Dr Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is an amazing surgeon until he has an accident and his hands are left injured and shaky. No longer able to work, he sees little point in life until he hears of a man he operated on who recovered from paralysis and he pursues this path, discovering a mystical world filled with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Mads Mikkelsen and Tilda Swinton – and I mean, what more could you really want? Magic? Sure, have some of that too.
I wish I had seen this in the cinema- the visuals are amazing. I found the movements that the magic people have to make a bit… geeky, really. Which was odd given how cool the magic itself was. I’m quite pleased that this guy is now in the Marvel Universe – I look forward to what next.
Doctor Strange was nominated for an Oscar for Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Whitey Bulger was a criminal in Boston who managed, despite horrific crimes, to avoid being caught and prosecuted for anything. Eventually, it came out that he was an informer to the FBI – or was he? Til the day he died, Bulger denied being an informant. A recent documentary didn’t clear anything up for me – but then, that was a badly put together documentary.
Is this film the truth? I don’t know. I wasn’t all that engaged, despite the sterling cast. There was so much heavy and not very well done make-up and prosthetics to change the main actors appearances throughout the film, whether it was to make them look more like the characters that they were portraying or to age them or whatever – it was distracting and I found it really ruined a lot of the actual film for me.
Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a socially inept mathematician who, along with a series of other personnel, including a woman, Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley) break the German’s Enigma code using the first computer – a giant, electric machine. But, years later, he has some issue with the police, it is revealed he is gay and that is illegal and he is treated extremely poorly.
It’s not bad. It’s another in the category of extremely smart men with unusual habits who have beautiful women help them get through and are forever recognised as geniuses (A Beautiful Mind, The Theory of Everything). I found Benedict Cumberbatch perfect in this role, but he plays the rude upper-crust man so well (hence being a magnificent Sherlock). I was disappointed to see Keira Knightly appear, but for once, I really enjoyed her performance – she is good as the somewhat snobby but ultimately plucky English gal. And I get that the film has a whole other significant story about Turing’s sexuality and how poorly he was treated because of it. And add to that the treatment of women, and you have a film that says things about important issues. But overall, it didn’t do it for me.
The Imitation Game won an Oscar for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay (Graham Moore) and was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Benedict Cumberbatch), Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Keira Knightley), Best Achievement in Directing (Morten Tyldum), Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Picture, Original Score and Best Achievement in Production Design.
As a youth, Albert (Jeremy Irvine) loved and trained a horse on a nearby farm. Then his drunken dad (Peter Mullen) bought it for far too much, to the chagrin of his mother (Emily Watson). But Albert gets the horse to work and everyone cheers him in the rain. Then war happens, and the horse is taken from them. Albert ends up fighting. Things are nasty and people are badly hurt. So is the horse.
I think this was a terrible film. Apparently, it was an amazing stage play, and that came down to fabulous puppetry to create the horse. But I found the start of this film absolute trite, and then the war parts were pathetic. Although the animals were treated badly, and that was unpleasant to watch, but probably the closest thing to realism you would find. I thought this was really a terrible, terrible film.
War Horse was nominated for Oscars for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Achievement in Cinematography (Janusz Kaminski), Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score (John Williams), Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, Best Achievement in Sound Editing and Best Achievement in Art Direction.
Have you seen Madagascar? Were your favourite characters the penguins? Do you want more? Here y’are.
It’s fabulous. Essentially, you’ve got Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chirs Miller) Rico (Conrad Vernon) and Private (Christopher Knights). Private is valued for his cuteness but is not listened to for any practical skills. Then along comes the scary Dave (John Malcovich), an octopus with an axe to grind, and the penguins need to combine with the creatures of elite fighter group North Wind to save the day.
Great cast, fab scripting, lots of jokes for adults and even many of the jokes for the kids were good too. It’s rare at a film aimed at children to hear the adults laughing as much if not more than the children, but that’s what you get from this. (Side note… with my usual bug bear, there is very poor representation of females in this film. There is only one woman, and while she is capable, she is also the sexy love interest. Why oh why oh why could there not have been even a couple of female characters? Why couldn’t a couple of the penguins been girls? Or more of the North Wind crew? Or the baddie? Come on, people. Come on.)
Based on a John Le Carr novel, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy follows retired spy George Smiley (Gary Oldman) as he attempts to discover which top ranking of MI6 is a Soviet Spy.
It’s an amazing cast: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong, John Hurt, Ciaran Hinds, Kathy Burke and Benedict Cumberbatch just to mention a few. I just wish I’d seen it in the cinema. It is relatively slow-moving, with not a lot of action, and I found at home that my attention kept drifting and I didn’t really follow it all. None the less, it was clearly an extremely good film that should have kept my attention. I blame me on this one.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was nominated for Oscars for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Gary Oldman), Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay (Bridget O’Connot and Peter Straughan) and Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score.
The BBC one that everyone was talking about, you know, with the guy from The Office and the one with the crazy name? That’s the Sherlock I’m looking at here. So, Dr Watson (Martin Freeman) is a recently retired army doctor looking for a way of staying in London when he is introduced to Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) a consultant for Scotland Yard and they start to share a flat, with Watson being drawn in to Holmes’ world.
