Friday 29 April 2016

Best and Worst of April 2016

I saw  certain movie at midnight last night, but I’m not going to talk about it yet, the reason being that to include it in this month’s reviews would leave me with the very difficult decision of where it stands in comparison to some of the other brilliant releases this month. So call it cheating if you want, but for now a review ‘Captain America: Civil War’ will be put on hold until at least May 1st. Besides it doesn’t hit Stateside for another few days so until then I feel like I can put it off as well.

For now though we can talk about this month and it has been quite a brilliant one at that. Following the somewhat disappointing turnout of March 2016, April was considerably better, with quite a few impressive films of varying genres. Whether they be Disney blockbusters, science fiction road trips, paranoid thrillers or indie experiments there was essentially something for everyone this month. There was only one truly terrible film as well which is definitely a bonus given how so far each month has had at least two. Before the main selection though I have to give a shoutout for ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ which just barely missed the cut, even though it was highly impressive.

3: The Jungle Book
In Disney’s recent wave of live action adaptations of their classic cartoons, John Favreau’s ‘The Jungle Book’ stands as the best by a long way. Featuring some of the most impressive CGI I have ever seen put to film, being massive yet detailed and completely immersive. But despite its technical brilliance there is still a real heart and soul to ‘The Jungle Book’, it’s permeated with brilliant characters who are all brought to life with a magnificent all-star voice cast. It’s pure cinematic joy from start to finish.

2: Victoria
The idea of executing an entire film (regardless of the premise and plot) as a single take, filmed in real time and no room for error is difficult to imagine. But when you consider that ‘Victoria’ has a runtime of nearly two and a half hours that takes the viewer from classy bars and nightclubs to tense crime confrontations and bank robberies, you really do have to see it to believe it. Director Sebastian Schipper has accomplished what many might deem impossible and furthermore he managed to craft a film with a cohesive plot, compelling characters and emotional turns. Laia Costa is fantastic in the titular role and almost rivals the technical prowess as the best thing about ‘Victoria’.

1: Midnight Special
Jeff Nichols’ science fiction powerhouse is less of a film about extra-terrestrials and more of one about the relationship between a father and son. It weaves a story of intimacy and poignancy that outshines and flashy CGI that Hollywood continue to mistake for science fiction, ‘Midnight Special’ reconnects with science fiction classics from the likes of Steven Spielberg and John Carpenter who based their stories around human life more than the aliens that visited them. That is not to say that there isn’t spectacle to ‘Midnight Special’, there are some truly breath-taking moments, but it finds its strength through the emotions of its story that are perfectly conveyed by its cast that includes Adam Driver and Joel Edgerton but most of all it is Michael Shannon who delivers a superb performance. Nichols directs with an eye that understands what audiences take away from a film and has applied it to ‘Midnight Special’ brilliantly.

And the worst….

God’s Not Dead 2
This is a propaganda film, pure and simple (at the end it told me to text my friends and family to spread the message). But worse than that though it’s a manipulative film that does not try to make an argument as to why certain hold certain beliefs, it is not trying to convince anyone why Christianity is beneficial and what draws people to it. It only tries to reinforce the prejudices and bigotries that its audiences hold. It acts as if Christians are persecuted within today’s society even though you wouldn’t have to travel far to find a group of people who suffer from far worse. The plot is a fantasy, as is any form of filmmaking as a concept. Acting, cinematography, directing, production design, etcetera. None of them are to be found here.

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