The Sad Case Of The 5th Wave

Confession time: I actually liked this film. Okay, the “romance” moments were really bad but the rest of the film was good. The destruction scenes were very well done and really showcased the horror that’s going on. There’s very little “implied” deaths here, they’re shown, and shown in detail. For example; during a scene where an earthquake induced tsunami where the wave washes through a building, rather than just show it from the outside, or show people getting knocked down, the wave actually knocks someone off a balcony and they land (painfully) on a rail below. The plot itself was really tight as well, it held together beautifully and I’m genuinely invested in the characters and want to see what happens next.

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Which makes it even sadder that it’s not doing well at the box office. It’s just about managed to claw back its budget in the US and considering it was only out in a lot of UK cinemas for a week it doesn’t look like it’s going to do too well here. So why is this? It’s got a semi-established name in Chloe Grace Moretz, Liev Schreiber is usually pretty solid, and you’d think people would be interested in what Maika Monroe does after It Follows.

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Turns out “look amazing”

I think the big problem is the marketing, in that there really wasn’t any. I haven’t seen any posters for it anywhere, nor any trailers, which considering how often I go to the cinema (thank you Cineworld card) isn’t a good sign. I’ve seen the trailers for Spotlight, Concussion and Dirty Grandpa so often that I can probably quote them word for word.

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although it can be hard for me to watch this trailer through the red haze of anger at how awful it looks

So how would I have marketed it? Well, I would have made sure trailers were actually shown at cinema for one thing, if it wasn’t for checking the listings at cineworld website I wouldn’t have had any idea this was even on. Also, I would have done a 5 part video game. I’m not talking an extremely complex XBone or PS4 game or something, just a simple online game made of 4 parts, all based on old video games. One could be like a space invaders clone, one could be one where you have to go around shutting off all the electricity towards the building. You stagger the releases and on the final one you reveal that you are actually aliens invading humanity and causing their doom.

I admit that’s not the most definite way, there’s no way it will guarantee success but at least you’ll be trying. Their entire marketing section on wikipedia is “An international trailer was released on Sony Pictures official youtube account on September 1, 2015”. I just went on the website and it’s pretty standard; cast and crew, videos, gallery etc. But there’s one section labelled “defining the waves”. I saw that and thought “ah, this could be good, maybe it provides a lot of background detail or is some kind of viral marketing campaign. Maybe I was wrong. Nope, it’s literally just a sentence describing each wave of attack. As I used to say whenever I was playing someone on Fifa and they messed up; Wasted opportunity there.

But yeah, if you get a chance, go and see this. It may not deserve you buying it, it may not deserve your adoration, but at the very least it deserves your attention.

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Also, go see Room, because it’s f*cking spectacular

That’s it for today, don’t forget to like, comment or subscribe (button available in the left menu). Enjoy

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4 reasons The Hateful 8 is worth seeing and 4 it’s not

4 reasons The Hateful 8 is worth seeing
and 4 it’s not

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Out the gate; this isn’t Tarantino’s best film, nor is it his worst (like some people have been calling it), but like most things there are two sides to it. So here are those two sides, four reasons you should give up your hard earned cash to go see this lil’ epic, and four reasons to wait and see it by other means.

 

The Good

  • Tim Roth & Walton Goggins: The film is of course an ensemble piece with a stellar cast who are (mostly) outstanding; from Kurt Russel’s and Samuel L Jackson’s badass bounty hunters (Jackson is particularly on form), to Jennifer Jason Leigh’s now Oscar nominated turn as the creepily vulgar and frequently hilarious fugitive, Daisy Domergue. 973753f0-7b77-0133-4d9b-0e3f8b958f63

But it’s Tarantino veteran Tim Roth and Justified’s anti-hero Walton Goggins (seriously if you haven’t seen Justified DO!) who steal the show, the scenery and nearly the whole damn picture. Mr Roth is on rip-roaring scene chewing form as the extremely Twee British Hangman Oswaldo Mobray, who’s every smug verbal extremity and every sly glance and gesture leaves you in stitches, whether he’s debating the-hateful-eight-debuts-first-teaser-trailerthe ethics of justice with the brash Kurt Russel, or stopping everyone from shooting each other. Walton Goggins on the other hand is just having a blast as the fun loving, dorky, hill-billy-esque former confederate, who is so country and western he says things like, “I’ll be double dog dammed”, and you can’t help but smile at his every slapstick manoeuvre. He and Roth are like the two sides to the same chocolate and cheese coin. Goggin’s character also has the best (and I think only) arc in the film.

