Watch This Space #5

Another weekend arrives and you’re looking for a new pick to stream at home. We’ve got you covered. The JUMPCUT team have selected a new batch of recommendations for you. Below you’ll find some classic films you never knew were hiding just under your streaming radars, some hit comedy finds, and more!

Falling Down (Joel Schumacher, 1993)

Amazon Prime

Before Joel Schumacher lost his way and camped up the Batman franchise to high heavens, his portfolio forms a fanfare collection of big hits; one in particular, 80s supermovie The Lost Boys.

Two years before his caped crusader debut, he made Falling Down, a scorchingly violent satire with a wit intelligently woven with chaos. The film follows Michael Douglas’ everyman who, on a tiringly hot day, lashes out against those in society who he believes to be America’s downfall. Commercially, the movie succeeds as a no-holds-barred revenge actioner, but the observations on the world’s relentlessly capitalist nature bury the events deeper than superficial enjoyment.

Schumacher enjoys both broad strokes in attacking consumerism, such as a famed scene in a fast food joint, but also takes sly digs through glances at posters and billboards – in a landscape so focused on money it may as well be covered in green, Douglas spills his red justice onto the grass. His character is portrayed as both a hero and villain, which although leaves a sour taste as we’re expected to root for him through his warped journey, adds to the twisted plight of the tale.

Cameron Frew

 

Ex Machina (Alex Garland, 2015)

Netflix

If you’re still reeling back from Annihilation earlier this year, maybe you’d like to sink your eyes into more cerebral ideas of human nature. Garland’s 2005 thriller/drama Ex Machina stars Domhnall Gleeson as Caleb, a programmer who wins a week-long trip at his CEO’s (Oscar Isaac) estate to interact with Nathan’s new, peculiar AI named Ava (Alicia Vikander). Ava is a magnificent achievement of tech that Caleb can’t help but be overwhelmed by. He wants to study her but soon realizes that maybe Nathan is using both of them for unethical, greedy schemes. The futuristic setting of the film tames the claustrophobic themes of human examination, existentialism, and razor-sharp disillusionment. Vikander and Gleeson are phenomenal, as always, and pull you into Caleb and Ava’s wonderful, interesting, but strange relationship under the scope. Garland’s directorial debut (if we are ignoring his pointed direction in Dredd) is patient and eerie as we await its next move, and it’s a constant, clever spectacle.

Jessica Peña

Loving Vincent (Hugh Welchman, Dorota Kobiela, 2017)

Netflix

After a criminally limited release last year, Loving Vincent is available on Netflix and I can’t recommend it enough. Loving Vincent is the world’s first fully painted feature film and is comprised of over 65,000 frames on over 1,000 canvases and was a labour of love for over 100 painters for four years – and my god was their hard work and determination worth it. The film is one of the most beautiful films I’ve had the pleasure of watching, and the accompanying score is just as delightful. Do yourself a favour and put some time aside this weekend to watch it! You can also read my full review from last year right here.

Tom Sheffield

 

In Bruges (Martin McDonagh, 2008)

Netflix

Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy follows hitmen Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) as they lay low in Bruges, Belgium after a botched job has their boss (Ralph Fiennes) keeping close tabs on them. Ray is quite reluctant to engage in sightseeing and tourist-y ventures Ken wishes to schedule during their mini career hiatus, Bruges being the last place on Earth he can even stomach to reside in. It’s a hasty film that wastes no moment to downplay its class in exchange for remote absurdities and crude unravelments. It’s Farrell at his most ridiculous, and Gleeson as the perfect sweetener to balance it. It’s weeping thriller bits mixed with sharp, cunning dialogue. The architectural landscape bodes well to the film’s nuanced, but sinfully quick narrative. A much better McDonagh film than Three Billboards. I said what I said.

Jessica Peña

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Annihilation

Year: 2018
Directed by: Alex Garland
Starring: Natalie Portman, Oscar Isaac, Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tuva Novotny

Written by Rhys Bowen Jones

Alex Garland had been floating on the edges of Hollywood fame for years before he made it big. He’s a talented writer who is responsible for genuinely great films like ’28 Days Later’, ‘Never Let Me Go’, and ‘Dredd’, but it was the leap to directing that truly put him on the map. 2014’s ‘Ex Machina’ was a critical smash hit as it earned award nominations in various categories at the Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and the Oscars. Alex Garland was suddenly a household name and we all waited with bated breath to see what he will do next. Enter ‘Annihilation’.

