13th Nov2017

The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Film)

by timbaros


It’s a dark, disturbing and dysfunctional world that Dr. Murphy lives in in the new film ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer.’

Dr. Steven Murphy, played by Colin Farrell, is a surgeon in a nameless U.S. city. He’s got, at least it seems, a picture perfect life. He’s married to the beautiful Anna (Nicole Kidman), who plays dead to satisfy his sexual desires, and two amazing children – teenage Kim (Raffey Cassidy) and younger son Bob (Sunny Suljic). But one day a young man by the name of Martin (played to perfection by Barry Keoghan) starts showing up at Steven’s hospital. Martin takes an interest in his work, but then starts showing up even when Steven isn’t there. One day Steven invites Martin over to his home for dinner, where Kim is immediately smitten with him and Bob wants to be his best friend. Barry is that easy to get along with, very friendly, wouldn’t hurt a fly, or so it seems. But Barry has other intentions, not good ones, that will grossly effect Steven’s family. It turns out that Barry’s father died on the operating table at the hands of Dr. Murphy, so he wants to get revenge. He does something to Kim and Bob to make them deathly sick (frustratingly it’s not clear exactly what he does to them), but Bob and Kim wind up in the same room at Steven’s hospital, and test after test after test doesn’t reveal the true cause of their illness. Dr. Murphy starts getting desperate and kidnaps Barry to try to get him to confess to what he did, but it might be too late as Steven’s perfect family and his good reputation as an excellent doctor could all come crashing down, not to mention he could potentially lose his children.

’The Killing of a Sacred Deer’ is all very dark and disturbing and moves at a snails pace along with the tension and drama, all to amazing dramatic effect. Directed by Yorges Lanthimos, who brought us the dark ’The Lobster,’ is able to keep the viewer on the edge of their seat as the tension keeps getting ramped up higher and higher. Farrell is at the top of his game here as the tormented father who can only stand back and watch his two children slowly get sicker and sicker. Kidman is good as the mother who is helpless, but Keoghan tops them both as a sinister kid with only one thing on his mind – revenge. ’The Killing of a Sacred Deer’ is a must see.

25th Feb2017

Academy Award Predictions (Film)

by timbaros

464191912_oscar-academy-awards-zoom-bb836c56-be14-43f3-9559-a4bd8253d5b7It’s been a great year for movies, and it all culminates on Sunday night with the award show to end all award shows – the Academy Awards. Herewith are my annual predictions as to what should win, and more importantly, what will win:

Best Picture:
The Academy saw it fit to nominate 9 films in this category (why not round it to 10? Perhaps Jackie or The Lobster?).
Almost all the films nominated in this category deserve to be here, with the exception of Arrival – it just wasn’t that good!
Should win: Moonlight – a beautifully told film about a young black man growing up gay in Miami. It could slip through and win on the heals of it’s rave reveiws and the ‘Oscars so White’ campaign of last year, but ‘La La Land’ is still the odds-on favorite to win.
Will win: La La Land. Hollywood loves films about itself (remember the all-star movie ‘Crash’ which shockingly won ten years ago over Brokeback Mountain?) La La Land has picked up the BAFTA and the Golden Globe awards – and it’s on track to win this category – even though it is not an excellent film.
Other nominees: Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, Lion and Manchester by the Sea

Best Actor:
There is no contest in this category. Casey Affleck will deservedly win for his performance as a man struck by tragedy and who who has to raise the teenage son of his dead brother in Manchester by the Sea. None of the other acting nominees stand a chance as Affleck has won every award for this performance. He’s a much better actor than his brother, Ben.
Should and will win: Affleck
Other nominees: Andrew Garfield for Hacksaw Ridge, Ryan Gosling for La La Land, Viggo Mortensen for Captain Fantastic and Denzel Washington for Fences.

Best Actress:
This category is hard to call. It’s a three-way race, and it’s anyone’s guess as to whose name will appear on the envelope. Emma Stone has won the BAFTA and Golden Globe (Comedy or Musical) for La La Land, however, Isabelle Huppert also won a Golden Globe (Drama) and is the sentimental favorite for her performance in Elle where she plays a woman who tracks down the man who raped her. A few months ago this award would’ve gone to Natalie Portman for her stunning performance in Jackie, however, the film was not great and it failed to get Best Picture, director or writing nominations. I’m not too sure why Meryl Streep in Florence Foster Jenikins was included, her performance was OK but Viola Davis for Fences really does belong in this category and not Supporting Actress.
Should win: Huppert – she is one of the France’s most iconic actress of all time and she’s been ignored by the Academy until now. She’s been nominated for the César Award (French Oscars) 16 times.
Will win: Stone. She will piggy-back on La La Land’s momentum on the night and win in this category.
Other nominee: Ruth Negga for Loving.

