First off I have to apologize for not posting one of these recently, the simple reason is that I have been working a hell of a lot so finding the time has been difficult but don’t worry I’m not going anywhere!
So Trash then just by its name you might think this could be literally a Trash film but let me assure you it is far from rubbish and is a true hidden gem. I first heard about this film on Film 2014 on the BBC and they gave it a good review and I thought to myself “yeah I will check that out one day” and like many films it totally went under my radar due to a limited theatrical release and not much press coverage. So when I saw it pop up on my Netflix it triggered my brain and I thought I would give it a watch.
The film is about three Brazilian boys who find a wallet which contains a key piece of evidence which the corrupted officials are after to stop there corruption of the city becoming public knowledge. I found this film remarkable for a number of reasons the first being the performances of the three young lads. I genuinely think they need to start doing some sort of awards ceremony for young actors because seriously they are starting to outshine older actors in films. Look at Room or Beasts of No Nation for example the young actors performances in them films knocked my socks off and its the same here. The three lads were found by the films director Stephen Daldry living in Brazil picking litter (as they do in the film) and that rawness and emotional connection cannot be faked and there are scenes in this film which pack a true powerful punch as you believe the emotion behind them far more than if trained actors were cast. The film also has stellar Hollywood polish with the ever reliable Martin Sheen and Rooney Mara pop up in key supporting roles which just elevate the performances of the three boys.
The film is action packed and more importantly unpredictable as the chase is on the action tells the story and it rarely lets up but the films screenplay allows for brilliant character moments as well. I will admit that there is a whiff of City of God about this film (well worth checking out if you haven’t, also on Netflix) but every film which is set in Brazil gets compared to that film and some reviews I have read of this film stink of unfair criticism. The film has a vibrancy to it and real kinetic energy to it which kept me glued to the screen as I not only wanted the boys to solve the mystery within the film but I actually cared about the characters. The film is real, raw and powerful but never sentimental or candy coated which is a rare thing to see as to many films try to push our emotional buttons with the subtly of a sledgehammer.
Overall this is perfect entertainment for those nights where you wanna stay in and watch a film. Also a great film to watch with family or a girlfriend as it has something for everyone. A real peach of a film.
I am currently stuck in bed with the worlds worst cold and I feel like I am on deaths door but god damn it I will get a Netflix recommendation written! All is Lost is what I would call the epitome of hidden gems. Starring Robert Redford the story is simple, he plays a man stranded at sea on his own and the film shows us his attempts to battle a ferocious storm. That is literally it, the film only stars him and has literally two lines of dialogue. Now I know that’s not exactly an indicator of a great film, but for my money what is always an indicator of a great film is if it pulls you in and this film certainly pulls you in.
The performance here by Robert Redford is a miracle as he is literally given no dialogue to work with and yet we understand what this man is going through and the ordeals he is facing the entire time. It is refreshing to see film-making this bold and original. It is very rare that films in Hollywood come up with fresh ideas and pull it off, so to see a neat idea carried out well is fascinating. He commands the screen, you feel every crash, wince and the occasional muttered swear word. The films director JC Chandor is certainly one to watch and his other two films are well worth checking out (Margin Call and A Most Violet Year). For a young director to showcase this much craft, elegance and skill in his directing is rarely seen and has to be admired.
What I loved most about this film was just how simple it was and that it was a film about problem solving , a mans desire to survive but instead of using his brawn, he is using his intellect. This is gonna make me sound old beyond my years but it is nice to watch a film in which intelligence and craft are put on screen to be admired. I will admit that this is a very difficult film to write about as it is literally so simple and yet has such intellect it is truly a unique marriage between the two. Actor and Director both shine through in this film and once again my love of cinematography is satisfied as this film has some beautiful shots in it.
One of those films which lingers in the mind long after you have watched it!
My Netflix pick of the week is this brilliant, haunting western starring Michael Fassbender and Kodi-Smitt McPhee. Although I watched the film a while back I still every now and again tell people I know about it and how much I want them to see it, always a sure sign that a film is great in my opinion. The film as I have said previously stars Michael Fassbender who is such a brilliant chameleon of an actor who turns in mesmerizing performances virtually every time we see him (just recently his portrayal of Macbeth blew me and Paul away). What I love most about Fassbender is the fact that he stars in big budget blockbusters such as X-Men but then stars in hidden gems like this one.
The film loves the Western genre and plays around with the conventions of the genre superbly and takes you on a melancholy journey through the Wild West as McPhee’s character looks for the woman he loves. Slow burning and simmering but never boring this film is brilliant for people who like to spend time with there characters and try to gain an understanding of them without ever being told what there feeling. The acting on show here is top-draw and I think the independent films like this do deserve more time in the spotlight but at the same time that wouldn’t make them so enjoyable to find now would it!? A memorable turn from Ben Mendelsohn is also worth mentioning as he truly gets under the skin as a threat to our two protagonists.
