Friday, 19 December 2014

For what it's worth...



Top Ten Films at the UK Box Office   
for the weekend of December 12-14, 2014: 
 
 
1 (new) The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (12A)
2 (1) Paddington (PG) ****
3 (2) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (12A)
4 (3) Penguins of Madagascar (U) ***
5 (4) The Imitation Game (12A) ***
6 (7) Get Santa (U)
7 (new) Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Never Beast (U) **
8 (8) Nativity 3: Dude, Where's My Donkey?! (U)
9 (5) Horrible Bosses 2 (15)
10 (6) Interstellar (12A) **

(source: theguardian.com)
 

My top five:   
1. Kon-Tiki
2. Guys and Dolls
3. The Face of Love
4. The Great Museum
5. The Circle/Der Kreis


Top Ten DVD rentals:  
 
 
1 (1) Guardians of the Galaxy (12) **
2 (2) The Inbetweeners 2 (15) ***
3 (3) Maleficent (PG) ***
4 (4) Transformers: Age of Extinction (12)
5 (new) 22 Jump Street (15) ***
6 (5) The Expendables 3 (15)
7 (7) Edge of Tomorrow (12) ***
8 (6) Hercules (12)
9 (9) Monty Python: (Mostly) Live (15)
10 (8) Planes: Fire & Rescue (U) *** 
 
(source: lovefilm.com)
                                 
 
My top five:  
1. A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness
2. Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For
3. Diplomacy
4. Finding Fela
5. The Congress


Top five films on terrestrial TV this week:   
1. Back to the Future (Christmas Day, ITV1, 10.55am)
2. WALL-E (Christmas Eve, BBC1, 11am)
3. Singin' in the Rain (Boxing Day, BBC2, 1.50pm)
4. The Tree of Life (Monday, C4, 1.55am)
5. The Muppet Christmas Carol [above] (Christmas Eve, C4, 4.50pm)

Saturday, 13 December 2014

For what it's worth...



Top Ten Films at the UK Box Office   
for the weekend of December 5-7, 2014: 
 
 
1 (1) Paddington (PG) ****
2 (2) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (12A)
3 (new) Penguins of Madagascar (U) ***
4 (3) The Imitation Game (12A) ***
5 (4) Horrible Bosses 2 (15)
6 (5) Interstellar (12A) **
7 (new) Get Santa (U)
8 (6) Nativity 3: Dude, Where's My Donkey?! (U)
9 (new) St. Vincent (12A) ***
10 (new) Black Sea (15) **

(source: theguardian.com)
 

My top five:   
1. The Face of Love
2. The Great Museum
3. The Circle/Der Kreis
4. Bringing Tibet Home
5. Mea Culpa


Top Ten DVD rentals:  
 
 
1 (1) Guardians of the Galaxy (12) **
2 (2) The Inbetweeners 2 (15) ***
3 (3) Maleficent (PG) ***
4 (4) Transformers: Age of Extinction (12)
5 (new) The Expendables 3 (15)
6 (7) Hercules (12)
7 (new) Edge of Tomorrow (12) ***
8 (5) Planes: Fire & Rescue (U) *** 
9 (9) Monty Python: (Mostly) Live (15)
10 (6) Mr. Peabody & Sherman (U)
 
(source: lovefilm.com)
                                 
 
My top five:  
1. A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness
2. Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For
3. Diplomacy
4. Finding Fela
5. The Congress


Top five films on terrestrial TV this week:   
1. Boyz N The Hood [above] (Friday, BBC2, 11.35pm)
2. Forbidden Planet (Saturday, BBC2, 12.35am)
3. 10 Things I Hate About You (Sunday, C4, 3pm)
4. Shoot 'Em Up (Friday, five, 10.50pm)
5. Hope Springs (Saturday, C4, 9pm)

"Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Neverbeast" (The Guardian 12/12/14)


Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Neverbeast **
Dir: Steve Loter. Animation with the voices of: Ginnifer Goodwin, Lucy Liu, Mae Whitman. 76 mins. Cert: U

Disney’s fairy franchise flitters on, weaning youngsters on indifferent product so they won’t feel so bad about future Star Wars sequels. This instalment’s Valley Girl Aesop, with the irritatingly diminutised “Tink” plucking a thorn from, and thereafter domesticating, a fearsome cat-creature. Though our heroine remains more self-reliant than most Disney princesses, the film’s too mild to constitute any kind of statement; the animation’s blandly functional, while KT Tunstall’s songs fly straight between the ears. Better than last year’s pirate one, but it still feels like a short padded to feature-length so as to extract more of that sweet 3D surcharge from parents’ pockets. 

Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Neverbeast is now playing in cinemas nationwide.

For your consideration: my Critics' Circle Award votes



Best Actor
1. Haluk Bilginer, Winter Sleep
2. Philip Seymour Hoffman, A Most Wanted Man
3. Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
4. Bill Hader, The Skeleton Twins
5. Chadwick Boseman, Get On Up



Best Actress
1. Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
2. Eun-woo Lee, Moebius
3. Jennifer Lawrence, Serena
4. Julianne Moore, Maps to the Stars
5. Essie Davis, The Babadook



Best Supporting Actor
1. J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
2. Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
3. Blake Harrison, The Inbetweeners 2
4. Nat Wolff, Palo Alto
5. Andrew Scott, The Stag



Best Supporting Actress
1. Marion Bailey, Mr. Turner
2. Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
3. Dorothy Atkinson, Mr. Turner
4. Lorelei Linklater, Boyhood
5. Agata Kulesza, Ida



Best British Actor
1. Timothy Spall, Mr. Turner
2. Ben Whishaw, Lilting and Paddington
3. Jack O'Connell, Starred Up
4. Tom Hardy, Locke
5. Brendan Gleeson, Calvary



Best British Actress
1. Keira Knightley, Begin Again and The Imitation Game
2. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Belle
3. Emily Blunt, Edge of Tomorrow
4. Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
5. Thandie Newton, Half of a Yellow Sun



Young British Performer
1. Alex Lawther, The Imitation Game
2. Oaklee Pendergast, The Woman in Black: Angel of Death
3. Olivia Cooke, The Quiet Ones
4. Noof Ousellam, Leave to Remain
5. Yasmin Mwanza, Leave to Remain



Director of the Year
1. Jonathan Glazer, Under the Skin
2. Mike Leigh, Mr. Turner
3. Gareth Huw Evans, The Raid 2
4. Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
5. Darren Aronofsky, Noah



Screenwriter of the Year
      1. Mike Leigh, Mr. Turner
2. Lars von Trier, Nymphomaniac: Vol. 1
3. Roman Polanski & David Ives, Venus in Fur
4. Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
5. Bruce Wagner, Maps to the Stars



British Breakthrough
1. Hong Khaou, writer-director, Lilting
2. Mike Brett and Steve Jamison, directors, Next Goal Wins
3. Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, writer-directors, 20,000 Days on Earth
4. Destiny Ekaragha, director, Gone Too Far!
5. Elaine Constantine, writer-director, Northern Soul          
      

Friday, 5 December 2014

For what it's worth...



Top Ten Films at the UK Box Office   
for the weekend of November 28-30, 2014: 
 
 
1 (new) Paddington (PG) [above] ****
2 (1) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (12A)
3 (2) The Imitation Game (12A) ***
4 (new) Horrible Bosses 2 (15)
5 (3) Interstellar (12A) **
6 (4) Nativity 3: Dude, Where's My Donkey?! (U)
7 (re) Frozen (PG) **
8 (new) Hockney (15)
9 (5) Mr. Turner (12A) *****
10 (7) The Drop (15) **

(source: theguardian.com)
 

My top five:   
1. 2001: a Space Odyssey
2. Paddington
3. Life Itself  
4. Mea Culpa
5. School of Babel


Top Ten DVD rentals:  
 
 
1 (1) Guardians of the Galaxy (12) **
2 (new) The Inbetweeners 2 (15) *** 
3 (3) Maleficent (PG) ***
4 (2) Transformers: Age of Extinction (12)
5 (new) Planes: Fire & Rescue (U) *** 
6 (new) Mr. Peabody & Sherman (U)
7 (new) Hercules (12)
8 (4) Bad Neighbours (15)
9 (5) Monty Python: (Mostly) Live (15)
10 (new) 300: Rise of an Empire (18) ***
 
