Saturday, 27 December 2014

My Top Twenty Films Of The Year

This year has been truly fantastic. From indie flicks, to big budget fodder there has been something for everyone. I have managed to see 49 new released this year and here is my top twenty. NOTE: this is on UK releases, so 12 Years a Slave, Inside Llewyn Davis make it in and Birdman, The Theory of Everything don't make it.

20) A Dangerous Game

Donald Trump makes a great villain. The sunny disposition that clouds into a demon scowl (when confronted by cheeky interviewers). The bionic hair. The chutzpah. At one moment in A Dangerous Game, Anthony Baxter’s sequel to You’ve Been Trumped, his documentary about the billionaire’s golf-course-building invasion of Scotland, Trump stands on a green receiving a plaque from the “American Academy of Hospitality Sciences”. Turns out: the Academy has three trustees, one named Donald Trump. I was a big fan of Baxter's You've Been Trumped and was interested to see what happened after. Baxter weaves all this together into a fascinating and fairly damning indictment not so much of golf, but of the arrogant culture of exclusivity that has overtaken it worldwide. And while anyone who’s been following the story will know this film has a somewhat happier ending, it remains a plea for eternal vigilance. As environmental lawyer Robert F Kennedy Jr puts it: “There are lots of Donald Trumps out there.” It's a good job there are lots of Anthony Baxter's out there too.

19) Cherry Pie 

Everyone has gotten to that point in life where all they want to do is run. Run as far as they can. Away from everything and on their own. Zoé tries to escape herself. She travels north through bleak landscapes until she gets on a ferryboat, where a mysterious woman suddenly disappears. In the winter coat of a stranger, Zoé reaches the other side of the Channel. Cherry Pie is a lesson in how to make a film with limited plot. There's no twists, heavy dialogue or even characters of note. This is a clinic in filmmaking, editing and sound design, and it's worth watching for that alone. Technically, the film is superb. Logically and narratively-speaking, the film is odd to say the least, but it's enticing and gripping. Narrative is minimal in Cherry Pie, as is dialogue. What exactly motivates Zoé, what she thinks, where she is going - we can only guess. She slowly sinks into a catatonic silence.  It's a film I'd like to study, for sure. Everything feels like it's there for a reason and I would love to find out why.

18) Stations of the Cross

When reading the synopsis for Stations of the Cross, I was afraid that the chosen format of 14 fixed-angle scenes, numbered and named as per the 14 Stations of the Cross, would effectively work out as a sort of harness. We’ve seen that many times before, when the format takes over and the content suffers. However, it becomes clear very early on that the format won’t hamper this particular film, which is a strong offering from director Dietrich Brüggemann. The central character is 14-year-old Maria, but her uncompromising mother is also a key figure in the drama as it unfolds in 14 distinct scenes, the first of which shows a priest with a group of children, sitting around a table and talking about the essentials of what their true Catholic life will entail. They’re together in preparation for the sacrament of Confirmation, and from that moment on they’re expected to stand up for their faith, and to defend it against everything that deviates from the Ten Commandments and the Seven Sacraments. Aided by strong and convincing performances from Lea van Acken as the innocent and deeply religious Maria, and Franziska Weisz as her fanatic mother, Stations of the Cross brings to light the importance of tolerance in a society where extremism is ever increasing and bigotry is rife. It’s a film that speaks to its audience with minimal camera movements, as the story unfolds with a finesse that’s rarely found in modern cinema.

17) In Order of Disappearance 

In Order of Disappearance tells the story of a man who snow ploughs the wild mountains of Norway, and becomes a vigilante after gangsters murder his son. Recounting the story wouldn’t really give much of an indication of why this particular film is so impressive. The narrative is definitely good but it’s the way it’s told that makes it a winner. The script is full of funny dialogue, with characters often going off on humorous tangents about, for example, why only cold countries have a welfare state or how nice Norwegian prisons are. The script is full of this humour, and it never feels forced or flat. Most movies about revenge tend to focus on the spectacle of cruelty and bloodshed, delivering a film filled with somewhat morally justified killings, but no meaning behind them. That’s not the case with this film. Like many other Scandinavian masterpieces, In Order of Disappearance delivers a deep and meaningful story. The script tries to focus on the conflicts and personal tragedies behind the murders, which makes it not just a great gangster flick, but also a great drama. With Hans Petter Moland’s directing style, every gesture, look and sentence has a meaning. Of course, this impact is helped by some great performances by Stellan Skarsgard, Bruno Ganz and Pal Sverre Hagen.

16) Nightcrawler

Jake Gyllenhaal has spent his entire career playing the creepy guy. Some would say he's now typecast, but somehow he manages to keep his performances fresh and exciting. WithNightcrawler, he puts in a tour-de-force performance, which is arguably his best. Part satirical view of media sensationalism, part success story, Nightcrawler is one of those rare films that is not only superbly entertaining, but sophisticated and thought-provoking in equal measure. Ultimately, Dan Gilroy has created a terrifically dark and humourous attack on today's media industry. Fincher'sGone Girl may have attacked the media, but Nightcrawler tears it limb from limb as viciously as Lou Bloom breaking into a house to shoot the remnants of a burglary.

15) Only Lovers Left Alive 

I've been a big Jim Jarmusch fan for a long time. In fact, I would go as far to say that Down By Law is probably in my top ten films of all time. So when I heard he was making a vampire flick I was exciting. I mean, it could do with the Jarmusch touch after the diabolical run of form the vampire genre has gone through. Of course, one knows that a Jim Jarmusch movie about vampires is not going to be like any other vampire film. In fact it would be unkind to class this as a vampire movie. Only Lovers Left Alive is a highly stylized and atmospheric film bemoaning the passing of the great rock n roll and Hippy era. Here we have a vampire couple (Swinton & Hiddleston - both excellent and perfectly cast) living an isolated life in an abandoned house in Detroit, USA. Hiddleston used to be a famous rock n roll artist who has become a recluse collecting old guitars and records. They survive by purchasing blood samples from a corrupt doctor. We also have one of their old vampire friends (John Hurt) living in Tangiers where the blood is specially pure. Things take an unexpected turn when Swinton's mischievous sister (Mia Wasikowska) visits them. Only Lovers Left Alive has cult film written all over it. The music is great too and blends perfectly with the atmosphere. It's a mesmerising and simply wonderful watch. 

