Some recent films I’ve seen

by Toby Woollaston

Thought I’d briefly mention some films I’ve seen lately:

Source code – Futuristic film noir that is ho hum. I had expected more from Duncan Jones (Moon). Not worth watching.

Moonrise Kingdom – Everything you’d expect from Wes Anderson. Funny, quirky, and interesting.

Inside Llewyn Davis – The Coen brothers latest is a low key film. Great performances. I expect so much from the Coen’s and somehow they have yet to disappoint.

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson’s latest is more of the same … so yes, another thumbs up. Ralph Fiennes superb and very funny.

Enemy – Jake Gyllenhaal is great in this psychological thriller. This is an impressive film directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners). It cleverly skirts the edge of comprehensibility and when the penny drops (for me the morning after) the true genius of this film becomes clear … very rewarding. (Think Fight Club, Momento, etc.)

Boyhood – Possibly the film of the year. Linklatter shows a masterclass of story telling. It was pleasant to be utterly engrossed in a film without the unnecessary distractions of visual gimickery and fancy cinematography that many other films makers would’ve otherwise insisted upon. A truly wonderful film!

The Congress – This film had me in parts. Ari Folman’s (Waltz with Bashir) film is perhaps the antithesis of Boyhood. Full of interesting visual hullabaloo, but I found it hard to keep up … I was unsure if I was even supposed to keep up. Really good in parts, and quite different, but on the whole it lost me somewhere … a bit like Robin Wright’s character I guess.

Maps to the Stars – David Cronenberg has disappointed me of late. I had hoped that this was going to be a return to form. Unfortunately, no. I found this film to be clinical and lifeless. However, others have raved about it … so maybe it is a matter of taste.

20,000 Days of Earth – A day in the life of Nick Cave. A little bit staged in parts and it is most certainly guilty of navel-gazing. Nonetheless, it is wonderfully shot and quite an interesting look at the man. His philosophical rantings are great, if not a little too much for 90 minutes of my attention.

Snowpiercer – Worth seeing for Tilda Swinton’s performance alone. Joon-o Bong brings a definite Korean flavour to this interesting sci-fi blast. Shades of Terry Gilliam in style.

The Young and the Prodigious T.S. Spivet – Finally I was able to take the kids to a film festival release. They loved this. Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie). Was perhaps a little twee in parts.

Beneath the Skin – Wow! This is a unique film that has to be experienced. I won’t do it any justice by waxing lyrical about it here. A brilliant film.

The Trip – Steve Coogan and Rob Bryden are funny guys. On a road trip around the north of England, they play themselves as restaurant critics. This film was a real surprise because, yes, it is absolutely hilarious in parts, but also it was a real authentic and honest look at themselves. Good film and I’m looking forward to their next one together set in Italy

Calvary – Perhaps a little too smart for it’s own good. However, Brendon Gleeson makes this film into something worth seeing.

We Need to Talk about Kevin – Not for the faint of heart. Again, Tilda Swinton is amazing. This film is a vivid portrayal of the mother of a seriously disturbed child. Very good film.

All is Lost – J.C. Chandor’s second outing after the superb Margin Call. This film follows the misfortunes of a boat wrecked Robert Redford lost in the Indian Ocean. Nice film with an end that can be interpreted two ways.

Edge of Tomorrow – Heaps of fun. Really enjoyed this. Nuff said.

Blue Jasmine – Finally caught up with this and thought it was great. Cate Blanchett shows her immense acting chops. Both poignant and funny. Good balance.