Watch This Space: October 2nd – 8th

Every Monday we will be recommending films that are on TV that week, films playing at the cinema, and also remind you of those brilliant films hiding on streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, and possibly in your own collection.

In Cinemas

Blade Runner 2049: Fans of the original have waited 35 years for a sequel to ‘Blade Runner’, and this week their wish is granted. After some glowing early reactions last week, and lots of high marking reviews (which we’re avoiding until we’ve seen the film!). ‘Blade Runner 2049’ hits UK cinemas this Thursday and the hype could not be any higher.

mother!: “One of the several trailers claims “you will never forget where you were the first time you saw Mother!”  I definitely won’t.  Never, and I mean never, has a film had me so on the edge of my seat, mouth agape, eyes unblinking, in the final act.  It is a slow burn, that at it’s crescendo, will tear you apart.  ‘Mother!’ may be the best film I won’t ever revisit; a dizzying experience that I will recommend to all at least once. ” – Read Sasha’s full review here and see ‘mother!’ before it leaves cinemas!

Kingsman: The Golden Circle: “‘The Golden Circle’ falls short of matching its predecessor, it’s still a lot of fun for fans of the original. There are ridiculous moments , very funny lines, great, silly action sequences, and it’s clear most of the cast are having a lot of fun, particularly Julianne Moore chewing the scenery as the big bad. If you love Kingsman like I do, you’re going to really enjoy this one. If you didn’t, it’s probably best you stay away.” – Rhys’ full review 

On TV

Monday

The Da Vinci Code (2006): A film you either love or hate, this proved unpopular with critics but a huge hit with the public, amassing over $700m at the box-office, obviously boosted by the global acclaim from Dan Brown’s novel which introduced a gripping, thought-provoking thriller that delved into history, shook it up and spat it back out. Tom Hanks is ever likeable in the role of Robert Langdon, doing this best to think, frown and plot his way through a hefty running time that starts from the 1st minute and doesn’t end until the 143rd. The beautiful Audrey Tautou, the wonderful Ian McKellen, the eerie Paul Bettany and fierce Jean Reno all add to the great supporting cast and replicate their literal characters perfectly with the right amount of menace, intelligence, danger and emotion. There is no denying it’s a very intelligent film, combining a fair amount of cat-and-mouse action that keeps that lingering threat present. With wonderful locations and set-design taking us from inside the Louvre to the historic Temple Church in London and a hauntingly beautiful score by Hans Zimmer, words aren’t always needed to paint a picture of sheer wonder as it unravels before you.

Johnny English (2003): Rowan Atkinson stars as the oddly beloved spy, Johnny English, whose absurd antics get him caught up in some messy situations. English is put on assignment to stop the stealing of the Crown Jewels on display at the Tower of London. Along the way, he manages to put his mission in peril, because that's Johnny English for you! Peter Howitt directs this spy parody of a flick, and if Atkinson’s past roles have taught us anything, it's to never put your trust on the dopey guy! See Atkinson channel his inner comedy from his days of being Mr. Bean! Catch Johnny English
on E4 at 8pm!

Tuesday

22 Jump Street (2014): How do you follow up what’s genuinely considered as one of the best comedies of the decade? By sticking to the formula, and owning it. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum return as the unlikely buddy cop duo and are as funny as each other, with great chemistry and boasting the bromance to end all bromances. On top of that, returning directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are well aware the film is similar to the first, and let us in on that joke too. 22 Jump Street is a hilarious, meta trip through a buddy cop comedy that is arguably even funnier than its predecessor. Make sure you stick around for the credits. You won’t regret it.

Wednesday

Troy (2004):  From the surprise sword and sandal epic ‘Gladiator’ in 2000, it paved the way for many more to follow. One such outing is the Wolfgang Petersen helmed ‘Troy’ starring Brad Pitt as Greek warrior Achilles, Eric Bana as Trojan Prince Hector and Orlando Bloom as Paris. With sun-kissed skin a plenty, bulging biceps and plenty of rugged good looks, history never looked so flawless as it does here – but enough of that, this is a brutal, bold and brilliantly told story about the Greek war with Troy and the myths that were born from it. A stellar supporting cast, some lavish costumes and well-staged sword fights and action sequences make this a fair old slog, but one that takes its time to craft and tell a character-based story. For fans of ancient history and big budget movies, this is a must and a far better offering than many others of the genre.

American Heist (2014): Adrien Brody stars as Frankie, a man fresh out of prison and ready to relentlessly drag his little brother back into the kind of mess that got him locked up. They brothers reunite upon Frankie’s release only to partake in the biggest and last heist, for old time’s sake. We see Hayden Christensen gracing the screen as younger brother James. With the action and elements of pensive dramas, American Heist is an indie action flick most will find to be a guilty pleasure of sorts. Get into the madness of American Heist airing on Sony at 11pm.

