Starting with the best, here are the new films we saw in October 2014. Ratings are only given by one of us, don’t assume consensus was reached!
There are links to reviews included where applicable, and if we didn’t review it fully in time then there’s a bit of a write-up. For more on a few of these titles, check out our latest podcast.
Note: This list is by no means complete, we’re only rankin’ wot we seez.
Note 2: Where two films get the same rating they’re ranked alphabetically
Take care ye who enter the theatre expecting The Conjuring or Annabelle as The Babadook is a different creature entirely. Noah Wiseman who plays Samuel gives a book (“The Babadook”) to his mother Amelia (Essie Davies) to read one night which then unleashes an evil monster upon the house.
Wiseman and Davies are outstanding in their portrayal of a single mother at the end of her rope, and a child more at home in a world of make believe. This is director Jennifer Kent’s first feature and she expertly captures the sense of desperation and despondency. More akin to The Yellow Wallpaper than any standard horror film, The Babadook is the perfect examination of post-traumatic stress and even post-natal depression.
There is much humour to be found in the odd and dark, off-kilter way that the Australians do so well. The sets are brilliantly gray and devoid of colour which is flipped entirely on it’s head for the closing scenes leading us to question what exactly we are witnessing.
One Million Dubliners
★★★★ (Nigel & Guest Review)
Director David Ayer has done a stellar job in knitting this unit together and capturing the claustrophobia of tank warfare. All the characters look as if they haven’t slept in months making it easier to warm to their hurt and sympathise when some inevitably perish. Quite philosophical at times, Fury explodes in the final third and while the film is certainly building to this, the journey along the way leaves a lot to ponder.
Jack O Connell continues to cement his career as an actor of note in this tense thriller form first time director Yann Damange. Jack plays a British squaddie in 1971 who gets left behind on the streets of Belfast after a house raid by the RUC goes wrong. He must then go on the run as it turns out that it’s not only the IRA that want him dead.
Strong acting all around, especially from a young Corey McKinley who allows us to see the loyalist point of view. An excellent soundtrack from David Holmes gives the film a proper pulpy 70s feel. The film is a tad naive in its portrayal of the British army’s involvement in Northern Ireland and some plot holes involving a younger character are the only faults in this gripping thriller.
It’s hard to warm to Mr. Turner or even understand him at times as Timothy Spall grunts and grumbles through Mike Leigh’s portrayal of the last years of Turner’s life. So not a grand sweeping biopic from birth to death, Mr. Tuner is more about his declining health and relationship with three women. Ruth Sheen plays his first wife Sarah Danby, who he has no dealings with and whose very presence enrages him. Dorothy Atkinson is superb as his maid Hannah Danby who he treats worse than a dog, sporadically groping her whenever he feels the urge ultimately leaving her alone and heartbroken. The third is Marion Bailey as Mrs. Booth who he befriends in Margate on his painting excursions.
His incredibly close relationship with his father and a revelation that they put his mother in an insane asylum, her illness no doubt a result of the death of his younger sister at the age of four, may give some light to his dealings with women.
Dick Pope’s cinematography is beautiful to behold and goes a long way in capturing the scenery and light for which Turner was so widely known. Much supposition comes into any work of art or where there are no hard concrete facts so Timothy Spall’s portrayal of an almost pig like character is commendable regardless of it’s groundings in reality.