Oscars season has rained down upon us once again and first on my list of films to watch was ‘Manchester by the Sea’ which appears to be getting a lot of recognition in current awards ceremonies circuits. I knew little about this film and had not actually seen a trailer- I had read a brief synopsis in a newspaper ruling the movie a “heartbreaking tale of love and regret in small-town America” and thought that among all this speculation, i’d bit the bullet and go watch it with limited knowledge of the plot. The film stars Casey Affleck as Lee Chandler who works in Boston as a Janitor, seemingly discontent at life and the world around him, who is summoned back to his hometown of Manchester after the death of his older brother. Taking his nephew Patrick under his wing after involuntarily becoming his Guardian, we witness the struggles of Lee who bears the burden of a terrible tragedy. Director Kenneth Lonergan intersperses the action with the flashbacks that jab agonisingly into Lee’s mind allowing the audience to begin to piece together his troubled past explaining his exile from the place where he grew up. You begin to feel for Lee, his life will never be the same regardless and you wonder just how a film of such emotion can end.
The film has, as mentioned, been hailed a masterpiece. Manchester by the Sea is generally heavy on the heart yet intertwined with some light injections of comedy from rising star Lucas Hedges who plays Lee’s Nephew. Enticing, delicately produced and masterfully acted, its certainly worth a watch to understand just why its sweeping up the awards board this season.
There are not many films I walk away from where I really think about the Cinematography to be honest. This film was an exception, it was both a beautiful and brutal Western thriller led by Leonardo DiCaprio who played Hugh Glass; a Nineteenth Century frontiersman. I would say that there was one scene hyped up by all prior to me watching this film, thus being the showdown between Man and Bear. Although it wasn’t what I was at all expecting as some described it as a ‘rape’ so to speak, this scene was different in the sense that you could almost feel the cold, violent scuffle between the two. With the bear overpowering Glass, I felt every serration of tooth, the bear spittle, every slap of the paw- the way it was shot made you truly understand the situation and you subconsciously immersed yourself in the scene with them. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has married up the driving forces behind Man and Nature to showcase a stunning tale of revenge as we follow Glass on his journey to track down two men who left him to die after he was mauled by said bear.
DiCaprio dominates this film as does Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, hand in hand they take us all the way to the end absolutely exposing you to the elements. Its a film you feel closer to, like you were walking the very same path Hugh Glass did and these travelling shots are somewhat similar to what Inarritu achieved with his previous picture Birdman. Without giving too much away. The Revenant is up there with the greats and urge you to see it just so you understand why this film is sweeping up all the awards this season.
This week I finally got round to watching Legend which is now out on DVD- a film based on true events surrounding the Kray Twins. As a viewer I was surprised at how different both characters were thus prompting me to research further, like many events in the film, just to confirm these events really did happen. The movie’s main advantage is Tom Hardy, who plays both twins convincingly. Reggie is smooth and confident, while Ronnie, a paranoid schizophrenic with strong sadistic tendencies, is vicious and vulgar. Both performances are commanding. Regarding the plot line, I would say its less ‘gangster’ as some films out there but it is certainly got a good mix of action and violence with a doomed love story to boot. I thoroughly enjoyed the film and would recommend you watch it just to take a step back in time to see what East London was like when it was ‘ruled’ by the Kray Twins.
Room is a 2015 drama based on a novel inspired by true events written by Emma Donoghue. The plot centres around a woman and her five year old son who are held captive in a room, their only connection to the outside world is a small skylight and a electronically coded door- the code of which is known only by their captor. This was another film I went to see at The Barbican Cinema, being a member of Young Barbican really has its pros.
Room is an Oscar contender; one of those movies at the moments that the lights are all shining upon. Brie Larson takes helm as the lead in the film and subsequently is tipped for glory at The Academy Awards as a result. Both herself and Jacob Tremblay pair up perfectly together throughout as we follow their journey from captivity to freedom. A couple of emotional moments to be expected but all in all it was casted, adapted and produced in a flawless manner. I highly recommend you go and see it!
Last night I went to watch the latest Hunger Games film at The Electric Cinema in Shoreditch. I have been to the Portobello branch a few years ago, and to this cinema when it was under Aubin. It has actually improved since my last visit, a real sense of sophistication from the moment you enter the building. You can bring a bottle of wine in, or perhaps a cup of tea alongside plenty of snacks that all look delicious and reasonably priced. The ‘waiting’ room so to speak before entering the screen is friendly and sociable and a nice place to grab a drink pre-film if you have a spare 30-60mins.
Upon entering the screen you are greeted by a sea of armchairs and blankets, in quite a cosy and smaller cinema that what one would usually expect. I was in total comfort for the entire film and did not need to leave the 150 min film once even though I had managed to consume an entire carafe of wine split with a friend, and eaten a large amount of biscuits. For £15 I think it was worth every penny especially as most multiplex cinemas are charging this fee nowadays! A fewer selection of films but all available to book online: http://www.electriccinema.co.uk/shoreditch
I enjoy the Bond films. Growing up and living in England, you cannot avoid the hype. Subconsciously you become aware of exactly who the new Bond Villain and Bond Girl are and who the singer of The Bond Theme is, the media adore a new James Bond film and so this time I gave in and went ahead and watched Spectre at The Barbican. The venue itself was fantastic, I recently joined Young Barbican which is a scheme for 14-25 year olds where you can bag some great discounts on Film, Art, Theatre, Music etc. A great idea, I just wish I had found it sooner!
Spectre was good, I can tell because I didn’t fall asleep like I usually do in the Cinema. Plenty of action from the get go. The shooting locations were all quite fascinating which is something that instantly caught my eye. There are some great one-liners in the film albeit predictable in parts. I would say that it was relatively slow to start and I was expecting a bit more of a bang as the film progressed but it never really lifted off the ground until the last half hour. I was most looking forward to Christoph Waltz’ debut in the Bond franchise as Oberhauser. I wish he had more screen time because he is fantastic.
Overall I think it was a good watch, perhaps not the best Bond ever, but as time is progressing, budgets are increasing and the cinematography is improving. Worth a watch indeed.