Out Now – 31st January 2014

The Armstrong Lie

I, Frankenstein
An absolutely awful sounding film starring Aaron Eckhart as Frankenstein’s monster in a dystopian version of our world. As is usual in these fantasy epics there are two warring groups of supernatural nasties and the resulting film looks ridiculous.

Out of the Furnace
Casey Affleck’s gravelly voiced character goes missing and the police don’t act so his gravelly voiced brother, played by Christian Bale, takes the law into his own hands. Eavesdropping on critics who have actually seen the film I can assure you that it is getting a mixed response but Casey Affleck is, as usual, great.

That Awkward Moment
Zac Efron headlines a romantic comedy for the lads. LAAAADDS!!! Top bants!

Lone Survivor
Mark Wahlberg stars in an American war film with a trailer that was so painfully sentimental and patriotic that I can’t bring myself to seek it out and link to it. If memory serves there will be a lot of scenes where soldiers say very poignant things to each other when they should be more concerned with staying alive.

The Armstrong Lie
Absolutely fascinating documentary examining the whole Lance Armstrong dope scandal and the man himself. While Armstrong interviews are included this documentary is definitely not on his side. Read my review for more on why I liked it. Or perhaps you’d rather take a look at this clipping from an October issue of Cycling Weekly:

Cycling Weekly

(I have a copy of the magazine if you ever want to borrow it)

Journal de France
“A journal, a voyage through time. He photographs France, she rediscovers the unseen footage he has so carefully kept: his first steps behind the camera, his TV reports from around the world, snatches of their memories and of our history.” He is Raymond Depardon, she is Claudine Nougaret, and the documentary is only out in “key cities”.

Oscars! Statistics! Predicting the Winners with Maths!

The Oscars 2014 Data
UPDATE: Stats have been updated after the BAFTAs and can be found here.

Last year statistical wizard Nate Silver had a go at predicting the Oscar winners using the various other award ceremonies as indicators. With my love for both films and data this year I decided to give it a go myself. Taking a leaf out of Nate’s book I will be using twelve other award ceremonies to give me my predictions. I will not be using anything other that cold, hard statistics and will not let my emotions or film knowledge sway my opinion.

To begin with I looked at how often these twelve awards have agreed with the Oscar selections across 11 awards categories since the year 2000. For example; the Golden Globe and the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor have gone to the same recipient as one another 11 times out of the past 13 years and so in this category the Golden Globes have a predictive accuracy of 85%. As the ceremonies take place for this year’s events I am looking at all the awards the Oscar nominees are winning, calculating their chance of winning the Oscar based on their combined precursor awards’ predictive accuracy, and comparing that score with their rivals.

So far nine of my twelve precursor ceremonies have taken place, and some categories won’t settle down until after the BAFTAs in mid-February, but my interim analysis certainly shows some dominant nominees. Have a look at the charts below and see what you think. The drop down menu will allow you to toggle between Oscar categories, the bar chart to the left shows how the nominees stack up against one another so far, and the table to the right shows how often the other awards correspond with the Oscar winner.


Mild Concern Oscar Predictions 2014

Best Picture
12 Years a Slave

The strongest predictors for Best Picture are the Producers Guild Award and the Critic’s Choice Movie Award, both of which were won by 12 Years a Slave. The only significant award yet to be announced is the BAFTA but even if Gravity takes the title it will have to literally beat the odds if it hopes to win the Oscar.


It is completely the opposite story for the Best Director Oscar with Alfonso Cuarón and Gravity having won the big hitters in the form of the Directors Guild Award and the Critic’s Choice Movie Award. 12 Years a Slave is so far behind that a BAFTA win would make little difference.

Actor in a Leading Role
Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club

The Critic’s Choice Movie Award again dominates the field followed closely by the Screen Actors Guild Award, both sitting on the mantelpiece of Matthew McConaughey. The power lies in London now as both the London Film Critics Circle and BAFTA awards have yet to be decided and both hold some sway over the category.