Best Supporting Actor: This is a category where any one of the actors nominated deserves to win. Dev Patel just won the BAFTA for Lion, while Mahershala Ali is gaining momentum for his portrayal of a drug dealer who befriends a young black child in Moonlight, and Jeff Bridges’ rancher in Hell or High Water has won several film critics awards. Michael Shannon was the second best thing in Nocturnal Animals – however, it was Aaron Taylor Johnson who had the meatiest role – he should’ve also been nominated in this category (he won the Golden Globe) but wasn’t.
Should win: Mahershalla Ali’s performance was exquisite.
Will win: Ali.
Other nominee is Lucas Hedges for Manchester by the Sea

Supporting Actress: This is the easiest category to call. Viola Davis has it all sewn up for her role in Fences where she plays Denzel Washington’s suffering wife. It’s a role thats leading and not supporting, but she’s in this category and will win. The other women don’t even stand a chance.
Should and will win: Davis
Other nominees: Naomie Harris for Moonlight, Nicole Kidman for Lion, Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures, and Michelle Williams for Manchester by the Sea.

Best Director: Damien Chazelle will win for La La Land as it’s the film to beat, an award he’s getting for his celebration of Los Angeles/Hollywood in his film. He’s won almost every other directing award this year, including the all-important Directors Guild of America Award which guarantees him a win in this category.
Should win: Barry Jenkins for Moonlight. It’s a film that’s different in so many ways – it’s about struggle, race, discrimination, acceptance, homophobia – themes that are so relevant in today’s crazy political environment, and Jenkins captures it beautifully.
Will win: Chazelle
Other nominees: Denis Villeneuve for Arrival, Mel Gibson for Hacksaw Ridge and Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay): Moonlight will and should win this award for the reasons mentioned above. Jenkins, with the story by Tarell Alvin McCraney, is the standout in this category. Other nominees: include Arrival, Fences, Hidden Figures and Lion.

Writing (Original Screenplay): Chazelle will take the statuette in this category for a film that is as original as they come.
Should win: Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea because it’s a pull at your heartstrings kind of film that’s packs a strong punch.
Will win: Chazelle
Other nominees include Hell or High Water, The Lobster and 20th Century Women.

Best Animated Feature Film: Zootopia should and will win this award. It’s Disney and they’ve got a good track record in this category. Other nominees include Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana, My Life as a Zucchini and The Red Turtle.
The 89th Annual Academy Awards will be shown live on television here in the UK on Sunday night/Monday morning on Sky Cinena (channel 304) at 1:30 a.m. For those of you who are unable to stay up all night to watch the show, an Oscar highlights show will air on Monday night at 10:00 p.m. on Sky Living (221).

28th Jan2017

Oscar Nominations announced (Film)

by timbaros


Damien Chazelle’s vibrant musical La La Land has been nominated for a whopping 14 Academy Award nominations – the joint record for any film in history. This include nominations for best picture, best director, best actor for Ryan Gosling and best actress for Emma Stone.

Barry Jenkins’ coming-of-age drama Moonlight and Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi Arrival follow on eight nominations each.

Here is a complete list of the nominations:

Here are the nominations in full.

Best Picture

Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
Best Actress

Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Ruth Negga, Loving
Natalie Portman, Jackie
Emma Stone, La La Land
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Best Supporting Actress

Viola Davis, Fences
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Best Actor

Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington, Fences

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Dev Patel, Lion
Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Best Director

Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Best Adapted Screenplay

Hidden Figures

Best Original Screenplay

Hell or High Water
La La Land
The Lobster
Manchester by the Sea
20th Century Women
Best Animated Feature

Kubo and the Two Strings
My Life as a Zucchini
The Red Turtle

Best Film Editing

Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
La La Land

Best Documentary Feature

Fire at Sea
I Am Not Your Negro
Life, Animated
O.J.: Made in America

Best Foreign Language Film

Land of Mine
A Man Called Ove
The Salesman
Toni Erdmann
Best Original Score

La La Land

Best Original Song

“Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” La La Land
“Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Trolls
“City of Stars,” La La LAnd
“The Empty Chair,” Jim: The James Foley Story
“How Far I’ll Go,” Moana

Best Cinematography

La La Land

Best Production Design

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Hail, Caesar!
La La Land
Best Makeup and Hairstyling

A Man Called Ove
Star Trek Beyond
Suicide Squad

Best Costume Design

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Florence Foster Jenkins
La La Land