14) Dallas Buyers Club 

Of course now this is just a stopgap in the McConaissance, but if you dig deeper this is a heart-warming biopic that will make you feel good and bad about society at the same time. At times Mr. McConaughey's acting abilities may have been in question, but doubtless there has always been a genius just waiting to explode. And explode it does in Dallas Buyers Club. Given a fully explored and developed character, he is the centrifugal force of the engaging plot of an American tragedy, seamless direction, lively dialogue and creme de la creme supporting actors. This actor, who proves he can blur the lines between acting and real, rises to the ranks of Dustin Hoffman, Sean Penn, Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, our Grand Pere, Jack Nicholson, and his own idol, Paul Newman. Unquestionably, he deserves a spot in Academy Awards for Best Actor. At long last, given the opportunity, he has proved to possess truly exquisite talent; to be an actor's actor, worthy of study, deep respect, even awe. He skillfully brings to life an oddball cowboy character to the level of hero, and mesmerizes the audience at every single breath, by every stretch of his emaciated gorgeous heart, soul and body. Shirts off to Matthew McConaughey, and may you never doubt his abilities again.

13) Guardians of the Galaxy

Dare I say it, I was starting to get bored of Marvel's Cinematic Universe. The Avengers was fantastic, but Iron Man 3, Thor 2 and even Captain America 2 disappointed. The perfect remedy? A giant tree, a talking raccoon, a brute of a man who takes everything literally, a kick-ass assassin and the next Indiana Jones. James Gunn brought his perfect blend of humour and action to the MCU and it's so perfect it makes you wonder why it's never happened before. The characters are so carefully crafted, the world is already an exciting place to explore and it's simply the funniest Marvel film to date. I am much more excited to hang our with Rocket, Quill, and pals then I am to see the guy in the tin and the dude with the shield. 

12) Blue Ruin

On the surface, Blue Ruin is a down-the-line, ticks all the boxes revenge thriller. What it actually is is something much different. The film comes from Jeremy Saulnier, who could be introducing a new genre to cinema: the multiple-twist movie. The plot seems pretty straight forward at first. Dwight (Macon Blair) is a homeless man living on the outskirts of an amusement park. One day he finds that the man who killed his parents is about to be released from prison. Clearly, Dwight has no intention to turn the other cheek in this case and he sets out to a successful assassination. It's a stripped down tale, but it's far from a straight forward one. Whenever you get comfortable, Blue Ruin changes into something else. It is a consistently unpredictable, twisty, and excellent thriller. At no point will you be quite sure where the film will take you, or what direction it will go next, up until the final scene. Saulnier's vision of crime drama with moral issues is in fact a breath of fresh air in a stagnant genre.Blue Ruin never leaves Dwight’s perspective, everything goes through him and Macon Blair portrays him sublimely. Despite being in every scene, I still feel like I haven't even scratched the surface of the character. He gives nothing away, but he's still very easy to follow and great to watch. There's this subtlety that Blair brings to the character that makes him almost mesmerising. He's a gripping character, which makes the film gripping. This is Macon Blair's film, more so than Jeremy Saulnier's film, and he completely owns it.

11) The Grand Budapest Hotel 

It has often been said that Wes Anderson walks the fine line between folly and genius. In the The Grand Budapest Hotel, however, this distinction no longer exists: the ridiculous becomes brilliant, and brilliant has never been this ridiculous. 

It is his best work, or at least the film which has all of Anderson's creative impulses working in one direction, producing a coherent work of art. His films have always been quirky, charming and out-of-this world, but never before has the audience been immersed in Andersonland as fully as with this film. The colours, the camera movement that switches between different parts of the set, the music, the lens angle distortion, the ridiculously stellar cast, all of Anderson's trademark elements, combine to produce the ultimate Anderson film. The absolutely ridiculous CGI is used perfectly to add to the surrealism of the movie. It is also extremely well crafted, not only visually, but structurally. Unlike some of his previous work, the editing, the pacing and the rhythm of "Budapest" are pitch-perfect. On the other hand, it seeps with nostalgia, a bittersweet longing for an age long past, and the fascinating characters it produced. It is technically a detective comedy, and one has to note that the genre seems to suit Anderson's peculiar brand of filmmaking very well. But never before has Hitchcock's Macguffin been as explicitly embodied as by the "Boy With the Apple". The plot is merely a mechanism that allows Anderson to transport his vision onto the screen, a vision of a peculiar world seemingly different from our own, but filled with just as much loss and, at the same time, human compassion as ours. There is comedy, but its either very subtle or incredibly over the top, and most viewers are uncomfortable with both. There isn't a single 'ordinary shot', pretty much every image is out of place to such an extent that they begin to form one coherent film, and a fantastic one at that.

10) Nymphomaniac Parts 1&2

After the wild buzz and months of chatter surrounding Nymphomaniac, I more or less expected a provocative, pretentious, incomprehensible porno film. I thought it would be a shallow artistic excuse to show lots of explicit sex in an attempt to shock the audience and create controversy. I was wrong. Is it provocative? In many ways, yes, and there are plenty of scenes that might be considered tasteless or mindlessly shocking. But if had to describe the film in one word, I wouldn’t use ‘provocative’. Instead, I would use ‘imaginative’. Typical to Lars Non Trier’s style, Nymphomaniac is so full of creativity and cinematographic exuberance that it’s hard not be impressed. The nice thing is that Von Trier never takes himself too seriously and, in a way, it’s a pity that the film is primary about sex. So much attention is given to the genital close-ups that it overshadows everything else, including the creative way in which the film is made. Nymphomaniac is dark, thrilling and poetic. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just a film about sex either. It’s a film about loneliness and being alone, a film of pain and pleasure that’s held together by intertwined plots and characters. Fans of Von Trier won’t be disappointed.
9) The Golden Dream
The Golden Dream is the debut feature by Mexican director Diego Quemada-Díez, previously a cinematographer and camera operator on 21 Grams and The Constant Gardener. This film carries a similar weightiness and moral heft to those films, yet retains a dreamlike quality that at times leaves the film in debt as much to Terrence Malick as Alejandro González Iñárritu. It also looks like it's been heavily inspired by the works of Ken Loach. A flowing, lyrical film, at times startlingly beautiful, The Golden Dream hypnotises the viewer with its constant movement, its unceasing rhythm. It can also be shockingly brutal, and abrupt departures leave us longing for a Hollywood narrative that will grant us resolution, aching from the inability to find out what happened to those who are lost. On this journey, it's easy to be laughing one moment and dead the next. Only the dream is consistent, but can America possibly deliver what is promised? It's notoriously difficult to make this kind of film work, both at the scripting stage and in the execution. What Quemada-Díez has achieved is a triumph.Beautifully shot, and powerfully told, The Golden Dream succeeds in telling a political story, personally. Using improvisational techniques and non-professional actors, Diego Quemada-Diez's astounding and gripping début feature is a piercing and poetic road movie.
8) Inside Llewyn Davis 