Actress in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine

By far and away the most distinctive category at this stage in the race as Cate Blanchett leaves all rivals in the dust. Her’s is the only Oscar nominated performance to have won any precursor award apart from Amy Adams who won a mostly inaccurate Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical. This really is Blanchett’s award to lose.

Actor in a Supporting Role
Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club

Almost as strong a predicted winner as Blanchett, Leto is way out in the lead having won all but three of the precursor awards to this point. The only other actors to have won awards in this category aren’t even nomination for the Oscar so won’t be troubling Leto when March roles round. No competition… yet.

Actress in a Supporting Role
Lupita Nyong’o for 12 Years a Slave

Lupita Nyong’o and Jennifer Lawrence have won three precursor awards each with Nyong’o taking the lead by winning awards of slightly more importance than Lawrence. Too close to call yet especially with the most accurate BAFTA looming in a few weeks.

Original Screenplay
Spike Jonze for Her

Let’s take this prediction with a huge pinch of salt right now as the only awards with any predictive power here, the BAFTA and the Writer’s Guild of America Award, lie in the future and could easily change the rankings completely.

Adapted Screenplay
Terence Winter for The Wolf of Wall Street

The BAFTA isn’t as important for this award but the WGA award certainly is. No nominee has won more than one precursor award so far so we may never have a good grip on the winner before the Oscar itself is awarded.

20 Feet from Stardom

This is a very difficult category to predict as none of the precursor awards are particularly accurate predictors. 20 Feet from Stardom takes the lead having only won the Critics’ Choice Movie Award with all other awards to date going to Stories We Tell which has not been nominated.

Animated Film

Way out in the lead is Frozen with the mightily accurate Critics’ Choice Movie Award under its belt. That said the BAFTA for this category has yet to be awarded and thus far it has an unprecedented 100% predictive accuracy.

Foreign Film
The Great Beauty

It all falls apart here as one film is absolutely dominating this category across the precursor awards and that is Blue is the Warmest Colour. Tragically the film is not eligible for the Oscars this year so we only have The Great Beauty‘s win at the Golden Globes to go by.

We’ll have another look at how things stand after the BAFTAs on 15th February when we will have four more ceremonies contributing to the stats and I will be making my way to the bookies.

Out Now – 24th January 2014

August Osage County

Inside Llewyn Davis
The latest Coen brothers film is out and it is as good as you have come to expect. None of the stills can convey this but the film positively glows. IT GLOWS! Review here.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
I am incredibly ignorant when it comes to Jack Ryan. Last year at a film-centric pub quiz I failed to answer the question, “what character has been played by Harrison Ford, Alec Baldwin, and Ben Affleck”. The answer was apparently of course Jack Ryan. In my defense the name has never been used as a film title before and it is a little bland. As for the plot? Oh look I’ve run out of

Grudge Match
Stallone and De Niro play washed up boxers who return from retirement to settle a longstanding grudge by punching each other in front of a paying audience. For amusement, and to make you think fondly of my terrible Photoshop abilities, please see the film’s poster.

August: Osage County
When a play is adapted into a film it is often produced as a feature stuffed with “real” actors which struggles with reviews that refer to it as being too stagey. Along comes August: Osage County complete with rave reviews in the theatre, mixed reviews in the cinema, and a whole lot of Meryl Streep. I love theatre and I love Streep so let me at it! Also good for some Cumberbatch perving if that’s your bag.

“Teenagers did not always exist. In this living collage of rare archival material, filmed portraits, and voices lifted from early 20th Century diary entries, a struggle erupts between adults and adolescents to define a new idea of youth.” I’ll be honest with you; this film really appeals to me. I almost saw it at last year’s film festival but at least three other films must have clashed with it. At 78 minutes though I am tempted to wait and see if it pops up on TV.

French comedy let down by a lacklustre IMDb entry and no mention at all on UK distributor Studiocanal’s website. Améliorez votre présence sur Internet!

The General
Buster Keaton’s 192os classic action adventure comedy is back in cinemas 87 years and one week after its original UK premiere. Why not go see it so you can stop pretending to be familiar with his work and become able to discuss the film properly without having to rely on IMDb to feed you information.

