Things to Come. Mia Hanson-Love’s drama starring the great Isabelle Huppert as a middle-aged philosophy professor definitely falls into the category of films that I wish I liked as much as all the critics are banging on about. It isn’t a film with much narrative, which is fine, it is a character study with lots of complexity. And it’s good. A good film. Awesomely acted, nicely shot, a nice relaxed pace – but it never grabbed me in a way that my favourites do and I doubt it’ll be one I’ll ever rush back to for a re-watch at any point soon, if at all.
Cafe Society. Another year, another Woody Allen film. And not one of his best. I can’t even put my finger on why it was not enjoyable – it was funny in places but, like the previous year’s Irrational Man, it wasn’t played for laughs as much as a lot of his films. Something grated on me, though – perhaps its similarity to too many of his other films, I’m not sure. Either way, it was just a really difficult watch that I felt like giving up on throughout.
Morgan. Not quite sure what attracted Luke (son of Ridley) Scott to this for his first feature. The story of ‘human creates artificial being, then artificial being goes batshit crazy’ is done again here, without anything noticeably original in its telling. There are so many good actors on board, including Paul Giamatti in a short appearance during the film’s best scene (despite it losing its way with unrealistic character decisions). It all looked quite nice visually but was very much lacking in story and originality. There was a definite disconnection from the characters and events, too.
Don’t Breathe. I didn’t even consider this as a viable cinema trip until I saw the good reviews and IMDb rating. It did sound pretty interesting – some young burglars attempt to steal from a blind man, who turns out to be more badass than they imagined. Overall, though, it turns out to be a pretty average horror, full of cliché. It had its moments, sure – it was certainly tense and had a few inventive elements, but let’s chill out peeps.
Hell or High Water. A brilliantly crafted modern day Western from director David Mackenzie. Brilliantly strong performances all round, with Ben Foster’s morally complex character probably being the standout. In fact, the morality of all the characters is grey, leaving who to root for as satisfyingly ambiguous. The financial inequality and race themes running throughout were well woven into the story and it all looked beautiful; it sounded that way, too, thanks to the ever dependable Nick Cave and Warren Ellis providing the score.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople. LeftLion review
The Infiltrator. A strong turn from Bryan Cranston couldn’t save this one for me. It felt like a film in which I’d seen before, just not very imaginatively told. It had its moments and was moderately thrilling at times but I just felt that we never really got to know the characters, so whenever things got emotional I just wasn’t invested enough to find that emotion credible.
The Girl with All the Gifts. There are too many zombie films. Fact. However, you feel as if you can take the Cockneys Vs Zombies or Zombie Strippers hits to the gut, as long as one like this comes along every now and then. It is an original and interesting twist on the genre, with some great set pieces and performances, particularly from the young Sennia Nanua, another Nottingham TV Workshop student to show her skills on the big stage. Bold ending, as well.
Blair Witch. I was not too happy with what looked less sequel, more remake, of one of the best horror films of all time. However, I gave it a chance. And it isn’t a bad film, in itself, but suffers from the unavoidable comparisons with the 1999 original. It doesn’t really help that it is, basically, the same film but with a better looking cast, updated technology, and less mystery.
Under the Shadow. LeftLion review
FILM OF THE MONTH: Hell or High Water
DUD OF THE MONTH: Morgan