Films you may have missed during the later part of 2020

Matrix on the big screen
Watching the matrix on the big screen during lock down

Following on from my previous post about films to watch during covid19 and again during mid 2020. Some of us have been consuming a lot of media. Its never been a better time to own a full home cinema.

Having just gone through my trakt year in review and its almost 2021, it might be worth another blog post for the locked in. Believe it or not there has been some good stuff to watch on the small screens in our living rooms.

Films

Just mercy

Just Mercy

This is a genre which always gets me, court room dramas. I didn’t think that much about the trial of the chicago 7 especially after watching Small Axe’s Mangrove and this film. Its powerful and emotional, it deserves a lot of respect and perfect timing with the on going anti-racism protests. Don’t miss this film!

Parallel

As the name suggests its a film about parallel universes. This film comes across off as a lower budget movie but the concept is neat and it has legs. It surprises in different ways and within the serious plot points still has elements of comedy. It reminds me very much of the film Time lapse.

Run

This took me by surprise. Not usually into horror but this is clearly more on the thriller side. I can’t even start to explain how messed up this film is on so many levels. As the film develops you get a real sense of the subtitle, you can’t escape a mothers love!

The honest thief

Nice easy going action film which isn’t too stressful but has its moments of action too. Liam Neeson is wooden than his usual roles in Taken, but still has edge. Nice plot and the actors do carry the film well. Good quality hollywood action.

12 Hour Shift

This film is a bit of dark humour and comes across as serious. Its a simple film about staff in a hospital but the things which happen are, lets say intriguing and there reactions are hilariously dark. Been a while since I seen a dark comedy like it

The Secrets We Keep

I wasn’t quite sure where this one was going but its a thriller which strikes where it hurts. Partly revenge film but its not for the faith hearted. Not an amazing film but strong and worth watching.

Love and Monsters

Another fun hollywood film which I would say is similar in notion to Zombieland but less adult. Its a fun teen flick with some enjoyable moments. Light relief from the pandemic.

Follow Me

I’m a bit of a sucker for these escape room type films and this one has all the right ingredients to keep you guessing. Part of you wants bad things to happen as this youtuber is just the wrong side of arrogant. If you don’t like follow me, try escape room.

Opening Act

A film about stand up comedy with stand up comedians. Light entertainment again but with the strength of everyday life as a comedian. Heckling, trying out jokes, fighting for spots, its all there in the film.

Black Box

Psychological thrillers, some hate them and sometimes they are awful. This one is good, not great but challenging. Its great to see Mamoudou moving into the prime time. Its a good film but be prepared for a small mind screw.

Boss level

A fun film which reminds me of a three way between Shoot’em up, Groundhog day and Scott Pilgrim vs the world. Light entertainment but good entertainment on these dark nights.

TV

A Teacher

A interesting story about a student and a teacher. The emotional side is treated well and respectful over the episodes. Usually these type of things are rushed and A teacher doesn’t do that. The topics are adult and dealt with in that way.

Small Axe

There is so much to say abut Small Axe, the director worked on these 5 almost feature length episodes showcasing different aspects of Black British culture in London. Each episode is unique with for example episode 2 having a completely different tempo and feel from episode 1. Each one is worth while watching alone, together they marked a excellent series.

The Queens Gambit

The Queens Gambit

Such a beautiful and short TV show. Most people have seen or heard of it but honestly watch it on a big screen at the highest resolution you can. You will notice every short is just beautiful. The story is great too.

Industry

This was recommended to me and its quite a interesting series, looking at new graduates aiming to permanently join a investment bank. What I like is its not too stereotypical. Yes theres drugs in the bathrooms, yes the women get a much rougher experience than the men. But each character has more depth than you first imagine.

The Flight Attendant

A fun comedy drama with Kaley (known for the big bang theory) with a bit of a edge. The story unfolds slowly but the comedy elements keeps the flow. There is a message about alcoholism there but its not clear cut and well produced. Worth watching but don’t expect something deep and meaningful or even light entertainment. Look forward to second series?

Sneakerheads

Following the flight attendant, something actually light and fun comedy. If you are a sneakerhead or take your trainers a little more serious than most people… this short series is for you. Funny and entertaining, some light relief.

Ted Lasso

Another fun TV series but with a heart. I’m really not a football fan, so I was expecting this to be a bore. When I first came across it, I thought this is going to be a joke which will get old. But it surprised me as the characters backstory holds up well and keeps you interested. Like the flight attendant sure there will be a second series.

Films you may have missed during the Covid19 lockdown

Host (2020)

Following on from my previous post about films to watch during the Covid19 lockdown. Now the cinemas are starting to open, I thought I’d write another set of films and TV I have watched between June – August.