Dark Days
Re-release of a not quite so old film as Marc Singer’s award winning 2001 documentary about the homeless population of New York who live in underground tunnels returns to UK screens.

Review of the Two Year Review of the UK Film Policy Review

Film Policy Review Squared

Two years ago Lord Chris Smith convened a panel of industry experts to examine UK film policy and the work of the BFI. The result was a report that ran to 111 pages in length and out of kindness to you dear reader I read it all and condensed the findings into 10 key sections. You can re-read my summary by clicking here.

To give you some context the report was published in January 2012 shortly after the UK Film Council had been abolished and the BFI suddenly found themselves responsible for distributing National Lottery funds and became responsible for not just the cultural well-being of the British film industry but the commercial side too. The report gave the BFI some guidance as to what was expected of them as they ventured into new territory. The BFI was used to being an archivist, not a producer, and needed all the help it could get.

Two years on and the panel has reconvened and I am pleased to say that the findings are largely positive, the lovely BFI have done well in their new role with some areas for improvement. The full pdf of their new report can be downloaded here but I have once again summarised it all for you below.

1: Audience Development
“Public policy should be used to maximise audience access to films of every kind.”
As a result of the panel’s recommendations the BFI have launched the Film Audience Network and the BFI Player. Thumbs up from the panel. However the BFI failed to properly connect with the commercial side of the exhibition sector, including small and large cinema operators, which has lost them lots of potential support. Large cinemas account for 75% of screens and should not be ignored when it comes to developing audiences. Could this be a case of snobbery on the BFI’s part? In 2017 the BFI are expected to get more independent films into both multiplex and art-house cinemas. Finally I can recommend the smaller films without annoying everyone.

2: Film Education
“Film education can assist in growing the audiences of today and tomorrow, ensuring that more people have an improved understanding and appreciation of the value of different kinds of film.”
The BFI have established a new film education organisation, Film Nation UK (FNUK) to encourage 5 – 19 year olds to learn about film. Another thumbs up. The aim now is for the FNUK to gain independence from the BFI and be self-sustaining after 2017. FNUK needs to engage better with schools and teachers and to do so needs to work closer with the Department for Education. “FNUK can enable film to be recognised far more widely as a cultural peer of literature, drama and music, in terms of both artistic and educational value.” Also need to ensure that there is a clear path for young people to get involved in film as a career.

3: The Virtual Print Fee
This was established as a cost to distributors every time a film is played at a new cinema and has been used to fund the cost of digitising UK cinemas. This was a success in the sense that the UK has become a fully digitised sector, including a total of 300 digital independent cinema screens. On the downside this has meant higher distribution costs for smaller films which might have in the past used the same 35mm print at various cinemas as part of a slow, rather than saturated release. This fee is actually slowing the distribution of independent films. The panel are proposing to only charge for the number of concurrent digital “prints” in use or simply waive the fee on films released on a number of screens below a specified threshold (99).

4: Development, Production, Distribution
The panel gives a sympathetic shrug to the BFI for having to tackle new responsibilities and deal with a large cut to government funding. Despite this the BFI have implemented some of the reports recommendations including the Vision Awards, the recycling of development funds, a new animation development partnership, and supporting the development of family films. Lots of admin in this section so skipping along… Lots of complicated money stuff… Way over my head…

5: Broadcasters
“The Panel is frustrated there has been little progress on its recommendations concerning broadcasting”
The government gets a ticking off here as they endorsed the panel’s proposals to get BSkyB, ITV, and Channel 5 to do more to support the UK film industry but have failed to use their relationship with the broadcasters to prioritise the issue. “In particular, by the end of 2015, the Panel would like to see BSkyB investing at least £20m, ITV £10m, and Channel 5 £5m per annum in original feature film production, as well as acquiring a greater number of British and specialised films.” We all know that the BBC and Film 4 are major players in the film world so it makes sense to expect the same from our other big entertainment brands.