Best Visual Effects

Deepwater Horizon
Doctor Strange
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Best Sound Editing

Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land

Best Sound Mixing

Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Best Documentary Short

4.1 Miles
Joe’s Violin
Watani: My Homeland
The White Helmets

Best Live Action Short

Ennemis Intérieurs
La Femme et le TGV
Silent Nights

Best Animated Short

Blind Vaysha
Borrowed Time
Pear Cider and Cigarettes


22nd Jan2017

Lion (Film)

by timbaros
Sunny Pawar stars in LION Photo: Mark Rogers

Sunny Pawar stars in LION
Photo: Mark Rogers

A young man attempts to trace his roots in the moving and excellent film ‘Lion.’

Dev Patel is Saroo Brierley. He’s adopted by Australian couple John and Sue Brierley (David Wenham and Nicole Kidman) and vaguely aware that he had a life in India when he was a very young boy – it’s all just a very distant memory. Now in his 20’s, and in college, him and his friends (including girlfriend Lucy – Rooney Mara) have a discussion about their origins, and Saroo tells his classmates that he was adopted and born in India, and probably still has family there, but he hasn’t been there since when he was a little boy. This puts a spark in his head to try to found out where in India he comes from. There are still a few very vague images in his mind he can recall from his childhood, and especially from when he got separated from his brother (a water tower, a train station). Saroo sets about determined to discover where he’s from and starts to map out India until he can pinpoint an area where he believes he came from.

But this is the not the entire movie. The first half of the film has Saroo as a little boy (played amazingly by Sunny Pawar), who along with his brother Guddu (Abshishek Bharate), are lost, so Guddu goes in search of help, and leaves Saroo on a train platform. Saroo falls asleep, then wakes up a bit disoriented, and calls out for Guddu, but he’s nowhere to be found. Saroo walks around the train station calling out for Guddu, but then ends up falling asleep on a train that accidentally takes him 1,000 miles away to Calcutta, taking him far away from home, far away from Guddu, and far away from his life.

‘Lion,’ as mentioned above, is a film with two halves; Saroo as a child and Saroo as a young man. And the first half of the film is simply amazing. It’s all down to Pawar, who as the young Saroo, after losing his big brother Guddu, is lost and confused and scared and aimlessly wandering around looking for food and trying to survive. He knows no one, is totally lost and alone, and is very very frightened. Eventually he is taken in by an orphanage which is where the Brierley’s adopt him and take him to their home in Australia, which is when the second half of the film begins.

Pawar deserves a Supporting Actor nomination or a special child Oscar for his sensitive and heartbreaking portrayal of Saroo (Jacob Tremblay in last year’s award-winning ‘Room’ didn’t receive either but deserved one). Pawar is excellent. Patel is very good as the grown-up Saroo who is determined to find out where he comes from. Patel here proves that he was not just a one-hit wonder in the Oscar-winning ‘Slumdog Millionaire.’ Kidman is fine as his adoptive mother, but it’s hard not to look at her on screen and think you’re seeing Nicole Kidman and not the character she is playing. The screenplay, adapted from the book ‘A Long Way Home, ’written by Saroo Brierley, and adapted by Luke Davies, tells the story in a way that will tug at your hearts more than any other film this year. Director Garth Davis (who has done mostly television shows) directs with such a fine balance of drama and emotion that it’s a perfect film which tells a true story that truly deserved to be told. It’s the best film of the year.

06th Oct2016

BFI London Film Festival has started (Film)

by timbaros

bfi-london-film-festival-2016This year’s BFI London Film Festival looks to be one of the best in recent memory. The schedule is loaded with lots of must-see films by A-list filmmakers and A-list stars.

Here’s just a small selection of what’s on offer:

20151102-_auk0605_h_color-1mgThe Opening Night Gala on Wednesday October 5th is ‘A United Kingdom.’ David Oyelowo plays Sir Seretse Kharma, an African president who marries a white English woman – it’s a postwar relationship that shocked two continents. Rosamund Pike plays the English woman; the film is directed by Amma Asante (‘Belle’).

‘King Cobra’ is definitely one of the most scandalous films shown at the festival. A young man travels to Los Angeles at the urging of a sleazy gay porn producer (Christian Slater) to be his next star. A parallel story has James Franco as another gay porn producer who is in a relationship with his young male star. There’s lots of skin in this film which is based on the real life story of former gay porn star Brent Corrigan.

A film getting lots of excellent buzz is ‘Moonlight.’ It takes place in Miami in the 1980’s and focuses on one man’s journey through three stages of his life. He’s black and gay, and we witness key moments that made him the man he is. Compelling, with excellent performances all around. Naomie Harris plays his crack-addicted mother.

