The latest theatrical effort from Marmite-man Ricky Gervais could easily be written off as a good sketch idea stretched too thin, but there’s a certain charm to its simplicity. Continue reading Special Correspondents Review
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 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.
After reaching the pinnacle of his career in the late eighties/ early nineties, Oliver Stone, the illustrious director of Platoon, Natural Born Killers and Wall Street, attempts to recover from a succession of disappointments. Though his latest film teases audiences with restoring the unflinching bite and controversy that made his previous films so successful, this ill-conceived and empty tale of drugs, sex and criminality is worlds away from what Stone is capable of.
Hopefully it won’t leave you craving the end of the world.
Budding screenwriter Lorene Scafaria makes her directorial debut with the intriguing comedy drama Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. What’s immediately impressive about Scafaria’s films is the way in which she approaches the disaster movie subgenre. Rather than being obsessed with explosions, astronauts or superheroes, Scafaria is refreshing by crafting her narrative around a considered presentation of how ordinary people react to extraordinary situations.
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.
The bear necessity – avoid this film.
It’s rare for a director to be labelled as controversial before his first film, but Seth MacFarlane’s illustrious career within animated television justifies this label. From psychopathic children to nine-eleven jokes, the Family Guy creator never shies away from the jokes he wants to make, however offensive they may be. Hoping to carry the success of his series onto the big screen, he ventures into live action with debut feature Ted. Continue reading Ted Review