Monday, 30 November 2015

Best and Worst of November

We are at the eleventh hour before…. Well what do you think I’m talking about? But as easy as it might be to get distracted in ‘Star Wars’ mythology and nostalgia I had to remember the fantastic amount of films still heading our way, not to mention the brilliance of those that have recently gone by. It has been an unusual month, one of very high quality (shown by what the worst film is, don’t say I didn’t warn you) and of differing variety. We have witnessed the passion of Todd Haynes and the calculus of Sorkin but which one ended up on top for me? Here we are with just one month left and the candidates for the final top ten of the year increasing by the week. (By this point I’m considering a top seventeen list).

3: Black Mass
Johnny Depp steps up after an all too long break from serious acting work. The transformative process he underwent to portray Whitey Bulger is breath taking and the performance itself is one of utter revulsion, in the best possible way. While it may lack a sense of humanity the direction of the film is to be praised, as ‘Black Mass’ puts its own interesting spin on the gangster genre. It may not reinvent it but it performs that established formula pretty darn well, think of it like ‘Casino’ as in no one will say it is better than ‘Goodfellas’ but you cannot deny its ability to make you question morality and society as well as entertain you along the way.

2: Carol
No offense to ‘Back Mass’ but this is another step up entirely. Todd Haynes latest outing is one of haunting brilliance as it uses a story of love and loss to tackle themes of subversion and repression. It examines the hidden layers of society and questions how we judge what we do not witness. Haynes direction is spot on down to the smallest detail while Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett are offering performances that rival their best (remembering that one of them has already won two Oscars for ‘The Aviator’ and ‘Blue Jasmine’ and briefly convinced me that she was Bob Dylan in ‘I’m Not There’). Beautiful and poignant, meticulously crafted and exquisitely executed, what else is there to say?

1: Steve Jobs
Just when you thought Aaron Sorkin had run out of ways in which to sum up our society through one figure, he does it here. I will now do what everyone else has done several times and call his script a work of genius, a staple of modern writing and one that few could ever have accomplished. That being said there are even fewer that could have executed it in such a superb way. Never mind that Michael Fassbender looks nothing like Steve Jobs, by the end of the film he is embodying the techno icon, all his faults (which were many) and his triumphs (also many, though more on a technological rather than a human level) are captured here. Danny Boyle’d direction is a shot of adrenaline that powers the film along, giving it pace and fluidity, moving from one piece of amazing dialogue to the next. A perfect cinematic collaboration of source material, writer, actors and director.

And the worst
Mockingjay Part 2
I tried to warn you. I’ll be brief, as I only have one major problem with the film, but sadly it is a big problem. It is a simple and undeniable fact, that is this, ‘Mockingjay Part 2’ is half of a movie, and it feels like one. By no means is it a horrible picture, but it is sadly a far cry from the great finale I was hoping for.   

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