. Still, a worthy and exciting entry to the series.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Monday, December 12, 2016

5 wishes for...Oscars 2017 post-Golden Globe nominations

  1. La La Land and Moonlight don't suffer from audience backlash, as many great movies have done when succeeding in the race to Oscar. Both are terrific movies and will be remembered, regardless who top prize.
  2. Nocturnal Animals finds itself with some nominations.
  3. Amy Adams somehow finds herself in the Best Actress list. It does seem tough as she's in a sci-fi film that'll unlikely be nominated for Best Picture.
  4. Mel Gibson does not have his comeback.
  5. Isabelle Huppert continues to win for Elle...

Monday, December 12, 2016

How do you describe a feeling?


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Top of the class. Theatre 2016

  1. Amadeus (National Theatre)
  2. Love (National Theatre)
  3. Groundhog Day (The Old Vic)
  4. Cleansed (National Theatre)
  5. Ophelia Zimmer (Royal Court)
  6. The Deep Blue Sea (National Theatre)
  7. Faith Healer (Donmar Warehouse)
  8. Jekyll & Hyde (The Old Vic)
  9. The Flick (National Theatre)
  10. Joint: Boy (Almeida Theatre) and Oil (Almeida Theatre)

Friday, December 09, 2016

An image to treasure.

Two regular guys (in looks and lifestyle) with a complicated hang out post-sex. A refreshing change in an industry that perpetuates perfection, especially in young gay men. For this and much more, The Other People marks Chris Kelly as a filmmaker to get excited about.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Top of the class. Theatre performances 2016

  1. Glenda Jackson in King Lear (The Old Vic)
  2. Billie Piper in Yerma (Young Vic)
  3. Andy Karl in Groundhog Day (The Old Vic)
  4. Stephen Dillane in Faith Healer (Donmar Warehouse)
  5. Helen McCrory in The Deep Blue Sea (National Theatre)
  6. Pheobe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag (Soho Theatre)
  7. Adam Gillen in Amadeus (National Theatre)
  8. Sophie Melville in Iphigenia in Splott (National Theatre)
  9. Ron Cook in Faith Healer (Donmar Warehouse)
  10. Lisa Dwan in No's Knife (The Old Vic)

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Having a party x4


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Sunday, November 27, 2016

And the nominees are...Oscar nominations 2017

Before the precursors start with full force over the next week or so, I wanted to do my best at predicting the eventual nominees for Oscar 2017.

Best Picture
20th Century Women
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Manchester by Sea

Damien Chazzelle for La La Land
Garth Davis for Lion
Barry Jenkins for Moonlight
Pablo Larrain for Jackie
Martin Scorsese for Silence

Amy Adams for Arrival
Annette Bening for 20th Century Women
Ruth Negga for Loving
Natalie Portman for Jackie
Emma Stone for La La Land

Casey Affleck for Manchester by Sea
Andrew Garfield for Silence
Ryan Gosling for La La Land
Tom Hanks for Sully
Denzel Washington for Fences

Supporting Actress
Viola Davis for Fences
Naomi Harris for Moonlight
Nicole Kidman for Lion
Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams for Manchester by Sea

Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali for Moonlight
Lucas Hedges for Manchester by Sea
Liam Neeson for Silence 
Dev Patel for Lion
Peter Sarsgaard for Jackie

Adapted Screenplay
20th Century Women
La La Land
Manchester by Sea

Love and Friendship

Sunday, November 27, 2016



Thursday, November 24, 2016

10 thoughts on Arrival.

1. Amy Adams
Once again Adams avoids typecasting, delivers a completely new character and surprises the audience. She is one of Hollywood's most impressive actors, a leading character-actor. Thrilling.

2. America would not be so welcoming of aliens today
By alien I mean anyone that the majority would see as foreign to them, let alone the squid like beings that are not of this planet. How sad...

3. ...but this is a film for today
The film clearly articulates its message that the world needs to be better at being a whole and communicate. That's something we're very quickly moving away from with Brexit and champions of the far right. 

4. Better than its contemporaries 
Gravity and Interstellar may have been widely celebrated and popular, but neither of them reached the emotional or storytelling heights of this. The reason? The characterisation. Where plot or action moved these two films along, Arrival follows the emotional journey of its protagonist. And this results, I'd argue, in a more accessible and successful film. It doesn't have the visual bravado, but that almost feels like the point - it's almost more a drama than a sci-fi film.

5. It's female protagonist
I don't know if I'm giving the film too much credit but it feels like it's being clever with its female protagonist. Yes the gender is important but, without spoilers, her relationship with her daughter is more nuanced and complicated than usual in mainstream Hollywood. Plus she doesn't need a man to help her, in fact the men tend to be the weaker characters.

6. Denis Villeneuve
I need to see more of his films.

7. Language
Language is something we should treasure. I wish I was better with them rather it being the downfall of my academic years. 

8. The overall message 
The film tells its audience that we should embrace life with all of its heartbreak and it's joy, and I think that's a positive message to put out in the world where the majority seem to think that they're entitled to joy as the norm or can make their lives easier by avoiding heartbreak. 

9. The music 
Another great score by Johann Johannsson.

10. Oscar love?
I hope this finds itself with nominations in the main categories, particularly Picture and Acrtress. But Oscar doesn't like genre often and it's less showy than other competitors. But I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

One reaction (after yesterday's reaction). A Raisin in the Sun.