I love folk music and I love the Coen brothers. I am completely smitten. I have long admired Joel Coen and Ethan Coen and what they have offered the realm of cinema. I am in love with Fargo still until this day, and they've provided solid efforts on nearly every outing since. Their newest endeavour that focuses on the folk scene in 1961 is an absolute dream. Everything from the impeccable Oscar Isaac to the music that enriches the deepest trenches of the soul, Inside Llewyn Davis is one of the best pictures of the year, plain and simple. It's the Coen Brothers finest film since FargoIn some ways, this is a perfect fit for the Coen’s. They’ve showed their love for music in O Brother, Where Art Thou’s outstanding soundtrack, they’ve shown they can write an interesting, if flawed character that we still want to root for in every Coen film ever and they’ve shown they can write a film in which nothing happens but everything is interesting. Everything is slow, but very, very rewarding. In its running time of 105 minutes, few definite conclusions are drawn in regard to Llewyn's career and with the film ending in the same place as it started, it seems unlikely that he will break free from his cycle of obscurity. But then, the film really isn't about Llewyn's 'career' or his friends, because this is a film about Llewyn. The beginnings of the film highlight a raw, unabashed view on rejection and obscurity accompanied by this nagging expectation that Llewyn's life might blossom into a success story. But ultimately, that's not what the film is about and it's goal is not to satisfy filmic convention. Inside Llewyn Davis is very simply, a soulful and beautifully drawn portrait of a man and his music.

7) Under the Skin 

Firstly, there is no obvious narrative in this film, because it does not have a big significance or importance here. On the most basic level it is a story of an alien imposing a woman and seducing men from all over Scotland in order to drain their flesh. This is the most simple summary of the movie. On deeper layers it is a serious study of our society. The film's main focus is on the inside and outside of things, the philosophy of form and material. Johansson's character is struggling in this society. She is always portrayed as going against the stream, she is lost in the sea of rushing people who do not want to get deeper into things, because they know they could be hurt. This is represented in a very subtle visual way. For instance, roses look nice in the film, but they have spikes which make rose seller's hands bleed. A piece of cake seems delicious, but the taste of it is disgusting. It is always the fight between the surface and depth in this film, the first impression and further investigation. I believe it is a very important theme for our society where people are afraid of making commitments or engagements, where they seek for quick pleasures, even though they need true and honest love. The film is very strong visually and stylistically. In order for the reader to get a glimpse of what it is, I will say that it is sort of a combination of Kubrick, Lynch and von Trier. And that's as big a compliment as you can get. 

6) Locke

One location films have been successful through the years. From films such as PhoneboothRed Eye and Flightplan have proven that with a tight enough script, you can create a tense and entertaining film set in a single location. It does all come down to the script, though. Without a good script, you could end up with Snakes on a Plane...Eek! With this, comes Steven Knight's new film, Locke.  A film where the whole story takes places inside the confines of a car, and with Tom Hardy as the only actor on screen. It is testament to Hardy's acting nous that he can pull off such a taught, powerful performance solely based on reactions to the increasingly dramatic phone calls. Locke is unrelenting in his belief of doing the right thing and we see why when he has imagined conversations with his father, an apparently neglectful and emotionally absent figure in his life. These scenes in particular are beautifully shot with the use of Locke looking into the car mirrors for the man who isn't there. It's a wonderful film that deserves a lot of credit. Hopefully this will shortly be recognised as a seminal British feature film. A remarkable achievement, story telling and performance at the very highest level and hugely entertaining. Collaboratively it's nothing less than a cinematic tour de force. Filmed in just eight nights and with very low budget, the film is literally a lesson of how unique and quite fantastic minimalist cinema can be.

5) We Are The Best!

Music creates this nostalgia that holds so strong that no matter what you will always love it. Much like Inside Llewyn Davis heralded folk music, Lukas Moodysson's We Are the Best! heralds punk music more than any film around. It's punk. Even more punk than Julien Temple's The Filth and The Fury, the great documentary about the Sex Pistols and England in the late 1970s. Presented are a few young individuals who think alike and don't waver for a second to present their own opinions. They're unique - just like the rest of us - and just so you know, just because disco came around, doesn't mean punk's dead.Moodysson concentrates on the exuberance of youth, celebrating the highs of friendships and the chaotic lows of arguments, boyfriends, parents, jealousies, growing up and everything else! Everything is treated with a lack of cynicism, everyone is treated with a sense of perspective and affection. Of course, it helps that you've got three genuine and utterly infectious teenage girls to make you laugh constantly. Hedvig, Klara and Bobo display in their own individual way their sensitivities and uncertainties with life. It's not just heart-warming though, it's also terrifically funny. The children are innocent, yet also know more about the world than most adults. They're funnily written characters, with a great outlook on life. There's something lovely about seeing these children loving the punk life. A life that has a bad reputation. They bring something beautiful and intelligent about it. It's a hardcore film that's cute, sad, very funny, very Swedish and human from the core on out. The script is great, the dialogue should be a blueprint on how Swedish realism should be, Moodysson still claims the throne as the best living Swedish director, and this film will live on forever. I really hope this gets syndicated throughout the world, because that's what it deserves. Punk is back, baby! "Brezhnev, Reagan. F*** off!" 