‘Annihilation’ sees a mysterious governmentally quarantined zone, Area X, being studied to find out what exactly it is. They’ve named it ‘The Shimmer’ after it’s gorgeously shimmery quality when you look at it, but it remains a mystery beyond its name because if you go into The Shimmer, you don’t come back out. Until, that is, Oscar Isaac’s Kane returns from The Shimmer. Cellular biology expert and Kane’s husband, Lena (Portman), is called to help study The Shimmer, and she joins a team of scientists and soldiers to enter The Shimmer on yet another expedition to explore Area X to discover the truths behind it and what exactly happened on Kane’s mission.

Writing that short summary took far too long. ‘Annihilation’ is a film that’s hard to qualify. On the surface, it does seem like a high concept science-fiction, but looking beyond that, it’s a film with tremendous depth and meaning that has spawned hundreds upon hundreds of YouTube videos and articles and film essays studying it. I fear that going into too much detail about the story will ruin the surprise and genuine shocks the film has in store. More than any film I’ve seen recently, ‘Annihilation’ will serve you better if you go in as blind as possible.

What I can talk about, though, is the sheer quality of the film. ‘Annihilation’ is a film that takes a lot of commitment from everyone involved – actors, writers, set designers, special effects artists, editors. It’s a film that has been known to lose a fair few of its viewers because of how complex it becomes as the expedition team head deeper into The Shimmer. It’s a film that plays games with genetic mutations, time and space, using all the elements of the Earth (and elsewhere?) to confound its team and its audience into questioning everything they’re seeing. The end result, however, is a film that truly is firing on all cylinders.

Starting with the actors, the expedition team all leave an impression one way or another. They all have their justifications for going on what’s become a suicide mission, but the film does a masterful job of investigating these characters and letting us understand them as people. Each of the team, from Portman to Thompson to relative newcomer Novotny, gives their character nuances and extra moments where they are just themselves to help them come alive. All of the performances here are terrific; Tessa Thompson’s Josie has a dreamy quality to her as the team’s nature expert, and Dr. Ventress (Jason Leigh) is the most mysterious of the team but Jason Leigh imbues her with a desire for the truth unmatched by anyone else.

Natalie Portman is naturally the stand out given her bigger role in proceedings. She brings all of her talent, her Oscar winning gravitas to a role that requires dedication and commitment to the extremely high concept ideas that are being thrown at her. Lesser actors would have struggled with the workload of the final act, but here is where Portman excels as she gets closer and closer to finding out answers for her burning questions.

‘Annihilation’, all being well, is sure to earn itself accolade after accolade next year, none of which will be more deserving than for special effects. Given all the blockbusters we’ve had this year – ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’, ‘Deadpool 2’ – ‘Annihilation’ stands tall as the best looking film of 2018 so far. The Shimmer itself is a stunning achievement, an idea that seems impossible to convey on screen after having read the book upon which the film is based, is shown beautifully, and every shot of The Shimmer makes you stop and stare in awe at what Garland and co. have achieved. Within The Shimmer, without spoiling too much, the set designers and the special effects team have pulled no punches as they’re allowed to go as batshit crazy as they want given The Shimmer’s mutating quality. Creatures, plants, buildings are all spliced together to create things we haven’t seen on screen before. The characters are amazed by what they’re seeing, and so are we along with them. Whatever you think of ‘Annihilation’, the visuals and the production are universally agreed to be stunners.

