Nov 042015
 

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The 2015 British Independent Film Awards were announced yesterday and Yorgos Lanthimos’ wonderful new film The Lobster led the surprisingly offbeat field with seven nominations, including Best Best, Director, Screenplay and Lead Actor – Colin Farrell. Co-Best Film nominees 45 Years and Macbeth each scored six, while Ex Machina and Amy were handily rewarded with five.

Brooklyn also scored five nominations, including three for acting, and one for Nick Hornby’s screenplay. Ben Wheatley’s hotly anticipated and expectedly divisive High Rise was similarly honoured, while Oscar contenders Suffragette and The Danish Girl were relegated to just acting nominations. Suffragette led that field with four, while the The Danish Girl received just a single nomination, for lead actress Alicia Vikander. Vikander has been touted as one of the top contenders for the Supporting Actress Oscar, but the voters her saw that claim dubious and voted her into the lead. Vikander could easily have been nominated for Ex Machina, but it was overlooked for acting, with production design and visual effects deservedly honoured in the ‘Achievement in Craft’ category. I was also quite pleased to see Palio score a Best Documentary nod. It is one of the most thrilling experiences I had in the cinema this year.

45 Years, Suffragette and Brooklyn are looking to be the most likely to feature amongst the Oscar contenders, but we now know we cannot write off The Lobster. It is likely ‘too weird’ for Oscar voters, but it is sure is pleasing to see it gather attention. Australians hoping to see some of these films don’t have to wait long. You can catch up on Amy and Ex Machina on home entertainment, while The Lobster is currently in cinemas. 45 Years, Brooklyn and Suffragette are all screening at the British Film Festival, which is running presently. Suffragette and The Danish Girl have Boxing Day releases, with Brooklyn and 45 Years scheduled in 2016.

You can check out the full list of nominees after the jump: Continue reading »

Jul 022015
 

Amy Winehouse

In cinemas this week: Terminator Genisys, Amy and The Last Five Years. 

Terminator Genisys – When John Connor (Jason Clarke), leader of the human resistance against Skynet, sends Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to protect his mother, Sarah (Emilia Clarke), from a Terminator assassin, an unexpected turn of events creates an altered timeline. Instead of a scared waitress, Sarah is a skilled fighter and has a Terminator guardian (Arnold Schwarzenegger) by her side. Faced with unlikely allies and dangerous new enemies, Reese sets out on an unexpected new mission: reset the future. Has been mostly savaged and despised, but I rather enjoyed it. Review at the link.

Amy – Despite just two albums to her name Amy Winehouse is one of the biggest music icons in British history. With a voice oft described as a combination of Billy Holiday, Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan, Amy Winehouse was a pop star with soul; a once in two generational musical talent whose appeal crossed cultural and demographic boundaries. But while her music made her a star, her chaotic personal life stole headlines. I have never been particularly interested in Amy Winehouse’s music, but her story is a tragic one. Director Asif Kapadia’s Senna was a phenomenal documentary and even non-F1 fans will tell you that. I have been expecting this to be equally transcendent. However, since the the bunch of extremely positive reviews at Cannes, there has been a lot of negative comments about the construction of this film.

The Last Five Years – In this adaptation of the hit musical, The Last Five Years is a musical deconstruction of a love affair and a marriage taking place over a five year period. Jamie (Jordan), a young, talented up-and-coming Jewish novelist falls in love with Cathy (Kendrick), a Shiksa Goddess and struggling actress. Their story is told almost entirely through song. All of Cathy’s songs begin at the end of their marriage and move backwards in time to the beginning of their love affair, while Jamie’s songs start at the beginning of their affair and move forward to the end of their marriage. They meet in the center when Jamie proposes. Saw this at TIFF last year, and it was one of the worst experiences in a cinema of the entire year. Hated it!

Weekly Recommendation: I unashamedly enjoyed Terminator Genisys, so I am going to go against the grain and recommend it. I do think Amy will be worth the time, too.