6: International Strategy
“UK films earned a combined worldwide gross of $5.3 billion in 2012 – a 15% share of the global box office – with the twenty-third James Bond film, Skyfall, earning over $1.1 billion alone. The 2012 gross for UK films was less than 2011’s high of $5.6 billion, but more than any other year recorded.” The Film Tax Relief has kept a steady supply of films being made and the relief will be extended to high-end TV productions from April 2014 which is lovely. More needs to be done to promote the UK industry as a solid investment to international investors, particularly major US studios. Despite UK films success worldwide there is a lack of structured support for delivering UK films to the global audience. All sorts of companies and agencies need to work together to explore partnerships. BBC Worldwide in particular look to be a key avenue for getting UK films out to international sales.

7: Skills & Talent Development
“The future success of the UK film industry, and the vitality of its film culture, depends on the ability to nurture new talent and skills.”
Skills and talent development are two distinct strands but need joined up planning to make the best use of funds. BFI and Creative Skillset have worked together on a funding strategy for 2013-17 and the BFI and Creative England have launched a new Talent Network. All these agencies need to collaborate going forward and, along with the government, must support the BFI’s new Diversity Strategy to ensure opportunities in the industry are available to women, ethnic minorities, and socially deprived populations. As a straight white male I need to check my privilege.

8: Research & Knowledge
More research is needed into the UK film acquisition market and to the impact the Virtual Print Fees are having on independent distributors versus traditional print fees. All the new initiatives need to be rigorously measured and evaluated. The BFI Film Research & Statistics Fund (a very exciting set of words to a film and data geek like me) has been put out to tender which pleases the panel as it offers some separation between the research and those being researched but the relationship between the research and policy needs to remain strong.

9: The BFI as Lead Agency for Film
“The BFI seems to have been less confident in seizing the leadership of the commercial needs of British film than it has been in sustaining its traditional expertise in cultural, educational and archival work.” There is still work to be done for the BFI to truly represent all parts of the UK film industry. As the BFI matures into its role as lead agency for film in the UK it needs to act as a strong industry leader whilst also allowing partners enough freedom to deliver.

I feel like I’ve just read someone’s school report. Still, nice to see a good level of transparency and accountability.

I’ve saved my favourite excerpt for the very end, it is from the section on Education: “The Panel believes that by putting the needs of schools at the centre of its approach  FNUK can enable film to be recognised far more widely as a cultural peer of literature, drama and music, in terms of both artistic and educational value.”

Isn’t that a lovely sentiment? I think I was just moved by a governmental policy review. How unsettling.

For the Love of Clue


Originally written for Jeff Goldblum’s Laugh, the Prince Charles Cinema’s blog.

A board game adaptation is a rare beast in the world of film and even rarer still is for a board game to be turned into a film that is actually watchable let alone enjoyable or, dare I say it, incredible. Let Battleship stand as an example of when a studio takes a game as its inspiration and then goes completely off the rails. No amount of Liam Neeson can save you when you haven’t got an engaging plot or a well written script to back you up. One film has defied all the odds and manages to turn a murder mystery game into a cult comedy by knowing when to stick to the spirit of the source material and when to step out in its own direction.

That film is Clue, the 1980s comedy based on the game we Brits like to call Cluedo. How do you turn a game of deduction into a farcical comedy? I have no idea. You’ll have to ask co-writers John Landis and Jonathan Lynn for an answer, all I can do is to try and explain just why I love the result so much.

As comedies go Clue is a slow burner. The film’s initial scenes are devoted not to rapid fire jokes but to all important scene setting and character introductions. On a dark and stormy night Wadsworth the butler welcomes six strangers into a New England mansion. Each arrives having received an anonymous invitation and each has been provided with a colour-coded pseudonym to protect their identity. After an awkward dinner the final guest arrives; Mr. Boddy. Wadsworth dramatically reveals to the group that everyone present is currently being blackmailed by Mr. Boddy and a few minutes and plot contrivances later the classic collection of weapons are produced and the lights go out. When the lights come back on Mr. Boddy is dead and everyone is holding a possible murder weapon.

This is the point that the board game begins and it is from here that Clue really comes into its own.