‘Annihilation’, tragically, failed to earn the support from distributors around the world. It was shown in cinemas in North America and China, but the rest of the world were given ‘Annihilation’ via Netflix. Netflix are a fantastic company, providing a platform for filmmakers around the world to show their work to as wide an audience as you can imagine, but ‘Annihilation’ is different. ‘Annihilation’ is a film from an Oscar nominated filmmaker, with multiple A-listers attached, and arguably most importantly, it’s different. It’s a book adaptation, sure, but it’s not a sequel, not attached to a franchise, for all intents and purposes, it’s new. Why are studios so scared of new ideas? Why are they so reluctant to take risks. Paramount, the production company who picked up the rights to distribute the film in North America only, aren’t exactly strapped for cash. They have the box-office behemoth that is ‘Transformers’ under their belts, along with franchises like ‘Shrek’, ‘Kung Fu Panda‘, and ‘Mission Impossible’. Take some risks. Let your audience see something different for a change.

‘Annihilation’ is a film that deserves to be seen on as big a screen as possible. When it was released, I went as far as upgrading my Netflix account to 4K purely to watch a film, and in the week or two before the film’s release I bought a new 4K TV. Did I buy a new, big TV purely to watch ‘Annihilation’ in a medium close to what it deserved? I can neither confirm nor deny that. What I’m saying is – ‘Annihilation’ is worth your time. It is worth sitting down and watching something you almost certainly have never seen before. It’s a miraculous achievement in filmmaking across the board, and it deserves your attention. It’s on Netflix right now. Watch it, experience it, and prepare for it to take over your every thought for some time.

Rhys’ Rating:

5

Netflix Release Trailer For ‘Annihilation’ As Paramount Skips UK Cinema Release

 

“When her husband vanishes during a secret mission, biologist Lena joins an expedition into a mysterious region sealed off by the U.S. government.”

Netflix has released a new trailer for Alex Garland’s ‘Annihilation’ – a film which Paramount executives have reportedly deemed “too intellectual” to be released in cinemas in most countries. ‘Annihilation’ will only be screened in cinemas across America, Canada, and China, with the film then releasing two weeks later on Netflix – on March 12th.

“At the heart of the problem has apparently been a dispute between producers David Ellison and Scott Rudin. Ellison was reported to have been unhappy that the final cut was “too intellectual” and “too complicated”, and was after changes to the ending, and the character played by Natalie Portman. Rudin, and Alex Garland, were against said changes. The film remains in tact as a consequence, but is paying a price for that: it’s skipping a wide cinema release around the world.” – Den of Geek

I’ve seen nothing but hype for this film since the trailer was first shared, and excitement has only grown as we got ever closer it’s release date. But when rumours started to emerge of Paramount skipping out on cinema releases, and opting to sell Netflix the rights to stream it, we’d hope they’d be shot down once the films review embargo was up. Sadly, this isn’t the case, but we’re ecstatic to hear such positive reviews coming from lucky critics who’ve seen it already.

Whilst some of our team across the pond will be watching this film over the weekend in their local cinema, I’ll sit twiddling my thumbs until March 12th and trying not to let me envy show too much… I can’t promise anything though!

Here’s a snippet of some of the glowing reviews we’ve seen: 

“Alex Garland’s bracing brainteaser has the courage of its own ambiguity. You work out the answers in your own head, in your own time, in your own dreams, where the best sci-fi puzzles leave things. Get ready to be rocked.”Rolling Stone

“It’s a bold undertaking that doesn’t play it safe and features some strong performances”IGN 

“A lavish, magnificently unnerving visual feast threaded through with well-earned jump scares and real metaphysical force.”Entertainment Weekly

Step Inside The Shimmer In New ‘Annihilation’ Trailer

“A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition where the laws of nature don’t apply.”

Direct by: Alex Garland

Cast: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny and Oscar Isaac

Release Date: 23rd February 2018

The First ‘Annihilation’ Teaser Trailer Leaves Us Guessing

Direct By:  Alex Garland
Cast: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny and Oscar Isaac
Release Date: February 23, 2018.

