Feb 112016
 

DEADPOOL Ryan Reynolds is Marvel Comics’ most unconventional anti-hero, DEADPOOL. Photo Credit: Joe Lederer TM & © 2015 Marvel & Subs.  TM and © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.  All rights reserved.  Not for sale or duplication.

In cinemas this week: Deadpool, Zoolander 2 and Brooklyn.

Deadpool – Based upon Marvel Comics’ most unconventional anti-hero, Deadpool tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humour, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life. An obnoxious, but rather clever marketing campaign has generated a lot of buzz for this subversive R-rated superhero entry about a fringe X-men character few non-comic book fans have heard of. Ryan Reynolds is a gifted comic performer, and no doubt well-suited, but will its profane riddled rebellion fall into unpleasantly smug territory, and just how much does its subversive approach actually work?

Zoolander 2 – Ben Stiller returns both in front of and behind the camera for Zoolander 2, a comedy that finds the beloved model Derek Zoolander (Stiller) and his rival-turned-partner Hansel (Owen Wilson) facing a threat to their continued success. Zoolander’s status as a (deserved) cult comedy icon could be tainted by this cameo-drowned disaster. Let’s hope no one is talking about this film in 15 years.

Brooklyn tells the profoundly moving story of Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), a young Irish immigrant navigating her way through 1950s Brooklyn. Lured by the promise of America, Eilis departs Ireland and the comfort of her mother’s home for the shores of New York City. The initial shackles of homesickness quickly diminish as a fresh romance sweeps Eilis into the intoxicating charm of love. But soon, her new vivacity is disrupted by her past, and Eilis must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within. I placed Brooklyn at #20 on my Best of 2015 list. This beautiful and understated romantic drama is pretty close to perfection for most of its runtime, and utterly impeccable when the story is set in Brooklyn. It tells a universally relatable immigrant story, of the courage it takes to build a life independently in a big city or strange land. Best actress nominee Saoirse Ronan and an equally Oscar-worthy Emory Cohen are wonderful; their chemistry delightful. Costumes, period design, musical score – all divine.

Weekly Recommendation: Brooklyn, but the jury is still out on Deadpool.

Jan 152016
 

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Overnight the nominees for the 88th Academy Awards were announced, and as usual we were up after the stroke of midnight to catch them as they were broadcast live. There has been a lot of discussion about this year’s leading contenders and we felt that the field would be spread quite deep – no stand-out sweeping many different categories, they will be shared around – and as a result it has been a lot harder to predict. While Spotlight went in the wobbly favourite for Best Picture, contenders in the shape of The Big Short and The Revenant have been building momentum. The number of Best Picture nominees has also been a hotly debated topic, with many pundits claiming that the number would not surpass eight. Would there be a surprise – could Pixar’s Inside Out, Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, or box office giant Straight Outta Compton sneak in? Would Sylvester Stallone follow up his Golden Globe with his second nomination for his portrait of Rocky Balboa. There are always stories around the Oscars, and while they may be dipping into a shallow pool of films, some amazing films have been recognised this year.

Well, leading all nominees with a whopping 12 was Alejandro G. Inarritu’s The Revenant. Now we predicted it would score at least 8, but when it picked up the uncertain Best Costume Design and Supporting Actor, we knew it was set to hit over 10. George Miller’s Mad Max Fury Road received 10 nominations, on par with our predictions, cleaning up the technical categories (although unfathomably missing out on an Original Score nomination). The rest of the field of nominees is spread right out with a host of films landing between 3 and 7 nominations. Joining The Revenant and Fury Road in the Best Picture field were The Martian (7), Spotlight (6), Bridge of Spies (6), The Big Short (5), Room (4) and Brooklyn (3). On the outside with multiple noms were Carol (6), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (5), The Danish Girl (4), The Hateful Eight (3), Sicario (3) and Ex Machina (2).

Check out the full list of nominees by category after the jump: Continue reading »

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 »