  • The cinematography/ the setting: Shot in glorious 70mm (which I didn’t see it in), there is just something awesome about a Western in the snow, and the landscape is captured beautifully to the point where the opening few shots could be confused with The Revenant. And then after the loooooong opening act (we’ll get to that in the next section), when we get to the much advertised cabin setting, it managed to keep that prestige in what really should of been a claustrophobic mess.
    hateful-81But the cabin is large and surprisingly complex, with each corner, from the bar to the fireplace, becoming their own country and safe ground for the characters. What I’m saying I guess is for a film predominantly set in one room, it still feels large and epic.hateful-eight-5

 

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  • The music: Of course with a score from the Godfather of Western composers Ennio Morricone, how could this not be one of the reasons? But beyond the classic western theme that’s winning all the awards, far less appreciation is being said for the other uses of music and score; with awesome music from The Exorcist 2 and unused tracks from The Thing being part of the soundtrack, and it fits perfectly. As well as a violin quintet that perfectly shapes the mystery vibe the film strives for in its second act. One thing Tarantino hasn’t lost is his impeccable ear for soundtrack.

 

  • The Ending: I won’t ruin it for the few people who haven’t seen it, but I will still reservoir_dogs_queer6talk about it. It’s bloody, it’s fun, its ambiguous, yet somehow also satisfying enough, as those you want to see get it do (for the most part) and those you want to see make good also do (for the most part), without resorting to anything overly happy….Though the more I think about it the more it seems like a re-tread of Reservoir Dogs. Still for a film that gets so messy in every way, it has strong closing minutes.

 

 

The bad (and the ugly…sorry)

  • The twist: So again I won’t ruin it for those who haven’t seen it and for some reason
    Picture2
    Without context this doesn’t give away too much

    may be debating whether to from this list, but I’ll say this: you can ignore it all you want and enjoy a lot of other aspects about it, but the twist breaks the film and makes the three hours you spend watching kind of pointless. As by the twists logic the film could have been finished within Kurt Russel storming into the cabin, and the more you marinade over it, the less it, and so many other situations, make sense. If you can put that aside (which I can do to a point) the film still works, but you shouldn’t have to ignore the plot to enjoy a film.

 

  • The length: This is Tarantino at his most Tarantino and self-indulgent. I understand the idea. He wants to make it a classic epic Western, but that isn’t an excuse for 40 minutes of set-up before ‘the plot’ sets in, nor another half hour of flashbacks just to explain the overwrought twist, orjust the endless monologues and detours, with only about half lending anything to the situation or are really entertaining.
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    couldn’t think of a image to go with time

    Now I know what some of you are thinking, we need all that time to introduce all the characters and flesh them out…and that leads directly into the next point…

 

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  • Joe Gage and a third of the cast: A third the cast are just kind of dull, underdeveloped and uninteresting. I wouldn’t be shocked if Tarantino had the title first, but then gave up halfway trying to fill it with 8 interesting characters. Bruce Dern’s old racist confederate general is probably the most interesting uninteresting character, but he’s really just there to flesh-out Goggin’s and Jackson’s characters. Michael Madsen is….there; he showed up, he spoke. And dernDemián Bichir’s character’s biggest trait is that he’s Mexican…oh and he played piano in that one scene. For a film this long and boasting an apparently hateful 8 (even though theres like ten of them really), its inexcusable that almost half the cast are uninteresting mexicajnunderdeveloped characters, there just to pad out the length like tissue in a bra.

 

 

 

  • What it could have been: A lot of people have been comparing this to Clue or calling it a form of whodunit and it is…for a minute…when it feels like it.qz6uv0xwBut it gets so bogged down with detours, homage, pointless scenes, sucking it’s own dick, and having a bullshit twist it never really gets there. And it could have been great if it did! A Tarantino whodunit, that just sounds amazing. With the same set of
    Clue_Poster
    Very underrated comedy!

    characters (well maybe a few less), and the same set-up and location, all that needed to happen was someone dies, and then the film is them trying to work out who did it, as the tension and egos run high. Instead it kind of does that in the second middle, but then makes that whole section pointless with the reveal of who did it, how, and why. Rule number one of twists: if it isn’t more interesting than what you have already established then don’t do it.

 

Through writing these eight reasons, for all the things I like about it that make it worth a see, the more I’m discovering how big the problems are and how they weigh down what could of (should of) been a classic Tarantino, if Tarantino hadn’t gotten in the way.

Should Deadpool Be A PG-13?

Short answer: no. Long answer: nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

Why?

Well, first, let’s give it some context, after all I didn’t arrive at this blog just through looking at film releases and think “what film would be the worst if it was sanitised completely?”. Somebody actually wants a PG13 version of this. The reason: so an 8 year old kid can go see the film. Now, this isn’t an 8 year old kid who is dying, or has suffered any hardship, or is even rich enough that his opinion matters, it’s just an 8 year old who wants to see the film and can’t. As such, the creator of the petition wants a version that he can see with his mother, so he doesn’t hate her for not taking him. The petition maker wants the mother to be a hero instead of a villain. To which I say; I know opinions are subjective and as such there’s no sense of such thing as objective totality, but you’re wrong.

