Jan 232016





waterdiviner20/ THE WATER DIVINER
I can certainly understand the complaints about the Turks in the film being just portrayed as victims, but Russell Crowe showed immense assurance with his debut feature, the sort of old fashioned drama which, unless the Weinsteins are pushing it, tends not to get much attention these days. Stunningly photographed by Andrew Leslie, it was an often beautifully crafted, even uplifting tale of hope and love, and Crowe was the best he’d been in quite some time. 8/10



19/ AMERICAN SNIPERamerican-sniper
Frankly, I can’t understand how anyone can say American Sniper was a Fascist movie, or a film in favour of conflict, but then people are strange. I found it to be a balanced and astutely intelligent examination of war, duty and patriotism, superbly directed by Clint Eastwood in his best effort in some time, especially during the bed wettingly tense war scenes, while Bradley Cooper, an actor up to now I’ve never really ‘got’, was sensational. 8/10



18/ BRIDGE OF SPIESe13acdc592a2ea4967c7cb213591bdf57806ae43215cf9d643ac224748a8dd34_medium
Though disappointing those out for conventional thrills, Steven Spielberg’s austere Cold War drama, more John LeCarre than Ian Fleming, still managed to be thoroughly riveting throughout, doing a very successful job of hinging mostly on lengthy conversations without ever boring. The recreation of post-war Berlin was terrifically convincing, while Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance were absolutely superb, and very different, as the two main leads. 8/10



The-Martian-201517/ THE MARTIAN
I’d almost written off Ridley Scott as a filmmaker destined to make increasingly poor films, but, much like Quentin Tarantino the previous year with Django Unchained, he regained his mojo for his latest film. Opting mostly for realism [though not all the science is as accurate as all that], he put together a thoroughly satisfying and even inspiring blockbuster which didn’t need excessive action to grip or thrill, while Matt Damon gave probably his best performance yet. 8/10



I’m of the opinion that, aside from perhaps the second one, all of the films in this franchise are very well crafted efforts, but for me writer/director Christopher McQuarrie may have made the best one yet, and also a film that bettered the astoundingly similar Spectre, providing all the thrills and spills required, with a theatre set piece brilliantly staged, but also feeling like a genuine old school spy movie with some actual spying for a change, while the story was decently put together too. 8/10



big-hero-6-poster15/ BIG HERO 6
Though it didn’t make the impact that Frozen did, this Disney effort was just as good, both a rollicking superhero origin story and a touching emotional tale. Baymax the robot was a terrific character and proof that the simplest of designs can work wonders, though there was nothing simple about the amazing Japanese/American future San Francisco. Exciting, funny but satisfyingly moving at times, and it’s interesting how Disney have slightly updated their positive messages. 8/10



14/ CINDERELLAcinderella3_glamour_19nov15_pr_b_720x1080
Okay, it may have veered a little too close to the animated version, but this was still a wonderfully old fashioned movie where Disney certainly made up for Maleficent and director Kenneth Branagh certainly regained his mojo. Swooningly romantic and at times feeling genuinely magical, it was also an absolute feast for the eyes, and Lil James epitomised the title character. Every once in a while, it’s great to be reminded that they still do make ‘em like they used to….if not often enough. 8/10



13/ THE DUKE OF BURGUNDYefa-european-film-awards-2015-annunciati-i-pr-L-6AKk5x
Peter Strickland’s follow-up to Berberian Sound System, riffing on 70’s European erotic movies rather than 70’s Italian horror movies, may, in the end, not have consisted of much depth besides reminding us of the complexities of interdependencies in relationships, but by God what a gloriously artistic endeavour, a kind of David Lynch meets Just Jaeakin, filled with stunning shots from cinematographer Nic Knowland and rife with unsettling atmosphere. 8/10



12/ THE GIFTthe-gift-dvd
An initially simple, straight forward thriller that by rights probably shouldn’t have been that good at all, became an almost unbearably tense exercise of viewer manipulation, writer/director/star Joel Edgerton wringing every single drop of suspense from his clever screenplay while indulging in much moral ambiguity and subverting of expectations. His psychopath was the best of the year, but Jason Bateman also impressed so much in an increasingly unsympathetic serious role. 8.5/10



11/ KINGSkingsmanoservicosecreto2015açao2a6eMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE
The spy movie really got a resurgence in 2015, but Matthew Vaughn’s go at the genre, doing what he did to the superhero movie in Kick-Ass but even more successfully, was the one to beat, and none of the ones that followed managed to match for sheer entertainment value. It managed to feel both very modern and pleasingly retro at the same time, gleefully anarchic but respecting its forebearers, and how funny was it to see Colin Firth commit mass slaughter in a church? 8.5/10

Dr Lenera

Dr LeneraI'm a huge film fan and will watch pretty much any type of film, from Martial Arts to Westerns, from Romances [though I don't really like Romcoms!]] to Historical Epics. Though I most certainly 'have a life', I tend to go to the cinema twice a week! However,ever since I was a kid, sneaking downstairs when my parents had gone to bed to watch old Universal and Hammer horror movies, I've always been especially fascinated by horror, and though I enjoy all types of horror films, those Golden Oldies with people like Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee probably remain my favourites. That's not to say I don't enjoy a bit of blood and gore every now and again though, and am also a huge fan of Italian horror, I just love the style.

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