American Honey (2016): Despite its 2 hr 45 min runtime, let this woozy, hazy, dreamlike film wash over you and take you on a road trip across America. Set amongst a ragtag bunch of very young travelling magazine salespeople, this film from British director Andrea Arnold (Fish Tank) features a mesmerising central performance from Sasha Lane. Shia LaBeouf proves once again that he does have the acting chops, away from his erratic personal life. Riley Keough also impresses amongst the ensemble. This film is definitely worth the significant time investment.

Thursday

Godzilla (1998): The year is 1998 and coming off the back of major hits such as ‘Stargate’ and ‘Indepenace Day’, the king of disaster movies Roland Emmerich had set his sights on his next project; the remake of the much loved Japanese monster movie ‘Godzilla’. With an estimated budget of 130 million dollars and huge backing from the studio,  Godzilla was meant to be the next big thing. What actually happened was a mauling from the critics and fans alike. Starring the likes of Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno and Hank Azaria, it had an odd cast. Godzilla for me is a massive amount of fun, greatly under-rated and is misunderstood. It has some great set pieces and the special effects just about hold up. It also has a real gem of a soundtrack, with Puff Daddy, Jamiroquai, Green Day and the Foo Fighters who put in some massive tunes. In Short ‘Godzilla’ is a big, bold, fun, easy watching flick. It deserves a second chance if you haven’t seen it since it came out.

Friday

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991): This is hands down my favourite adaptation of the Robin Hood lore. Yes, maybe the pacing is a little slow in the middle and it’s jarring having Robin Hood speak with an American accent BUT, on the whole, it’s fun, enjoyable and features some great action and acting talent overall including the late Alan “Cancel Christmas!” Rickman, Morgan Freeman and Mary Elizabeth Manstrantonio. Kevin Costner is a fine Robin Hood. He certainly can make shooting an arrow look undeniably cool, and he has a real everyman approach to being the hero who must lead men to victory whilst dealing with affairs of the heart. And I never get tired seeing him fire the arrow on fire in glorious slow-motion in front of a wall of flame. It uses that heroic swashbuckling feel of Errol Flyn, splicing with a modern Hollywood budget to make this telling look and feel real, with memorable performances, lavish sets, a rousing soundtrack and brilliant stunt-work. It’s probably the best adaptation of the Robin Hood myth we’ve got, and that’s certainly not a bad thing for a film that is as enjoyable and fun as this. And if Sean Connery lends himself for a cheeky, un-credited cameo, what’s not to enjoy?

Black Hawk Down (2001): Featuring an insanely starry cast; everyone from Ewan McGregor and Josh Hartnett (swoon), to a very early Tom Hardy performance – this tense ensemble war drama is beautifully shot and well edited. Telling the story of a disastrous helicopter mission into the heart of Mogadishu in 1993, which led to 100 US soldiers being in a gripping stand-off with hundreds of heavily-armed Somalis. This is one of the few great modern war films.

Hiding Online / In Our Collection / Out This Week

Pirates of the Carribean: Salizar’s Revenge (2017): More un-dead villains, more mystical artefacts, more ship battles, a few sword fights, more young love interests, more double crosses, more CGI. More, more, more. They try to get bigger and better in their action set-pieces, and just when they seem to achieve it, the CGI comes out to enhance everything and ruins it to become silly. The guillotine sequence for one has a nice little comical moment, but it’s ruined by the dumb slapstick. Javier Bardem is under-used, Geoffrey Rush is having fun at least still, and Johnny Depp phones in a performance that literally makes Jack Sparrow look inept – he’s more a clown than a pirate, and it’s a shame to see him resort to so much buffoonery. It’s not the worst POTC film, but that doesn’t say much. More akin to the original than the sequels, but just as bloated and far-fetched. The franchise is tired and now can be tied up, but knowing Disney,  if this makes serious cash, then they’ll crank out a 6th in no time. Read our full review here.. 

Wonder Woman (2017): Whilst it may not be out on DVD and Blu-Ray until next week, ‘Wonder Woman’ is available to buy digitally in the UK.  ‘Wonder Woman’ took the world by storm this year and is now highest grossing superhero origin film of all time and the second highest grossing film this year, after Disney’s live-action ‘Beauty and the Beast’. You can read our full review from earlier this year.

A huge thank you to contributors this week: Dave Curtis, Chris Gelderd, Jessica Peña, Rhys Bowen-Jones, Fiona Underhill,
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Mother!

Year: 2017
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer

Written by Sasha Hornby

‘Mother!’ is the latest film written and directed by American auteur Darren Aronofsky, director of ‘Black Swan’ and ‘Requiem for a Dream’, about a couple whose relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home.  At least, this is what the official synopsis and trailers would like you to believe; the tagline ‘seeing is believing’ has rarely been more apt. 

