Monday, 15 February 2016

I'm excitedly counting down to the Oscars. All three films reviewed here are in contention.
Brooklyn is simply sublime, Fassbender gives a tour de force performance in Steve Jobs, while the animation Anomalisa is a little weird for my taste.

Director: John Crowley
Length: 112 mins

© Transmission Films
This exquisite film tells the story of Irish lass Eilis (Saiorse Ronan) who emigrates to New York in search of a better life. After initial homesickness, things take a turn for the better when she meets Italian-American Tony. But when circumstances lead her to return home for a while she finds herself caught between two possible lives and two men. Everything about Brooklyn works - from the spot-on period recreations and glorious cinematography, through to the heart-wrenching story which seems as fresh today as in the 1950s where it is set. Ronan's central performance is a revelation, and every small role sits perfectly around her. There's romance, sadness, social history, humour - and a calm, measured beauty about every aspect of this stunning film.

Absolutely and totally unmissable!

For my full review:

Steve Jobs
Director: Danny Boyle
Length: 122 mins

© Universal Pictures

Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) was the man behind the Macintosh computer. This compelling new film (way better than Jobs several years ago) looks at three critical times in Jobs' life, all involved with product launches, examines the genius in the man's vision, along with the flaws in his nature that made his interpersonal relationships so fraught. Key among his personal issues was his refusal to acknowledge his illegitimate daughter, and the progress of this relationship is beautifully handled. Fassbender is deservedly up for an Oscar with his mesmerising performance, as is Kate Winslett playing his trusty personal assistant. Even Seth Rogen plays convincingly against type as Steve Wozniak, one of Jobs' earliest collaborators and software writers, a man (along with many others) never adequately acknowledged for his contribution. This is biopic making at the top of its game, (with director Boyle and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin why wouldn't it be?) and a fascinating insight into an iconic man of the 20th century

Totally worth seeing!

For a full review from Bernard Hemingway:

Director: Charlie Kaufmann
Length: 90 mins

© Paramount Pictures - Check out the puppet artistry!
Kaufmann is certainly an alternate filmmaker with such films as Being John Malkovitch and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to his name. Little wonder that his latest, nominated for a Best Animation at this year's Oscars, is also something out of the ordinary. Amazingly, it's all done with stop-motion puppets, so that's a technical feat in itself. The puppets are so real you think you are seeing real people, but it leaves me wondering why did he not choose live actors, at least for the two leads. The story is of motivational writer Michael (voiced by David Thewlis) who meets Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh) at a conference, and they fall in love. (Think weird puppet sex!)  Everyone else in the world is literally all the one person - same faces, and same voice (that of Tom Noonan). I admit Kaufmann is probably trying to convey some weighty themes of alienation and societal homogeneity, and while I was not bored, I found myself less than engaged with the characters, although the puppetry seriously impressed me.

Maybe worth seeing - if you're a puppetophile or a Kaufmann aficionado!

For a full review from Bernard Hemingway:

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