Greetings readers! I do apologize for my lack of posting. It’s not because I haven’t been watching any films. That will never be the reason. It is always down to being too busy to commit enough time to writing up a review, what with starting back at University and finding myself already over-whelmed. But life finds a way, and I shall do much better to sort out my timing to deliver full reviews once more, but for now, to wet your appetites, here is a round-up of what I have caught most recently, and be sure to expect two full reviews coming very soon…

RushPosterRUSH

Ron Howard as a director is one many have often had a troubling relationship with. He is undoubtedly a talented film-maker, which he has proven many times in the likes of Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind. Yet, he also devotes his time to delivering painfully boring Dan Brown adaptations as well as churning out cringe-worthy comedies (The Dilemma). However, when ever the red-headed maestro sets his sights on a movie based on a true story, he hits gold every time. Following on from the sophisticated Frost/Nixon, Howard’s latest takes on another famous rivalry; Hunt/Lauda. Rush concerns itself with the rivalry between James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) during the 1976 F1 Championship. And the results are positively exhilarating. Teamed with cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle (Slumdog Millionaire & Dredd) Howard has produced a technical marvel. The film brings F1 to life on the screen in ways you have never quite encountered before, through impossible angles and daring framings. Peter Morgan’s script, while struggling to escape from the bio-pic cliches (and throwing in one too many montages) balances the relationship between Hunt and Lauda particularly well, questioning each of their individual reasons as to why they would pursue such a dangerous and volatile profession, if never quite answering it in a satisfying manner. Hemsworth piles on the charm to make for a suitably hot-headed Hunt, while Bruhl walks away with the film as the calculated and somewhat cold Lauda. A well-oiled machine with plenty to offer under the hood. 4/5

About Time PosterABOUT TIME

Richard Curtis is one of the all-time great writers when it comes to considering the benchmarks in British Comedy. He has created many an iconic character, both on the small screen and the large, from the colourful characters in Blackadder to Four Weddings and a Funeral. When it comes to Curtis as a director, however, many of us (especially me) have a rather difficult relationship with him. A terrible self-editor, he never quite knows when enough is enough, resulting in painfully testing run-times. Love Actually suffered greatly from it, as did The Boat That Rocked (a film I much prefer to Love Actually, an opinion not held by many). Therefore, About Time was not a film I was hotly anticipating. That being said , I fell head over heels for the tale of Domhall Gleeson’s Tim, who discovers that the men in his family have the ability to travel back in time. Naturally, he uses this gift to try and get a girlfriend, in the form of the impossibly adorable Rachel McAdams. About Time is not a Rom-Com. Let’s get that straight. Sure, romance plays a rather significant part in the proceedings, but ultimately About Time is about familial relationships, namely that between a father and son. Yet, Curtis’ touching script touches upon a multitude of relationships, making this film relate-able to anyone who has been a son, a daughter, a father, a mother, a brother, a sister, heck, just about everyone! It suffers once again from being over-cooked, and huge inconsistencies concerning the time-travel prove distracting, but the charming performances, lightness of touch and utterly human story paper over the cracks to deliver a film that is near-impossible not to love. 4/5

Prisoners PosterPRISONERS

Autumn releases do tend to hold many a fine surprise in terms of the quality of films that are deliveredwith Prisoners proving to be a truly outstanding piece of film-making and one of the more impressive features of the year thus far. It is a thoroughly bleak tale, concerning the investigation of two abducted young girls, as a Detective (Jake Gyllenhaal) struggles to get the truth, and one father (Hugh Jackman) takes matters into his own hands. The Roger Deakins shot film is beautiful yet hauntingly so, evoking desperation and depravity into every frame of Denis Villeneuve’s impressive first English-language film. Armed with a hugely talented cast that also includes Viola Davis, Terrence Howard, Maria Bello, Paul Dano, and Melissa Leo, the film is a piece of expertly paced genre fare, never letting your attention go for a second, despite its 150 minute run-time. If you have a good deal of knowledge concerning the knowledge, you’ll see through many a red herring and end up numerous steps ahead of the cast, but that is hard to care about when a genre film is this proficient and impressive. A unique beast, with powerful performances, particularly from Jackman who deserves an Oscar nomination for this as much as he did for Les Miserables earlier in the year. A dark tale into the underbelly of American suburbia. A film that will not leave mind in a hurry. 4/5  

Blue Jasmine PosterBLUE JASMINE

Woody Allen continues his trend of being an incredibly inconsistent director. Forget Allen being ‘on form’, he’s never on it enough for such a form to truly exist. Allen’s filmography of the last decade has gone hit-miss-hit-miss-hit-miss. His picture of 2011, Midnight In Paris, is perhaps the best he has been since his prime in the 1970’s (when even then his film’s were a mixed bunch). Last year saw the release of To Rome with Love, a self-indulgent magical realist portrait of the city and the numerous stories that take place within it. So, naturally, his next film had to hit the bullseye. And boy did it. The film tells the story of Jasmine (Cate Blanchett), a New york socialite who finds herself penniless after her sleazeball husband (Alec Baldwin) is found guilty of extortion. After an emotional and mental breakdown, she moves to San Francisco to stay with her sister (Sally Hawkins) in order to establish where exactly her life goes from here. So far, so Streetcar Named Desire, but the similarities end at the plot set up, as Allen’s script is very much its own beast, a cynical, bitterly hilarious and enlightening tale of sisters, love, and money. Always one to garner a star-studded cast, Allen’s film is led by a stunning and effortless performance from Cate Blanchett, who will surely be clearing up come awards season. She modulates through numerous emotions within one moment; a masterful piece of screen acting from a immensely talented actress. The rest of the cast play second fiddle but are charming in their own unique ways, Sally Hawkins particularly leaves an impression as the put-upon sister who is equally as lost in her own world as her suddenly penniless sister. Blue Jasmine is an example of quite how good Allen can be, as well as proving that he is brave enough not to sugarcoat a situation with a film that takes no prisoners and ends in, quite frankly, the only way it could. 5/5

How they rank:

1. Blue Jasmine
2. Prisoners
3. About Time
4. Rush

Advertisements