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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The Game Is Afoot In First ‘Holmes And Watson’ Trailer

“A humorous take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic mysteries featuring Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson.”

Directed by: Etan Cohen

Cast: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Ralph Fiennes, Rebecca Hall, Kelly Macdonald

Release Date: December 26th, 2018

Jumpcut’s Favourites: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Year: 2014
Directed by: Wes Anderson
Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Jude Law, F. Murray Abraham, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Edward Norton, Léa Seydoux, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson.

WRITTEN BY COREY HUGHES

There are two rules in life that I have come to understand within my 21-years on Earth. Number one; don’t talk about Fight Club, and number two; never ask a cinephile what their favourite film is. By breaching the second rule, not only will you be met with a disapproving grunt, but also a 30-minute rant on which film is their favourite; taking into consideration how different moods influence their choice.

Yet I’ve never had this problem. I relish the opportunity to gush about my favourite film, expressing my adoration for it whilst simultaneously trying to make others love it as much as I do. The film I’m talking about here, of course, is Wes Anderson’s wonderful ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’.

Now, I believe there are two ways that you can approach this area of discussion. You can either talk about what you think is the best film, or explain the reasons why a particular film is your favourite, as, after all, your favourite doesn’t necessarily have to be good film. Yet, for me, my experience with ‘The Grand Budapest’ is a mixture of both.

There are a variety of reasons why I’d argue that ‘The Grand Budapest’ is a bona-fide masterpiece. The most obvious is Robert D. Yeoman’s delightful and completely mesmerising cinematography. Wes Anderson’s symmetrical framing and composition is in full effect here, but adding to that, Anderson and Yeoman’s choice to use three different aspect ratios for each of the three time periods in the film is nothing short of extraordinary, adding to the storytelling aesthetic that Anderson hoped to achieve.

Yeoman’s exquisite camerawork, especially the fluidity of the 90-degree and 180-degree whip-pan movements, is surpassed only by Wes Anderson’s trademark use of vibrant colour palettes; adding to the exoticness of the locations and buildings that Anderson has placed in the shop window.

Written with such extravagance by Anderson himself, ‘The Grand Budapest’ also boasts a tremendous cast, bringing back the usual suspects of Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Adrien Brody and Owen Wilson; accompanied by the terrific talents of Jeff Goldblum, Tilda Swinton and Willem Dafoe.

Yet it is Ralph Fiennes as the legendary hotel concierge Gustave H. who steals the show. Played with such charisma, intelligence and total narcissism, Gustave is perhaps the most iconic and memorable character that Wes Anderson has to offer, a real compliment with Anderson’s catalogue of superbly written figures such as Max Fischer in ‘Rushmore’ and Royal Tenenbaum in ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’. Fiennes brings so much flair and humour to the role, bringing the audience and his lobby boy Zero (Tony Revolori) on his remarkable journey filled with murder and conspiracy. We really shouldn’t sympathise with him, but somehow we do. He’s just a loveable asshole, really.

But above all its glitz and glamour, ‘The Grand Budapest’ earns its title as my favourite film for its huge influence on my life. It’s the main reason why I started to look at films in a different way, the reason why I was eager to study the medium in greater depth. It is essentially the reason why I started to review movies, which is something that I love doing.

And when it comes down to it, ‘The Grand Budapest’ is the film that springs to mind when the harsh realities of life become prevalent. As soon as I pop my copy of the Blu-ray in the player, everything exterior to my screen becomes irrelevant. The only thing that matters within that 99-minutes of runtime is my experience with Wes Anderson’s delightful masterpiece.

Isn’t that what films are for?

 

Netflix Highlights: March

April Fools’ Day has been and gone, but this is no joke. We take your Netflix viewing very seriously here at JumpCut UK, and that’s why we ask our resident Netflix expert Mark Blakeway to pinpoint the best films that the streaming service has to offer. Here’s what was added last month.


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I Love You Phillip Morris
Jim Carrey stars as Steven Russell, a policeman turned con-man, made famous for his multiple prison escapes in this “based on true events” dark comedy-drama. It’s an enjoyable mix of unfortunate circumstances made funny by the sheer bluntness of it all, and heartfelt certainty of Russell’s unequivocal love for Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor). It’s quick-paced, funny, sharp and witty, and shows how much depth and range Carrey can truly achieve when pushed to do something different.