4) Gone Girl

Gone Girl marks Fincher's tenth feature film and his most mature work since Fight Club. Centering on Nick Dunne, a husband desperately trying to find his wife all while having police and media accuse him of murder. The story sounds straight out of the Scott Peterson case and the film looks unlike any film I've seen in recent years. Lead by an all star cast featuring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry and Neil Patrick Harris, Gone Girl rises above the pack with smart storytelling, phenomenal pacing and perfect performances. What it does so brilliantly is it taps into the audience's psyche regarding marriage and the ideology behind a sanctioned union that is corrupt. It is really heavy stuff when the story really gets to the meat and bones of it all. With plenty of twists and turns, Gone Girl keeps you, not only second guessing the whole idea of marriage, but the intentions of every character in the film. It is truly one of the most twisted films adapted from an even sicker and twisted book that's out there right now. Gillian Flynn does wonders with her adaption from her own novel. The dialogue is crisp, the characters are multi-layered, it truly is a pitch perfect script that doesn't have one false moment in it. Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike are fantastic in this film. This is a different Affleck, a very human and realized Affleck. Nick Dunne is a wonderful role for him and captivates just how good he can be with a terrific director. Harris and Perry give well rounded performances as well but are nothing compared to Affleck and Pike. David Fincher and his long time collaborator and cinematographer, Jeff Cronenweth create a dreary, horrific tone for Gone Girl that makes every twist and turn that much more gut wrenching. Every shot is meticulously planned, showing each shot as if it were a still frame that spoke a thousand words. It is truly gorgeous filmmaking. And now for the score...Trent Reznor and Atticus Finch deliver a perfect score, besting their Social Network and Girl with the Dragon Tattoo score. If Reznor won for Social Network, I fully expect not only a nomination but a win for this film. Overall, this is a mesmerising film that demands multiple viewings to truly get the full experience. It is impeccably made, beautifully acted and an all around near perfect film.

3) 12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave is very, very hard to watch. Is it because this is an American tragedy, done by Americans? Is it the guilt of someone's ancestors manifesting it in your tear ducts? I can't answer that. Only the person who says it can. The structure of this country is built on the backs and blood of slaves. But slavery didn't just exist in America, it was everywhere. It occurred for over 200 years and believe it or not, it still exists in some parts of the world today. If you've seen McQueen's other works then you'll more or less know what kind of movie to expect (if you haven't then please stop reading and watch Hunger and Shame). 12 Years a Slave is dark and raw, it exposes everything, without sugarcoating it. It is definitely hard to watch; but in my opinion, it is not only worth watching but necessary. Films exploring themes of slavery are few and far in between and never has one been quite as exhaustive and effective as this one. McQueen is a fearless filmmaker, continuing his streak of unfiltered brutality within human depths. He frames his actors' faces in extreme close-up, the eyes staring into despair, the nostrils fuming in aggression. Naked flesh are shown not because of erotic content, but rather because of desperation and futility. Long takes and wide shots are not uncommon in his films, and here they showcase a plethora of fantastic scenes and performances that work to discomfort the viewer as much as possible. McQueen doesn't just allow the audience to tackle slavery, he guts the audience and leaves them for the consequences. This is an extremely uncomfortable film to watch. Beautifully shot locations are placeholders for unsettling sequences before and after, contemplated by Hans Zimmer's poignant and at times horrifying score. This all works to create a nightmarish time and place where hell walks on Earth. Steve McQueen has created another masterpiece.

2) Boyhood

On the surface, Boyhood is just a coming of age film, and not the first in Richard Linklater's career. Beneath the surface it is one of the most unusual projects in film history and easily Linklater's opus magnum. It depicts the growing up of Mason (Ellar Coltrane), a dreamy, imaginative, sensitive boy, son of a single mother without much luck when it comes to men and an easygoing though slightly irresponsible father. The unusual thing: Linklater filmed this over the span of twelve years, assembling the same cast every year. What we see is a boy of seven growing into a young man just starting college.The light narrative touch Linklater is such a master of is all there as he weaves the scenes together effortlessly into a long narrative in which time moves on naturally. Mason grows older without breaks, moves from childhood through adolescence to young adulthood. The adults, too, developed, move on, grow older, regress occasionally. The film consists of scenes depicting ordinary lives, the camera is unobtrusive, at times almost documentary- like, the music well-chosen and supportive, the narrative rhythm organic. There is some drama, charming banality, the film isn't free of clichés and stereotypes, yet it breathes life in what is a stream of living, trying to find a way, drifting along, seeking direction. In a way, everyone tries to grow up, father, mother, children. this could have been just an impressive project. As it stands, it is a true masterpiece, an entirely compelling and – though completely unsentimental – deeply moving film.What's so unique about Boyhood is that these individuals (including Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, and Linklater's own daughter, Lorelei Linklater) evolve and age within a scripted narrative that is not 'like' a time capsule, this is a completely authentic period piece that retraces an era from the cultural response to September 11th, through the election of Barrack Obama, and into the age of social media saturation. As you watch these actors morph through more than a decade of their lives within a few hours, the story becomes as engaging as its concept. Linklater has not made a bad film and that is continued by Boyhood. It sets a new standard in the exploration of film's potential and reinforcing the limitlessness of DIY filmmaking.

1) Pride

It’s really difficult to deliver a feel good film that doesn’t shy away from serious issues without descending into mawkishness or sentimentality. Pride is neither. Instead, the film commemorates the hitherto unremarked but nevertheless remarkable alliance between Welsh miners and London lesbians and gay men. It is an enjoyable, well-made and sometimes uplifting movie set in a bleak period of British history. Pride is a political film in the best sense: it’s about people joining together to take control of their own destinies, a theme which has a long history in UK cinema, going back at least to the fantasy of Passport to Pimlico to the based-on-fact Made in Dagenham, with The Full Monty and Billy Elliott in between. The film, so appropriately named, delivers a moving story about pride, friendship and solidarity. When I wasn’t laughing at the incredible performances from the top cast, I was crying at the emotional and moving story that runs through the film.That is not to say that it shies away from the horrors both the miners and the LGBT community faced back then. It does not avoid the shadow of aids or the genuine issues gay and lesbian people faced in the 1980’s. This so easily could have slipped into a tragic or an over politically charged story, but instead it’s beautifully written and balanced. It’s funny but very moving, with a perfect blend of comedy and seriousness. This is certainly a political film, but you don’t have to be into politics. Simply, you have to have a heart. It’s uplifting to see how totally disparate groups can support each other and learn more about both communities in the process. It starts with the music of Pete Seeger and ends with Billy Bragg, two activist musicians who I greatly admire. The dialogue is well thought-out, and delivered convincingly by a stellar cast, who are always believable in their roles. It never strays into the offensive, or to the other end of the spectrum, patronising. It restores my faith in humanity, traditional British fairness and good nature. I had wondered how we turned around the institutionalised homophobia which saw Britain’s LGBT people crushed under the Sexual Offences Act of 1967 to the legal enshrinement of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act of 2013 – in only a few short decades. Now I know how this journey started, through a beautifully, well handled story. This movie has jumped straight to the top of my best films of the year.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Down Terrace Review

Ben Wheatley is being heralded as a sort of saviour of British surrealism cinema as of late, but his first film Down Terrace is far from that. It's dark and gritty, but also funny and solemn. 