The list of films I usually post are ones you may not have seen or skipped over.

Films

Archive

Target Number One (2020)

Based around a true story, its a slow but insane story of drug addict Daniel Leger. Being built up as a major international drugs smuggler. Its well worth a watch

Irresistible (2020)

Quite funny film written by Jon Stewart of the Daily Show fame. Really points the finger at the system of money which drives the elections and politics in America. No one gets away clean in this one

Swallow (2020)

There are a short list of films I will only watch once a year as they are just uncomfortable. I’m going to add Swallow to this list. Its a difficult subject reasonably told but a bit slow in parts.

Archive (2020)

Intriguing AI type film, its no Ex-Machina but it will surprise you in the end. Solid Sci-fi which slowly builds and hits you out of nowhere. I don’t want to say anything more.

The Rental (2020)

Every Airbnb nightmare ripped large with hidden cameras and a over bearing host. Nice little twists and the tension is about right for this thriller rather than horror.

One Night in Bangkok (2020)

This reminds me very much of Hummingbird and Vengeance. Its a bit slow in places but there are some soft twists and the character development does help you feel for them.

Host (2020)

Not a fan of horror, only because I find the jump silly and the gross parts just stupid. Host surprises as its of a moment, while we are in the pandemic using zoom. Host comes along and leans right into it. Well worth watching even if your not into horror.

Ava (2020)

I mentioned in the last review a film called The Rhythm Section and its similarity to films like Anna, La Femme Nikita, etc. Its a good film and likely better than the Rhythm Section thanks to Jessica Chastain’s performance.

TV

Tell me who I am

Tell Me Who I Am (2019)

Yeah I know it was available in 2019 but I hasn’t come across it till someone mentioned it to me recently. What a story and then it gets very dark very quickly. It reminds me of the film called Rewind which I recommended a little while ago. Both are worth your time and patience around this incredibly difficult subject

On the Record (2020)

I heard bit of the story during the peak of the movement but it got drowned out by other women’s experiences. Its clear it didn’t get the absolute attention it deserved and for f-sake, Russell Simmons and others are pretty untouched. For the record, Russell has stepped down from his positions in Def Jam Recordings and other companies as a result of these allegations. He moved to Bali where there is no extradition treaty to the U.S.

Alex Rider (2020)

I wasn’t sure about this one. It kinda fell under the radar for what ever reason, but it surprised me. Its well thought-out and well told. Its a got a lot of production behind it and it really shows. Expect a series 2 maybe?

Upload (2020)

I wrote about Upload early in the pandemic, comparing it to the now ended Good Place. There’s a lot of comparisons but its going to take a season or two to get up that level. Get the first season and enjoy potentially the start of something special?

The best films of 2018 and 2019 you may have missed

I meant to publish this list of great films you may have missed in 2018, but never did. So instead I’ve edited the draft and included the best films of 2019 you may have missed too. Enjoy!

2018

Spiderman into the spiderverse


Fantastic take on spider-man which includes some cutting edge graphics combined with a great soundtrack and a clever plot line which keeps you going. The diversity really shines what different people from different backgrounds could do together.

The Mule


I got to say I didn’t want to really like this one but Eastwood is great as that guy love to hate. His interactions with others is something which you can’t help but question; but with an understanding of why.

Boy Erased


Its a story which is shocking to the core and although like many think this couldn’t happen in this day in age; this story makes it super clear we are very wrong. Shocking and done tastefully.

The Hate U Give


There is something about this film which says “oh its one of those films for minorities.” But it escapes the stereotypes and manages to paint the tricky relationships between races in America very well. Well worth watching for a slightly deeper message.

Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer


Its cheaply put together and feels like a TV movie (it might be) but the impact of the America’s biggest serial killer is lost when you first met the man involved. Over the course of movie it hits you wants really going on. Quite a shocking story, worth watching especially if its remade my someone else in the future.

Unsane

Never want to spoil movies, but I’d say Soderbergh pulls off this thriller/horror in fine style. The plot is simple but the acting pulls the boot strings up tight. I’m not a fan of horror but this was smart and very watchable if mindbinding at the same time.

2019

The best of enemies


Quite an incredible story about how two people of different backgrounds can agree to disagree when it comes to their child but end up being best of friends in the end. Well worth watching, especially looking at the current state of the world. Watch to the very end for a treat!

The public


This is not a great film but its an important film to watch. A film which really talks to the human value work  and movement. The plots is slow but settles in for the long journey focused on the people and the interactions between people and corporate interests.

