Quick Fire Review : Selma

Here’s The Trailer

Who is in it?

David “what do you mean there are no decent British roles for coloured actors” Oyelowo, Carmen “I’m not Tessa Thompson” Ejogo, Oprah “even I can’t get Ava DuVernay an Oscar Nomination” Winfrey, Tom & Tim “no Americans were harmed in the making of this film” Wilkinson & Roth, Lorraine “My glasses need their own Oscar” Toussaint, Dylan “always the creepiest dude in the room” Baker.

What is it about?

In the fight for Civil Rights, Martin Luther King takes the cause of the people of Selma to the US President. He highlights how Selma’s black citizens face enormous trials in registering for their legal right to vote and brutality at the hands of the authorities in the town.

Why did I want to watch it?

Black Woman director, check, Oscar baity biopic of an important political figure, check, Costume porn…

Did I like it?

The performances are majestic, the script is fabulous, it’s wonderfully paced and the scenery is beautifully shot. The dramatic tension is maintained throughout, whether the political standoffs or personal ones, and even though some serious injustices are given an airing, I didn’t feel bludgeoned by it (unlike Oprah).  The drama is excellently played and it felt like natural storytelling rather than historical lecturing.

I have always voted and this film reminded me why, even in the face of limited ideological differences between political parties, it is still important to try and have my say on things I care about, because people fought hard with their lives for that basic right.

It also reflects really well  how the Oscars voting system works, if you aren’t there to have a voice then you won’t be represented.

Should you watch it?

Absolutely. It has hit my top 3 of the Best Picture nominees – Birdman & Whiplash are the 2 others.

I also think it should be a stalwart of schools History lessons.

Does it pass the Bechdel Test?  http://bechdeltest.com/

It does, I only caught one scene, but it’s a great one with Coretta King discussing her role and struggles as Martin Luther King’s wife.

Watch this instead/as well/before/after:

Spike Lee’s, Malcolm X, for another side of the story, Talk To Me for a more light hearted biopic directed by an overlooked woman director – it also touches on the death of Dr King.

ELC

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Quick Fire Review: The Theory of Everything

Who is in it?

Eddie “can you hear the people sing?” Redmayne, Felicity Jones and David “will always be Lupin in my eyes” Thewlis

What is it about?

The story of the genius physicist Stephen Hawking, his diagnosis of motor neurone disease and his relationship with his ex-wife, Jane. The film is an adaptation of her memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen.

Why did I want to watch it?

I am always drawn to biopics and having recently seen and loved The Imitation Game, I wanted to once again, hear a relatively unknown  story of  someone extraordinary.

Did I like it?

I thought it was excellent! I had expected to cry and the film delivered on that level. Am I the only person who goes to the cinema wanting to cry? I heard that Stephen Hawking had an almost unrivalled sense of humour, but I hadn’t expected to laugh so much either! A very uplifting film which was very welcome in the post-Christmas gloom.

Should you watch it?

Yes, if you enjoy hearing remarkable stories. Don’t be put off though, by the “science bit” – certainly too much for an ex-Arts student like me! The period parts set at Cambridge are lovely and good viewing for anyone who wishes they could keep on learning and revisit campus days!

Does it pass the Bechdel Test?  http://bechdeltest.com/

Once again, no. Although, I forgive Jane, she is after all,  remaining strong against remarkable odds.

Watch this instead/as well/before/after:

Eddie Redmayne has thus far gone under my radar – he was ok in Les Mis, but his performance as Hawking was moving. Felicity Jones was divine! I shall now be looking at her filmography and maybe looking up The Invisible Woman from 2013 for which she was nominated for a BIFA Best Actress award and from 2011, Like Crazy.

Having said that, this is surely her best performance to date and I await a “Big O” nomination on January 15.

LB

Quick Fire Review: The Imitation Game

The Imitation GameHere’s The Trailer

Who is in it?

Benedict “socially awkward otter” Cumberbatch, Keira “posh lady required”Knightley, Mathew “distractingly pretty” Goode, Mark “your wig guy needs their own special Oscar” Strong, Charles “so you think you can” Dance, Tuppence “not a main character but love the name” Middleton, Rory “Classy northerner” Kinnear

What is it about?

How Alan Turing the father of the modern computer helped break an unbreakable code and the society which vilifies and degrades outsiders and the sexually different, irrespective of their immense talent.

Why did I want to watch it?

Alan Turing’s tale is a poignant one, which needs to be told.

Did I like it?

I thought it was magnificent.  The script was equally funny and touching, and the tale was told in an unpretentious enjoyable way.

Should you watch it?

Yes.  It is one of the best films I have seen in recent months.  If nothing else, if you like crosswords you will feel like you have the makings of a genius and capable of defeating despots the world over.

Does it pass the Bechdel Test?  http://bechdeltest.com/

Nope.  There aren’t that many women in the film and there are discussions about how hard a time an intelligent woman has to be taken seriously.  When Joan turns up to be assessed for the Programme the patronising way she is treated says it all.

Other films it doesn’t remind me of:

The Social Network.  Whilst both about social outcast computer geniuses who have difficulty making friends,  Turinf comes across as an affable recluse, Zuckerberg is portrayed as an obnoxious child.

Watch this instead/as well/before/after:

I’ve still not seen it but Benedict Cumberbatch plays another real life figure, Julian Assange, in The Fifth Estate. Daniel Bruhl is in it so it could be watchable (feel free to let me know what you think in the comments)

The Kings Speech is the forties, once again scored by Alexandre Desplat (guess who I think will get an Oscar nomination?).

ELC