Film: End of Watch

The cast/crew bit: written & directed by David Ayer, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña & Anna Kendrick

The ten-word synopsis: Two cops live their lives whilst uncovering a human trafficing ring.

My critical mentality when it comes the most important aspect of a film is clear enough. Nail your central characters and you’re just one step away from nailing the film. End of Watch also adopts this mentality. In fact, the best bits in End of Watch aren’t the shoot-outs and punch-ups shot with such intensity you’ll lose the function to blink, but the scenes in which our two leads simply drive around in their car, chatting. Continue reading

Film: Beasts of the Southern Wild

The cast/crew bit: written & directed by Benh Zeitlin, starring Quvenzhané Wallis & Dwight Henry

The ten-word synopsis: Half naturalistic drama, half daylight hallucinations of a young girl.

The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. My arm, for so long hovering in and around my chin, stroking the unkempt mess I call a beard, dropped unequivocally to my lap. My lungs took a deep breath in. My eyes widened and, oh, hello, looks like my tear ducts have opened for production. There’s a moment in Beasts of the Southern Wild that conjures this reaction. The most innate, heartfelt reaction that I’ve felt towards any film this year. And for this scene alone, it must be applauded. Continue reading

Film: Fun Size

The cast/crew bit: directed by Josh Schwartz, written by Max Werner, starring Victoria Justice, Jane Levin & Thomas Mann

The ten-word synopsis: Babysitting sister loses her younger brother on Halloween. You guess.

I strolled in to see Fun Size on a Monday afternoon, and was greeted with an auditorium positively heaving with a grand total of one other person. So, the two of us sat down and looked on as the films’ certificate came up. It’s a 12A. I shall come to this later. Then two blokes, who both appeared to be quite comfortable going to the cinema on their own and therefor sat within a certain category in society, were subjected to the hoppy, middlingly-energetic music video from Call Me Maybe singer Carly Rae Jepsons’ new single. Personally, I’m an advocate of catchy pop nonsense, but as the other man, who was probably about 40, turned to look at me, hoping to catch a glance of bafflement that was almost equal to that of his own outward demeanour, I experienced the least awkward moment of the 90-odd minutes in which I was inside that screening. Continue reading

Film: Punch-Drunk Love

The cast/crew bit: written & directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, starring Adam Sandler & Emily Watson

The ten-word synopsis: Shakey but pleasant man experiences love, threat, disappointment and anger

Jack and Jill is a movie with stupidity so deeply engrained in it’s DNA that even if the Deoxyribonucleic acid could think itself, it wouldn’t work out that it had a double-helix structure. That’s My Boy is a film so painful to watch that the NHS had to begin employing expertsin diagnosing ‘Adam Sandler fever’- A condition that makes you want to bash yourself over the head repeatedly until A). you die or B). the film is over. Most patients claim A is preferable under the circumstances. Basically, if you hate Adam Sandler, you’re more than entitled to do so. However, before you go off on any rants about what a hateful human being he is, (As I for one certainly have done in past) you’re probably best watching Punch-Drunk Love, a movie so good you’ll almost forgive Sandler for his apocalyptically bad career. Continue reading