Monday, 26 January 2015

Also of note: JANUARY

My intention was to record everything I watched this year and the beauty of on demand and Boxsets, means I can visit some programmes  and movies fresh despite them being missed at the time.

Foster.




My interest in this film was predominantly the wonderful Ioan Gruffudd, who as usual did not disappoint, but it was the other performances that truly made this film special and magical. The U.S.  Titles of this film rather gives away the main plot twist. I will not reveal!

Sidebar: why do they do that??  The film makers spoon feed American audiences as if they cannot cope with a more complex title structure... Two prime examples the debacle of Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone... Philosophers stone in the book and UK movie and the rather incongruously titled "Someone like You"  in the USA from a book called Animal Husbandry , called Animal Attraction in the UK ... The UK version is explanatory, the USA version, just bland, thus doing the film a disservice.

The packaging of the DVD also suggests it is a Christmas film, but I believe it could be watched and enjoyed at any time of the year, despite the fact that it features Christmas in the plot, the central themes of loss, grief, emotional estrangement and renewal work year round.

A fabulous British cast complements the central roles taken by Toni Collette and Ioan Gruffudd who  as Zooey and Alec have grown apart after a traumatic incident and their inability to conceive. Deciding to foster a child the precocious  and rather bossy young Eli appears on their doorstep, quite literally one day. With the help of a wise old tramp played with relish by the marvellously eccentric 

Richard E Grant, the child and his rather snazzy choice of attire, helps the couple find each other and themselves once again.
The most affecting scene and testament to my continuing love affair with Mr GRUFFUDD involves a teddy bear and a weeping Alec displaying emotion and range and depth more common in much higher budget projects.

☀️☀️☀️☀️

Before I Go to Sleep.  




I had not read the book so came to this film purposefully because I am a fan of Colin Firth and have a strong respect for Mark Strong.

The story of anmesiac who wakes every morning to find she is a forty years old Married woman with no memory of the last twenty years was an amazing premise.

I am purposefully avoiding spoilers for those who wish to watch the film or read the book, but this was a revelation to me, I had created a a scenario of in my head of how this would resolve itself and I was utterly and wonderfully confounded by the twists and turns of the story and it kept me literally on edge from start to finish.

Nicole Kidman plays Christine's confusion and fear beautifully , you feel her emotions as she visits a gamut of traumas every single day and you at once wish she would remember and wonder whether it would be better for her to stay in the dark.

Strong and Firth are truly marvellous as the two men who are the sole keepers of the sanity of this poor woman, the flashback sequences are chilling and the pacing is taut. Everything from the house to cars pulling into the drive provides tension.
Overall a good film.



⛅️☀️☀️

Pride




Set in the height of the Miners Strike in the 1980s, this film  was a delight!  A group of idealistic gay men and a token lesbian start a bucket collection to support the beleaguered Miners who were under attack by Margaret Thatcher's Government. Finding many correlations between their own lives and that of the mining community, they are faced with opposition  from the Union who fears reprisals from the male dominated mining industry, they randomly adopt a mining village in Wales and much hilarity and moving moments ensue.

The juxtapositioning of two of the biggest issues of the the mid eighties, those of the systematic

destruction of our rural mining industry and that of the growing tragedy of HIV/ AIDS  are handled with subtlety and maturity.

A fine British Cast led by the truly marvellous Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton provide a great foil for a newer unknown set of actors playing the group of young idealists who work so hard to support the people who at first at least meet them with prejudice, fear and anger.

As friendships form and insights into the plights of the others are found the film creates a timely reminder that inside we are all human with our own fears and dreams and ambitions and that often it is our labels that constrain us, that prejudice can imprison us and ignorance enslave us.

The fact that this is a dramatisation of real events which as a young girl I had some cognisance of
gives the film a real frisson. The rousing ending  is uplifting and makes the annotations on the titles at the end even more moving as you hear how some of the integral characters fared after the film's
events.

☀️☀️☀️

 A Long Way Down




A Nick  Hornby adaptation starring Toni Collette? already a winner! Actually this was far better than even I had expected. Four random strangers meet on top of a tower block as they all plan to commit suicide on New Years's Eve. We have the world worn housewife  and mother, the washed up B List celebrity, a teenage rebel and the quiet loner all played with a understated subtlety  by Collette, Pierce Brosnan, Imogen Poots and Aaron Paul.

Each of their reasons for suicide seem authentic and the story is sweet and moving and darkly funny. All the main cast are strong and the pact they make to not kill themselves until Valentines Day creates a brilliant support group of misfits, all looking out for each other and ultimately showing that life can actually be worth living.

Good, but not Great☀️⛅️⛅️

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