2016 hasn’t been the best cinematically blockbusters have been lacklustre! Again smaller films have come and dominated my imagination. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, The Witch, Nice Guys have special mention FYI. Truly I do hope for a better 2017 in the cinema. Have a wonderful New Year everyone………….
10. The Conjuring 2
The Conjuring 2 is a rare example of not being just as good as the original, but it might even be better. Like before, the story places most of the focus on getting to know the family that’s being haunted and of the new tension between our ghost hunters. You feel bad that the family is going through these spooky events, and yet you understand why most academics would consider the haunting a total fake. There’s even a clever moment that makes you question everything that young daughter Janet was doing. Of course I won’t spoil that here. Director James Wan is a magician. He has all the tricks; sleight of hand, misdirection, creating illusions that will terrify you to the core, without having to resort to gore or cheap thrills. Granted he is a master of making you jump out your seat, of making your heart skip a beat, but it’s his ability to force you to hold your breath that makes his Conjuring movies so appealing and so much fun to watch.
From the beginning to the very end is all about aesthetic and visual beauty, both explicitly and thematically. The latter part might be the less successful element of the film. You get sunk into a world and no matter how dark and messed up it appears to be, I wanted more of it. The canvas that is drawn from The Neon Demon is pure Winding Refn, with so much blue, red with a hint of neon tint. The dialogue is barely given any importance and serves more as a connective tissue throughout the crazy journey we are taken through.To talk about the visuals in this film proves to be very difficult, both because they are so clearly and complexly assembled and thought out, both for their immense beauty and abstraction, there are a number dolly shots scattered around the film that work magnificently, with superb staging and lighting, they were definitely highlights of this visually stimulating movie.
Supersonic is a great documentary for any Oasis fan, from a novice to a hardcore fan you’ll enjoy it. Probably the funniest documentary you’ll witness ever, Noel & Liam are utterly hilarious. The banter they provide is on point, you forget how funny they are. Under the comedic underbelly you get a wider portrait of their lives prior to the band. Peggie their mother is such a focal part of the documentary, she shows you the softer side of the brother. Such great humility is shown throughout the film. The footage and the narration from various people worked so well. It’s a wave of nostalgia to begin but it falls flat in the middle but it finishes with a bang. The reality of knowing we will never see a band like Oasis again is tragic. But you can re-live these great times in Supersonic. Great documentary and one hell of a ride.
It’s a film for the people! It’s not all doom and gloom, there is a great element of comedy here. Dave Johns delivers great one liners through out. Just making people smile can make their day better. Ken Loach has asked for change in our welfare system and I whole heartedly agree with him. The state are treating people like cattle and only giving them a few moments of their time. The whole points system for disability allowance is a farce and needs improving.
Green Room is a completely different slasher film when it comes to narrative. Not a single frame is wasted on unnecessary background, boring exposition dumps or contrived wrap-ups and explanations. Everything that can and should be known about the characters, and the story itself is implied visually. It’s be hard to genrephie this film as a simple and effective horror film or a solid suspense film. It’s both and neither. When the story comes to a crossroads, it always veers towards tactile suspense over outright gore. The dread is personified by Patrick Stewart who does a tremendous job playing against type as the club’s true-believer owner. Unlike the majority of his underlings, who respond to the adrenaline poisoning their veins, Stewart’s Darcy is always collected.
While this is an impeccable period piece with the highest production values, it is Kate Beckinsdale’s performance that powers the film. She wickedly charms her way into and out of various social situations with natural grace, and so totally commands attention that her acting overshadows other excellent performances. But this is hardly criticism. For Austen fans, Love and Friendship has everything we love about her timeless classics; for others, it is a highly entertaining introduction to a body of work that is loved around the world.
Nocturnal Animals is a tale of redemption, revenge, love and cruelty. Multi layered stories are very difficult to capture, but Tom Ford makes it look like a walk in the park! The three tales are woven so well you forget sometimes you are in a different story. Obviously all three tales are utterly different. Tom Ford truly has survived the sophomore curse with Nocturnal Animals. In Ford’s stellar and meticulously made film, even side conversations have substance and pictures on walls are connected to the story line. Certain scenes alone make the film worth watching. This is a gorgeous film to look at as well, Seamus McGarvey’s cinematography echoing the story’s bleakness and the brutality of Edward’s supposed veiled threat to Susan. The combination of the visuals with Abel Korzeniowski’s dream-like score heightens the sense of escapism felt by Susan as she reads Edward’s novel.
Swiss Army Man is probably the most individually unique movies of the year. It’s more than a movie about cheap comedic farts. It’s clearly a metaphor for how we keep our emotions inside and never release our true feelings towards anything. I can relate a lot to the context of Swiss Army Man, when I was younger I really never expressed myself properly. Swiss Army Man really shows that you should dare to dream and go for it. Dano & Radcliffe are remarkable. Their characters share an undeniable chemistry while stumbling through a forest that pushes their boundaries and in turn forces them to survive in the most imaginatively bizarre way possible.
High-Rise is equally Ben Wheatley’s best film along with Sightseers. If you have read the book I do believe it gives you more of a narrative edge going in. But the screenplay is slightly different to the book. I have no issue with this in all fairness, it gives it slightly a different angle. The message about the social divide is still prominent through out. Amy Jump’s screenplay has such a great humour to it, but the darkness of the story shines from page to screen. I would imagine Ballard would of approved of the film. Ben Wheatley’s creation is of visual beauty within a large concrete jungle of pompousness, death and rubbish bags. His evolution continues with High-Rise, the pallet of colour is just stunning the colouring just sets each scene so well.
Sebastian Schipper has crafted an utter masterpiece in Victoria. I haven’t had an experience like this for some time now. Honestly I could have stayed and watched it again! It felt so organic and natural, you felt like you were the sixth person through out the film. We have no major stars here and the chemistry between Laia Costa and Frederick Lau really warms your heart, I was cheering them on for the whole run time. You are part of each choice Victoria makes, I loved the concept of each time a decision was made a cross road was there! It did feel like a lot of natural light was used through out, it really enriches the organic feel of the film. The opening scene at the club got me hooked from the start. Victoria was such an interesting character, you question why she was there by herself? why is she in Berlin? is she lonely? etc. The first hour of the film is such an old Hollywood structure, we learn about the people and we get to know them better. In all honesty if it was just us following them around Berlin I would of still enjoyed it. The dialogue between the cast is so natural, they feel like old friends sometimes.