Paul Dano’s directorial debut Wildlife is a contender in this years London Film Festival’s First Feature Competitionand follows the downfall of a marriage between Joe (Jake Gyllenhaal; Nightcrawler, End of Watch) and Jeanette (Carey Mulligan; Never Let Me Go) during the 1950’s. We see this mainly through they eyes of their teenage son, Joe (Ed Oxenbould; The Visit, Better Watch Out), who is caught in the middle and watch how he handles everything. The film is visually beautiful and slowly begins to unravel into something you are helpless to stop. Gyllenhaal knocks it out of the park once again but it’s Mulligan and Oxenbould who shine bright in a film that smartly never becomes as bleak as it’s subject matter.
Writer-Director Johnny Herbin tackles a subject better suited to a full length feature but manages to make it click into a tight 7 minute run time. While there’s a slight feeling of being left wanting more, beautiful cinematography and a story that takes us on a journey at a natural pace help this short film become a success.
From the opening upside down cinematography, you sense American Animals is going to be something wildly unique. Following the contradicting accounts of the four real life members of one the strangest heists to ever occur, this crime drama weaves in and out of being a semi documentary and deliver one of the best edge of your seat rides to grace cinema screens all year.
Starting in Jamaica 1973 and taking us all the way to Hackney 10 years later, Idris Elba’s directorial debut follows D (played by the insanely impressive Aml Ameen) who grows up in the midst of a gang war in Kingston. After suffering first hand through this war, he soon becomes involved with King Fox (Sheldon Shepard), a music producer and don of Kingston. D is sent to London to finalise a drug deal, but things begin spiralling out of control and with the reappearance of his childhood love, D must choose which path he wants to walk down.
Winner of Best First Feature at this year’s Independent Spirit Awards, Ingrid Goes West was a film I really wanted to see last year. But, as is always the case with independent films, it wasn’t on at any of my local cinemas. Almost a year later, I finally managed to catch Matt Spicer’s directorial debut. I was very, very impressed.
Winner of Best Director at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Pawel Pawlikowski’s latest is a glorious love story that follows Zula (Joanna Kulig) and Wiktor (Thomasz Kot), who begin a passionate relationship during the 1950’s Cold War in Poland. Due to politics, mistakes and unforseen circumstances, they are separated and reunited many times. It’s an impossible love story set during an impossible time that takes us all over Europe with a score and cinematography to die for.
Unlike seemingly everyone else, I didn’t grow up on Winnie the Pooh. I knew the characters and, to an extent, I do really like them (especially Eeyore) but I don’t have those nostalgic memories with them. By reading this, you can probably guess what I thought of the film, but I do feel it’s an important piece of information to take into consideration whilst reading my review. Yes, the film didn’t work that for me which is a real disappointment as I really wanted to love Christopher Robin. A lack of emotional moments, a really bland story as well as a surprisingly depressing first half all led to me not connecting with the film in the same way that most of my screening did.
Any other MCU fans out there still not over …Infinity War? Me neither, but thankfully we’ve got the latest in the ever expanding universe to hold us over. Ant-Man was something of a surprise hit back in 2015, but I was never as sold on it as everyone else. I thought it was a fun but pretty forgettable film and definitely not up to the standard of the rest of the MCU. The sequel sees Hope (Evangeline Lilly) suit up as the titular Wasp (also becoming the first female superhero to be in the title of an MCU film – finally) this time around and, with the help of her Dad (Michael Douglas) and Scott (Paul Rudd), attempt to save her Mother (Michelle Pheiffer) from the Quantum Relm (something set up in the original film). Without a change of director half way through and the need to set up future instalments, AM&TW (as no one is calling it) is an improvment over it’s predeccessor. However, it still feels a lot less audacious than other MCU films.
Set on a family farm in France during 1915, Xavier Beauvois’ films sees the men of the family leave to go and fight whilst the women are left behind to care for the farm. When the workload gets too tough, Hortense Sandrail (Nathalie Baye) decides to hire a farmhand named Francine Riant (Iris Bry) to help during the harvest season. Once Hortense’s son returns from the war, he begins to fall in love with Francine. The Guardians is proof that there’s still life in the overused “love story during the war” trope and also tackles the impact returning from the fight has as well as articulating the strength and resolve of the women left to tend the farm perfectly.
The Academy just dropped the ball big time. Not content with making one change that annoys the film industry, they’ve made three! None of them however have caused as much noise as the idea to introduce an award for achievement in popular film. There are a lot of reasons why this is a dreadful move and I’m here to vent about a few of them.