1. Blue Jasmine - HIT
I haven't seen many Woody Allen films but I was particularly interested in this one for two main reasons. One, the protagonist was a woman, Cate Blanchett, who doesn't normally play this type and she was channelling an inner 'Woody Allen' either, like some other previous male actors have done. Two, there was a heavy influence from Tennessee Williams' 'A Streetcar Named Desire' in the film. Upon further reading about the film, I found out that Allen had used 'Streetcar' in his previous films so it was interesting to see how the film played out as I do love that play. As with most melodramas, it was brilliant, pitch perfect but also very depressing. Jasmine, as she calls herself, was the wife of a wealthy businessman who stole money from his clients and so ended up in jail and killed himself. Left with nothing, Jasmine goes to stay with her flighty sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins, also brilliant, playing against type). The sisters are close but continuous point out each others painfully obvious flaws. The plot line, sometimes veers towards being too 'Streetcar' but before it can get too serious, Allen, reigns the characters back in. It's a brilliant film and it is true what all the critics and people say. But it is quite depressing and amusing at the same time.
2. The Double - HIT
Click here to read about The Double.
3. Inside Llewyn Davis - HIT
Click here to read about Inside Llewyn Davis.
4. May in the Summer - HIT
Click here to read about May in the Summer. The film actually doesn't have an official poster yet, at least not one I can find.
5. Hide Your Smiling Faces - Maybe
This is Daniel Patrick Carbone debut feature film and I actually saw this, courtesy of my friend who had a spare ticket at the BFI Film Festival. Partially crowd funded by friends, family and supporters, the story is about two brothers growing up in a rural town in America. The film follows what happens to the brothers in the wake of a tragic death of one of their friends'. Focusing on the young actors instead of the investigation in to the mysterious death made the film feel disbanded. The brothers are supposed to be a part of that story but instead they choose to rebel, in a quiet, sometimes vengeful way. The scenes where is it just the two brothers are captivating, but when others are included, the magic seems to disappear. Carbone mentioned in the Q&A that when he wrote the film, he included his own experiences from childhood, or at least included elements. This is very much 'a personal film'. Upon reflection, it felt that there had been something missing from the film, which was a shame as the two young actors who played the brothers (Ryan Jones and Nathan Varnson) were so believable as close siblings.
6. The Zero Theorem - Maybe
Click here to read about The Zero Theorem.
7. Hello Carter - HIT
No poster unfortunately but apart from that I really enjoyed this film. Originally a short film with a slightly different cast, director/writer Anthony Wilcox made the feature film. I also saw this at the BFI Film Festival and just before the screening I got some very good news so I was definitely read y for this comedy drama about Carter (Charlie Cox). Wilcox, before the film, described it as a love note to London and that is definitely the message that got through. London, I think should be celebrated more on film and this film delivers that and an amusing story. Carter is down on his luck. He is still pinning for his ex who broke up with him a year ago, he's sleeping on his brother's sofa and he doesn't have a job. But after a chance encounter with his ex's brother on the tube, the next 24 hours certainly change him. I laughed out loud several times and not just because the man sitting next to me projected his laugh into my ear, the characters felt genuine. The scene at the recruitment office was particularly funny as I have experienced exactly that meeting many a time. I think I saw this film at the perfect time as I myself have been job hunting for a few months so knew how poor Carter felt. There was also a great action/chase scene, involving some expert driving/reversing around a London car park. Wilcox commented after the film that that scene was originally meant to be an epic car chase across town but for budget reasons it became the perfect scene in the film. Brilliant cast, especially Charlie Cox as Carter who appears in, I'm sure, every single scene. A great British low key comedy drama. #BFI #HelloCarter
8. The Fifth Estate - HIT
I am loving the fact that there was another Daniel Bruhl film out so soon after 'Rush'. I felt spoilt when I saw the poster and the trailer, Cumberbatch AND Bruhl in the same film. Hit the jack pot! At least, that is what I thought. Don't misunderstand me, the film brilliant, it sucked me in, I couldn't think about anything else for ages after. But, Cumberbatch literally became Julian Assange and that man repulses me. Even more so after this film. I can see why Assange had asked Cumberbatch not to do the film. For someone who didn't really know about the WikiLeaks fiasco a few years ago, I found this film fascinating and it also made me feel incredibly stupid for missing it first time round. Described by someone as 'the anti-social network' was spot on. The story begins with Assange and Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Bruhl) meeting in 2007. From there they begin to work together to bring WikiLeaks to the forefront of news. Receiving anonymous leaks from around the globe. By 2010, the site has leaked information such as the membership list for the British National Party, Scientology secrets and Sarah Palin's personal information. Tensions between Assange and Domscheit-Berg come to a head when Bradley Manning leaks thousands of documents to WikiLeaks. Assange insists on leaking the documents immediately to stop interference from the US government. But the other WikiLeaks volunteers insist on redacting names to protect identities. It is a very intense film. Both leads are brilliant, they envelop themselves into the characters, which you don't always see when films are made about real people, especially those who are still recent and alive. A truly brilliant engaging film, right to the end. I also got a little thrill from the scenes shot in Berlin. Having visited the city two years ago, I got to say 'I've been there' especially in the scenes shot in The Kunsthaus Tacheles building.