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But this is right, very very right

She says that since they cut a safe version of the trailer, they can cut a safe film too. Completely neglecting the fact that cutting a trailer is A LOT different from cutting a film. There’s a trailer out there that shows what Mary Poppins would be like as a horror. Now I’m just going to sit here and wait whilst you watch that. Pretty good, right? Quite effective? Now imagine making the entire film a horror movie.

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No, bad Deadpool! That would be a bad idea

So apparently the kid might hate the mother because she won’t take him to see the film? Who gives a shit. It’s your job as a parent to occasionally be hated. You can give your child everything you want or you can spend every morning punching them in the face, at some point in their life they are going to end up telling you they hate your guts, and your face, your stupid, stupid face.

Just because your kid wants to do something doesn’t mean the rest of the world should cater to them, if your child wants to shoot me in the face should I stand still and hand them the gun in case I upset their dewicate wittle sensibilities? (It’s actually extremely hard to baby-fy the word “sensibilities”). During the production of this film a lot of online chatter was about one thing “this film is going to suck”. You know why people were saying that? Not because they hated the character, but because they worried the studio wouldn’t have the testicular fortitude to publish the version they should, a version with blood and swear words. Well, they’ve done that version, and people are genuinely excited about it. I haven’t seen this much excitement for a non Star Wars film in a long time (although part of that might be because of the excellent marketing). The fans want this version of Deadpool as it’s the version that’s closest to the heart of the character.

It also shows a basic misunderstanding of how cinemas work. A lot of times a film will only be shown on one screen, they’re not going to put Star Wars in the same screen they use for obscure Polish cinema about heart surgeons.

So for this to work you’re asking one of two things:

  1. The cinema’s run less films.
  2. They do less showings of the “adult” version (a.k.a: the version most people want to see).

Asking for this is like asking for a kid friendly version of “50 Shades”, for it to work it’s going to be so heavily neutered that it will be pointless. Or as Ryan Reynolds said when he was asked about it:

“That would be a very short movie. It’s almost a commercial at that point”

I am somewhat skeptical of this though, as was pointed out earlier, it’s not the mother who started the petition, it was someone else. But it’s the mother that’s getting all the flack, she just wrote a letter asking them to consider it, it’s someone else who took it seriously. The “someone else” shall remain nameless in this blog for one reason: I think her motives are dubious. It’s a youtuber who is also a part-time actress. So there’s a small part of me that thinks she knows how  much people would hate this idea, but they’d watch her video anyway, so she’d get lots of views and increase revenue, and she gets her name and youtube channel mentioned in thousands of media outlets around the world. But no, I’m not falling for that, just to be safe: don’t watch anything on youtube (unless it’s our stuff, then go ahead, we’re awesome, funny, and we’re not censoring Deadpool).

Films to look Forward to in 2016

Batman V Superman: March 25

PHDHoUG4AUNdHI_1_lBecause despite the last trailer giving WAY too much away, who isn’t going to see this film? It’s Batman fighting Superman…for at least a third of the film anyway. And despite that trailer there’s still hope. The idea that Batman is turned against Superman because of the chaos he caused in Man of Steel is good screenwriting; it makes sense from a character point and helps bring the films together. The casting is also very solid, with Batfleck actually looking to be one of the best iterations of the Dark Knight yet. But we all still need to take a step back to wait and see whether Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor is the trainwreck everyone is HOPING it will be, or whether like Keaton and Ledger before him he will turn in a great performance despite the naysayers. I have no idea, but I at least love how much fun he seems to be having.

 

Deadpool: February 10

I limited this list to only Deadpool_postertwo superhero films because I didn’t want it to be inundated with them, and I wanted this to be a cut away from a lot of most anticipated lists by not just focusing on the big blockbusters coming our way (but saying that I am looking forward to Civil War and Dr Strange).
Now Deadpool; the reason I chose this over the many superhero flicks of 2016 is because this is by far the riskiest. R rated, fourth wall breaking, X-Men Movie universe expanding, and Ryan Reynolds’ starring; it’s had the best advertising campaign of any superhero film that manages to introduce the character while staying true to his roots, and is being made by people who clearly care deeply about making it an authentic adaptation. So let’s hope all those good intentions don’t pave the way to hell this time.

 

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Hail, Caesar!: February 26

Because it’s the Coen brothers (who I’m not the biggest fan of so not just dick sucking), doing a satire of the golden age of Hollywood with an all-star cast of old (Clooney and Brolin) and new talent (Hill and Tatum), with a the truly Coeny plot about a Charlton Heston type movie star being kidnapped, and the hapless Hollywood fixer who has to find him. It should be a very gaudy picture, with its only hurdle to clear is the early February release date, which could be a) a sign that the Coen’s just don’t give a shit, or b) the studio wants to drop it where no one will see it. We will see.