Selling Isobel


This is a truly horrific true story which at the very start the real women behind it said thank you for watching. Being tricked into sex slavery isn’t a light topic but a very important one.  I didn’t realise till my partner pointed it out, the woman in the sex slavery is played by the same woman who it happened to! I was completely blown away! Unbelievable and something I could only watch once a year. Just like the public an important film to watch!

Untouchable


Following selling isobel, a documentary about the start of the movement with Weinsten. It really shines a light on the horrific abuses of power. Its really puts into perspective everything which has gone on to date and could easily be updated with more in the future.

The room


I would class this as something  like inception and a few films I have mentioned in previous editions of films you missed. Its a simple plot point, a room which gives you what you ask for. But the fall out is pretty well thought out. I certainly would have liked another 20mins of film to really dig into the mind bending inception.

Shadow of the moon


This gritty story about a serial killer is well told and you can’t help but feel wrapped up in the detective story as the drama unfolds over time. The story is paced perfectly with surprises and dead ends along way.

I am mother


The word mother conjures up many visions but a robot isn’t generally one of them. This movie centers its sights right at that point. Its a slow film but it really forces you to either side of the coin. You think its going one way then it goes another way. Its hard to decide how you feel at the end.

Films you might have missed in 2017

https://twitter.com/OnePerfectShot/status/948320757876183042

One perfect shot have their best movies and it prompted me to rewrite about some of the films you may have missed last year.

Marshall

This is court room battle with Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice. At a time when racism denied him the ability to represent a client. Its smart, sometimes funny and sometimes tragic. Its a excellent watch and compelling story shot well.

The Show

This was a surprising film. The cinematography isn’t great and the story tends to lag in some parts but as a whole the film actually spiked my interest. Not for the faint hearted but not the usual nonsense horror you see.

Detroit

If you haven’t seen Detroit, I don’t know what to say to you. Everytime I watch it, it makes me pretty sad to know its all based on real memories. Its super compelling and the pacing is perfect, with elements of lag to add emphasis to the scene.

Radius

Surprising indie film, about a man who kills everyone within a certain radius of himself. As the film unfolds, we get to learn more about him, her and why. Its cleverly unfolding with enough pace to keep you interested. Easily missed but a real gem.

The Wall

I don’t usually like war films but this one involves 2 people and a voice (check the credits!). Doug Liman’s director touch makes the deadly cat-and-mouse tension so thick you can feel the sand in the air. Its amazing what you can do with a good story and a good director.

Gifted

This film can be summed up as a fight for a child’s freedom or the fight for her gift. Somewhat feel good but its got a strong message about living and freedom. Don’t miss this film!

2:22

I quite enjoy these types of films, its like groundhog day, one of my favourite shows which got canned was daybreak. Time looping with different tries ending in the same or very similar results.

Extortion

Drama with some horrific cliffhangers which gets you wondering what on earth you would do? Really got me, especially some of the twists and turns.

Aftermath

Best Arnie movie in a long time, I would say. Its slow building film not about the accident of the mid airplane crash but the need for closure & resolution. Based on a real mid aircrash, its excellently done with each character transforming over the course of film. Surprising ending too

Jungle

I wasn’t sure I could see Harry Potter in the Jungle but this surprised me at how harrowing this film is. Bit like Extortion, it makes you wonder what you would do – although you won’t catch me in a jungle to be fair. Think of this film like 127 hours and touching the void. Another true life story dramatised

Nostalgia is the enemy of progress and they know this?

Vinyl Night

Some of you might think, you wrote about this before? Well yes I did…  but I have even more to add.

I was actually listening to the wired podcast (which recently hasn’t been so great) and they mentioned the Nokia 3310 and a review of the retro phone along with other retro stuff. The later link is worth reading as it links the tech industries retro fascination with our need for nostalgia due to the current political climate.

Our love of nostalgic gadgets comes from the shaky political world we live and brands are using it to their advantage

Nostalgia is an increasingly popular marketing strategy. As consumers, we’ve enjoyed a resurgence of iconic brands and models such as RayBan ‘Wayfarers’, SMEG fridges, Nintendo consoles, vinyl and turntables, Nike Air Max, the infamous Nokia 3310. The list goes on.

“In times of uncertainty, people naturally gravitate towards nostalgic products and experiences,” says psychology professor Sir Cary Lynn Cooper at Manchester Business School. “It gives them a feeling of stability. With the likes of Brexit and Trump continuing the uncertainty of 2016 into 2017, people will be reminiscing about fond times in a more stable world. These times will no doubt have an affinity with certain experiences, brands or products.”

