Friday, 24 July 2015

Freeview film of the day : friday 24th of July

Easy A [2010 88min.) [Film4 11.00pm &+1]

Comedy starring Emma Stone. When a little white lie about losing her virginity makes the previously anonymous Olive Penderghast the talk of school, she decides to exploit her new-found notoriety to improve her social standing. But being "easy" comes with mixed blessings.

There's a superb performance by (the then relatively unknown) Emma Stone at the heart of this updating of Hawthorne's classic novel The Scarlet Letter.

There's also more than a hint of John Hughes' 1980's High School set comedy films and a terrific supporting cast, including Patricia Clarkson, Lisa Kudrow, Malcolm McDowell and Stanley Tucci.

If you've seen Juno and enjoyed that film's combination of sharp wit and comic teen angst then Easy A will be right up your street.
The condensed running time means that hardly a moment is wasted and the film moves along with real zip.
It's very, very funny and it's appeal is not limited to younger viewers as all of the characters and situations are given equal weight by director Will Gluck.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Freeviews films of the day : friday 10th of July

Black Narcissus (1947 100min.) [Film4 2.45pm &+1]

Classic drama starring Deborah Kerr as one of five Anglo-Catholic nuns who establish a school and hospital in a disused harem perched on a mountain pinnacle in the Himalayas. As the nuns struggle to cope with the sensuous atmosphere of their surroundings, the intrusive male presence of the local English agent brings further disquiet.

Nuns go mad in the Himalayas in Powell and Pressburger's ravishing adaptation of Rumer Godden's novel, and thanks to clever production design and Jack Cardiff's Oscar-winning colour cinematography you'd never guess it was filmed entirely at Pinewood Studios.
Deborah Kerr plays the young Mother Superior of a British sorority that sets up a mission in a former harem, where they gradually fall under the spell of the sensuous atmosphere and the cynical but attractive English agent (David Farrar in unfeasibly short shorts); but it's Kathleen Byron who provides the film with its most memorable moments as she cracks up and starts wearing lipstick.

Attack The Block (2010 84min.) [E4 9.00pm&+1]

Sci-fi action comedy starring Nick Frost, Jodie Whittaker and John Boyega. On the mean streets of South London five teenagers in the process of mugging a woman are disturbed by an alien invader. Soon their housing estate is overrun with beings from outer space and the hunters have become the hunted.

The debut feature film from the Joe half of Adam & Joe, who both wrote and directed, is a fairly straightforward alien-invaders-meet-locals-who-fight-back story made more interesting by the setting and Cornish's sharp script and fluid direction.

The always reliable Jodie Whittaker steals most of the acting honours as the character who starts the film as a victim but discovers herself during the course of the action and there's an amusing cameo by Nick Frost as a high-rise dope dealer.

The story itself isn't up to much but the setting, the tone and the script's neat use of language make the film what it is and Cornish's love of the genre shines through every frame.

An entertaining and (in parts) exciting film with a strong ensemble cast working hard with some interesting ideas.

Yojimbo (1961 105min.) [Film4 12.55am saturday &+1]

Period action drama starring Toshiro Mifune. Sanjuro is a laconic lone samurai who arrives in a town terrorised by bitter rivals. After an impressive demonstration of his swordsmanship in a brawl, Sanjuro is hired as a bodyguard and uses his deadly skills to destroy both gangs.

Combining moments of comedy, intrigue and sudden, shocking violence, Kurosawa manages to celebrate the samurai genre at the same time as he is subtly subverting it. Toshiro Mifune is tremendous as the wandering warrior who sells his sword skills to both sides in a feud-torn community only to dupe them both into mutual slaughter.
Directly responsible for the Spaghetti Western sub-genre.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Freeview film of the day : monday 6th of July

Animal Kingdom (2009 108min.) [Film4 11.15pm &+1]

Australian crime drama starring Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, Mike from Neighbours and James Frecheville. After his mother dies of an overdose, young Joshua Cody takes up his grandmother's offer of a home. But he must also gain the acceptance of his three career-criminal uncles, who are under investigation by the local police.

Australian writer/director David Michôd's feature debut is a terrific piece of film making with a gritty but realistic central story that spins off in any number of directions and includes at least three "oh no!" moments of genuine shock.

Packed with great performances, but special mention for Jacki Weaver who received an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of the mater familias to this trio of hard-bitten, brutal but fading would-be gangsters.

It's a remarkable film that is highly recommened to everyone, but especially to those who found Chopper (to which this film has a stylistic resemblance) to be a gripping and taut piece of cinema back in 2000.

A really, really well made crime drama.