 

 

 

Everybody Wants Some: May 13

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His first film since his cinematic milestone and masterpiece Boyhood, Linklater returns to his stoner roots, with the spiritual sequel to possibly the best hangout film ever, Dazed and Confused; the 70s set stoner comedy that always found the chuckles, but never lost the poignancy of leaving your teenhood behind. This latest outing is set in the 80s and picks up exactly where Boyhood left off (if a few decades earlier) with a group of teens (played by refreshingly unknown actors) integration into their first year of college life and their college baseball team. Now this doesn’t sound that different from your typical stoner/gross out comedy of today, but with Linklater’s sensitive directing and thoughtful mind for youth and character, what sounds like a typical set up will (hopefully) be another timelessly funny and heartfelt film that captures that moment between teenhood, everything else, and who knows what.

 

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: November 18

I like the Harry Potter films about as much as the next guy, I grew up with them. But honestly I might be looking forward to this more than any of those films, because I always found the most fascinating part of them to be the world itself. And now we have a film set in that world, Seventy years before the original films (so in the 20s), set in New York, led by one of the best young British actors working today Eddie Redmayne, and was penned by J.K Rowling herself…I’m shocking myself how game I am for this film, and you all should be too! It’s Harry Potter without Harry Potter!

 

The Disaster Artist: TBA

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The adaption from the unsurprisingly hilarious but surprisingly poignant novel about the making of The Room, the infamously best worst movie ever made, but is really about the friendship between its crazy maker Tommy Wiseau and his co-star Greg Sestero. Produced by Seth Rogan and directed by James Franco (who with his directing record doesn’t scream hope), but with a screenplay adapted by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, the screenwriters behind The Fault in Our Stars, The Spectacular Now, and 500 Days of Summer, I became far less worried. And that was before the all-star cast started flocking to it like moths to an eccentric flame. James Franco of course is taking the role of Mr Wiseau himself, and his little brother Dave is Greg, but as well as them; Seth Rogan, Zac Efron, Alison Brie, Sharon Stone, Josh Hutcherson, and Bryan fucking Cranston, are also co-starring. With such a shockingly A-list cast, we can only hope they’ve all gathered because of the strength of the script and talent involved, and nothing less. If Franco can make this even half as good as the novel, this could be one of the best films of 2016.

 

The Nice Guys: May 20

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If my look at Shane Black’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang didn’t give it away, I love Shane Black when he does buddy movies. So it’s great to see him return with what looks like a spiritual sequel (or prequel) to that, with this 70s set dark comedy crime thriller that brings us the inspired pairing of Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling; an enforcer and hapless private eye who team up to find a missing girl and solve the murder of a porn star…how can you not be stoked for that! So let the guilty violence and laughs commence!

 

 

 

 

Moana: November 23

moana-poster-conceitual-camundongoDisney’s next animated film after the disappointing Big Hero 6 (and fuck you it wasn’t that good) brought to us by the directing duo behind some of Disney’s greatest films (Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Treasure Planet) and will follow an ancient Oceania tribal girl as she searches the South Pacific for a fabled island, helped by a demi-god voiced by Dwayne Johnson. Don’t know much beyond that, but with the talent involved we can but hope for another Disney classic, or at least something up there with Tangled and Frozen.

 

 

 

kuboKubo and the two strings: August 19

 

But this is the animated film I’m looking forward to most in 2016! Brought to us by the same team and studio behind the stop-motion masterpieces Coraline and ParaNorman, comes this action fantasy set in ancient Japan about a teenager fighting demons and searching for the magic armor his legendary samurai father once wore….it’s a STOP MOTION ANIME! I MEAN…how can you not be wetting yourself at the awesomeness of that! And with an all-star cast, the talent behind the scenes, and the recent trailer for it, all we can do now is wait and hope.

La La Land: July 15

Stars On The Set Of 'La La Land'

 

A musical dramedy about the romance between a jazz pianist played by Ryan Gosling, and an actress played by Emma Stone, and J.K. Simmons is in it too. Really the only reason this has made the list is that its writer and director Damien Chazelle’s follow up to his jaw-breakingly great Whiplash. Whether he’ll be able to live up to that will have to be seen, but I find it a good sign he appears to be going for a very different vibe for this film.

 

 

High-Rise: March 18High_Rise_2014_Film_Poster

The new and probably highest profile film from the bizarre director of Sightseers, A Field in England, and Kill List (the only of his films I have seen), Ben Wheatley; and stars Tom Hiddleston as the newest resident in a self-contained block of highrise apartments with a vicious classiest system, in this dark comedy Sci-fi thriller…or something like that. Co-starring Jeremy Irons and Elisabeth Moss, there is still a bit of mystery about this film, for all those who haven’t read the books it’s adapted from, as the advertisement has done a good job in being vague on plot but specific on tone and style. And with early release reviews beginning to come in I’m seeing almost equal people calling it a failed attempt at something grand, or hailing it as a masterpiece. So I’m glad its release date isn’t too far into this year, before we get a chance to judge for ourselves whether Mr Hiddleston has been using his Marvel down time on worthy projects.