What follows is not a serious murder mystery but a farce, pure and simple. The comedy starts subtly and slowly ramps up as the cast of strangers explore the strange mansion scared of what might be lurking in the many, oddly familiar, rooms and of their fellow guests unsure of who is a killer and who is the next victim. As time moves on the death count rises, a policeman is locked in the study, a chandelier falls, and everybody gets a little bit hysterical.

Energies are at their highest as the film reaches its three different conclusions and Wadsworth recaps the events of the film by sprinting around the mansion at breakneck speed and recreates various murders with a strange composed mayhem that can only have been provided by the unique comedic talents of Tim Curry. Curry is hardly alone in producing both a rounded character and expert comic timing as the cast is filled with pedigree character actors. Christopher Lloyd is by far the most famous of the line-up but lesser known actors Martin Mull, Lesley Ann Warren, Colleen Camp, and Michael McKean more than match his energy and the sadly departed Madeline Kahn and Eileen Brennan as Mrs. White and Mrs. Peacock give some of the biggest laughs Clue has to offer.

It’s really hard for me to explain here just how much fun this film is but trust me that it somehow combines subtle character comedy, clever dialogue, and outright slapstick to produce a film that is simultaneously quintessential Cluedo and something completely other. If you haven’t seen it you really must and prepare for the film to completely disarm you as you settle into its gentle pace only for everything to get frenetic without you ever noticing the change.

As the Prince Charles is was hosting a Quote Along screening this last week I thought I should probably give you my top 5 Clue quotes to finish but then started to transcribe the entire film. I don’t think there is a scene in the film that isn’t witty and quotable. Instead I decided to end with my favourite exchange from the film and let you debate the best quote in the comments below.

Colonel Mustard: Is this place for you?
Wadsworth: Indeed no, sir. I’m merely a humble butler.
Colonel Mustard: What exactly do you do?
Wadsworth: I buttle, sir.

Out Now – 17th January 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street

Devil’s Due
Essentially a low budget found footage horror remake of Rosemary’s Baby. There isn’t really much more to say than that so let’s move swiftly along…

The Wolf of Wall Street
It feels as though this Leonardo DiCaprio starring and Martin Scorsese directed romp through drug, sex, and financial debauchery has been out for months it has had so much news coverage. The raunchy nature of the film (despite cuts to get a friendlier certificate in the US) and its five Oscar nominations have caused a lot of fuss but let’s not forget the most intriguing aspect of the film… Margot Robbie! She’s come a long way since leaving the role of Donna in Neighbours just three years ago.

Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus
How have I not heard of this film? Michael Cera stars as a young man on a comedy adventure through Chile in search of a fabled hallucinogen. Consider this your Sundance alternative to The Wolf of Wall Street allowing you to still experience “strong sexual images and hard drug use” but maintaining an alternative air.

The Night of the Hunter
Re-release of the 1950s classic about a reverend-turned-serial killer that went on to inspire the likes of David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, Terrence Malick, the Coen brothers, and Spike Lee. or so Wikipedia tells me anyway. Can’t help but feel like this is the film I should be seeing this week.

Tim’s Vermeer
Inventor, engineer, and all round non-painter sets out to paint his own version of one of Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer’s paintings. In doing so he explores a bold new theory of the technique Vermeer used to paint. In a shocking twist the trailer for this film actually makes it all seem very fascinating and Tim seems like a lovely man to spend the length of a film with.

2014 Oscar Nominations Not-Remotely-Live Blog

Oscar Nominations

I wasn’t quite organised enough to have a liveblog up and running when the Oscar nominations were announced this lunchtime but I made myself a post so I’m damn well going to put something in it. I will forgo listing all the nominations as they can be found everywhere else on the internet. The important facts are these…