It’s a great interpretation, I think (I’ve only read one Sherlock Holmes and that was quite some time ago). It’s certainly great tv. Witty, funny, clever, fast-paced and with lots of unexpected twists. And it’s introduced me to Andrew Scott who plays Moriarty and is fantastic at it. I read some complaints online about the third season, how it did not explain Holmes’s absence and then return, but I don’t mind some mystery. It’s just so fabulous.
Based on a true story, 12 Years a Slave tells the story of free man Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who lives in New York with his wife and two children, making a living as a musician. When his wife and children are away, he takes a well-paying job in Washington only to find himself drugged and beat, and taken down south to be sold as a slave. His first owner, Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a fair man (despite the whole owning slaves thing), but employs the cruel Tibeats (Paul Dano) who hates Northup for being smart and outspoken. After Northup stands up to Tibeats, Ford fears for his life, and sells him to the cruel drunkard Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender). Epps regularly beats and humiliates his slaves, although takes one of the young women, Patsey (Lupita Nyong’o) as his lover. It is not a spoiler to say that eventually he is Northup is freed – it is in the title after all.
It is an extremely good film made from difficult subject matter. It is appalling to think that slavery existed at all, much less that it was common for people to think of men and women (and children) of African heritage as lesser beings. Having said that, there is still slavery in the world. I haven’t come across a film that addresses slavery in modern times; I’d be interested to know if there has been one, and wonder if I have the stomach to watch it.
I found it interesting, however, that for a film with such intense subject matter and excellent acting, I was not greatly emotionally moved. I only cried a little at the end, yet this is surely the type of film that I would have expected to have me in floods of tears. Perhaps it was the weird couple who came into the almost empty cinema, very loudly, thirty minutes in, sat behind me still talking loudly, then the woman sent the man out for M&Ms (we all know because she shouted across the entire cinema as he left). I actually felt fearful of shhhing (they were really weird) and so I moved, but perhaps that whole thing put me off. Though, I think it was just that I did not get a huge chance to connect with Northup throughout. I disliked what was happening to him, but in a very detached manner.
Best Film Oscar? I’m nearly through all the 2014 nominations, and so far, yeah, I reckon it was. I still have Captain Phillips and Philomena, but of the bunch of them, this comes out ahead for me.
12 Years a Slave won Oscars for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Lupita Nyong’o) and Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay (John Ridley) and was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Lead Role (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Michael Fassbender), Best Achievement in Costume Design, Best Achievement in Directing, Best Achievement in Film Editing and Best Achievement in Production Design. It was also won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture, Drama and was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Michael Fassbender), Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Lupita Nyong’o), Best Director – Motion Picture (Steve McQueen), Best Screenplay – Motion Picture (John Ridley) and Best Original Score – Motion Picture. It won BAFTA Awards for Best Film and Best Leading Actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and was nominated for Film Music, Best Adapted Screenplay (John Ridley), Best Supporting Actor (Michael Fassbender), Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong’o), Best cinematography, Best Editing, Best Production Design and Best Direction (Steve McQueen).
Beveley Weston (Sam Shepard) an alcoholic academic goes missing, and the three daughters he had with pill-popping wife Violet (Meryl Streep) return to support her. But each have their secrets and problems leading to a massively volatile time.
I saw this as a play by MTC a few years ago and loved it. I especially loved the set, but seemed to recall that the script was very impressive. Hence, I was concerned about watching the film; would it hold up? Would it be overwhelmed by the big names in the cast? (Meryl Streep, Sam Shepard, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Dermot Mulroney, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin and Benedict Cumberbatch as the main names)
I think it held up extremely well. It’s certainly not a happy film; if you are ever feeling that you are taking your family for granted, watch this. You will love them so much more. So many horrible people in one place.
It is surprising that the film has only been nominated for awards for acting in the Oscars and Golden Globes. With such a strong story and excellent performances, I would have expected it would at least be nominated for Best Film. It’s a far better film that The Wolf of Wall Street. But then, it wasn’t directed by Martin Scorsese, and the main performances are by women. It seems to be a bit of a pattern for the awards I’ve noticed; the films that have been nominated for best performances by actresses are less likely to appear in the best film category than the films nominated for best performance by actor. Sexist? Or are women just not getting leads in good films? Are male stories better? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill?
Interestingly, just after I wrote this, I was sent a link to an article about sexism in the film industry featuring Olivia Wilde. Here it is. She took part in an experiment with some male actors reading aloud from the script of American Pie, only swapping male and female parts. The ladies got the laughs, the guys got bored. Interesting. (I should note that I don’t know anything about PolicyMic. It’s just the link I read. Lazy journalism? I’m not a journalist. FYI)
August: Osage County was nominated for Oscars for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Meryl Streep), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Julia Roberts), for Golden Globes for Best Actress in A Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy (Meryl Streep), Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture (Julia Roberts) and for a BAFTA Supporting Actress (Julia Roberts).
Charles Darwin (Paul Bettany) is writing Original of the Species, however he is challenged by ill-health and how his opinions challenge the church and, indeed, his own wife.
It is an interesting story but, unfortunately, not an interesting film. It chops and changes between Darwin as an ill, old man and a youth with his young daughter. This technique works well in some films, but in this it just felt clumsy and annoying. The music was overpowering and overall, it felt like a poorly made telemovie.