Wednesday 26 March 2014

The Fold – a predictable redemption tale

Rebecca Ashton (Catherine McCormack) plays an Anglican priest who moves to a quiet town in Cornwall after the death by drowning of one of her teenage daughters. Here, she finds a 'replacement' daughter to help: Radka (Marina Stoimenova), a young Bulgarian girl who is dangerously self destructive, working as a flower picker and living in a ramshackle caravan. She needs help passing her English exam to be able to study for her arts degree, and Rebecca finds in her the redemption she needs so much.

Saturday 22 March 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review

Captain America: The First Avenger unexpectedly turned out to be my favourite Marvel film at the time, a rank it has held on to until now. Despite being helmed by Joe Johnston (The Rocketeer, Jurassic Park 3) who can charitably be described at a hack, the film had a great vintage serial comic vibe to it, in keeping with its WW2 setting, as well as an unusual tinge of melancholy within its old school patriotism. And Chris Evans delivered a great performance, giving depth to a character who might have be seen as too earnest at first for the uninitiated like myself.

But now that he has been frozen and brought back to life in modern day America, and fought a battle with The Avengers, I did wonder if this sequel would keep those qualities. And I must admit, a rather generic and bland trailer had me worried. I should have trusted Marvel though, for the sequel is a very different film indeed (always a good thing in my book) yet just as successful, if not more!

Friday 21 March 2014

Labor Day Review

Set in the early 1980s during the late Summer heat of a Labor Day weekend, Adele (Kate Winslet) and her pre-teen son Henry (Gattlin Griffith) return from a simple grocery store visit with escaped convict Frank (Josh Brolin) quietly but firmly taking them hostage. Over the course of the long weekend the significant events in their lives that brought them to become prisoners either physically or mentally are slowly revealed.

Yves Saint Laurent Review

Beginning the film at the very start of fashion designer prodigy Yves Saint Laurent's (Pierre Niney) career with French fashion house Dior in 1957, Yves Saint Laurent tracks the career, designs and private life of the designer through the memories of his long term partner Pierre Bergé (Guillaume Gallienne). Framed by Bergé's sale of their art collection, the film is a biopic brought to life through the iconic muses and designs of YSL during his lifetime.

Sunday 16 March 2014

Muppets Most Wanted Review

Having just reformed, the Muppets go on a grand world tour with their new manager Dominic Badguy, selling out everywhere they go. Little do they realise the nefarious plans that Dominic has in mind, helped with evil Muppet Constantine, a deadringer for Kermit.

 The Muppets reboot in 2011 did a brilliant job of (re)introducing the beloved characters to a modern audience. And its best idea was not to change a thing about them. Try to imagine any kind of modern updating of their original design and shiver... But while it was a thoroughly enjoyable film, with a great performance from Amy Adams as usual, I couldn't shake the feeling that it was not a Muppets film as such, rather one that had been hi-jacked by Jason Segel with them being relegated to the background.

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Need For Speed Review

Based on the successful video game, Need for Speed is about a group of blue collar young mechanics lead by their all American good guy friend Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad fame). To drum up extra income for their financially troubled garage, the group participate in illegal street car races.

When arch enemy (for unexplained reasons) Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper) returns home, a race ensues that changes all of their lives. Cutting to a few years later, Tobey decides to get the band back together to race in the ultimate underground street race organised by Maverick race enthusiast Monarch (Michael Keaton on Beetlejuice form). Tobey is once again pitted against Dino though this time Tobey has a car of his own design with the car's custodian Julia (Imogen Poots) insisting on going along for the ride.

Monday 3 March 2014

The Lovefilm/Amazon Debacle

Like many other UK based cinephiles, Lovefilm has been my lifeline when it came to classics and rare films for over a decade. Even in a city like London and its diverse repertoire scene, you are still at the mercy of the arthouse cinema's line-up to get your fix (not to mention your budget). But thanks to my Lovefilm account, which I have held since 2006, I was able to do my filmic education, thanks to the 1000 films I have seen during that time.

A few years ago, Amazon bought Lovefilm, and very little changed at the time, apart from encouraging users to use the same account to log in with both. At the time, I thought it was just a way for them to connect each account to be able to personalise purchase recommendations. But without warning, last week, Lovefilm has disappeared for good. And become Lovefilm By Post. Or Amazon Streaming Video service. Or Amazon Live Video. No one is quite sure. There is a lot of confusion with the amalgamation of Amazon Prime, Amazon Live Streaming, Amazon Prime, Amazon whatever...

Saturday 1 March 2014

Adèle Haenel Declares Her Love At The Césars - Translated

The Césars (French Film Awards) ceremony was a disaster last night. An overlong, painfully unfunny ceremony (poor host Cécile de France lumbered with terrible jokes), whose awards seemed to have been picked at random (the only logical explanation). 2013 has been one of the most interesting years for French cinema in a while, and the rest of the world was baffled as to why both Blue Is The Warmest Colour and Stranger By The Lake went home nearly empty-handed.

Among all this, one sweet moment emerged. Adèle Haenel won Best Supporting Actress for Suzanne, she was visibly shaken once on stage (her body language said it all), and offered a heartfelt and moving speech, which ended on an unusual note. So rather to comment on the ceremony, which has been done elsewhere and better than I could have, I have decided to focus on this particular moment, and translate it.