It’s the same every year. Early in January, with awards season looming, Hollywood’s leading Oscar contenders arrive on British shores fresh from their domestic success, galvanised by their extensive awards promotion to draw yet more financial gain. This year’s big three, The Wolf of Wall Street, 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle, were deliberately released across the UK in the space of a fortnight to draw a large audience. While the awards season marketing campaign ensured that each of these American films hustled their way to the top of the UK box-office charts it also gave them immense expectations; expectations that David O. Russell’s follow up to his thoroughly rewarding Silver Linings Playbook fails to live up to. Continue reading American Hustle Review
Ever since the Harry Potter franchise adaptations of young adult literature have been a lucrative Hollywood trend. Yet the quality has descended into a ceaseless torrent of substandard replicas piloted by a toxic, pseudo-feminist, profit-driven vampire saga. That was until 2012 with the arrival of Gary Ross’ flawed, yet hugely successful The Hunger Games which towered above its feeble competition and though it failed to stem the flow it offered enough to restore at least a little faith in young adult films. Though fans remain loyal to their beloved franchise, a degree of scepticism remained to greet its successor, but Catching Fire surprises us all over again as a darker, more serious and far more mature sequel that surpasses the first in every way and reignites a genre that looked all but extinguished.
A Streetcar Named Delirium
If Jennifer Lawrence’s emphatic turn in David O. Russell’s dysfunctional romantic comedy Silver Linings Playbook was the strongest female performance last year, then 2013 firmly belongs to a mesmerising Cate Blanchett in a similarly complex role. Woody Allen’s modern revision of A Streetcar Named Desire is driven by Cate’s Blanche-esque performance and combines heavyweight tragedy with the director’s trademark humour to deliver his finest film in a long time.
Rewriting the romantic comedy playbook.
With a near two-decade long career of critically acclaimed, but quietly released films, David O. Russell was regrettably little known within the UK. That was until the American director created what many regard as his most significant film, The Fighter. The compelling character study embedded within that biographical sports drama gripped audiences and increased Russell’s audience and popularity. So, expectations were high for his follow up film, an adaptation of Matthew Quick’s novel Silver Linings Playbook.
Proof that you shouldn’t judge a film by its title
An influx of unimaginative titles have plagued modern cinema and the resulting releases carry a sense of negativity long before the house lights are even dimmed. These marketing misconceptions are frequently present within mainstream horror and unfortunately House at the End of the Street falls under this same shadow of audience’s preconceived aversion. However, much like The Cabin in the Woods, there’s a lot more to this film than the title suggests.