THEIDESOFMARCH

The Ides Of March
An above-average political thriller starring George Clooney, Ryan Gosling and the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Packed with solid performances, a decent script and some very dark moments, albeit not quite to the lengths of ‘House of Cards’, it is enough to satisfy anyone with a vague political interest. While it doesn’t do much to break the mold, the typical story of a good guy in a bad system trying to do right still holds value. Predictable, but interesting nonetheless.


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The Grand Budapest Hotel
A single performance by Ralph Fiennes is so good in this film, that it’s difficult to talk about anything else. Visually, it’s incredible. The typical dry wit you expect from Wes Anderson is there in abundance. It’s well-polished, finely composed, superbly acted and the dense script is executed perfectly. I’d go as far as saying it is my favourite Anderson film to date, and whether you’re already a fan of Anderson or not, I highly recommend this film. Here’s our review to persuade you further.


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Captain America: The Winter Soldier
This is such a slick movie. While it does ultimately end in a mess of CGI, what gets you to that point is an intriguing storyline with some incredibly detailed actions scenes. This effort is truly a credit to the superhero genre. Whether or not you buy the whole “timely social commentary” angle, there is something undeniably very real about this film – this is more evident in the first half than the second, but this paranoia infused action movie exceeded my expectations. Here’s our review to persuade you further.


India's daughter

India’s Daughter
This is a powerful documentary showcased as part of the BBC Storyville series I keep harping on about. What spurred the making of this documentary, was the horrific gang rape that took place on a private bus in South Delhi, after which 23-year-old Jyoti Singh died from her injuries. The attack gained widespread visibility, with many major media outlets picking up the story, and the men were arrested for their crimes. The documentary takes a look at this particular case, and the wider attitudes towards women in India, piecing together news footage, protests and even an interview with one of the attackers. Released to mixed reactions, banned in India itself, it has been interpreted in many different ways by activists, politicians and friends close to Jyoti, but one thing you cannot deny is that the more people who know about these horrendous acts that take place, the quicker they can be stopped. That is only a good thing.


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The Lives Of Others
Winner of the 2006 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film, ‘The Lives of Others’ is a truly thought-provoking German drama. Set in a period of political uncertainty prior to the collapse of the Berlin Wall, it follows a member of the secret police becoming increasingly engrossed by the individuals he is supposed to be spying on. The tension is gradually ramped up as our protagonist uncovers more and more details, but it remains restrained in its no-frills approach to film-making, leaning on the simplicity, performances and apparent authenticity of it all, creating an engrossing and somewhat relatable thriller.


The New Girlfriend

The New Girlfriend
The story of Claire (Anaïs Demoustier) and the widow of her best friend, David (Romain Duris). A friendship post-death is forged for reasons I’d rather not go into – the key component of the story was kept a surprise for me and I hope it remains a surprise for you. It tests your perceptions of gender, sexuality, grief, relationships and identity. It does not remain with a single theme, a single character or a single issue – this is a complicated film handled delicately, with great care and understanding. Suspenseful, ridiculous at times, but incredibly fun, this was one of my favourite films from 2015. Here’s Mark’s review to persuade you further.


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Wayne’s World
Admittedly, the adventures of Wayne and Garth aren’t for everyone, but they are for me. A timeless classic, the perfect rainy day viewing, filled with quotable scenes, impeccable comedic timing and a flare for the ridiculous. Starring a young Mike Myers, Dana Carvey and Rob Lowe among many others, this is your not-so-typical oddball comedy about a couple of rock and roll loving friends who just want to apply their passion for music and babes, and make the most of whatever comes their way. Unfortunately for them, others have a different view as to how that should play out, whether it’s a TV show or a concert, and it’s up to Wayne and Garth to find a way to do what they do best. Party on Wayne. Party on Garth. You’ll also find ‘Wayne’s World 2’ on there. Here’s our review of the original to persuade you further.


