Friday, 26 June 2015

Freeview film of the day : friday 26th of June

Hanna (2011 106min.) [Film 4 9.00pm &+1]

Action thriller starring Cate Blanchett, Eric Bana and Saoirse Ronan. Teenager Hanna has never left her home in the Finnish wilderness and has spent years in isolation being trained to be the perfect assassin by her ex-CIA father Erik. But Erik has unfinished business with the Agency and so he leaves Hanna, who is soon forced to put her skills into practice to elude the murderous attentions of a ruthless intelligence officer.

The absurdly talented Saoirse Ronan leads the cast in director Joe Wright's spirited attempt to mix together the conventions of the conspiracy thriller and the surrealism of European fairy tales.

A very strong supporting cast (Eric Bana, Cate Blanchett , Olivia Williams, Tom Hollander and Jason Flemyng) add depth and weight in the acting department and the visual style is suitably dreamlike and off-kilter to match the oddly twisted storyline.

Distinctly odd but also enjoyable.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Freeview film of the day : tuesday 23rd of June

Holy Motors (2012 111min.) [Film4 11.50pm &+1]
Freeview premiere

Drama starring Denis Lavant. A day in the life of a mysterious man who is chauffeured around Paris in a limousine assuming a variety of disguises including an old bag lady and the flower-chomping Monsieur Merde who crashes a photo shoot at a cemetery.

This is not going to be to everyones taste. Director Leos Carax specialises in making films that constantly teeter on the edge of falling apart ; his style is languid, he isn't afraid of shocking or offending the viewer, he prefers inter-connected sketches to what we would normally consider a narrative and he is firmly rooted in the French nouvelle vague/arthouse tradition where meaning is often obscured under several levels of image.

If you're still thinking 'that sounds interesting' then Holy Motors should work for you - otherwise avoid it as you'll only get angry.

Holy Motors has a story (of sorts) it revolves around a day in the life of Denis Lavant's character who travels around Paris in a swish limousine adopting a different persona each time the car stops and he interacts with a different person (or group of people).

Along the way he meets Edith Scob, who (sort of) reprises her role from the classic 1962 French horror film Eyes Without A Face; Kylie, who sings a brilliant Neil Hannon song and a near unrecognisable Eva Mendes.

It's messy, self-indulgent and deeply arty - but it's visually stunning and the performances are terrific. If you sit back and allow yourself to go along on Carax and Lavant's journey you may find yourself surprised at just how much you enjoy this distinctly odd work.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Freeview film of the day : saturday 20th of June

Rush (2013 117min.) [Ch4 9.00pm &+1]
Freeview premiere

Motor racing drama based on a true story, starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl. The 1976 Formula One season is dominated by the intense rivalry between two brilliant drivers: the maverick James Hunt and the methodical Niki Lauda. As their quest for dominance of the sport grows more intense, tragedy seems almost inevitable.

Chris Hemsworth plays Hunt as a boozy, lazy, ladies man blessed with natural charm and talent while Daniel Brühl as Lauda is the technically minded perfectionist who scowls and gripes his way through his professional and personal life.

The two ends of the spectrum personalities of the central characters allows scriptwriter Peter Morgan to dig deep into the psyche of the two rivals - the scenes set in pre-race drivers meetings where Hunt teases and mocks Lauda's obsession with safety are superbly done.

Ron Howard's direction of the action scenes is quite thrilling and the sights and sounds (and the constant presence of sudden death) of 1970s Formula 1 are brilliantly re-created.

Olivia Wilde is terrific as Hunt's long suffering girlfriend/wife Suzy and Christian McKay is an absolute joy as Alexander Hesketh, the wealthy playboy who gives Hunt his first drive.

Even if you know nothing about (or care nothing about) Formula 1 racing don't be put off : the film is very low on technical chat and backstory and very big on personal relationships, spectacle and thrills.

Hugely entertaining.