To be fair reading it, its more focused on price points than anything but I do find the amount of people getting into vinyl (although not getting into djing which seems a shame), hollywood remaking old films (although this has always been the case) and of course the retro gaming trend.

Its a interesting point and I’ll refer back to my thoughts previously and I even mention Brexit back then.

I do wonder if its a chicken & egg issue? Is the demand coming from companies or from the people? I think its the people as I imagine nostalga has always been there going way way back

I don’t like these electric light switch things, much prefer the smell of gas lamps?

I jokely imagine? But you only have to think about fireplaces and how people love them. I assume the companies just worked out this is a sure way to sell stuff. Be it retro trainers, 60/70/80’s clothes, 90’s phones, gas lamps, etc etc…

Trainspotting t2's living in the past

There is something Veronika says in trainspotting t2 when Sickboy and Renton are reminiscing about the past. Something like, in her country people think about the future not think about the past.

Films you may have missed during the first part of 2017

There has been some really bad news over the last 6 months, its easy to get sucked into reading everything trump tweets or reading and hoping the brexit madness will not happen (but now we’re on a road to the past). However, during the madness, there has been some great films you may have missed.

Not in order, just once looking back through my recently watched film and looking at the ones I rated highly, but hardly heard about anywhere.

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Arrival

This film is incredible and has to be my film of the year, here’s what Den of Geeks said (SPOILER alert if you click the link)…

Arrival is a challenging piece of science fiction, blessedly meant for adults, and about smart grown-ups at that. The kind that actually try to solve problems instead of punching or shooting them. In fact, it is in many ways a spiritual companion piece with Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar since it’s about intelligent people going through familiar sci-fi tropes before offering heady concepts about fifth dimensional space…

Chronic

Chronic

This is certanly one you missed, its slow, painful and suprising; well worth watching but likely at a time when you are open to the messages about life.

Mr Church

Mr Church

Like Chronic, it involves woman who is dying; but this one is about the relationship between her daughter and the carer (mr church). A while ago I slightly put a negative review on boyhood, it was good but it didn’t feel compeling to me. Mr Chruch, although not using the same actors as they grow up, time is driving factor through the film and you see the relationship mature and change over a long period of time.

I wont spoil a single part of it, as its the pasts which make up the whole. Its slow and each actor plays a fantastic role in the story. Its a great film and I understand the critism it got under race grounds but based on a true story, so theres little which can be done. Like loving its a sign of those times.

T2: Trainspotting

T2: Trainspotting

I have said plenty about trainsportting T2 but still many people are wondering if its worth watching. The answer is yes! Its not a remake, its the story 20 years later. Think of it as trainspotting crossed with trance.

Loving

Loving

The story and landmark courtcase of Richard and Mildred Loving, a mixed race couple who go back to a southern state where mixed race marriage was still illegal in the 1960s. I heard of the courtcase a few times but I am lucky enough to be born in a time and country where mixed race relationships are not just illegal but mainly part of the norm.

Seeing lovings struggle in film, really brings home everything.  Great film, slow but so very moving. Well worth checking out, hard to have a dry eye after watching it.

The Shallows

The Shallows

Nothing deep or meaningful, just a well done drama/thriller. Think of it as Jaws for a new generation.

Miss Sloane

Miss Solane

If it wasn’t for Arrival, I would be putting Miss Solane in best film for 2017. Its supersmart and Jessica Chastain is simply incredible. Like Michelle Dockery in Good Behaviour (TV series I highly recommend) shes a complex character with many depths and dark corners. The film is crafted to cause you to think many different things and then it hits you like a ton of bricks. Once again, you can’t help but be blown away! Would watch twice if I could.

Incredible!

Money Moster

Money Monster

Really nice film, fitting around cable/TV money experts and the occupy type movement. Its not complex but like the shallows, its compelling and a well told story with good acting. End wasn’t quite as good as it could have been but worthy of your attention if you want a smarter popcorn mucher.

Denial

Denial

Based on another landmark court case, irving vs penguin books. The drama is once again crafted to pull out the core arguements and explain the complexity of a subject which seems so obvious. Although we know the final judgement, sometimes you are in dobht about the evidence shown through the film. Certainly compeling and worth of watching.

I removed Fences, Moonlight and few others because they have plenty of press and attention.

Films you may have missed 2016

Here’s some films which I watched recently, which seemed to sneak under the cover for what ever reason. All worth watching at least once… I kept the spoilers to a minimum but there might be slight light spoilers, which you can get by reading the description of each film pretty much.

The Escort

The Escort

This film puts a spin on the pretty woman thing, it could be seen as the anti-pretty woman film. Our heroine/Natalie is smart, quick thinking and knows what needs to be done. Shes very practical about everything, which is kind of refreshing. You could draw parallels with the girlfriend experience but it’s much more fun and doesn’t take itself so seriously.

