I don't want to write off an entire category of cinema, but... war films. They can be a bit heavy-going, can't they? Yes, there are some amazing standouts in this crowded genre, but it can be really hard to muster up the enthusiasm to watch a movie depicting the experience of war, which is basically: it's truly horrifying when not intensely boring. Luckily, things are different this time round, because a) Christoper Nolan films have never not been great, b) it's mercifully short at under two hours, and c) maybe there'll be a twist and the soldiers of Dunkirk will get rescued by Batman?
Poor Oscarless Leo. Just imagine the soul-crushing frustration that must come after enduring unimaginable feats of survival in the making of this film, only for everyone instead to talk about the (false) rumour that you get raped by a bear in it. Imagine having the fortitude of character to eat raw bison liver and climb inside a dead animal carcass for the sake of your art and then have all your efforts overshadowed by the collective public thinking that, at one point in the movie, a horny grizzly surprises you with a sexual ambush. And the worst part is, with all attention on that ridiculous story instead of Leo's dedication to his performance, it might actually cost him the Oscar. That bear might just end up fucking Leo after all.
I actually watched Mad Max: Fury Road in its week of release, but it was such an overwhelming experience it's taken me all of seven months to mentally unpack it all, like when someone emails you a crazy big zip file which basically nerfs your inbox and you can't do anything until it's properly downloaded. That, with writing. Anyway. This is the best film of the year by a very long stretch, I'm off to watch it again because it got it on Blu-ray for Christmas and oh you've already stopped reading.
It’s no great revelation to say that biopics, by their nature, are fundamentally flawed. Unless somebody’s life follows a perfect three-act structure, unless the subjects really are two-dimensional models of greatness, and unless any number of indiscretions or inaccuracies can be overlooked without raising too many eyebrows, then biopics tend to fall into the viewing equivalent of the uncanny valley. While all of these still apply to Legend, the film makes up for it with one brilliantly simple decision: to treat the Krays like completely ridiculous, larger-than-life, cartoonish characters of fiction. And it’s probably safe to say that they are so much more fun that way.
Now look. You might have seen some pictures of Tom Hardy and a puppy. And yes, it's all very cute and everything, but I'd like it if we could just get past that and focus on what is after all a very atmospheric crime thriller that makes good use of AWWWW LOOK AT ITS WIDDLE FACE
I've always considered the post-film discussion as much a part of the movie-going experience as the actual movie: the initial splurge of reactions, the best bits, the rubbish bits, the standout moments. Inception, with its pre-credits wobbly ambiguity, practically invites a discourse on its finer points, and those discussions are still ongoing today. I consider this to be the best blockbuster of the decade so far and one of the most rewarding works of science-fiction in modern memory. More movies need to be like Inception - Ali.
Claustrocore fans have had it good at this year's London Film Festival. Whether it's Robert Redford single-handedly taking on the Indian Ocean in All Is Lost, or Elijah Wood trapped at his piano by a crazed gunman in the unintentionally hilarious and brilliantly terrible Grand Piano, those of us who like being stuck in one location with one actor for the best part of a film have been well served by the BFI. The daddy of them all, though, takes place nowhere more thrilling than in a car on the M6 and M1, and the man in the driving seat is future Road Warrior Tom Hardy. That's right guys - it's Mad Max: Beyond Toddington. *takes rest of day off*
A period drama set during the Depression? Based on a popular, critically-acclaimed novel? Starring an ensemble cast of superb acting talent? Well surely nothing can stop this awards-garnering juggernaut from winning... wait, is that Shia LaBeouf? (*sharp intake of breath*)
Me, I've always been a fan of Christopher Nolan more than I have Batman. Don't get me wrong, I was wowed by the reinvention of Batman Begins and the wallop of The Dark Knight, but I'll always choose the sleight-of-hand of The Prestige or the cerebral jolt of Inception given the choice. The Dark Knight Rises is a stunning piece of work, gigantic in scale with hugely ambitious themes, but Nolan's contribution to the Batman legacy – and indeed the superhero genre as a whole – is to make these films more about the men behind the masks than the heroes they portray: the guys who make the magic happen.