Just released from jail, father and son Bill and Karl (played by real life father and son Bob and Robin Hill) are patriarchs of a small crime family. Their business and life in Down Terrace is plagued with infighting. When Karl's estranged girlfriend claims to be carrying his child, Karl's added priorities create tension amongst his immediate family. Suspicions grow when the family believes there's an informant in their midst that could send them all to prison for a very long time.

This film is hard to categorize. While it is a story about a crime family, there's nothing very "gangster" about them. They don't dress or look the part. The three characters, Bill, Karl, and Maggie (Julie Deakin), Karl's mother, look and act like a regular blue collar family. They're not particularly convincing as gangsters (which may be why they're so well-hidden). For a good chunk of the movie, I had forgotten they were gangsters at all. Kind of like the TV show Roseanne, they bicker about regular family issues. Heavy with dialogue and awkward situations, the film plays almost like a comedic sitcom. It could have been about any family business and it would have worked.

There's realism and candour in the film's look and style. Characters talk about everyday things. Characters are often irritable, unkempt, and cumbersome. The camera is often hand-held, jerky, and frequently focuses on the mundane. The dialogue is often quite sharp and funny. It's certainly not glitzy like a gangster film.

There's virtually no action until the latter half of the film. But throughout the film it is engrossing and sentimental. Some parts take you by surprise. The film's focus on both the mundane and the surprising moments is what makes it work so well. Even during a conversation about music, or a simple cup of tea you never know what's going to come next. When the unexpected, violent moments hit, it reminded me that yes, this is indeed a "gangster" film. This results in some great dark humour.

The characters truly make this film. The dynamics between Bill, Karl, and Maggie are realistic, funny, dysfunctional, and sad. Bob Hill is particularly memorable as Bill, an ageing father who is frequently disappointed and putting down his son, Karl. Robin Hill expertly plays off his real-life father Bob (who plays Bill) as the constantly-frustrated Karl. Julie Deakin gives a complex, multifaceted performance as Maggie, the loving, sometimes scheming, mother, who may not always be as kind as she appears. The supporting cast, which consist of thugs who often do not act like thugs, bring proper amount of quirky, dry humour.

Given the expectations one may have of the frequently popular gangster genre, fans of that genre will likely be let down by this film while missing out on this film's more subtler, deeper story about family relationships. The initial pacing of the film may try some people's patience. It did me a little. I wished the film hadn't really characterized itself as a story about a crime family or a "gangster film" because it really isn't. I think it perhaps hurts the film somewhat—it makes it seem less real, maybe more gimmicky. This is closer to a family drama…with occasional violence thrown in. One may mistakenly go in expecting The Godfather. I can see this film re-imagined as a small crime story starring ordinary people—something akin to a Coen Brothers' film. These characters are odd, quirky, and dark in that vein.

Ben Wheatley has crafted a clever story that is always interesting thanks to its characters and dialogue. Wheatley's style of film making would interest me if he shot someone writing a review of one of his films... Wait... What? It's fantastic. Watch it.  

Filth Review

Think you know James McAvoy? Think again. His performance in Jon S. Baird's adaptation of Irving Welsh's Filth is astounding and there is nothing sweet or fluffy about it or any other aspect of the film. Filth is very funny, very wrong, very sordid and very likely to incite hatred from Daily Mail readers across the land (Hooray!). Sex, drugs, more sex, more drugs, violence, corruption, depravity, even more sex and drugs… Filth is absolutely, well, filthy, and is a memorable experience to say the least. And it has sex and drugs in it. 

It is not always easy viewing. Far from it. Sometime after the midway point the laughs die down, the stomach churns a little more uneasily, the grimaces are more evident and the intakes of breath are more audible. We are less willing to forgive but, like the car crash up ahead that has caused all the drivers in front to rubber-neck, well, just one long look as we pass can't hurt, can it? 

Bruce Robertson (McAvoy) is a bigot. He's bi-polar, a junkie, sex-obsessed, self-obsessed, manipulative and frequently thoroughly unpleasant. He's also a cop. With a promotion in the balance, Bruce is up against several colleagues and sets about turning one against the other, unsettling them with salacious gossip and blatant lies to ensure he beats them to the post. Throw in his manipulation of fellow freemason Bladesey (Eddie Marsan), his sultry wife, Carole (Shauna MacDonald) and his hallucinatory sessions with Doctor Rossi (Jim Broadbent) and you have one monumentally screwed up anti-hero. And what's not to love about that? 

The Coen brothers may have the monopoly on fantastic character names, but nobody writes actual characters like Welsh and the cast that Baird has poured into Filth is staggeringly good in their interpretation of this mess of freaks and misfits. There isn't a poor performance in the entire film from the uncertain laddishness of Ray (Jamie Bell) to the fantastic absurdity of Doctor Rossi. While none are bona fide Hollywood stars, the cast that glitters in a maniacal, dirty way is a treat beyond expectation: Imogen Poots, Shirley Henderson, Gary Lewis (yes, Billy Elliott and his dad are reunited at last!), John Sessions, Joanne Froggatt… It's a fantastic, eclectic mix of British stars that proves Britain has got talent. Certainly more than Simon Cowell ever has. 

Filth is a perfectly paced film; it roars ahead stirring emotions and judgement, exciting and thrilling as it trashes everything in its wake but it is never so fast that we feel left behind or that we've missed out on a juicy morsel of degeneracy. Sufficient time is allowed for us to filter through, as bes

t we can, the quagmire that is Bruce's life, but Baird never pauses or permits us time to glance at our watch or neighbour.

The soundtrack, too, is bang on the money stamping though a musical landscape that is at times acceptably cheesy and more often a reminder of what to check is on the iPod. Where else can you effortlessly segue from David Soul into Shaking' Stevens? While the latter is consigned to audio wallpaper, the bizarrely fantastic cameo from David Soul is a delight. Had Dennis Potter snorted cocaine Pennies From Heaven might have resembled this.