Interestingly all the men in this film seem to be a little dim, at least in comparrison to Natalie.

Eye in the sky

Eye in the sky

If you haven’t seen this film you are missing out on quite a intense film. The premise is simple, do they launch a targetted drone attack on a house in Kenya? One with a known terrorist that has been confirmed. But it’s complex and gets more complicated as time goes on, the exact thing you don’t have time! The pace and suspense in the film is great.

Everybody involved do a great job portraying the decision process and you can feel the tension in the air. It’s also one of Alan Rickman last films before he died.

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The Lobster

I have no words to explain the Lobster except if you liked I heart Huckabees, you will be in good company here. It’s kinda crazy but being very into how people date find it hysterical. There’s also some deep rooted messages about societys push to bring people together and not being complete without someone else. You can never be happy alone, well if you are; you get turned into a animal.

Very weird film you have been warned!

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Victoria

I saw this late one night and was kinda gripped. To be fair the first time I saw it, it was German language with no Engliah subtitles. The English parts had subtitles in German; it was quite unique from a outsiders point of view.

Victoria is a Engliah woman working in Berlin and goes out one night alone (as I have done many times). She understands a basic amount of German to get the basics done but she meets up with 3 men that night. They have an experience like no other. My instant thought was she was in danger of being attacked or worst. I kept saying “go home, leave, turn back.” What actually happens is on the verge of crazy, and makes me think hummmmm next time I go wondering the streets of Tokyo, San Diego, NewYork, Bucharest maybe I should be a little more careful?

Good film, highly recommend trying it first time without english subtitles to get the full effect of being in Victoria’s position. Being daze and confused about what they are saying; will add a lot, even if you know a bit of German.

Room

Room

This film was quite popular so I won’t be surprised if you already seen it. Imagine living in a small room for you’re whole life! Not being able to leave ever and having a young child which has never known outside that room. Its quite a unbelieveable story but its the detail which drives the drama. Can’t really think of a film like it really except maybe 10 cloverfield lane.

Even lambs have teeth

Even lambs have teeth

I’m not a horror fan (not because I’m scared of them but I don’t jump at scary bits and find gore just boring) however, I found even lambs have teeth more thriller with horror elements. Its a basic plot but it kinda reminds me of kill bill and falling down in the second part. Revenge is certainly served and it’s vicious!

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Knock knock

Temptation is killer and a bit like Victoria, you are wondering where things are going. I guess unlike that film, most people (mainly men) will be saying keep going. What the hell, what difference does a night make? Well the results of that are shocking. Yes its drama but on another level.

Good reminder to keep you’re wits about you, not cave into temptation and bloody think! When you know its going to drop you into the deep end, just stop and think! This is the lambs have teeth type crazyness without the gore.

We are your friends

We are your friends

I won’t lie it’s hated by many but I just found the film great for focusing on dj and dance culture. It’s certainly no Kevin and Perry go large but it’s not going to be a classic like human traffic. Maybe it’s more like groove crossed with the drama of go.

The characters are a little wolly but it doesn’t matter as the music speaks for everybody in this movie.

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Race

Such a great film and Jesse Owens story is so amazing. Facing the racism from the germans is one thing but also from your own nation and team mates is hard to take. Its crazy to remember even in 1936, there was such vicious racism in the states. If you are not outraged, sadden and uplifted by the end of the film, you need to check your human attributes (no spoilers). It is an incredible story and told extremely well in this film. Do not miss this, its one of my films for 2016.

Also don’t forget my beautiful broken brain, which I have wrote about previously

Accelerated intimacy & relationships?

There is something which happened last week, which I can’t talk about publicly (yet!). But it has me thinking quite a bit about accelerated intimacy and intense shared experiences.

It’s that swept of your feet feeling, which is amazing; but the question remains if it can turn into something more sustainable and longer running? I’m always reminded of that scene at the end of Speed (1994) with Jack (Keanu Reeves) and Annie (Sandra Bullock).

Jack: I have to warn you, I’ve heard relationships based on intense experiences never work.
Annie: OK. We’ll have to base it on sex then.
Jack: Whatever you say, ma’am.

Ooooeerr!

Hollywood whitewashing, how is this still a thing?

Blackstorem trooper

Came home from our first emerging tech and future narratives event, a partnership with VR Manchester. Saw there was a new last week tonight with John Oliver, watched it and half way had to replay the segment,

How is this still a thing?

