best of 2014, comment, Movies

My favourite movies of 2014

Can we draw any conclusions about the state of film in 2014? More to the point can I? As I noted in my ‘most annoying films of 2014’ list, I am not a professional film critic and while I am privileged enough to see a lot of films at press screenings, as an enthusiastic semi-amateur I still see a lot on my own dollar. Like everyone else in these penny pinching times, that means I’m choosy. Even the pro-critics cannot hope to see the full range of movies released in the UK in each year, let alone all the movies that play festivals, or go direct to video (or whatever is your streaming option of choice). So I’m reticent to draw firm conclusions.

[But I’m obviously going to anyway.] Continue reading

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comment, directors, Movies, science fiction

Interstellar, sentimentality and spoiler paranoia

You’ve all seen Interstellar now right? If you haven’t, best to stop reading here. While I’m not planning to write one of those 100 bullet point articles analysing every fucking plot point in the movie, I will undoubtedly wander into spoiler territory. As with every Christopher Nolan movie, anticipation of Interstellar’s arrival was high, stoked by the first teaser trailer appearing a full year out (Whoa! Corn fields! Exciting).

In this heightened high oxygen environment the slightest suggestion of a spoiler could spark the flames of cineaste ire. For example reviews mentioning that Jessica Chastain played the adult daughter of hero cooper (Matthew McConaughey’s character) were pilloried for giving away too much by people who clearly hadn’t seen the movie yet.

This level of spoiler paranoia is somewhat understandable, but it does also beg the question ‘why are you reading reviews in the first place?’ The identity of Chastain’s character is plainly obvious from the first full trailer. It is also immediately obvious in the film’s opening scenes when Cooper’s daughter is introduced as a 10 year old (an excellent performance from young actress McKenzie Foy) and she has the same distinctive hail colour. Finally anyone how has ever read a hard SF novel and has noticed the film is called INTERSTELLAR, ought to realise the basic implications of the physics involved in space travel (if you don’t, I recommend the novel The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, it will blow your mind).

So, this isn’t a review as much as a rambling appreciation, and as such there will be spoilers (it is tedious to me that I now have to put SPOILER WARNING in front of every other thing, but hey ho). Oh, there will also be Dark Knight spoilers too.

Continue reading

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