Monday, 4 July 2016

June Watch List

Love & Friendship
Based on Jane Austen’s short epistolary novel, Lady Susan, the story follows the lady in question as she imposes herself onto her brother-in-law’s family and tries to force her daughter into marrying a man who isn’t the most intelligent of fellows. Lady Susan, played by an excellent Kate Beckinsale, manipulates, lies, cheats and justifies her way through this brilliantly told story. Quite unlike Austin’s other stories as the protagonist is very entertaining but is actually an awful person. She invites herself to her to stay with family who know of her reputation after she has an affair with a married man and is forced to leave. Then she makes the rather naïve Reginald DeCourcy fall in love with her but then breaks his heart to cover up her own lies. It’s Austen so it sorts itself out in the end. I actually laughed out loud at this and really enjoyed a cast that I hadn’t seen before or not in an age. If only all Austen stories could be and feel this unspoiled by countless versions.  4/5

Bullets Over Broadway
I think, without realising it, I'm slowly going through Woody Allen's film catalogue. I know he's probably lost a lot of fans in the light of his son speaking out. I do not agree with Allen as a person as that's despicable but I can separate the films from the man.

No Allen in this one (which I'm thankful for) but in his place, John Cusack (who I love for some reason) is the passionate playwright in desperate need of funding his new play. In order to get these funds, he agrees to cast a well known gangster's high pitched wannabe actress girlfriend. Quiet (and sometimes loud) chaos ensues in each rehearsals as egos clash, Jim Broadbent eats, ideas are exchanges and bullets are fired. All set in 1920s on Broadway - which for me is brilliant. I loved Midnight in Paris for 1920s segments and having a whole film in that era was a dream. Also what was refreshing was that there was no young girl getting with an older man. But there were a couple of ridiculous scenes about the idea of art and love blah. Can't win them all. 3/5

The Nice Guys
When I think of a great detective story in recent years, I do think of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Shane Black's 2005 film. I'm a sucker for a murder mystery/detective story. KKBB also had an unusual pairing but it worked, as does Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. In fact, these two are a brilliant combo and are hilarious together. Set in the 70s centered around a missing girl who may or may not be connected to something bigger and more sinister as everyone involoved in a certain porn film is murdered. P.I Holland March and 'fixer' Jackson Healy are on the case with the help of Holland's pre-teen daughter. I really enjoyed the film and cannot understand the negativity its received. 4/5

Child 44
Sometimes I watch a film with Tom Hardy in it and I think he's a genius, other times I can't understand what he's saying, other times I question his popularity. Child 44 is a cross between all three. The plot is all over the place which I was surprised by as it based a the novel by Tom Rob Smith. I read his book The Farm last year, brilliant book. But Child 44 lost me at places despite having a truly brilliant cast. There is sinister serial killer who kills young boys leaving them naked and bruised by the railway tracks. Hardy and his wife Noomi Rapace are wrongly accused of being traitors and sent to live in a hell hole. There is side story between the couple about she was scared of his because he was in the army. It does move all over the place but it gets interesting when they stick to the murder cases. 3/5

Mystic Pizza
It was about time I saw this film. It popped up on my Netflix one lazy Sunday afternoon, the perfect time. As far as 'coming-of-age' films go, this wasn't too bad. Two sisters and their friend all work at the local pizza place, they all have dreams and desires and the film just goes along smoothly. There is love, heartache and a questionable amount of lobsters stuffed in a fridge. 3/5

Anatomy of a Murder
Considered a classic, directed by Otto Preminger and starring James Stewart as the lawyer who defends the future Jackie Treehorn (Lebowski fans will get this), Ben Gazzara, for murdering his wife's rapist. The main part of the film was set in the courtroom as the lawyers constantly argue while the calm judge politely asks them to just ask the questions. Even though it was made in 1959 the case feel all too familiar and could have easily been a case from the present. The case takes twists and turns and I can't help but think how gad damn awful these trials are. A woman is always accused of being the cause of rape and it make me sick. This aside, its a very good film. 3/5

My friend asked if I wanted to this at BFI a few weeks ago and all I saw was men on skates and the words ‘futuristic’. It looked like a more dangerous version of Roller Derby but in the future and 3 players were on bikes. The film was introduced by Jason Isaacs (aka Lucious Malfoy) who talked so passionately about the film and the star, James Caan who he was said was coming to end of his career at this time. But we all know James Caan still makes movies now. I think he meant his ‘star’ was fading. This mirrors his character, Jonathan E, the captain and longest playing Rollerball player. Most players are killed or injured so dramatically they have to stop. But now he has asked to retire from the game by the ‘management’. The world is run by corporations and everyone that is not management has to abide by their rules. Jonathan’s wife was even forced to leave him at the request of the ‘management’. But Jonathan refuses to give up. The games that we see in the film are brilliant, my favourites scenes. The stories away from the arena or track are dull and quite confusing. The film takes place in the future but it just looks like the 70s with a few odd buildings and technology. The fast paced game scenes pick up the pace of the film and where looks are exchanged, there seems to be more said here than in the non-game scenes. Said to be a cult film then and now, I can understand why, it’s a strange film that I think given another release would find a whole new audience now. 3/5

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