The Little Stranger, directed by Lenny Abrahamson, was a film where I felt as if I was continually waiting for something to happen, but nothing ever did. Watching this film is like being in a wave machine of potentially compelling elements. It raises you up and begins to push you towards something that seems really interesting, only to go back down again and never amount to anything, and it repeats this cycle for the entirety of its run. This will be an unfortunate review to write as it will involve me being quite harsh about the quality (or lack thereof) of this film and its various elements. So let’s get to it and discover if there’s anything in The Little Stranger that makes it worth your time and money. Read more
* This review does contain MINOR SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Last Jedi *
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, written and directed by Rian Johnson, is a film that feels burdened by much that it tries to do. There are many moments to this film that I absolutely loved! Moments that reinforced and reshaped my love for Star Wars as a franchise, but to get to those moments, there were particular storylines, certain characters, and clear merchandising influences, that hampered the overall experience. However… some of the most impactful decisions this film creates, and the effect they will go onto have; I think evolves the franchise beyond the seemingly rehashed path it was going down. It will divide fans, but I hope it will move the trilogy into uncharted territory. Personally, I’m going to find this to be a challenging review to write, because I did have a genuine love-hate relationship with Star Wars: The Last Jedi. This will almost be like a therapy session, as I try to come terms with all that this film is… so let’s get to it. Read more
mother! Written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, was at first a very atmospheric, very tense feeling film, that then went on to become this very empty, repetitive feeling film, and then it transitioned into something surreal, and then from there it became overly farcical, and then by the end there was something truly profound about it. It was a journey that was ever changing; sometimes it was good and other times it wasn’t, but there was always something to it that, in some way, kept me watching it. The experience of watching this film was like it was slicing its way slowly but deeply into me and then staying there, waiting; in the end exploding into something I couldn’t stop myself from thinking about. This is going to be a challenging review but one I’m interested to write, so let’s get to it. Read more
American Made, directed by Doug Liman, tells an unbelievable story – that’s not hyperbole. The true story in which this film is based upon, will leave you slack-jawed and wide-eyed. In a refreshing departure from his usual bulletproof, all action all the time roles, Tom Cruise helps to deliver a fun, wild adventure that shows that anything is impossible in the United States of America. However, the film might be all flash and nothing meaningful, but let’s explore if that is the case in my review. Read more
So now that I have seen all the films nominated for best picture, and reviewed them all, I wanted to go ahead and create an easy place for anyone to be able to find and read my full and in depth reviews on all of them. I also wanted to rank the films from what I felt where the best to the not so best. Now what I mean by not so best, is that while the films are certainly still good they just don’t compete on the same level as the ones higher on the list. At no point am I saying that these films are bad or shouldn’t be seen, simply that they lack the same level of quality and deserved attention as some of the others.
Before I jump into the films I want to give my thoughts on the selection itself. Personally for me this year the assortment of films was weak compared to previous years – that’s frustrating because there have been some films that have more than deserved the attention and recognition, but for some reason where overlooked or perhaps not even considered (I’m not sure).
Personally for me, four films that have certainly been overlooked and were much more deserving of a place in the best picture category were Sicario – directed by Denis Villeneuve (you can read the full review for that here), Carol – directed by Todd Haynes (full review for that here), Steve Jobs – directed by Danny Boyle (the review for that is here) and finally Creed – directed by Ryan Coogler (of which the review for that is here). In my mind all these film were astounding watches and far more deserving of the nomination. What would I have taken out in place of those films? That’s easy – Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, The Martian and most definitely The Big Short. Again all great films (except one of course) but let’s be honest nowhere near the same level as the films I’ve just mentioned.
But anyway that’s my two cents on all of that. Now I want to get onto the main purpose of this whole piece – The Best Picture Nominations. So what I’m going to do is rank the films from 1 to 8 (favourite to least favourite) and then give you a quick snippet of what I liked (or didn’t like) about the film. Also if you want to know more, you can click on any of the films and get taken to my full reviews which will let you know more fully what I thought about the film. Sound good? Great, then on with the show then. Read more
The Revenant, directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu is a film that is small in concept but more than grand in scale. Much of what makes Inarritu such a celebrated director is apparent in this film. The way in which he utilises the camera, how he drops you deep within the scene and leaves you to squirm. The Revenant from every technical aspect is incredible. However I can see this film very much dividing audiences. With its long drawn out segments of silence and seeming lack of progression will certainly make it difficult for some film goers to be kept engaged. Either way The Revenant deserves to be talked about, whichever side of the fence you come down on – so let’s get to it. Read more
It has certainly been a mixed bag in terms of the quality of films that have come out this year. I’ve been up and down with what has come out in 2015 – there have been some real surprises – films that snuck up on me and then just took all of my attention and hoarded it for itself. But there have also been long stretches this year where I’ve been left disappointed or underwhelmed by the offerings. In particular would be 2015’s summer blockbuster season which compared to last year has been a bland assortment of films or in some cases complete disasters (I’m looking at you Jurassic World), feel free to see my fuller thoughts on that film here.
But I’m not here to focus on the negatives; this piece is all about me sharing with you some of the films that I loved from 2015. Not a best of per-say (that always feels too definitive to me – plus everyone’s doing their best of lists at this time). This is more about me taking the time to highlight some truly special pieces of cinema or some films that didn’t necessarily get the attention they first deserve and I’m now taking the chance to make you aware of them and how great they are.
The last thing I’ll say before I get to the part that I know you’re probably more interested in and is the only reason you really clicked onto this piece (thank you for doing so I might add) is that these films are in no particular order. I’m just going to run through the films in the order that suits me and then will give a little detail on what makes them so great – I may even sneak in what is by personal favourite film of the year – actually there’s no may about it, I will be talking about my favourite film of 2015. Anyway that’s me done with this rambling section, now onto the next rambling section; the films that I think deserve your attention from 2015. Read more
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, directed by J.J. Abrams takes the biggest film franchise and blends wonderfully the original films with the new ones. Not a film void of problems by any stretch of the manner, this is still a film that offers something I think a lot of Star Wars fans have been waiting a while for. Read more
Brooklyn, directed by John Crowley is a safe and comfortable little film. Lacking any real consequence or drama – Brooklyn is a film that feels like settling into a cosy night at home, pulling on the blanket and watching whatever happens to be on Netflix. Though this comforting feeling is nice, it does come with a slight hint of boredom as you wait for something of any real excitement to perk you up. Read more
Ex Machina directed by Alex Garland is a film chalk full of suspense and intrigue. Garland expertly crafts a film that constantly leaves you wanting more, more of the science, more of the plot and more of the brilliantly executed characters. Ex Machina continuously kept me on the edge of my seat while never making me want to slip back down into it due to some long, drawn out exposition or tedious side plot, everything is purposeful in the film and I was always entranced by what might be coming next. Read more