Boy vs Bird who will win?

I’ve been a bad film fan this year.  I haven’t made it to all the Best Picture nominees, which is the very least I could do in the name of objectivity, but I still want to see if that changes how I think the whole shebang will turn out.

On #Oscarssowhite, Ava DuVernay was a not surprising (given the make up of the Oscars voters) but a disappointing omission. As Selma points out, if you aren’t able to have a voice to vote, how will that voice be heard?  That said I don’t think she was the Best Director so I hope she keeps making films the academy can’t ignore and gets the recognition she deserves.  I am equally annoyed that Mike Leigh, Damien Chazelle and Amma Asante weren’t nominated, but hey I love Iñárritu & Linklater.  The weakest director in this category is The Imintation Game’s Morten Tyldum (although I loved the film- he’d make my top 10) but didn’t effect me nearly as much as Belle, Whiplash, Selma or Mike Leigh every time he makes a film.

This is less informed than I’d like, however my final predictions are: Continue reading


Quick Fire Review: Before Midnight

Here’s the TrailerBefore Midnight Poster

Who is in it?

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy reprising their roles in 2 earlier films (3 if you count Waking Life)

What is it about?

Jessie and Celine met 18 years ago in their 20s whilst travelling in Austria and spent a perfect night getting to know one another. Since then Jessie has written a book about the experience and 9 years after their first meeting, they meet again at his Parisian book tour and spend some more time together talking and catching up on the intervening years.  You are left not knowing what will happen, as their lives are more complicated now, but sensing they are still very much in love.  Cut to the present tense, 9 years later at a writer’s retreat in Greece…

Why did I want to watch it?

I have written a blog post here about my attachment to these characters.  In short, I have enjoyed following these characters for the past 18 years and I’m not about to stop now.  Also I enjoy seeing people walk around and talk a lot.

Did I like it?

I came out wanting to watch it again.  At one point in the film I thought I would have to send Richard Linklater a strongly worded letter, I was so overwhelmed by what was happening.

It has some very funny moments (I am looking forward to using some of the pithy comebacks in my own future arguments) and very touching ones. The characters have really grown and the connection the actors/writers have with the characters comes through in every moment.  I would love the screenplay to be Oscar nominated it is so rich, poingant and realistic.

I have high expectations of these films and they always exceeds them.  Part of me wants them to stop now, part of me doesn’t, but the characters that the team has created are unforgettable.

Should you watch it?

I am highly biased.  I do know people who don’t like them, although I think they may enjoy this one as a standalone more since there are more characters and the story is slightly more structured.

Other films it reminds me of:

His Girl Friday, heaps of  banter and points scoring combined with real, deep love.

Watch this instead/as well/before/after: 

Before Sunrise and Before Sunset – obviously!

In a similar vein are In Search of a Midnight Kiss featuring two young strangers wandering around Los Angeles on New Year’s Eve and Away We Go – Sam Mendes’ uncharacteristically mellow film about a pregnant couple who need to find a place to live.


Take Five…Films I’m So Excited about this year


Much Ado About Nothing – 14 June

On screen Shakespeare adaptations from every corner of his repertoire are never far from our screens, from uber violent Corialanus to gloom ridden Hamlet & exuberant and even horticultural takes  or Romeo and Juliet, not to mention an entire High School based sub-genre including O, She’s The Man & of course Ten Things I Hate About You.  No longer the sole domain of thespians such as Kenneth Brannagh, one of cinema and TV’s finest wordsmiths, Joss Whedon, is the latest director to be added to the fold of those who have tackled the bard in modern times.

He even comes with a cherry picked band of players plucked from his many iconic projects.  It may not have Brian Blessed but it will clearly bring its own sense of style and flair to a story of crossed wits and crossed lovers. To gear you up before Nathan Fillion joins this crew of Big Damn Heroes, here’s  a very random treat from the internet.

Other literary adaptations flying off the shelf – The Great Gatsby – 16 May, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – 22 November

Before Midnight – 21 June

Sure, since last year’s Avengers film, I’ve been anticipating the twin marvels(!) of Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 but my all-time favourite film franchise involves to 2 people walking around Europe and falling in love.