Live by Night: October 7

2E0BBB1A00000578-3300941-image-a-62_1446500565850Ben Affleck finally took a break from acting to get back to his much more interesting career as a director, with this follow up to Argo. Adapted from another Dennis Lehane novel like his first and best film Gone Baby Gone, it’s a period crime thriller that follows the prodigal son of a police captain as he becomes a bootlegger and later a gangster legend. Again here because of the director and writer’s track record, he’s currently three for three on great thrillers, and I doubt Affleck’s in a hurry to break the streak; especially with his next directorial project being the first solo Batman film in the new DCCU. And that’s before mentioning that Mr Leonardo Dicaprio has taken on a producer hat for it.

Of course these are only vague predictions on what will be some of the best films in the coming year, as we all know that best films tent to come out of nowhere with a sharp left hook, not let us see it coming from months away.

Alan Rickman

As soon as I heard I tried to find a good clip on youtube. One which summed up his career, but it’s really really hard to find that one role which defines it. It’s even hard to do a top five  list,  it’s hard to even narrow it down to five. You’re going to have to leave one of the following out:

  1. Severus Snape
  2. Marvin The Paranoid Android (not the greatest film, but he was amazing in it)
  3. Hans Gruber
  4. Alexander Dane (from Galaxy Quest)
  5. The metatron
  6. Sheriff of Nottingham

Even once you’ve narrowed it down, how on earth do you rank them? Almost every single one of those performances could be considered a career best for most people. And each one required different skills, you couldn’t put one of the characters from one into another film (although try to picture Snape in Die Hard, it’s hilarious, and it would have meant no more sequels).

Random fact: he was never nominated for an Academy Award. People think that Leonardo DiCaprio never winning is a travesty, but Rickman, (or to give him his full name: Alan Fucking Rickman) was never even nominated. It’s just so weird to take the awards seriously knowing that, I mean, Shakespeare In Love has seven awards for f*cks safe.

I know that shot at that film may have been a bit rude, but it’s really really hard to write this. How do you sum up his career in a pithy line? How do you adequately capture what he meant to everybody? I feel the best way to do this is with inspiration. Remember this; He was a struggling 40 something actor when he was first cast in Die Hard. Nobody really knew who he was, all the things we love him for he did after the age of 40. Remember that: don’t give up because of age, because even in a young mans game, talent can still shine through. Pick up that pen and write, pick up that guitar and play, just do something. Don’t look back and thank “what if?” And don’t do it half-heartedly, write until you’ve bared your soul onto the page, play until your fingers bleed, and love until your heart hurts.

I don’t want to end this like an infomercial: but please, please donate what you can to www.cancerresearchuk.org, first Bowie, now Rickman, please give what you can to make sure there’s no third one.

 

Thank you

Films Worth Seeing from 2015: The Serious ones

Dramas(ish)

Inside Out

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Yeah I’m putting this in the drama section; go fuck yourselves if you disagree. For every laugh out loud moment, which there are a few; Pixar’s latest masterpiece is littered with heartfelt and moving moments that will warm the cockles of your aging bitter heart and will make you cry. The idea behind it is amazing and while the plot it follows isn’t anything new, it’s execution is near flawless. I knew from the opening melody of the main theme Bundle of Joy (my pick for best original score of the year), that this film was going to be exactly what everyone wanted from a Pixar film, and it was.

Steve Jobs

steve-jobs-posterProbably the most intense and thrilling film of the year, and not one shot is fired and not one car is chased, it never goes beyond people just talking (and screaming). Set in three real-time acts spread across the 1970s-1990s, this film gets to the heart of Steve Jobs the man/the character (he was quite a dick it turns out), and the heart of what it means to be innovative and push the boundary of what technology can be for people. Thrilling, heartstopping, emotional, and surprisingly beautiful to look at, Steve Jobs is a breath of fresh airconditioned air for the Biopic genre…and the fact it made less that jObs is just depressing.

 

Youth

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Another funny but heartfelt film that is a meditation on fame, but even more so is about aging, love, and parenting. Directed by Italian autor Paolo Sorrentino, it’s led by a best in decades Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel, as two friends at a Swiss retreat in the Alps trying to keep their lives going. Now this is a bit of a tricky film to talk about, as its light on plot and heavy on strange things happening and characters reacting to them. So just trust me that Youth is a beautiful film and the kind of bold artistic statement that makes you glad that the studio process still lets creatives work their magic on us.

Spotlight

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An in-depth investigative drama that follows the journalist team who uncovered the Child abuse coverups by the Catholic Church in the early 2000s; and it will piss you off for all the right reasons. I’m a sucker for a good investigation film, like Zodiac or All The Presidents Men, and this was no different. Though I don’t think it’s up there with Zodiac, this is still a very well written and compelling drama/thriller that step by step will take you through the disturbing looking glass. Led by a stellar cast of Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams and more, this film is a masterclass of restrained filmmaking and acting. With a topic as hot as this, Spotlight could have easily become an over-dramatic spotlight-S_070416_rgblifetime mess, but director Tom McCarthy made the wise choice of keeping everything restrained, realistic, and beautifully drab (never has a cast of A-listers looked so normal), all so the facts can speak for themselves, and they scream.