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Turbo Kid
‘Turbo Kid’ will be a delight to any one who was a fan of 80s action adventure films like ‘BMX Bandits’ and ‘Mad Max’, as it is a huge love letter to both of these. Set in the dystopian “future” of 1997, you follow the film’s hero with his customised NES power glove, paving the way for inventive gory kills on-screen (one particularly gruesome one involving a modified bike) all backed with a rocking 80s synth soundtrack. Theres so much to love about this movie from the scenery-chewing performance of Michael Ironside as the sadistic overlord Zeus, and Laurence Leboeuf who plays the love interest, Apple. It’s not often you get to see a film like this, and I loved every second of it. 

N.B. Mark roped in the help of his friend Gary Joyce to discuss ‘Turbo Kid’. Here’s our review to persuade you further.

Watch This Space: August 3 – 9

Welcome to your weekly go-to-guide – WatchThisSpace – where we give you recommendations of films to watch in the cinema, on the television and those brilliant films hiding at the back of your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

A decade has passed since the debacle of the original ‘Fantastic Four’, and a lot has changed in that time for the superhero genre. With an exciting new director and a cast of young stars, this version of ‘Fantastic Four’ promises to be much, much better.

Not to be confused with this year’s highly popular action flick ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’, ‘Max’ tells the story of a four-legged hero of the same name; a canine who helped the US Marines in Afghanistan. Dog lovers sit up and enjoy.

For something a bit more intense, there’s psychological thriller, ‘The Gift’. In Joel Edgerton’s directorial debut, a young married couple have their lives turned upside down when a surprise encounter from the past brings much more than just old memories.

ON TELEVISION

Tuesday 21:00 GMT: I watched ‘The Five Year Engagement’ a few months ago on a whim, and was pleasantly surprised. See Jason Segel and Emily Blunt on top form on Film4 – make sure you stay with Film4 after, because you can also catch ‘The Breakfast Club’.

Wednesday 17:10 GMT: Gaining cult status after its release in 2008, ‘Angus, Thongs & Perfect Snogging’ is a fantastic, romantic-comedy starring ‘Godzilla’ man Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Catch this teen favourite on Film4 – again, stick with Film4 because ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ is on straight after.

Thursday 21:00 GMT: A couple of weeks ago Marvel named their new Spider-Man as youngster Tom Holland. Unknown to many, and if you still aren’t too sure who he is, check out what is probably his biggest role to date in the emotional disaster drama, ‘The Impossible’ also starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts on Film4.

Saturday 21:00 GMT: Viewed by many as the best film of all time – and ranked number 1 on the IMDb top 250 – ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ is a must see prison drama on ITV2.

Sunday 13:30 GMT: As unpredictable as the British summer, ‘Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs’ puts the spotlight on a town where food rains from the sky! Grab the kids and make the most of some family time on Channel 5 before school starts up again.

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.

Warrior: If you saw ‘Southpaw’ last week and it’s wet your appetite for more emotional, sports-drama, look no further than ‘Warrior’. This MMA drama is the leader of the pack in this genre and also stars Joel Edgerton, director of ‘The Gift’, released in cinemas this week.

In Bruges: The recently released ‘Spectre’ trailer sent the internet and Bond fans alike crazy. We got a glimpse of Ralph Fiennes in a few clips, hopefully having a more fleshed out role than last time. To tide you over until ‘Spectre’, check him out in a less serious but wildly entertaining role in dark comedy ‘In Bruges’. It never disappoints.

Space Jam: Basketball star LeBron James made a couple of surprise appearances on JumpCut UK last week, for his performance in new comedy ‘Trainwreck’, and most notably for the rumours that The King would star in a proposed ‘Space Jam’ reboot. The 1996 Looney Tunes classic is a film which everyone should see in their life, starring Bugs Bunny and the gang, and basketball legend Michael Jordan. Whether you’re an 8 year old child or a slightly childish adult, get watching!

The Cider House Rules: Charlize Theron turns 39 on Friday, and amongst the fantastic repertoire of work she has built over the years, it was hard to pick just one to advocate this week. In the end, we plumped for this riveting drama about life and love – based on the John Irving novel – where Theron stars alongside Tobey Maguire, Michael Caine and Paul Rudd. An Oscar-winning film with a great cast, no brainer right?

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Jakob Lewis Barnes and special guest Hamish Calvert. Get more from Hamish by visiting his website.