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
A captivating and devastatingly real piece of fiction
Hot on the trail of his Oscar-nominated Incendies, Canadian director Denis Villeneuve furthers his rapidly growing acclaim with Prisoners, a captivating and deeply affecting mystery thriller that doesn’t relinquish its hold until long after the credits roll.
“He had this kind of magical quality that all the genuine poets and artists have: to elevate things. To get above the mundane, the prosaic. All the bullshit. All the mediocrity that’s everywhere. The artist, the artist is the pioneer.”
A touching documentary that tells the remarkable, if a little sensationalised story of Sixto Rodriguez; a talented, influential sixties musician who disappeared after his records failed to sell and his label dropped him. Continue reading Searching for Sugar Man Review
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.
Silence is golden
With its silent approach, black and white aesthetic and reduced aspect ratio, The Artist is a beautiful celebration of cinema’s golden era. Steeped in sentiment, the film’s musical accompaniment harks back to the early cinematic experience as well as expertly anchoring fantastic performances and an astutely self referential narrative. While the meaning behind each scene is explained by title cards, in keeping with the genre, the director and actors revive a higher calibre of acting which faded after the arrival of the talkies and is mostly lost to contemporary cinema. This is a film that doesn’t require dialogue; characters’ thoughts and emotions are shown purely through facial expressions and physical action. Continue reading The Artist Review