 

The End of the tour

film-sundance-end-of-the-tour-first-look-2b1b02c3b573cbe3Already talked about this in our 2015 Film Awards, where it was one of the films awarded with best picture, but I’ll talk briefly about it here. It’s a funny and heartfelt road movie that meditates on fame, creativity, and loneliness, through the indepth and witty conversations of its protagonists. Whether you know David Foster Wallace’s work or not, this is an accessible and great film.

Wild

WILD_movie_posterFollow a mesmerizing Reese Witherspoon on a thousand mile hike as she flashes back to the different traumatizing points in her life that led her to the hike. It’s a compelling character film of the purist nature, and with a combination of a great soundtrack, editing, and sound-editing, is the best film I have ever seen capture the feeling of fleeting thought.
But this is a bit of a divisive film it appears, depending completely on whether you like the main character, as she is not really a good person; and not in the love to hate them way, but in a realistic way. I did like her, or at least I was engaged by her, while my fellow Troubled Production’s producer did not, leading to me putting this as one of the best films of 2015, while he put it as one of his worst. (See his personal blog here).

99 Homes

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Michael Shannon is on terrifying form as a realtor looking to make money during the housing crises of 2010, and Andrew Garfield finally acts his age to heart-breaking effect, as a single father kicked-out of his home by Shannon, and taken under the corrupt realtor’s wing. Another film that finds it’s intensity in its emotions; this film grabs you by the throat and keeps you electrified as you watch a normal man grapple for his morality and his fall to ‘the darkside’ as it’s the only way to provide for his family.

 

 

Brooklyn

file_610952_brooklyn-poster-640x951The second Nick Hornby script on this list (the first was Wild), and it just shows you the versatility of his writing. In 1950’s an Irish immigrant moves to Brooklyn (go figure) where she finds love, life, and a future, but then finds herself torn between the life she wants in America and the life everyone else wants for her back in Ireland. Much more a classic Hollywood romance (in all the right ways) and less the love triangle bollocks the trailers made it look to be, this is really a beautiful film about striving to achieve your own happiness, and who you’re willing to hurt to keep it.

Films Worth Seeing from 2015: The other genres

Action/adventure/thriller
(or everything else)

Sicario

The best kind of thriller; nailbiting, bleak, and full of characters you actually give a shit about. The director of the amazing Prisoners and Enemy solidifies his place in the Western filmmaking world with this all-star thrill-ride. Hosting an Oscar worthy Emily Blunt, a shit-ya-pants Benicio del Toro, asicario_ver8_xlgnd an oddly chilled out Josh Brolin who adds the much needed levity between all the torture and mutilation. Directed with a Finchian level of detail and pristine, it follows by the books SWAT officer Emily Blunt as she is submerged into the murky work of the War on Drugs, and is tasked along with the mysterious Benicio del Toro to bring down the head of the Mexican Cartel. Sticking well clear of action tropes this isn’t a glorious, FUCK-Yah-‘Merica tale of beating the bad guy, this is a twisted, gritty, and dark morality tale that tells us that rarely the right thing to do, is the best thing to do.

 

 

The Martian

17vZ0fzI know this is basically a comedy, but it is also an intense Sci-fi thriller and if I didn’t put it here this section would be pretty spare. Ridley Scott’s best film in years (though I think I’m the only guy with a soft spot for The Counsellor), is a beautifully shot adventure following a marooned astronaut on Mars and his optimistic fight for survival. Now I don’t think there’s much more I can say about this, its just a damn good film, Matt Damon reminds us why he’s a superstar, and “Science the shit out of this” is destined to become an obnoxious over used phrase. But what allot of people I think fail to mention, is just how damn fun the Earth team is. Yeah the focus is on Damon, but maxresdefaultJeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor and their team on Earth are just as engaging to watch as they have to ‘Science the shit out of it’ there end, to work out how to get to Damon before he dies. If you haven’t caught it already, it’s more than worth the two hour plus run time.

 

 

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Screw the next film on this list, THIS was the funnest action film of the Kingsman_The_Secret_Service_posteryear. Essentially a spy flick parody with a real plot and its gun barrel firmly planted in its cheek; it’s bloody, stylish, and with a perfect twee British sense of humour. It’s like if the Pythons directed a James Bond flick, but not without some studio supervision. Taron Egerton proves himself a bankable action lead and rising star in Hollywood, and I can’t wait to see where he goes next; while Colin Firth does a clean 180 and flawlessly reinvents himself as a very convincing action star without losing an of his preppy Britishness we’ve come to love and treasure. The bad rep this seems to be getting from some critics should be completely ignored as high-brow snobbery and the last thing I’ll say is go in expecting something silly but amazing, and be ready for some ultra-violence

mad-max-fury-road
Mad Max: Fury Road

Because it Mad Max fucking Fury Road. The action is kinetic, Charlize Theron is jaw dropping, and it tells us more about it’s world with barely any dialogue than three Star Wars prequels could. What else needs to be said?