Sometimes you sit in front of your TV and realize you’re watching something important. It happens quite often on HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and Sunday’s episode was no exception. In addition to an incendiary piece about abortion laws, Oliver attacked Hollywood whitewashing.

It is 4 half minutes of pure joy, and ever so sadness all wrapped up in  a excellent package; delivered with such skillful mastery.  Even the Dailyshow with Jon Stewart would have been proud.

I have nothing to really say about the whitewashing of Hollywood which hasn’t been said by many others before, except… how is this still a thing in 2016!

Why the ability to understand spoilers is perceptive media interesting

https://twitter.com/Jordan94jb/status/636896487981600768/

Most people don’t really care about spoilers till they are spoiled by somebody or something they read. Its incredibly frustrating to not know something and be in that state of wonder then somebody break it for you. There are many great spoilers out there like, the ending of lost, breaking bad, etc. I remember joking but with a quite a harsh tone for friend and family in hospital not to tell me the end of Lost.

The problem is with all the media channels we have, its more difficult to put yourself in a bubble and discover the media conclusion in your own way. This is something others have thought about a lot and this chrome extension is a interesting take on the problem, unfortunally it only works within the Trakt.tv site.

Trakt.tv but without the spoilers. Titles, screenshots and comments are all able to be obscured by this extension. This extension aims to prevent as many spoilers as possible on Trakt.tv with very customisable options.

Ok nice but whats this got to do with Perceptive Media?

Perceptive Media is most effective when there is a semantic understanding of the narrative, plot arcs and implicit desires of the audience.

With spoilers, if you knew where the audience was up to and how long ago they watched it (both Trakt.tv can do). You can infer what to hold back from them, so they are not spoiled of the next big surprise or twist. You can also let the stuff which isn’t important or seen already pass the filter instead of trying to hold it all back and frustrating the audience.

Basically spoiler prevention paves the way to a understanding of media in the way needed for perceptive media. Today its titles, screeenshots and comments. Tomorrow its popups, adverts, etc. In future how about parts of the news, articles, posts, parody, references to plot twists, etc…?

Films you may have missed in 2014/15

There has been some great films recently… including Kingsmen, Selma, Interstellar, Citizen four, The intimidation game, Theory of everything, etc.

But heres a bunch you may have missed…

71
71

71 is a movie that I usually wouldn’t enjoy but unlike unbroken (which started well but pulled too many heartstrings). The 71 tells a story about the conflict in northern Ireland. Its got a few small twists and turns but takes you in for a good ride.

I Origins
I Origins

This one is a interesting tale which hinges on the balance of science and spiritual belief. Like Lost Its hard to describe but its a heros journey as the man of science tries to grapple with things which directly conflict with what he can prove. I like the style of the the film as most scenes look simply gorgeous and the focus on the human eye was always going to be a winner from a photography point of view.

Faults
Faults

This reminds me of the Martha Marcy May Marlene. Its all about mind manipulation, brainwashing and deprogramming, its pretty wrong. It also reminds me of Suicide Kings, but faults goes much deeper. Watch and be shocked… Reminds me I need to read the back story for this.

Whiplash
Whiplash

Everytime I watch this, I side with one side or the other. I keep thinking who wound whom up and when they could have stopped. But honestly the ending is excellent and will have you punching the sky. If you missed it in the cinema, get it in DTS and play it loud!

Kill the messenger
Kill the messenger

Very good film which surprised me as I knew nothing about it. Then as it unfolds you realise this is actually a true story not just the stuff you heard about. I understand why I didn’t get much attention but it deserves so much more.

Predestination
Predestination

Time travel! You know how much I love time travel films. Predestination is good but its not quite a Donnie Darko. Its more of looper I would say but worthy of a good watch a few times over to understand what is going on.

time lapse
Time lapse

This movie is a surprisingly good time travelling film. It feels on the lower end of the budget, but not a primer style budget. Its a good story told but certainly doesn’t have the depth of primer. Its quite constrained and I guess compared to Predestination, its slightly less confusing.

Project Alamnc

Continuing with the time travel theme. Project Alamnc feels like a cross between Primer, Timelapse and Chronicle in filming style. Its a MTV film, so its full of teenagers partying and usual music stuff. Even with all that, its quite a solid movie with the ups and downs. The ending is a let down but if you compare it to other teenager films it stands its ground well.

Open Windows
Open windows

I don’t quite know what to say about this film except it kind of jumps the shark so many times you have no idea what on earth is going on. Maybe its because I’m not paying too much attention everytime I see it but I’m keep wondering what on earth? The computer screen stuff is hysterical too but reminds me of a higher budget welcometothescene.