As a film student I have always been a sucker for a film which pretty cinematography and direction and this film has both of those to satisfy my pretentiousness. The first full feature from John Maclean it is truly amazing that he has been able to pull off a film with this much style, sophistication and sure panache at the first time of asking and his career is looking hugely promising. The cinematography and framing are breathtaking and individual shots could easily be seen as individual masterpieces of art direction and mistaken for paintings.
A playful film full of invention, this is well worth checking out as a film against the “norm”
It’s that time of the week again folks where I recommend a film to watch on Netflix. You may have noticed I didn’t put up a full review of Fruitvale Station and that’s, because I realised it was a waste of time. I’d already pretty much wrote what I wanted to say, but without spoilers. This week has been exciting for me movie wise. First we booked our midnight tickets for Batman Vs Superman. Then I’ve watched at least three films that could have made my selection this week and today I am off to see Hail Caesar. The best of the three however and also nicely tied in to the Oscars was Short Term 12.
This film stars Brie Larson, who as we all know won best actress last Sunday and rightly so. Her performance in Room was spectacular and this is no exception. I actually found the film by doing some research in to her. I knew she had been in 21 Jump Street, but I was interested to see if she had another serious role and this film appeared to fit the bill. It is directed by Destin Daniel Cretton. You’re probably thinking who the hell is that and you’d be right to. This was only his second feature length film. It’s based on his short of the same name. He fits the trend of the rest of the cast. All very little known actors that you have to have a quick google or say to someone “what else were they in, I recognise them.” The only other people of note are Rami Malek, who is the lead in the TV show Mr Robot, Keith Stanfield who recently appeared as Snoop in the Straight Outta Compton biopic. Then Stephanie Beatriz who plays Rosa in Brooklyn 99.
As you can tell this is a low budget independent film, that actually has tons of talent in it, but very little star appeal. On it’s release even Brie’s name didn’t carry much weight, hence why it has slipped under the radar. The film itself is about a young woman who volunteers at a foster home with her boyfriend. We explore everything through her eyes and yet it takes so long to learn about her character in such a beautiful way. We see her interactions with her boyfriend and with the children mainly which the director has used as a way for us to learn almost everything about this character over the space of a few days. It deals with some very serious and disturbing issues throughout so if you’re sensitive to that kind of thing keep it in mind. The film is hauntingly beautiful, incredibly well acted and for such an inexperienced director he has done an incredible job. I imagine it as what Tracy Beaker would have been like if it had been written by Richard Linklater.
I was already convinced by Larson after Room, but this film just backs up that she is a force to be reckoned with. So few actors can put in such a human performance. You forget that you are watching a film whenever she is on screen. She plays the characters strengths and flaws down to a tee and that makes you root for her all the more. In this film she transitions from making you laugh to putting a lump in your throat in impeccable fashion. The rest of the cast do a fantastic job also, especially John Gallagher Jr. who plays Larson’s boyfriend. The chemistry between the two is fantastic and for them alone this film is worth watching. Adding the gripping storyline and the amazing acting by the children in the home and you have one of the best films I’ve seen in a long time.
Netflix is the best thing to happen since Betty White. Far superior to it’s closest competitor Amazon, Netflix has managed to become the most popular VOD service in the world. With it’s vast catalogue however I find myself browsing for a good half an hour before finally settling on a film to watch. So I am here to try and make life a little bit easier for you (unless you’ve already seen the film I choose, in which case, sorry!). Every Friday I will post up the best film I’ve watched this week on Netflix. Hopefully this should mean every weekend you’ll instantly be able to find and watch some high quality cinema for your Saturday night in or your hungover Sunday morning.
My selection this week is the film Fruitvale Station. It is Ryan Coogler’s first shot at directing a film. As you all probably know his most recent effort was Creed. Being allowed to direct a Rocky film in your second outing and to direct Black Panther in the 2018 Marvel film just shows the instant promise Coogler has shown in this first outing. Michael B Jordan, who was the Creed in Creed, stars as a twenty two year old man growing up in Oakland, California. The film is based on a true story of an event that happened in the early hours of New Years Day 2009.
The film feels very independent, but it is very well directed and written despite the fact it looks as though it was made on a very small budget. Jordan plays a really interesting and complex character, with Melonie Diaz playing his girlfriend with whom he shares a child. Octavia Spencer stars as Jordan’s mother in the film, showing once again why she deserved that Oscar of hers. The themes in the film are as relevant today as they were in 2009. Race and Class play a big part in this film, all leading up to a powerful ending that will leave you thinking for a long time afterwards.
Anyway if I tell you anymore than that I will ruin the film for you, so if you find yourself stuck this weekend, log on and watch it. I will post a full review up on Monday for anyone who wants to know my more spoilerific opinion!