 

 

 

Ex Machina

Ex-Machina

God damn I love me some good old Sci-fi mind fuckary, and I love Oscar Isaac. This was his other big Sci-Fi film of the year, you know apart from…you-know-what, and in my opinion it’s the stronger of the two. In almost every way a closed box thriller, Domhnall Gleeson plays a dweeby programmer brought to an underground house by his eccentric bro-y boss to perform a turing test on a Female robot he’s created, and work out if she really can feel. And from that it breaks out into a tense psychological game of cat and mouse and fox, and I won’t ruin who gets eaten.

 

 

Ant-Man

Ant-Man-Comic-Con-PosterWho knew the best super-hero film of 2015 would be Ant-Man. Plagued with production issues for years, worst of all being the walk out of geek god Edgar Wright from directing, but despite all that Ant-Man STILL came out kicking. Helped by a great cast led by an always loveable Paul Rudd and an enjoyably cranky Michael Douglas, Ant-Man found its strength by keeping the comedy present throughout, in character scenes, exposition scenes, and action scenes, it always stays funny. Which makes it’s few moments of seriousness hit that much harder, him shrinking to the quantum realm was truly amazing, and gave the film the weight it needed. Is it perfect? Far from it; but it was a fun ride, with good action, and a much needed breath of fresh air for the quickly staling Marvel verse.

 

482955It Follows
Easily the best horror film of the year. A real 80’s throw back to the likes of Halloween and Nnightmare on elm street, you can practically see Wes Craven’s fingerprints. With a focus on building atmosphere and tension over moderns mindless jumpscares, an actually likeable cast, and an intriguing story, It Follows will leave you glancing over your shoulder and watching off into the mid-distance.

 

 

 

 

 

Tomorrowland

tl_busshelter_frank_v3_lgDoes this have problems? Yes. Are all of them made up for by pure retro-charm and heart? YES. I don’t know what people went in expecting with this film; some epic Sci-Fi drama that would change the world itself? Who knows? But if you went in just looking for entertainment, you got it in space-spades. A glories throwback to science fiction films of the 1940-50’s when the future was still fun, Tomorrowland may be slow to launch, but when it does it rockets through so many awesome set pieces, ideas, and so much enjoyable pseudoscience and alternate history bollocks , you can’t help but be charmed. Britt Robertson proves herself to be more than Jennifer Lawrence light, George Clooney shows he can wear the old curmudgeonanigif_optimized-19156-1425927260-1 hat with panache, and Raffey Cassidy is becoming one of the most unique child stars acting today. Is it a perfect film, no, but not everything has to be! We seem to be living in a world where if something isn’t ‘#tHeBeSTThInG_EVEEER’ then it’s terrible…No. Not everything has to be perfect in every aspect if it wasn’t trying to be. This film wanted to be nothing more than a fun family adventure with a good message, and it was hung because that’s all it was.

 

 

Oh and like Star Wars happened I guess. It was pretty good.2015-12-16-1450300622-8118374-Star_Wars.png

Films Worth Seeing from 2015: The funny ones

Instead of a normal top ten list of the best films of 2015, here’s a list of film worth a watch from 2015, separated by genre and in now real order.

The Comedies (or the next best thing)

People, Places, Thingspeople-places-things-alternative-poster-2.jpg

A little seen but a very affectionate film that follows a witty but depressed cartoonist trying to be a single father and bounce back from his divorce. Now it doesn’t sound that different from your atypical rom-com shlock, but with a sensitive script that knows how to pluck your heartstrings to make you laugh and feel, and a surprisingly nuanced turn from Jemaine Clement (of Flight of the concords’ fame) and his chemistry with everyone he shares the screen with, People, Places, Things, becomes the movie equivalent of an awkward bear hug and a nice cup of coffee.

 

Mistress America

mistress_america_poster_midnight_marauder_2The second film this year from Indie director superstar Noah Baumbach, after his critically acclaimed While We’re Young, which was…okay. But he makes up for it here in this sharply funny and very earnest film about adult life, facing your limitations, and the fact that the people who act the happiest rarely really are. All as seen from the POV of an introverted university student as she gets to know her new manic pixy hipster step-sister. Again a bit of a plot-less film, but the shear energy Greta Gerwig brings to her role, and the zany dynamic she and every other character has, takes this film and its characters to a whole other level, and then turns the comedy around to look at the tragedy of it all. It’s possibly his best work since The Squid and the Wale.