The JumpCut UK Film Awards 2015: The Nominees

After weeks of agonising over the films of 2015, our esteemed panel have finally submitted their picks for the first annual JumpCut UK Film Awards. The votes have been counted and the nominees are…


actors
Best Support Actress
Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina)
Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)
Kristen Stewart (Clouds Of Sils Maria)
Marion Cotillard (Macbeth)
Rooney Mara (Carol)
Best Support Actor
Benicio del Toro (Sicario)
Idris Elba (Beasts Of No Nation)
JK Simmons (Whiplash)
Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina)
Paul Dano (Love & Mercy)
Best Lead Actress
Cate Blanchett (Carol)
Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Emily Blunt (Sicario)
Olivia Cooke (Me And Earl And The Dying Girl)
Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)
Best Lead Actor
Abraham Attah (Beasts Of No Nation)
Jason Segel (The End Of The Tour)
Matt Damon (The Martian)
Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)
Miles Teller (Whiplash)
Best Breakthrough Actor/Actress
Abraham Attah
Alicia Vikander
Daisy Ridley
O’Shea Jackson Jr
Taron Egerton
Worst Acting Performance
Adam Sandler (Pixels)
Jai Courtney (Terminator Genisys)
Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades Of Grey)
Johnny Depp (Mortdecai)
Vincent D’Onofrio (Jurassic World)

 

technical

Best Director
Alex Garland (Ex Machina)
Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)
Denis Villeneuve (Sicario)
George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Ridley Scott (The Martian)
Best Original Story
Ex Machina
Inside Out
The Gift
The Lobster
Whiplash
Best Adaptation
American Sniper
Macbeth
Me And Earl And The Dying Girl
Steve Jobs
The Martian
Best Cinematography
American Sniper
Macbeth
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
The Martian

 

Best Editing
Birdman
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Whiplash
Best Soundtrack/Score
Dope
Inside Out
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
Whiplash
Best Visual Effects
Ex Machina
Jurassic World
Mad Max: Fury Road
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Martian

genre

Best Action Film
American Sniper
Avengers: Age Of Ultron
Kingsman: The Secret Service
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
Best Comedy Film
Inside Out
Spy
The Lobster
The Night Before
Trainwreck
Best Drama Film
Carol
Me And Earl And The Dying Girl
Straight Outta Compton
Whiplash
White God
Best Horror Film
Crimson Peak
Insidious: Chapter 3
It Follows
The Gift
Best Sci-Fi Film
Ex Machina
Jurassic World
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Martian

 

Best Documentary, Foreign, Indie or Short Film
Cobain: Montage Of Heck
The End Of The Tour
Kung Fury
The Lobster
World Of Tomorrow
Worst Sequel/Reboot
Fantastic Four
Hot Tub Time Machine 2
Taken 3
Terminator Genisys
Vacation
Worst Film
Hot Tub Time Machine 2
Pan
Paul Blart 2
Pixels
Vacation
Best Film
Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
The Martian
Whiplash

miscellaneous

The “Guilty Pleasure” Award
American Ultra
Focus
San Andreas
Ted 2
The Interview

 

 

 

 



So there you have it – 24 categories with lots of films and individuals to celebrate. We will be opening up the voting to the public for the following categories: Best Breakthrough Actor/Actress, Worst Film and Best Trailer, and you can cast your vote here (voting closes 31st December). The rest of the categories will be decided by the JumpCut UK team, our official partners and a handful of expert guests, with all the winners announced on our special YouTube Awards Show at the end of January. 

Watch This Space: November 23 – 29

Welcome to your weekly go-to film guide – WatchThisSpace – where we recommend what to watch in the cinema and on the television, and remind you of those brilliant films hiding in your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

A film many are tipping for success at the Academy Awards next February is finally available for all to see this weekend, as Todd Haynes’ ‘Carol’ enters cinemas. Stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are both being touted as winners for their performance in this drama, so let’s see what all the fuss is about.

When you see the names Steven Spielberg and Tom Hank, you know you’re well and truly into Academy Award season.  Their latest collaboration, Bridge of Spies’, has already been making huge waves with critics and fans in America, meaning that it’s being tipped as an early contender across many of the categories, with particular focus on the performances of Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance, as they star in this Cold War drama. Get our review here.

Another film that is pushing for awards this year is ‘Black Mass’With an all star cast including Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson, Joel Edgerton and Kevin Bacon this dark and twisted tale of one of America’s most famous criminals promises to be excellent. To see Depp back on top form is surely worth the trip to the cinema. Get our review here.