I give it a year
I give it a year

Its not usual that I can recommend a rom-com but this one has some hairy balls. Its funny and tragic but even though you know whats going to happen at the end, its interesting to see their marriage break down and the things they do to get it back on track. The premise that some people are simply not suitable for each other is a worth while message throughout.

My Top Films for 2013

Trance

Its been a interesting year for films. The time between cinema and download seems to have shorten and some films surprised even me. I didn’t include Prisoners, World War Z, This is the end, Iron Man 3, Thor 2 and many others.

  1. Trance
    I can’t tell you how great this film is. Its smart, quick and emotionally something I didn’t expect. All the characters are sharp and the sound track is up there with the best. I would go as far as to say, the film is like being in a trance, the way parts keep jumping in and out.
  2. Cloud Atlas
    Although officially it came out for most of the world in 2012, it didn’t hit the UK till Feb 2013. I have seen this film so many times and it still has emotional depth and a sharp storyline.
  3. Now you see me
    After watching the fight of the Prestige vs the Illusionist. I thought I’d had enough of magicians on the big screen. But I like what happens in Now you see me. 4 magicians working together and a twist which I didn’t believe could work. Plenty of replay value.
  4. Gravity
    I watched this at 2330 in IMAX 3D and was simply blown away. I never like 3D movies but all that space, just worked with the 3D effect.
  5. The Great Gatsby
    I didn’t know much about the Great Gatsby, so the whole story was brand new for me. And what a story it turned out to be. Not only that the cinematography and art direction was up there with other Baz Lurman movies.
  6. Oblivion
    When I first watched this film I was not impressed then I watched it again weeks later and started to enjoy it more and more. Once again Tom Cruise who I’m not a massive fan of but he’s a bloody good actor. Good idea well executed and even watchable again and again.
  7. Fast & Furious 6
    I didn’t expect to enjoy this much but I remember me and Jude decided over Pizza we were in a hollywood smash mood and decided to watch it instead of a range of other movies at the time. Fast 6 didnt disappoint. Very action packed, but a nice heist along the lines of Takers. Fast 6 certainly has found its niche and if fast 7 does what it promises, we’re in for more action packed heisty fun.
  8. Upside Down
    Maybe less well known that the others. The context is explained in the first 3mins and the rest of the story is a traditional love story. What makes it special is the theming, characters and cinematography. Each scene looks a lush and I’m glad I gave it a chance.
  9. Pacific Rim
    Like Fast 6, pacific rim has a simple story to tell. Massive Monsters (Kaiju) vs Massive Jaegers. Nothing more complex that devastation and carnage.
  10. Man of Steel
    I was disappointed with Man of Steel. I felt Nolan and Snyder would be great, but it seems Synder took the reins in the first of the trilogy. Don’t get me wrong I love Snyder’s cinematography and art direction a lot. But Sucker Punch and 300 holds nothing against Inception and The Dark Knight.

You must’nt be afraid to dream a little bigger darling

Times Square, Inception style

[SPOILERS  below! You were warned!]

I am a total sucker for films which need you to think a little bigger.

You think its so big and then you square it to get an idea of how big things really are… Some would suggest these type of films are either too complex or too up themselves.

  • InceptionThe king of all… Confusion and levels of visual and mental complexity which had most people scratching their heads. Inception isn’t overly complex to those who have ever had a vivid dream. But once you get your head around the first leap that you can control dreams, your greeted with the easily digestible fact you can have dreams inside of dreams. But there serious consequences too.
  • Trance – My new love in this type of film. Having gotten hypnotherapy myself, I understand the power of suggestion, having  gone wrong or is it right? Must be watched twice at least to see all the subtle clues of whats really going on. From a robbery to a film about abuse and personal spirit. Trance makes you think outside the box.
  • RevolverMost people hated this movie because they expected something like lock stock and snatch. What it creates is a world told from our anti-hero’s point of view. You start to question whats actually going on. After much introspective it becomes clear the characters he thinks are his savour are actually his cell mates with far too much time on their hands, mater minding a plan which out smarts not only him but his nemesis. The game is discussed in detail and the chess metaphors are spot on.
  • Primer – A film so complex it comes with its own timeline. What makes Primer so special is if your not really watching, you may miss the very suttle clues to what on earth is going on. Unlike Revolver, Trance or Inception, you don’t get a sense of how epic this film is from the usual visual or audio clues were use to. Its easy to watch it and shrug your shoulders wondering what the big deal is about. Once you step outside the box and think that your actually watching one of the copies/timelines (can’t think of a better name) not the first instance your on your way questioning everything your being visually fed.