The Big Short

the-big-short-movie-posters-001.jpg~original.jpgFrom the director of Anchorman of all people comes the other awesome investigative film of the year, and don’t believe the trailers, that is what this film is. Selling itself as some form of Ocean’s 11 but about the 2008 Credit Crunch, what this film actually turned out to be is a very in-depth and detailed look into all the fraud and corruption the Bank’s did to cause the financial crash. And it’s told from three different parties separately looking into it, each group led by an outstanding Christian Bale, Steve Carell, and Brad Pitt. But the trailer didn’t completely lie; this is a comedy (if a thrilling emotional one), with most of the big laughs coming from an enjoyably

Picture1.pngsleazy Ryan Gosling who narrates the film while also having his own place in it, trying to explain to us the inner workings of stock broking, and introduces some ridiculous celebrity cameos. Surprisingly well directed, and masterfully written and acted, it has a few bums and clunks in its tone, but is much more than the fast and funny caper the trailer tried to sell it as.

The Voices

This being Troubled Production’s other producer’s favorite film of 2015, I’d8345_poster_iphone of felt bad if I didn’t mention it somewhere, but that’s far from the biggest reason it’s here. The Voices is a delightfully quirky black comedy from the director of Persepolis (because of course), led by a possibly career best Ryan Reynolds as a mentally ill serial killer who talks to his dog and cat. If that doesn’t sell it to you, nothing will. This film revels, revels, in its warped quirky darkness, and manages to be simultaneously, outlandishly funny, disturbingly dramatic, and just plain charmingly odd because of it. It’s a film with a bonafide destiny to be a cult classic, for the people who like their comedy, dark, violent, and silly. And with this, thevoices0002

Mississippi Grind, and a hopefully awesome Deadpool, let’s hope the underrated Mr Reynolds is back on the rise.

 

 

The Diary of a Teenage Girl

8c9eb37b259f536f6381af56983f06baThe oddest but most accurate description I’ve heard for this 70s set coming of age dramedy, is that it’s the spiritual sequel to Inside Out…now they don’t mean that the titular teenage girl has a bunch of voices in her head, but is instead referring to that it follows the growing development of a young soon to be woman. As Inside Out ends with Riley on the cusp of teenhood, The diary of a teenage Girl picks up a few years later with a fifteen year old girl’s sexual awakening (forgive me for using the word sexual in the same sentence as Inside Out), and that’s what the film is about in a nutshell; sex. It’s about the first time and the times after that, it’s about becoming comfortable with yours and other’s bodies; Picture2it’s about experimenting and working out what gets you off, and then finding the limits. And I have SUCH respect for this film, because it’s about a fifteen year old’s sexual awakening and it shows it. There are no cutaways or clever angles, you see all of her, and that adds such authenticity to her and her story; because the fact that the film doesn’t shy away from you, means you don’t shy away from it; through every sweet, funny, and emotional moment, on this journey to the end of innocence and the start of everything else.

Man Up

This is that special romantic comedy large_large_y7C1EQ9zxJ3mlaQeRztw3NVw41Pthat’s the perfect mix of cynicism and cheese ball romance, of those little moments and grand gestures. And is the best non-blockbuster/ Edgar Wright film Simon Pegg has ever done. Following a 30 something woman in a romantic rut, she ends up stealing someone else’s blind date, and going on an amazing date with them instead. Now with that set-up this could have easily turned into a basic liar revealed plot, but I’m happy to say it doesn’t (if it did would it be here), and instead goes off in much sweeter and funnier directions. It’s definitely one of the funniest films of the year, and the perfect date movie for people who hate date movies.

Sleeping with Other people

236272This is just funny. Yeah it’s sweet, raunchy, and romantically mature too at times, but mostly it’s just funny. Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie make a strong double act, playing two sex addicts who start a platonic friendship to try and help each-other deal with their relationship issues, and of course fall in love along the way. So it does get a bit too cliché at the end, but the journey there is so fun and so tastefully raunchy it’s still definitely worth a watch.

 

 

 

Me, and Earl, and the Dying girl

Along with The Big Short, and The me-and-earl-and-the-dying-girl-poster-olivia-cookeDiary of A Teenage Girl, this is the other film pushing the boundary for ‘comedy’ this year. Not because it isn’t funny, it’s filled to the brim with funny teen angst and witticisms, but it’s also about a girl dying of cancer, and this isn’t no Fault in Our Stars shit (I say actually liking that film), and stays far away from schmaltz, opting for a much bleaker and deadpan look at teen life and death, and has no quorum ramping up the seriousness and heart wrench when the time comes. Now it maybe too self-indulgent and referential for some people and it definitely reeks of 90’s teen dramedy at times, but past that I found a very earnest and true look at teen life on the outside and at dealing with death, that really captures the teenage voice.

Top 5

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Oh and Top 5 was pretty funny. Forgot about that one till I just came to post this.