February was a much, much quieter film watching month for me. I think I only got to the cinema twice throughout the whole month actually. This is also one of those lame months (possibly only the second ever) where there was nothing I didn’t consider ‘not worth watching. So no rants here unfortunately. But it does mean you get a second highly recommended flick.
- An Original Duckumentary (2012), Ann Johnson Prum – This doco on ducks, awesomely narrated by Paul Giamatti, just popped up on my TV randomly. More than just a killer name, this was incredibly informative too and the variety of ducks and the adaptations they have made to survive was all really new information to me. Definitely recommended for any big animal/nature lovers out there.
- Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), Joel & Ethan Coen – I have not always been the biggest fan of the Coens’ films, but this one connected with me. I have been a big fan of Oscar Isaac since Balibo (2009) and he is great here. The amazing Casey Mulligan is even better. This is both a very specific film – a portrait of the Dylan era Gaslight folk scene; and a universal one – we all have to find our way and grapple with our true calling. Hopefully to a soundtrack as good as this too.
- Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013), Justin Chadwick – I think this film has been a touch unfairly maligned. It is very hard to reduce any life to 140 minutes, let along that of one of the greatest transformative figures of the 20th Century, but they do a good job. Perhaps it’s my ignorance, but I for one learned things from this film. Surprisingly, I also didn’t feel like the film deified Mandela. At times he looks weak or even selfish. Yeah it is sometimes a bit biopic by the numbers. But when the numbers belong to Mandela and they are brought to life through wonderful performances by Naomi Harris and especially Idris Elba, that ain’t so bad.
- Twister (1996), Jan de Bont – I watched this following the passing of Phillip Seymour Hoffman and I am really glad I did. It still holds up as a blockbuster action pic. The effects are incredible for its time (actually still incredible by today’s standards). In addition to Hoffman, Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt lead a great ensemble. It is so nice to see Hoffman in such a joy-filled performance. “Loser! Move on” may be the greatest line of his career.
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Mike Newell – The quidditch World Cup gives this a cool, lighter start than the norm. The effects, which are put to world-building use, are very good. In fact all the sets are perfect, as is the inclusion of the mighty Brendan Gleeson. His character is wonderfully unhinged. There is some unnecessarily forced tension between Ron and Harry which is an annoyance which reflects a story that is perhaps not as focused and direct as it could be. But the script is good at tinging the film with humour and capturing teen angst in a fantastical setting nicely. Another good entry into the series.
- 1 (2013), Paul Crowder – Way to make your film nice and easy to google. I have never been all that invested in F1, but even I found this doco worthwhile. The footage chosen conveys the speed and intensity of the pursuit. The film examines the place and acceptability of death in the sport. There is a focus on safety and life and death aspects of the sport rather than it being a comprehensive historical document. Some of the fatal crashes that you are bombarded with are exceptionally confronting. And the strong involvement of Bernie Ecclestone and friends does make the objectivity of the film rather questionable. Despite all that, still a more than sharp enough doco experience.
If you only have time to watch one Inside Llewyn Davis
If you only have time to watch two Twister