Acclaimed director Denis Villeneuve teams up once more with Jake Gyllenhaal in the truly superlative mystery/thriller Enemy.
‘Birdman’ is a beautifully constructed film centering on the life of Riggan (Michael Keaton), a washed up old actor desperate to reclaim the fame and recognition of his glory years. Set almost entirely in the theater where Riggan is holding his adaptation of Raymond Carver’s play (a transparent stab at critical acclaim), ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Love’, the film explores the various virtues and flaws of the human spirit, and the differing methods individuals seek out to cope with their suffering. MIGHT CONTAIN SPOILERS.
Predominantly the purpose of a documentary is to influence or persuade and having seen “The Act of Killing”, I now feel privileged through circumstance not to have been born into the corrupt mess that is Indonesia. This exquisite and intelligent portrayal of “robbers with ties” institution: the ‘Pancasila Youth’ army was the only true shock at this year’s Oscars, implausibly beaten by “20 Feet from Stardom”.
British realist director Mike Leigh’s 2004 drama ‘Vera Drake’ focuses on the story of its title character (Imelda Staunton), a working class woman performing backstreet abortions in postwar London. Following the pseudo-documentary works of British New Wave filmmakers Ken Loach or Lindsay Anderson, Leigh delivers a social drama offering an insight on the medical, financial and domestic circumstances of working class families in 1950s England, using objective camerawork and a screenplay based on unscripted actor improvisation in order to create a film that is able to present a fragment of reality.
On the surface Zachary Heinzerling’s documentary follows the lives of a Japanese couple settled in New York but a study of a relationship based on artistic passion and talent is also present.
Winning the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, ‘20 Feet From Stardom‘ explores the first-hand accounts and experiences of several backing singers who have worked with the biggest names of the music industry – Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen and David Bowie to name a few. Meanwhile, revealing details from recording sessions with prominent musicians and producers to the lifestyle that revolves around being a ‘background singer’ exposing the treatment and attitude towards background singers. This engaging feature offers a perspective into the lives of the people you hear on the biggest songs of the music industry but don’t recognise.
Japanese animation’s mercurial magician is without question my cinematic idol. The magnitude of his success is most recently recognised by fellow cartoon titan “The Simpsons”; paying homage to his greatest characters through the guise of Evergreen Terrace. From April, the British Film Institute will launch a ‘Studio Ghibli season’ spanning across two months, recognising the organisation’s glittering back catalogue.