18 years ago 2 strangers met on a train and had an adventure which changed them both and which even though separated, affected their lives deeply.  9 years later we get to see how the intervening years changed them and what has remained the same, once again for a finite amount of time.  We last left Jessie and Celine 9 years ago with Jessie on course to miss his flight just to continue to bask in the presence of Celine, the one that got away.

Now we get to drop in on them like the old friends that they are, who we had been rooting for even though we don’t even know if they got together.  We get to discover if the romantic ideas they once held could endure when tested by the realities of life or if Richard Linklater wants to crush us hopeless romantics once and for all.   I, for one, cannot wait to find out.

Here are the trailers for Before Sunrise and Before Sunset – they worked as stand-alone films so  I have no doubt Before Midnight will too, but I definitely recommend catching them before plunging into another snapshot of their lives.

Other sequels out to charm us once more:  Kick Ass 2 – 14 August, Thor: The Dark World – 8 November and I’ve already seen Iron Man 3 and will no doubt revisit it.

The World’s End – 18 July

The Three Flavours Connetto trilogy concludes.  Along with Duncan Jones, Lynne Ramsay and Steve McQueen (below), Edgar Wright’s international success as a director gives me a spark of British pride.  His films embrace some singularly British traits but appeal to wider audiences and remind us why across the world people love the British sense of humour.  His heroes are not the coolest, but you root for the normal guy and  his bromantic companion of choice!

If the trilogy has an overarching ethos, it is probably that the natural refuge of a panic stricken normal British bloke is the pub and this film turns that concept into a pub crawl of apocalyptic proportions!

Also I’m a nerd and it’s a film with Simon Pegg in it!  The rest of the core cast is fantastic from Martin “Bilbo Watson” Freeman to Eddie Marsan who is always a beautifully random delight. On a personal note Paddy Considine can also take my money for retweeting a weird hen do picture I posted and Nick Frost is like the Helena Bonham-Carter to Pegg’s Johnny Depp!

It’s also the end of the world as we know it when these explode onto our screens: World War Z – 21 June, Elysium – 13 September

Ender’s Game – 25 October

I’ve been waiting for Before Midnight for 9 years, but I’ve been waiting for Ender’s Game all my life. At 11 years old I read Maps in A Mirror a compilation of sci-fi and fantasy short stories by Orson Scott Card.  One of the stories “The Battle Room” evolved into one of the most engaging stories I have ever read, about a young boy genius’ struggles to leave his home and become a soldier and eventually a leader. It’s months away so you have plenty of time to catch up on the original novel and one or two of its many, many sequels (Wikipedia has a helpful chart)  before it comes out in the autumn.

I am very encouraged by the cast which includes Hugo’s Asa Butterfield, True Grit’s Oscar nominated Hailee Steinfield and in the adult roles Sir Ben Kingsley and Harrison Ford.  Let’s just hope, this beloved book of my youth, which I still reread, is more like Gavin Hood’s enthralling Oscar winning drama, Tsotsi than Gavin Hood’s underwhelming Wolverine.

Other Sci-Fi/Fantasy on the radar: Star Trek Into Darkness -17 May, Man of Steel – 14 June, and of course The Wolverine – 25 July

12 Years A Slave – December

When Steve McQueen and  Michael Fassbender team up I know I am in for a treat, albeit an emotional one.  With Chiwetel Ejiofor and Benedict Cumberbach in the cast, as well as rising star Quvenzhané Wallis, I am hoping that it will have Oscar bait written all over it, although even if his work is overlooked by the Academy once again, I doubt it will be ignored by anyone else.  Steve McQueen has a talent for making me anticipate being uncomfortable.  The next 7 months are likely to be pure, beautiful agony.

To whet your appetite here’s a reminder of Steve McQueen’s spectacular direction – Carey Mulligan’s haunting rendition of New York, New York from Shame.

Clearly I couldn’t stick to just 5, so here are a few more films, with no particular reason or theme, to set you wishing away the weeks and months ahead.

Monsters University – June 21 : the Monsters Inc. prequel is probably the only film which will not divide my family this summer.

Don Jon – release date tbc : Joseph Gordon-Levitt is directing a film – woohooo!

Bad Santa 2 – December: I just know this is going to make my Christmas!



**all dates correct at time of writing**

 movie posters