Best of 2016, Movies

My 20 favourite films of 2016 – Part 1, no’s 20 -11

Obviously I have to do a top films of 2016 list right? No real ground rules, this isn’t the best films of the year, its my favorites from among the new films I have seen this year. My press screening attendance was limited this year, and my festival attendance non-existent, so it is a somewhat mainstream list and all these films received some kind of UK theatrical release in 2016.

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Best of 2016, directors, Movies, Reviews

Creatures of the night – Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals

As almost every review has commented, its been seven years since fashionista Tom Ford tried his hand at movies with his debut film 2009’s A Single Man. That movie seemed like a perfect distillation of Ford’s style, a measured, elegant character piece adapted from Christopher Isherwood’s 1964 novel. A Single Man followed a suicidal college professor George Falconer (played by Colin Firth) bereft following the death of his partner Jim over a single day. The film addressed issues of sexuality, and the repression and uncertainty of early sixties American culture. It was not anything if not elegant, meticulous in its period detail and fashions (especially the distinctive glasses worn by Firth). The film met significant acclaim, but there was the suspicion that it was a definitive filmic statement by Ford, a one-off dip in an artistic pool made by a man who could afford to dabble.  Continue reading

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Best of 2016, british film, directors, Movies, Reviews

I, Daniel Blake is a film of devastating emotional impact

You very much know what you are going to get from Ken Loach. He rarely works in genre, unless you consider the Loach picture a genre in itself (the case can be made). Since making Kathy Come Home for the BBC’s Wednesday Play strand in 1966 Loach has spent the ensuing 50 years making socially conscious, usually contemporary dramas with socialist themes. His films take place in working class milieus, and he finds warmth and humour even in the grimmest of subjects. Continue reading

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Best of 2016, Movies, new releases

Waiting to put on a black shirt – how Brady Corbet’s The Childhood of a Leader is a chilling totalitarian parable

Yesterday (the 18th of August 2016) was not a good day for the European film industry (yes,  until Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is triggered I do still consider the British film industry part of a wider European industry). Dutch sales agent Fortissimo Films and UK based distributor Metrodome shuttered. Both companies had a strong history of supporting international independent filmmakers.

Metrodome straddled the divide between genre and art house fare, they had solid hits releasing films like Donnie Darko and Monster. More recently their acquisitions team had punched well above their weight, securing and releasing a string of significant art house films such as White God, Tangerine, The Falling, and What We Do In The Shadows (to name just my personal favourites.

The loss of both companies is a testament to the alarming shrinking of the independent film sphere, but Metrodome’s hits particularly hard as it removes a key distributor from a UK market now largely saturated with American studio product in which independent films across the spectrum from art house to exploitation increasingly struggle to be seen on a large format screen.

That Metrodome were to have released The Childhood of a Leader in the UK this week, and that it is on of the interesting films of the summer, is just pouring salt in the wound.

Anyway, on to the review… Continue reading

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