‘The 13th’ is a documentary that uses archival footage and contemporary interviews to discuss what the American constitution’s 13th amendment means to people of color in this day and age of Black Lives Matter.

la_la_land_dancingExpect ‘La La Land’ to garner lots of acclaim during next year’s awards season. It’s Director Damien Chazelle’s (‘Whiplash’) bitter-sweet love letter to Los Angeles and the golden era of Hollywood musicals, bringing together an aspiring actress (Emma Stone) and a struggling musician (Ryan Gosling).

‘Manchester by the Sea’ has Casey Affleck giving an indelible performance as Lee, a man whose sparse existence is suddenly ruptured when the death of his brother Joe forces him to return to the hometown he abandoned years ago. Also stars Michelle Williams.

Lupita Nyong'o and Madina Nalwanga star in the triumphant true story QUEEN OF KATWE, directed by Mira Nair.

Lupita Nyong’o and Madina Nalwanga star in the triumphant true story QUEEN OF KATWE, directed by Mira Nair.

‘The Queen of Katwe’ is based on the true story of young Ugandan chess champion Phiona Mutesi. Despite being unable to read or write, she has a natural aptitude for strategic thinking. Starring Lupita Nyong’o and introducing Madina Nalwanga as Mutesi.

Science fiction film ‘Arrival’ has Amy Adams, alongside scientist Jeremy Renner, as a linguistics professor who is brought into the government to decipher the language when a group of extra-terrestrials make contact. Directed by Denis Villeneuve (Sicario).

‘London Town’ is set in 1979 when a bright-eyed teenager attempts to juggle too many responsibilities and falls for a confident punk and together they experience the music scene that’s a whole new world to them.

Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) plays a man who was orphaned in India and brought up by adoptive parents in Australia in ‘Lion.’ He soon discovers the truth about his origins. It’s a real-life story on the life of Saroo Brierly; Nicole Kidman plays his adoptive mother and Rooney Mara plays his girlfriend.

What would happen if a famous and well-known footballer was gay? Well, in ‘The Pass,’ two aspiring Premier League footballers (Russell Tovey and Arinzé Kene) share a passionate night while sharing a hotel room right before a big game, a night which profoundly impacts Tovey’s characters life. Hard-hitting stuff with great performances.

Wonderkind director Xavier Dolan (Lawrence Anyways) presents his latest film ‘It’s Only the End of the World.’ A terminally ill writer returns home to break the news of his debilitating condition to his estranged family. It’s lots of sadness and sorrow – typical of a Dolan movie. With Marion Cottilard.

50805_AA_4609_v2F Academy Award nominee Amy Adams stars as Susan Morrow in writer/director Tom Ford’s romantic thriller NOCTURNAL ANIMALS, a Universal Pictures International release. Credit: Merrick Morton/Universal Pictures International

Tom Ford presents his second film (the first was the well-received ‘A Single Man’) with ‘Nocturnal Animals.’ One of the festivals must-see films, the film focuses on Susan (Amy Adams), a glamorous and accomplished Los Angeles gallery director whose current marriage appears to be unravelling, and who fuels her insomnia by reading the manuscript of a disturbing novel – written and sent to her by her ex-husband (Jake Gyllenhaal). Expect lots of lush scenery and fabulous costumes. With Aaron Taylor-Johnson.



Oliver Stone directs and Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in ‘Snowden,’ a supercharged political thriller about Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who leaked classified information from the United States National Security Agency in 2013. This film is a dramatic recreation of ‘Citizen Four’ – the documentary about reporter Laura Poitras (played by Melissa Leo) and journalist Glenn Greenwald (Zachary Pinto) and their many meetings with Snowden.

The Closing Night gala, on Sunday October 16th, is Ben Wheatley’s ‘Free Fire’ (he directed last year’s poorly received ‘High Rise’). It’s the tale of gangsters and guns set in Boston in the 1970’s. A top level cast includes Cillian Murphy and recent Best Actress Oscar winner Brie Larson.

The 60th BFI London Film Festival will screen a total of 193 fiction and 52 documentary features, including 18 World Premieres, 8 International Premieres, and 39 European Premieres. There will also be screenings of 144 short films, including documentary, live action and animated works.