  • Gravity and American Hustle lead the pack with ten nominations each, closely followed by 12 Years a Slave with nine. Nebraska has a pleasing six nominations and Her continues to taunt me with five nominations and a UK release that has yet to arrive.
  • Judi Dench and Meryl Streep are competing for the Best Actress award, a title that Dench has never won and one that Streep has taken twice and been nominated for fourteen(!!!) times.
  • The only nomination for Saving Mr. Banks is for its music and this upsets me greatly.
  • Blue is the Warmest Colour has completely failed to be nominated for Best Foreign Film and that is a tragedy as it clearly is the best foreign film and if you ask me the best film overall. So there.
  • Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa has been nominated for an Oscar. Take that in. It’s for Best Makeup and Hairstyling but still, it just feels wrong. Weirdly American Hustle is not nominated in this category despite the hair being the best bit.
  • David O Russell and American Hustle continue to rhyme and sound incredibly satisfying.
  • Jonah Hill has received his second Oscar nomination. Who would have thought he’d ever be an Oscar contender considering his former career in broad comedies? Ditto for Matthew McConaughey who has moved so far away from his Romantic Comedy background he is barely recognisable.
  • Best Live Action Short is not normally a category I can comment on but somehow I have seen nominee The Voorman Problem twice and it is worthy of the win. The short stars Martin Freeman as a psychiatrist called to a prison to deal with an inmate who is convinced that he is God (Tom Hollander). It is short, clever, funny, and has famous people in it.
  • There are really only three nominees for Best Film. For the past three years I have seen the winner of the top prize at the previous year’s London Film Festival therefore this year’s winner must come from the films I saw back in October. The real list of nominees is as follows:

12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club

The Wolf of Wall Street

Let’s meet back here on 2nd/3rd March to discuss the winners.

Famous People are Given Golden Globes – 2014 Edition

Golden Globes 2014 - Emma Thompson

The Golden Globes took place last night and boy did some people win some awards. Award ceremonies are both trivial and exciting and the Golden Globes in particular have a reputation for nominating people they think will turn up and that the voters would like to party with. That said the Golden Globes offer the combined excitement of the Emmys and the Oscars as awards are given to both TV series and films allowing Bryan Cranston to be sat feet away from Leonardo DiCaprio.

Regardless of the awards’ merits the list of winners put a smile on my face a few times this morning as actors/films/TV shows I love got given little golden orbs. This will serve as a quick summary of who won that matches who I think deserved to win and absolutely no negative feelings towards any decisions I disagree with. No Amy Adams hate. None at all. Nope…

Let’s start with the big winner 12 Years A Slave which grabbed only one prize last night but as it was the award for “Best Motion Picture – Drama” it’s hard to really complain. This is a fantastic film that could well have deserved more awards (no grumbling here, I promise) but I am really pleased that it beat the more audience-friendly Gravity to the top spot. American Hustle won the sister award of “Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy” which is a tricky category when its rivals Inside Llewyn Davis and Nebraska could arguably be seen as dramas just as easily as Philomena was. American Hustle is a fun period crime romp that puts wigs character at its core instead of a complex plot filled with endless reveals (hello Oceans Eleven!). The scene-stealing star of the film Jennifer Lawrence was rightly awarded the lengthy-titled “Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture” alongside two of her co-stars.

Gravity may have missed out on the big award but was rewarded for its visual spectacle when Alfonso Cuarón was given the award for “Best Director – Motion Picture”. This sci-fi thriller didn’t make my top ten last year but is without a doubt a visual and technical marvel requiring the most precise direction of any film out last year; the precise camera movement required to believable create outer space on a soundstage require a steady hand at the helm. If you somehow managed to miss Gravity, or simply want to marvel at it one more time, then you’ll be pleased to hear that the film is back in IMAX cinemas where you can get the full immersive effect/throw up if you’re my mum.

Over on the TV side of things the departing juggernaut that is Breaking Bad took was awarded “Best Television Series – Drama” and the man who made the show what it became through his chameleon-like acting, Bryan Cranston, took home the “Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama” award. It’s a lovely cherry on the cake for a show that never let its quality drop while others that have been less consistent (*cough* Dexter *cough*) weren’t even nominated.