(source: lovefilm.com)
                                 
 
My top five:  
1. A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness
2. Diplomacy
3. Finding Fela
4. The Congress
5. The Inbetweeners 2


Top five films on terrestrial TV this week:   
1. Dead Poets Society (Friday, BBC2, 11.35pm)
2. Play Misty for Me (Saturday, ITV1, 11.55pm)
3. Sinister (Sunday, C4, 10pm)
4. Apollo 13 (Sunday, ITV1, 4pm)
5. Casino Royale (Friday, ITV1, 10.40pm)

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Non-stop: "Mea Culpa"


Fred Cavayé may well be the closest the French cinema has to an airport novelist: every few years, this writer-director cranks out another thick-ear thriller that practically begs for translation into a dozen other languages. You'll perhaps know him for Pour Elle/Anything for Her, the 2008 movie that was to inspire the Russell Crowe vehicle The Next Three Days; his latest, Mea Culpa, is even more economically assembled, a brisk ninety minutes of chase scenes, stand-offs and fistfights designed to pick up the maximum number of playtimes per day. The plot, such as it is, concerns two estranged friends and erstwhile colleagues forced to pair up again in the wake of renewed crisis. The reliably lived-in Vincent Lindon plays Simon, a guilt-ridden security guard who lost his detective gig after ploughing his car into a mother and child a few years before; he's obliged to reteam with his partner that fateful day, Gilles Lellouche's seedy, hooker-soliciting Franck, in a bid to protect his young son, who's only gone and witnessed a gangland execution in the bathroom underneath the ring at a bullfight. (Such unlikely confluences are par for the course in Cavayé-world: what's essential is how the film moves - and moves us - past them.)

If you can overlook the fact all involved could now probably knock one of these out in their sleep, there are some very familiar pleasures to be taken here; for maximum enjoyment, you should already have some idea of what you're paying for going in, because - with the exception of a few tweaks to the formula - that's essentially what you're going to get. The conversation between Cavayé and cinematographer Danny Elsen almost certainly went no further than "Metallic blue and slate-grey again, then?" "Oui." Yet this pair do a more than competent job of generating the requisite tension and suspense on some fairly humdrum backstreets. With the exception of one genre-dictated nightclub shootout, there's none of the flashy fuss or pandering of Luc Besson's recent product, and Lindon makes a more convincing meat-and-potatoes hardman than Liam Neeson's dopey, dreamy Celt, who's always looked to me as though he's got half a mind on which Yeats poem he's going to recite at his nemeses' funeral: you completely buy that, to protect his lad, this grizzled type would try to punch a man's face off through his motorbike helmet. The American remake will be a needless 25 minutes longer, and probably omit the nicely droll gag that sees the killers fined for boarding a TGV without a ticket.

Mea Culpa opens in selected cinemas from tomorrow.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Afterthought hours: "Hello Carter"


There's some discrepancy between Hello Carter's opening titles - pulsating grime score, sweeping helicopter shots of London by night - and the film that follows them, which turns out to be a cosily blokish sitcom pilot with a handful of capable actors knocking around inside. Writer-director Anthony Wilcox is going for an After Hours vibe, breaking down a long night in the life of Charlie Cox's recently dumped and dispossessed Carter into a series of rather too convenient encounters: first, at an unsuccessful job interview, with secretary and somewhat inevitable love interest Jodie Whitaker (again markedly better than the script), then - in an utterly contrived sequence on the Tube - with American guest star Paul Schneider, who really needs to make amends with David Gordon Green and the Parks & Rec producers, if this is what's now coming his way. (For some reason, he winds up wearing somebody else's baby in a papoose, a sight gag established in 2003's Old School and subsequently worn thin through repetition in the Hangover movies and every other bargain-bin comedy.) The capital is effectively shown off - if nothing else, it'll provide at least a couple of good-looking clips for a Film London showreel - and Cox makes for a decent, Cusacky Everyman, but he's a patsy at the mercy of plotting that forces far too much makeshift material upon him. Wilcox even futzes the final reconnection with tricks and gimmicks.

Hello Carter opens in selected cinemas from Friday.