Something completely different to the spies, gangsters and love stories we get from the week’s other releases, as the latest offering from Disney Pixar, ‘The Good Dinosaur’ hits our screens. Whether you’ve got children, or just like to treat your inner child, this promises to be another treat from the animation kings.

ON TV

Tuesday 21:00 GMT: He has already featured in this week’s edition, but he’s so damn good, why not have an extra dose of Tom Hanks? Tune in to Film4 for one of his earlier and most celebrated roles in the 1993 smash hit ‘Philadelphia’

Wednesday 20:15 GMT: The living legend that is Jim Carrey has made some excellent comedy films over the years, but arguably his most loved is ‘Liar Liar’. Believe us when we say, you have to switch to ITV2 and catch this one.

Thursday 21:00 GMT: Whilst he’s disappeared out of the limelight slightly over the last few months, there is no doubt that Jack O’Connell is one of Britain’s top young talents. Before making the big break into Hollywood, O’Connell could be found in gritty, realist dramas such as ’71’. Enter the Belfast frontline with Film4 this Thursday. Take a look at our review here.

Friday 23:35 GMT: You can never have enough films about solo space missions, but one you may not have seen is the fantastic ‘Moon’ starring Sam Rockwell. Stay up late this Friday with BBC2 and enjoy the beauty of the rock in the sky.

Saturday 15:40 GMT: Like it or not, Christmas is coming, fast! Nothing screams festive more than the classic tale of ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’, which will have you reaching for the tissues. More4 have got your Saturday afternoon sorted.

DIG IT OUT

This is our favourite part of the WatchThisSpace section. We delve into our own DVD collection and pick out some amazing films, that may not instantly spring to mind when you’re stuck for inspiration to make your movie night a success. Maybe you’ve never seen a film that we pick – or even heard of them for that matter – but you’re gonna have to trust us on this one, and Dig It Out.

Ex Machina: This is a film I had been dying to see all year, but I have a tendency to leave films on my to-watch-list for far too long. I finally got around to watching the directorial debut of Alex Garland last week and I was blown away. The film, which focuses on artificial intelligence, instantly broke into my top 20 for many reasons; brilliant acting performances, a stirring plot and beautiful cinematography. I cannot recommend this highly enough, but here’s our review in case you need more persuading. JB

Ghost: This is a film that has divided critics and audiences, but we love a bit of controversy here at JumpCut UK, so we’re going to encourage you to watch 1990 film ‘Ghost’. This is a comedy/drama/horror/romance story about two lovers, starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore with a twist – Swayze’s character is dead and has become a ghost. Sounds a little far fetched right? That was my initial reaction, but this is a really enjoyable film, perfect for cuddling up with your better half on the sofa as the winter nights draw in. Whoopi Goldberg also turns in a wonderful, Oscar winning performance. If you can get your head around the concept, we promise you won’t be disappointed. ND

We Need To Talk About Kevin: From a recent watch, to a film I first saw back at the time of release in 2011. Based on a rather fantastic novel of the same name, this film is a rare example where the adaptation, for me at least, beats the original. Aside from exceptional performances from Tilda Swinton and a young Ezra Miller, this is another film which is visually stunning, capturing an array of symbolism, and juxtaposing tense, gentle scenes with more chaotic moments. We really should be talking about Kevin and this dark depiction of family dynamics. JB

Downfall: This is a German film focused around the telling of Adolf Hitler’s last days in his underground bunker in Berlin, as the Russian troops invaded in 1945, bringing an end to World War II. This film is terrifically moving and bleak and is full of wonderful performances everywhere you look, none more so than Bruno Ganz’s performance as the Nazi leader. I visited Germany just as the film was being released on DVD back in 2005 and we stayed with a lovely family in Sankt Augustin. The German people are so proud of this film because it shows that, as a country, they are willing to talk about the atrocities that occurred and they understand the need to educate new generations about one of the most controversial and difficult times in the country’s history, a notion so passionately explained to me by the father of that particular family that it has stayed with me to this day. Please do not be put off by the fact that this is a German film and you’ll have to watch with subtitles, because it’s a hugely important message of humanity that transcends language all together. ND

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by  Jakob Lewis Barnes and Nick Deal