In the face of common opinion that it simply wouldn't work, and after years of development, Filth turns out to be a near masterpiece, whose recognition as such is only made less likely by the inevitable comparison with Trainspotting. It is a ballsy adaptation of a hugely admired novel, as unpredictable as its central character and charged with the vitriolic energy of the author's writing. A well balanced juggling act of tones; in lesser hands this would have been a mess. 

It is not always a pleasant watch, but like the central character, it finds its way to a strange, engaging and even rather emotional resolution. Whilst there is likely to be a good forty percent of casual viewers who are left completely cold, the remaining will see a successful, proudly Scottish film that is by turns dark, shocking, comical and moving, which also goes out on an incredibly catchy and surprisingly fitting seventies hit.

Filth is Taggart if it had snorted ecstasy, cocaine and speed off the toilet seat of a dirty, Scottish strip club. And if you're not down with that, what the fuck are you still doing here?

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The Equalizer Review

Denzel Washington is great, isn't he? Throughout his thirty-odd years in the industry he's portrayed good guys, bad guys, flawed guys and even real guys, with his portrayal of Malcolm X encapsulating all of those things. With The Equalizer, Washington plays the nicest guy you could hope to meet, you just wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of him or he'll kill you. And boy, does he know a lot of ways to do that.

Crucially, though, there's more to Washington's Robert McCall. He's a quiet man, who likes to look after his body, read and help people out. It's these minor details that make his character all the more interesting to watch. It also makes it all the more shocking when he's sticking corkscrews, drills and anything sharp he can find in people. He likes people, with him using his day job to kid around with the staff and help a chubby colleague lose some weight to get the new job he wants. The nicest aspect to McCall is his determination to read the “100 books you need to read before you die” as a tribute to his late wife, who was working through the list herself before she passed. It's a sweet character moment we don't often get with most action flicks preoccupied with jamming as many action set-pieces as they can. Non-stop action can often be monotonous and that's something Fuqua seems to understand this.

We spend a lot of time getting to know McCall before anythin actually starts to happen, which is a really nice touch. In fact, the entire first third plays out like a short film – and a very impressive one at that. It's almost perfect. It has the rise and fall, story telling and the character development is fantastic. The first action scene doesn't happen for a while, but when it does come it has more of an impact as we've gotten to know McCall.

The action is very distinctive too, with guns replaced for a more up close, brutal beat down technique opted for by Fuqua. McCall goes through sledgehammer's, nail guns, broken glass and a lot, lot more. It's so refreshing to see an action film that doesn't hold back. The blood splatters, the necks crack and people die... A LOT.

If The Equalizer has any problems at all, it's that McCall is almost too unstoppable. He's never in danger and he's always in control of the situation and as an audience it makes it hard to feel much tension when you know that he's got everything covered.

There's also some very strange scripting problems where the plot wanders somewhere else that doesn't really have much to do with the narrative. There's a scene where a crook comes into the hardware store where McCall works and steals money from the register only to be stopped by McCall later on which is very strange. It breaks up the flow of the film and does nothing for the story or his character. Another scene is where McCall visits old friends to get 'information' that he already knew.

Other than that, though, The Equalizer surprised me. It packs a punch with some of the most impressive action sequences I've seen for a while, but it also has character and heart. I think this could have franchise potential and I really wouldn't say no to an Equalizer 2. 

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Looking back at Yojimbo and Fistful of Dollars

Akira Kurosawa and Sergio Leone are two of the most influential, yet different directors in cinematic history – but they met on a crossroads. That crossroads was Fistful of Dollars, Sergio Leone's Western that took the world by storm, that was said to be a copy of Kurosawa's Yojimbo. I decided to watch both back-to-back and have my say on the matter.

Much has been made about how Sergio Leone took Kurosawa's story and characters (most in particular being a rogue from out of town) and made them into his breakthrough Fistful of Dollars. Kurosawa even sued Leone over the story rights. But to those who wonder whether Yojimbo is 'better' than Fistful or vice versa need to remember one of two things: Kurosawa took the story from Dashiell Hammett's gangster novel Red Harvest (which was also adapted into The Maltese Falcon – go and watch that if you haven't done so already.), so neither film maker is making something really original; and that since each film is made in a different continent, and with the slightest different sensibilities about its characters.

I think people seem to forget that Yojimbo was more or less an homage to the Hollywood Western. Sergio Leone transposed the screenplay of Yojimbo to the Spanish desert, and he brought along a young television actor named Clint Eastwood, and together they revolutionised the western with Fistful of Dollars, and created an entire genre – the Spaghetti Western. It wasn’t much of a stretch to replace the Japanese actors with Americans and Italians and swap out the katanas for pistols. It’s still the same dusty town, the same shoot outs on the desolate streets. Whether it’s cowboys or samurai’s, it all adds up to one excellent cinematic experience.

There are enough cultural differences to distinguish both of them and to make them both enjoyable. For one thing, in Yojimbo guns are scarcer than in Fistful, and there's a treatment Kurosawa has with his actors that sets it apart from the small town western scope of Leone's weapons and actors.

Yojimbo is a wonderfully tight-scripted film that uses its action with just the right touches of voracity and excitement, and in the backdrop is also a sense of humour to the process. It carries wonderful images, and skilful direction that keeps the pace of the storytelling tight and tells most of the story through images – this is the kind of film that is so good it can be watched a silent film without losing too much of its impact or meaning.

But I think it would be hard to argue that Fistful is not the more stylish of the film. From Eastwood's poncho and hat, to the final scene, to the iconic music. It sported among its attributes a gritty, desolate landscape, and a cynical, postmodern lack-of-values ideology (traditional American westerns had quite plush landscapes and were always black and white (good and evil) in their value system. Fistful made a star of Eastwood Leone and rightly so. The film captured an audience and a generation. The music is still hummed to this day.

In other words, it's kind of like comparing apples and oranges picked in the same farm. They both taste good, but they have two very distinct different tastes. Everyone is going to have their favourite, but to dismiss Fistful because it is a 'copy' would be dismissing one of the greats of American Cinema and Yojimbo is one of the greatest films of all time, so why can't we have both?

Friday, 25 July 2014

Kill Your Darlings Review

It's no surprise that some of the most effective works of the Beat generation were born in the scuzzy halls of jazz bars; soaked with whiskey induced grammar, intoxicated with muddled philosophies, their pages bathed in the permanent smell of tobacco. Much like the work of Lewis Carroll (and later on: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Lennon and McCartney), drugs, alcohol, and culture were catalysts towards the ideology of destroying the old and building the new. The movement itself was a rousing feat with great cultural ramifications. The film itself is a work that sometimes trades in the grainy for flashy; rupturing not only the pattern that the authors were trying to break, but the whole tone of the film as well.