‘Mother!’ is part metaphysical thriller, part psychological drama, sometimes black comedy and perhaps a little surreal mystery.  In all honesty, it defies description.  The film takes place entirely in one beautifully quaint, grand house.  Burned down at an unspecified point in history, Jennifer Lawrence’s character, ‘Mother’, has painstakingly restored the abode in which she resides with Javier Bardem’s character, ‘Him’, whilst he sits in his study suffering from chronic writer’s block.  When the ‘Man’ and ‘Woman’ (Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer) turn up univited, the paradise Mother is building begins to unwind.

Jennifer Lawrence as Mother is transcendent.  Undoubtedly a career-best performance, ‘Mother!’ is her film.  Rarely panning out beyond 12 inches from her face when she is the focus, and when she isn’t, giving only her viewpoint of the world around her, the camera is her.  Her sanity and reality is consistently brought into question, and so too is the viewer’s.  In one scene, she questions Him about the supposed stranger, “he has pictures of you in his luggage”.  Instead of attempting to explain this obvious non-coincidence, he simply retorts “what were you doing in their luggage?”. There is a lot to be said for instinct, and it is natural for a person to investigate when something feels wrong or out of place; such as a man turning up at your door claiming ‘they’ told him the house was a B&B.  Him is elusive in his non-answer, twisting the narrative, and manipulating Mother to feel she is in the wrong.

She personifies introversion and anxiety – unable to leave the house she has built and unwilling to accept visitors.  As hers are the eyes through which we see events unfold, her agitation and emotional strain begin to fuse with our own, making for an increasingly intense and claustrophobic experience.  This is only heightened by the bold lack of scoring, which becomes deafening, as mundane, everyday noises scream in the background.  When she meets the Woman, the Woman observes “you really love him, god help you.”  Her love for Him is toxic.  She does everything for Him, to protect Him, to provide for Him, to support Him, without question, whilst getting very little back in return.  She gives Him her all, free from expectation; the purest of love. 

Javier Bardem is perfect in the role of Him.  He is, of course, considerably older than Mother, though this is acknowledged.  He speaks calmly, with a cool smile, and calls Mother his goddess.  He loses his ‘cool’ once – when the mysterious glowing crystal he keeps in his study is smashed beyond repair by the Man and Woman.  It will only become clear in the final scenes why he is so creepily possessive over this trinket.  In the first half of the film, he is cold and distant, consumed by his lack of life, lack of inspiration.  After one passionate encounter with Mother, he is full of life and inspiration, yet still distant, consumed with completing his finest work.  He is not an obvious villain, but a man selfishly obsessed with his poetry, his legacy. 

The Man and Woman, as played by Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer, are deliciously devilish.  He, a dying old man looking to meet his idol; her, a cynical woman who cannot resist prying into the lives of the protagonists.  The Woman has some of the keenest insights throughout.  When a tragedy is bestowed upon her, she talks of being a mother herself – “you give and you give and you give, its just never enough”.  ‘Its just never enough’ is a recurring theme throughout ‘Mother!’.

The Man and the Woman are not the only visitors.  As events unfold, more visitors arrive to worship Him; and more and more and more.  The worship is poisonous; they are infatuated with Him, and treat Him like a deity, and Him accepts this worship as though it validates his existence.  When Mother questions “who are they?”, he answers excitedly “they’ve come here to see me.”  His ego is ultimately more important than the safety and mental well-being of his ‘goddess’.  When that moment (believe me, you’ll know it when you see it) occurs, he is still willing to forgive his followers, rather than chastise them for their abhorrent, sickening, shocking behaviour. 

If you hadn’t already noticed, no one in ‘Mother!’ is named.  This only adds to the prophetic feeling, like ‘Mother!’ is an allegory for society, for religion, for pathologically abusive relationships, for the current political climate, for war, for everything that is wrong with the world.  All showcased in one house, in one woman’s nightmare. 

One of the several trailers claims “you will never forget where you were the first time you saw Mother!”  I definitely won’t.  Never, and I mean never, has a film had me so on the edge of my seat, mouth agape, eyes unblinking, in the final act.  It is a slow burn, that at it’s crescendo, will tear you apart.  ‘Mother!’ may be the best film I won’t ever revisit; a dizzying experience that I will recommend to all at least once. 

Sasha’s rating: 8 out of 10

 

Chilling First Trailer Arrives For Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Mother!’

“A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.”

Directed By: Darren Aronofsky
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, Domhnall Gleeson
Release Date: 15th September 2017

 

Teaser Trailer For ‘Mother!’ Released

“A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.”

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer
Release Date: 15th September 2017

The full trailer for this “riveting psychological thriller about love, devotion and sacrifice” will be released on August 8th.