I love them and just like those famous words in Inception… You must’nt be afraid to dream a little bigger darling

Films you may have missed from 2012

and when i see you,

I’ve been doing this type of list [1][2][3] for a while but when I saw filmstate’s Top 5 movies 2012 you may have missed. I was in total agreement with so much of the list, I felt 5 was too short.

This is the list…

  1. Headhunters
    I’ve not actually seen this but its in my collection to watch when I got time just like the intouchable. Everyone has good things to say about this movie.
  2. Your sister’s sister
    I actually didn’t think much of this one… Drama and not exactly gripping in anyway.
  3. Safety not guaranteed
    Quirky tale which seemed to be going no where fast but then it seems to head towards a ending which shocks. I know what Ryan means about the ending, but I actually quite liked it.
  4. The raid redemption
    Like a few others I’ve not seen it yet, but its also in my collection. I think after seeing Dredd, I prefer it already. But its totally unfair as I saw it first. Oh by the way he’s the official word on who copied who
  5. Martha Marcy May Marlene
    I have already talked about this movie in depth here… Always uncomfortable to watch but really good

Here’s my additional list…

  1. Upside Down
    I’m a total sucker for romantic films with a hint of sci-fi for example time travelers wife. But this one is stunning to watch and reminds me of what dreams may come in visual impact.
  2. Dredd
    Yes I know its exactly the same concept as the raid redemption and there will be those who prefer it to Dredd but for me the slow-mo shots and having Judge Dredd involved in the mix is awesome. I know a lot of people were put off because they thought it was like a Judge Dredd sequel but they are very wrong.
  3. Compliance
    Just recently watched this and was blown away at the sequence of events and levels of social engineering deployed in this real life is even more scary drama.
  4. Fire with Fire
    This reminds me of Law Abiding Citizen, where you think you got its number but actually you don’t. Also asks how far would you go for witness protection?
  5. The Words
    Interesting tale about a man who uses another mans words to profit greatly and never considers where they came from. When faced with the real author sparks fly. Slow and smooth film.
  6. Not Suitable for Children
    Got me think for interesting reasons. Its about a guy who finds out he has prostate cancer and will loose the ability to have kids. The story is funny and a bit tragic. Weirdly I had a dream the same thing happened to me a few days after watching this.
  7. Premium Rush
    New York bike messengers drama, not great but entertaining and worth watching if most of my other selections are too deep or too dark and intense
  8. The Intouchables
    Not actually seen this yet but I hear great things about it from friends. Its in my list to watch one day when I’m chilling out and not doing something else at the same time.
  9. Coriolanus
    I’ve watched half of this and keep trying to find proper time to watch it. But what I’ve seen so far it looks good and shame lots didn’t see it because it was put through the independent circuit, even with such mainstream actors. Maybe its the area of focus which makes it less mainstream

What Cinema can learn from TV?

Adopt the internet

A few blog posts ago I was talking about Cinema and the audience using their phones in the cinema to share the experience and hinted at some other things Cinema can learn from TV.

Me and Hugh were arguing in FYG, Television has gotten the cluetrain like the film industry hasn’t yet. (it has a long way to go, to be at one with the internet but alas…). Live TV is the new fashion and teamed up with Twitter its giving TV a way to do explicit feedback like never before. I’ve attended so many talks where twitter integration is taken as the norm, actually what was weird was hearing our European public broadcasters talking about using Facebook instead of Twitter hashtags.

So generally…

Live TV + Twitter = Good experience

I wonder if Cinema and the film industry can learn something from this?

Cinema + Twitter = ? experience

I already expressed an dislike of people using there phones in the cinema due to the light but if you could tweet without ruing the darkness of a cinema, now that would be interesting… Of course the ability for people to be able to take pictures of the screen is a massive problem but tweeting about scenes could maybe increase the engagement (specially tweeting alongside premieres). Maybe theres a way to replay a hashtag in real-time along with a film?

This could work if films adopted something like status.net along film releases rather than using twitter per-say. Being in control of the microblogging means spoilers can be moderated and that replay feature can work. However your never really going stop people using Twitter oppose to using your own backchannel system? If it did work, imagine what you could do with the DVD, Bluray, digital download releases. Replay the best/insightful comments, add the directors comments, tweets from the actors, staff, etc… Who knows?

Maybe the whole aping TV is a distraction and there is something which it can do which is more interesting and more native to films? I had thought about using sensors within the cinema, perceptive media style? But its strikes me Hollywood is never going to allow customisation of films. Just like TV doesn’t want to see the same. Maybe sending the stats to the Internet and visualising them could be somewhat interesting? But hardly ground breaking… Sure a few people are thinking about this and will make a killing…