On paper it sounds fantastic. Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, Ben Foster and Jack Huston is a talented, young cast that are well known from big franchises. Unfortunately for audiences, the subject matter submits to a truly unauthentic, lack lustre festival formula and abandons creativeness and a unique vision for a familiar narrative that disregards great historical figures, making them caricatures within a lame murder/mystery genre film.

Daniel Radcliffe plays Allen Ginsberg, one of the most famous and recognizable poets in the American culture. Radcliffe continues to shed his 'Hogwarts alumni' image by taking risky, unconventional and edgy roles that all share in their seemingly controversial nature. Upon his acceptance and arrival into Columbia University, Ginsberg is in search of something offbeat. Ironically enough, Ginsberg is lured into the residency of Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan), an intoxicated sociopath with an obsession for self-destruction, always curious for the taste of the complicated and unexplainable.

Together, Carr and Ginsberg start a small revolution in their heads, but without so many words. With the help of an unlimited supply of cannabis and some Johnny Walker, the two eventually enlist of the help of William Burroughs (Ben Foster) and a young Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) and begin their uprising. Through constant disruptions by the reputation and prestige Columbia University holds so true and dear to its heart, the constantly stoned literary bandits are engulfed into a world of lovers, obsession and murder, intent on revolutionizing literature.

Kill Your Darlings starts bold and overwhelming, demanding utmost attention. Unfortunately, once attention is given, the film cannot hold its grip and deliver a rousing, culturally relevant story about some of the most influential figures in contemporary literature in the last century. Blending the lines of drug induced fantasy and reality, Kill Your Darlings is a story of breaking the formulaic path, distrusting all conventional and predictable beats of rhyme and meter, but sadly becomes a textbook festival entry with a forgettable conclusion.

The term to 'kill your darlings' is one that suggests destroying all the conventions and comforts of the mundane, reinventing yourself, and throwing inhibition to the wind and finding creativity will inspire instances of utter uniqueness. Kill Your Darlings, although sometimes confident, is an obsessive and complicated re-telling of enigmatic characters placed in a deceitful and over-dramatized tragedy of murder. With the rich historical and cultural imprint of these feisty literary pioneers, so much of the busy murder antics is clearly overshadowing the brilliant opportunity to showcase the likes of Carr, Ginsberg, Burroughs and Kerouac.

Mixing the potential monologue moments of Weir's 1989 Dead Poets Society with the tone and ambiance of Salle's 2004 masterpiece The Motorcycle Diaries, Kill Your Darlings becomes a self- inflicted suicide of a film with a tantalizing and promising narrative. Don't get me wrong, the performances are top notch; DeHaan is magnificent as Carr and Radcliffe is radiant as Ginsberg. However, while most of the top-billed cast is ravishing, and supporting cast is spot on, the film feels drowned in the water with average narrative clichés weighing it down.

While the antics of the underbelly of the New York Greenwich Village scene have been explored, battered, bruised and forever changed by the provocative and decadent Beat Movement, Kill Your Darlings remains a tame snippet of the life of these amazing authors and thinkers. Destined to be an example of a complicated festival biography attempt, the film will positively spark deep discussion. Kill Your Darlings repeats the initial reaction to Carr's response to Ginsberg's complicated life, "Perfect. I love complicated." Hopefully next time, an autobiographical cinematic take on the origins of the Beat Generation will be less gimmicky and more focused on the howling affect these fascinating individuals had on the world of literature, art, and our contemporary culture as a whole.

Monday, 14 July 2014

#MTOS Questions For July 20th: John Hughes

What is #MTOS?

Movie Talk On Sunday is an initiative to get the Twitter Film Community together at one time and one day each week to discuss various film related topics. The aim of the whole exercise, besides having fun, is to find new individuals who share the same passion for films as you do and also in the process find out about the different aspects of films. You can count on finding out about new movies, interesting trivia, and who knows even gossip. 

How does it work?

It really is simple. There are 10 questions. We will throw out 1 question relating to the week's topic every 10 minutes starting at 20:00 UK Time every Sunday evening. All the questions and subsequent answers/discussions, by you, should simply be followed by the hash-tag #MTOS. In your Twitter "search" you can type in #MTOS and follow what everyone is saying and henceforth answer back and take part. If you "like" someone's answer simply Re-Tweet it like you would normally on Twitter.

In order to make #MTOS more interactive we have started asking everyone to post their blog links related to the topic of the week throughout the week with the hashtag  (#MTOS) so that everyone can simple search #MTOS at any time and read interesting write-ups before the actual event that Sunday.

#MTOS is all about you. We will try and make the questions open ended with multiple answers. Let the discussions go off in a tangent if you find someone who agrees/disagrees with what you think. Just remember to #MTOS everything so someone neither one of you follow can also join in.

Important : Please, please, please avoid profanity and behave in a civilized manner.

On to the questions... 

John Hughes 

1) To start things off, what's your favourite John Hughes film and why?

2) John Hughes is heralded as the king of coming of age films, do you agree? Is there anyone better? If so, who?

3) John Hughes is known for creating the 'Brat Pack', would his films have been as successful as they were without said actors?

4) As a writer and director, John Hughes showed a lot of strengths, which do you think his strongest quality was?

5) Do you think Hughes' films are timeless, or do you think they just resonated with a certain generation of teens?

6) Remakes are a cert in Hollywood nowadays which Hughes film is too sacred to remake?

7) Which Hughes character had the biggest impact on you when you were growing up?

8) What is the most underrated John Hughes film? Any that deserve more recognition than they get?

9) And what is the most overrated John Hughes film?

10) What was your first John Hughes experience? How was it?


Thursday, 26 June 2014

Chef Review

Jon Favreau is the epitome of the hit and miss director. For every Iron Man, there’s an Iron Man 2. For every Elf, there’s a Cowboys and Aliens. He’s a cracking writer, director and actor that’s exploding with talent and imagination but sometimes they land and sometimes they don’t. This brings Chef, which is being regarded as his pet project. After a decade of big budget, heavy-on-special-effects, blockbusters and fantasy fair, it is as charming as they come. Favreau delivers a wonderfully funny film about father and son bonding, talent and passion that has heart in abundance.