The winner of “Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television” is a confusing one as in the UK it was released in cinemas, and rightly so. The award went to my 3rd favourite film of last year Behind the Candelabra and its star Michael Douglas won “Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television”. Two rightly deserved victories and wins that might not have happened had it actually had a cinematic release in the USA and was forced to take on the might of David Russell’s American Hustle.

Last but not least TV’s best current comedy Parks and Recreation finally won its first major award as producer, star, and Golden Globes co-host Amy Poehler was handed “Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy”. For anyone ignorant of the joys of this series I urge you to seek it out and stick with it when Series 3 comes to BBC Four later this year. If you don’t enjoy it I will cook you dinner either as a reward or punishment, I can’t quite decide how to classify my cooking skills.

The awards also served to highlight for me the films I need to get my eyeballs on; Blue Jasmine, Frozen, Her, Wolf of Wall Street, and Dallas Buyers Club in particular.

As for what I have seen of the ceremony itself it looks to have been a fun affair but sadly we had to get our beauty sleep so missed out on watching it live. Emma Thompson proved to be a highlight and you can see why by clicking on this orange text. As for the co-hosts of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey… have a watch below:

Out Now – 10th January 2014

12 Years A Slave

One of this year’s biggest award contenders is out today. It’s not an easy watch but is essential viewing if you want to be able to have an awards based conversation in the next few months. You are fully within your rights to avoid these conversations if you wish, they are at the end of the day meaningless as I’ve already told you what the top ten films of 2013 are.

The Railway Man
I’ve just read a review of this film in order to be better informed for you and what I have gleaned is that Colin Firth is good and Nicole Kidman is bad. In all honesty I pretty much guessed that from looking at the poster. Firth plays a former POW who was forced to work on World War II’s “Death Railway” and later on tracks down his old torturer. One for the Firth completist or Kidman apologist.

12 Years a Slave
Having seen 12 Years a Slave at the London Film Festival I was so moved by it that I rushed to a coffee shop to write up my review in the couple of hours I had before the next screening. I can’t be sure in the resulting review was remotely coherent but it is available for you to read should you need it. Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as a free man kidnapped and sold into slavery and his 12 years of captivity are shown in brutal detail. To quote myself: “12 Years a Slave is a searing film that takes its weighty subject seriously whilst not scrimping on cinematic artistry.”

Delivery Man
Onto less weighty fare now as Vince Vaughn stars as a man who has fathered over 500 children through sperm donations made 20 years ago. His past spermal generosity comes back to haunt him when hundreds of his offspring unite to pressure him to reveal his identity. Reviews are awful so I’d avoid if you can.

Kiss the Water
“In a small cottage on the northern coast of Scotland, Megan Boyd twirled tiny bits of feather and fur, silver and gold into fishing flies that were at once works of art, magical – and absolutely lethal. Wherever men and women cast their lines for the mighty Atlantic salmon, her name is whispered in mythic reverence, and stories about her surface and swirl like fairy tales.” Good luck! A slightly more helpful summary might be “A poetic portrait of the world’s most celebrated maker of salmon fishing flies, Megan Boyd.”

Exposed: Beyond Burlesque
Documentary following eight burlesque performers or “eight women and men who use their nakedness to transport us beyond the last sexual and social taboos that our society holds dear”. Just reading this summary tells me that this is very much a celebration of burlesque and one that is likely to look down on someone like me who would spend the entire show focussing on the performer’s eyes so as not to seem rude or inappropriate.

After Tiller
We’re back to heavier topics again with a documentary about life after the death of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas who was one of only four doctors in America willing to perform third-trimester abortions. The documentary looks at the remaining trio and the harassment they receive on a daily basis. Great date movie that could potentially provide a healthy argument for you and your loved one.

Bounty Killer
Trashy looking bit of nonsense about bounty killers.

Bounty Killer
1. compete for body count, fame and a fat stack of cash.
2. ending the plague of corporate greed and providing the survivors of the apocalypse with retribution.

1: Life on the Limit
“Set in the golden era of Grand Prix Racing ‘1’ tells the story of a generation of charismatic drivers who raced on the edge, risking their lives during Formula 1’s deadliest period, and the men who stood up and changed the sport forever.”