Tuesday 31 January 2012

January - The Iron Lady, War Horse, The Descendants, Haywire and The Artist reviews

George Clooney and Shailene Woodley
 in The Descendants
Since I'm generally rubbish at keeping this blog up-to-date, I've decided to just do it monthly, and post links to the current films I've reviewed, along with the odd bonus thought on anything else I've been watching that I didn't properly write or talk about anywhere else. So here's January. Following months will be a bit more timely, maybe.

The Iron Lady (The List)
A film about the cost of power that features a brilliantly convincing lead performance from Meryl Streep, but offers no significant insights on the lady of the title.

War Horse (The List)
Unashamedly romanticised, old-fashioned big-screen storytelling. Absolutely wonderful cinema.

Haywire (The List)
A stripped-down action chase movie directed, shot and edited by Soderbergh with a level of energy and invention that puts most action directors to shame.

The Descendants (The List)
A rich mix of relationship drama, character comedy and weighty meditation; fertile ground for Alexander Payne, a filmmaker with a fine-tuned ability to balance humour and heart in ways that ring true.

Ralph Fiennes profile - Coriolanus (The List)
"There’s no easy access into Coriolanus, but I like playing characters with no easy access."

Movie Cafe - Radio Scotland
26th January - I reviewed The Descendants on this edition of Movie Cafe, as well as discussing the Oscar nominations with host Janice Forsyth and fellow critic Nicola Balkind. You can download the show as a podcast from the link.

22nd December 2011 - Officially yes, this aired last year, but we began the show with a review of The Artist, which was only properly released in the UK in January. There's lots of other fun stuff on this show as it was a review of the year featuring much witty chat from Hannah McGill, Siobhan Synnot and Janice Forsyth.

I thought Steve McQueen's film Shame was very good, featuring an excellent performance from Michael Fassbender and being a timely and appropriately disturbing portrayal of a man effectively enslaved by an addiction to sex. I also found a lot to enjoy about Like Crazy, an indie romance about the pressures and struggles involved in trying to maintain a long-distance relationship. Felicity Jones and Anton Yelchin are very likeable as the couple, and while the film starts out feeling a little too self-conscious and wilfully low-key, I found myself slowly drawn in, and by the bittersweet end I really cared about these two.