Favreau directs and stars as Carl Casper, a celebrated chef at a swanky Los Angeles restaurant, whose creativity and integrity is compromised by the restaurant's controlling owner. After a video of him losing his temper at a food critic goes viral he becomes not only unemployed, but unemployable. With his reputation in shreds, he decides to get back in touch with his roots by opening a food truck and taking it – along with line cook and son - on the road, rediscovering his passion along the way.

The use of technology is the most I've seen in any contemporary movie, and though a lesser director might have thought to temper it down a little, Favreau actually ups the tempo with it, completely embracing it. Much like Frank, it uses Twitter very cleverly – and is basically a love letter to the positivity and social media, which is refreshing to watch. 

There's commentary on social media in the form of both mockery and flattery, at once teasing the technology and touting its effectiveness. Older, disinterested Carl can't quite comprehend the details of Twitter, while his young boy doesn't understand the emotional complexities of divorce. The food critic's name is too obviously a reference to Gordon Ramsey, whose show Kitchen Nightmares famously introduced the world to an unavoidably comparable Twitter meltdown and self-imposed character assassination in the Amy's Baking Company episode. And the conclusion feels like a live-action take on Ratatouille. 

The extreme lack of cinematic friction results in the plot languishing in easy going meandering; creating a pleasant, breezy, feel-good flick that has no poignancy or pathos. The father and son aspect, although a tad cliché at times, works very well. Favreau and young actor, Emjay Anthony, have great chemistry and it’s surprisingly heartfelt between them. It’s believable – and Anthony outshines Favreau in pretty much every scene they’re in together. He’s definitely one to watch. The film excels in finding the right beat and tempo; it shines brighter than ever before. This can be attributed in part to the charming cast and the witty script; which is a terrific treat on its own terms.

The cast manages to make it work, and this is what the film relies so heavily on that it is a godsend that
Favreau doesn't let it go stale. There are problems, of course. The sudden disappearance of Scarlett Johansson from the narrative is another mystery that remains unsolved. In the opening portion of the film, Johansson's Molly works as a hostess at the restaurant and there is clearly a mutual attraction between her and Carl. In fact, a scene in which Molly lounges seductively while Carl prepares a meal is sexier than most love scenes, yet once Carl leaves for Miami, Molly is neither seen nor heard from again. A cynic might suggest that Johansson's inclusion, along with a somewhat strange cameo from Robert Downey Jnr as another of Inez's ex-husbands, is simply Favreau calling upon his Iron Man co-stars in an attempt to secure maximum leverage for his film with multiplex audiences. And sometimes it is hindered by its abidance to cliché’s is frustrating too. The ending in particular, was very annoying. 

There's a whiff of the self-indulgent to Favreau's passion project, which winds up clocking in at just under two hours long. But it proves easy to forgive Favreau his indulgences when the resulting film is, for the most part, so sunny and full of good will. Ultimately, Chef serves up its plot - simultaneously sweet and tart - with a generous helping of memorable characters and gentle comedy. It's a great reminder of what Favreau can do with perfectly ordinary people, trying to figure out how to get by in their perfectly ordinary world.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Bring Back OUR Film Studies

When I was choosing my options for college I knew that I wanted to be a journalist. I didn't know what field, and I didn't even know if I was good enough to do it, but that's what I wanted to do. I had chosen two subjects at that time: Media Studies and English Language. Hey, what better subjects to choose then those two in this day and age of journalism? However, I was stuck for a third choice. I didn't want anything too academic because I had never really thrived in academia, but I wanted something that would look good on my CV. In the end, I went out on a whim and decided to shoot for Film Studies, a course that I didn't really know much about, but I had always liked films and I had always liked giving my opinions. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Recently, it was announced that Film Studies was going to be cut from the A-Level syllabus, and, frankly, that doesn't sit well with me. For the life of me I can't work out what makes Film Studies different to any other subject, especially 'academic' subjects like English Language. The concept is exactly the same. You have to analyse something and write about it in depth with intelligence and structure to achieve marks. In the case of Film Studies it's films and in the case of English it's a text of some sort or a novel. Cutting Film Studies is exactly the same as cutting a subject like English, but that would never happen because it's a 'pure' subject. Well, maybe the people deciding (who have never sat in a Film Studies class may I add), should see what potential it has as a subject and how far it can take you in life.

I've found that Film Studies has actually helped me achieve in English Language. It taught me more about essay writing than English Language ever did and it gave me an opportunity to hone my writing skills on a subject that I have a deep passion about. It was Film Studies that made me discover my love for films. Films of all languages, directors and cultures; black and white and colour. I got to study films like La Haine and City of God, to mainstream American cinema such as Fargo and Chinatown.

It's perceived as an 'easy' subject, but that can't be any further than the truth. Yes, anyone can watch a film, but can anyone truly understand, analyse and argue a film? If that were the case would the original Godzilla not be banned for being propaganda? What about Battleship Potempkin or the films of Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel? Film making isn't just an entertainment tool, it's the way to tell stories that need to be told. It's one of the most important tools in politics and if people aren't being taught how to make that kind of film or realise that kind of film then it is very disappointing, indeed.

It helped me see film for what it really was, an art. How is it any different to an 'arty' subject like Fine Art or Photography? The real answer is that it's not. If it were not for Film Studies I wouldn't be pushing to get into the film journalism industry. I'm now going onto university to study Film Studies and am writing for various film websites. This is because I was surrounded by people passionate about film and people I could have an intelligent discussion with for two years. Students that had different opinions to me, students that were just as intelligent and creative as you'd find in any other class at college. If anything, this is going to have a negative effect on the industry.

And it's not just the theoretical side of it that will be missed, it's the practical side too. I was given the chance to write screenplays and have feedback given to me from screenwriters. Where else are people going to find that for free? We were given the opportunity to use equipment that is far beyond the budgets of students. Without the experience of crafting a screenplay, or making a film, who's to say that this won't have a negative effect on the industry? Maybe they'll be less people striving to make it because they don't know how to, or because they haven't had enough experience.

Film Studies teaches kids to critically analyse imagery, editing and cinematography just like a child would analyse metaphors, similes and alliteration in a novel. And at a time when there's more imagery, more media, than ever before, the thing that'll equip kids to understand is gone. To take away our film studies, it to dismiss it as an art, an industry and as a legitimate profession to be apart of it – and that's just not right.

And all because the people on their high horses don't understand it. It's a darn shame.