Almost to answer my hope that art can change society, I went to a screening of A Raisin in the Sun this evening. And what hope it does give. Lorraine Hansbury's terrific play was seen by the Broadway audience that was mostly white, and it no doubt changed the majority of beliefs in the process. And the film performing similarly back in 1961. It still feels painfully relevant, maybe more now than it would have done a year or two ago. But that doesn't mean this piece hasn't made a difference. I belief it has and that I, Daniel Blake will do too.

Monday, November 21, 2016

One reaction. I, Daniel Blake.

As is evident by the existence of this blog, I spend a lot of time in the cinema but rarely do I think the following is worthily used: important. An important film should, I believe, have the ability to influence major swifts within society outside of the parameters of the industry. I, Daniel Blake is potentially one of those films. By shedding a light on the humanity within an ugly aspect of British society, Ken Loach has created a powerful film that should not fail to move its audience into altering their behaviour and attitude. Or at least that's what my optimism wants to believe.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Monday, October 24, 2016

10 thoughts on Nocturnal Animals

1. Tom Ford is more than A Single Man
It was shocking that A Single Man was his first feature and with the more expansive, complicated narrative and themes of Nocturnal Animals, it's clear that Ford will always deliver his top game. And that is a pretty impressive skill set. Yes, this is flawed but all is forgiven with such a brave and fascinating movie.

2. Amy Adams continues to avoid typecasting
This is something completely new for her and a joy for a fan to watch. She doesn't necessarily have much to do, but she gives a glamorous, quietly moving performance that adds to her impressive string of versatile roles.

3. The opening credits are astonishing 
They may not obviously fit within the film as a whole but wow.

4. Violence against women
It is never pleasant to sit through scenes where women are victim to senseless violence. And I usually think it is too easy a target to use in a narrative when it's not depicting a true story. I am torn but I feel that it is almost to its credit that the film includes this sequence, it happens in the book within the film and is the writer's attack of Adams' character. It is meant to be a manipulative and pure vile moment. Yet it'll never be an easy one to watch for any audience.

5. What a cast
Alongside Adams is a string of terrific performances from Andrea Riseborough, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon and Aaron Taylor Johnson. Ford has a knack with actors.

6. Abel Korzeniowski's music
Although worryingly close to the terrific score he wrote for A Single Man, his music again is hypnotic. Next time I hope Ford pushes him a bit further from his comfort zone though. As Tate Taylor somehow did with Danny Elfman on Girl on the Train.

7. The ending is sublime
In a lesser film I think the ending would have felt underwhelming or petty. Instead you feel the overwhelming sense of a character's crushing disappointment. Perfect.

8. How will this play to general audiences? And Oscar?
This is such an unpleasant film that I imagine it will struggle to find an audience. And if it doesn't I hope it remains considered a success. Oscar could step in and help its status, but I think that's unlikely as it's rather cold for their tastes. Sadly.

9. The opposite to La La Land?
I'm obsessed. But I couldn't help but compare the two films - both set in LA, one celebrating the world and its inhabitants whilst the other condemns them. It's almost a love and hate portrayal of the world. Even their reflections on past love is opposite to each other. I recommend viewing both of course.

10. I hope people go see it
Just to reiterate this - go see it!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

10 thoughts on La La Land

1. That opening sequence!
I'm not sure that there is an opening sequence to rival that of La La Land's. My boyfriend (adorably) cried as he was overwhelmed by the sequence, and it's easy to see why - the combination of music, choreography and cinematography whilst juxtaposing the heightened musical world with a LA traffic could an audience not fall for it?

2. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are stars
As is clear from this blog, I am a huge fan of Emma Stome and watching her excell on screen in a role perfect for her strengths was of course a joy. I hope this propels Emma Stone to Jennifer Lawrence heights of stardom/moviemaking power. And perhaps more musicals?

3. Original music in an original film musical
How refreshing to hear brand new music. Of course I'm not dissing Moulin Rouge! but it is exciting to hear characters sing their own songs in a new story. The form is not dead. Infact....

4. ...there's enough homages to make you cry
Just as my boyfriend did at the start of the film, I could not stop myself from crying during the last sequence of the film. Not just because of the characters' journey but also the overload of film references, particularly to the style of cinema associated with Gene Kelly.

5. Whiplash is forgiven / I'm a harsh critic
I know I'm alone in my reaction to Whiplash and I admit that I would likely see more strengths to the film following this but I still would balk at the film's attitude towards women. This was the reason I was nervous about La La Land, but Damien Chazelle has shown he is much more than that film and the film of that world. Or maybe this is a lesson for me not to judge so quickly.

6. Ryan Gosling has perfected the tormented leading man
He is the 21st century man without purpose but in struggle. Even in The Nice Guys he's a lost (and ineffective) man at the start. And he's always watchable. 

7. Being bold is good
Damien Chazelle has proven again what some of my favourite directors have, being bold in filmmaking can result in great work. Although this film may seem like a sure-thing now, it most definitely would have sounded unlikely on paper. Kudos to him for creating and delivering this film.

8. I can't wait to watch it again.
And again. And again.

9. Moviemaking is magical
I've felt indifferent to recent movies set in the world of moviemaking but this is a reminder of how wonderful the creation of stories in different worlds, all being told within walking distance of each other, is. Cinema is an infectious world, and even more so with films like this.

10. What a privilege
It is a rare sensation to sit in a cinema screen and feel privileged to have just watched a film. This is an incredibly achievement and one that will joyfully live in audiences' hearts alongside other film (not just film musical) greats. Bravo.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

And the winners are...88th Academy Awards

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

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

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

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

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

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