Taking place over 12 days, the Festival’s screenings are at venues across the capital, from the West End cinemas – Vue West End and the iconic Odeon Leicester Square; central London venues – BFI Southbank, BFI IMAX, Picturehouse Central, the ICA, Curzon Mayfair, Curzon Soho, Haymarket, Prince Charles Cinema and Ciné Lumière; and local cinemas – the Ritzy in Brixton, Hackney Picturehouse and Curzon Chelsea. Festival visitors will be able to enjoy a brand new cinema experience with Competition and Strand Galas presented at the new Embankment Garden Cinema, in the beautiful Victoria Embankment Gardens.
Stars so far confirmed to walk on the red carpet include: Oyelowo, Pike, Sigourney Weaver and Liam Neeson (A Monster Calls), Casey Affleck, Adams, Tovey, Nyong’o, Renner, Kidman, Patel, Ford and Taylor-Johnson, and Cotillard.
Festival Information & Ticket Booking:

Telephone Bookings: 020 7928 3232 between 10:00 – 20:30
Online: www.bfi.org.uk/lff

In person: BFI Southbank Office: 11:00 – 20:30


13th Feb2016

Regression (DVD)

by timbaros

A detective investigates the case of a young woman who accuses her father of a crime, a crime where there might be more going on, in the psychological drama ‘Regression.’

Ethan Hawke stars as Detective Bruce Kenner and Emma Watson plays Angela Gray. Gray makes a confession to Reverend Beaumont (Lothaire Bluteau) that her father has abused her. Kenner is brought in to investigate, and once he does it takes him into a world that involves Satanic Ritual Abuse. ‘Regression’ was actually inspired by a wave of events that occurred in the U.S. during the 1980’s; events that involved the occult that destroyed families, caused chaos, and panic, and led to several people being imprisoned.

Set in a small community in the Midwest in the 1990’s, Kenner discovers that Angela’s father (David Dencik) is an alcoholic, that her mother died when she was very young, and that her alcoholic grandmother, whose also an alcoholic and very eccentric, is somehow linked to a local satanic cult. It’s up to Kenner to investigate Angela’s accusations while piecing together her troubled family background and at the same time dealing with his own nightmares and demons.

‘Regression’ literally mean going back, and that’s what Kenner attempts to do with Angela’s past. ‘Regression’ is structured like a crime story where there is no proof of the crime that was committed, unfortunately it also has a plot that doesn’t make much sense and some scenes that are laughable when not intended to be, and a couple characters who don’t fit into the story. The cast is a strong one; Hawke coming off the highly successful ‘Boyhood’ while Watson is one of the hottest young actresses around, but between them they can’t save this film.

Director and writer Alejandro Amenabar, who gave us the bone-chilling 2001 film ‘The Others’ with Nicole Kidman, doesn’t quite make us believe the events being told in this movie, and has a long way to go before he can top ‘The Others.’

New From: £16.70 GBP In Stock
Used from: £29.50 GBP In Stock

29th Nov2014

Paddington – Film

by timbaros

images-296Paddington Bear is now Paddington the Movie, and it’s very warm and fuzzy.

Paddington the Movie has been a long time coming. It’s the first film incarnation of Britian’s best loved bear, having been in book form since 1958, and it was also a 1975 television series. Paddington Bear has always been known as a stuffed animal collected and loved by many generations over the past 60 years. Now the bear film hits the big screen and it’s like Paddington Bear has turned life like!

In the beginning of the film, we see the bear (not named until he gets to London) in his natural habitat, with his family, in the hills of Peru. A terrible earthquake takes place and their habitat is destroyed, along with some of his family members. So his aunt, who is off to the bears retirement home, puts him on a boat bound for London, with bottles of marmalade for food, and in case of an emergency, a sandwich of marmalade under his hat. He’s going to London to look for an explorer who had visited Peru many years ago and told the bears that they would be welcome in London anytime.

The bear makes his way from the ship and into London via in a garbage bag, and finds himself at Paddington Station. He’s jostled and practically stepped on by daily commuters (just like the rest of us are), but he’s eventually picked up by the Brown family, including Mr. Brown (Hugh Bonneville), Mrs. Brown (Sally Hawkins), and their two children Judy (Madeleine Harris) and Jonathan (Samuel Joslin). The don’t know what to call him but in the background there is a sign that reads ‘Paddington’ – so that is what they call him – Paddington. Mr. Brown is very reluctant to take this bear home but Mrs. Brown, and the children, talk him into it to let him stay at their house for just one night. Upon arriving at their three story Notting Hill home where housekeeper Mrs. Bird (Julie Walters) maintains the household, Paddington creates a right mess his first night at the Brown’s house. He’s not sure how to use the sink and eventually floods the bathroom, causing water to cascade down the staircase and into the family’s kitchen. It’s not a good start for Paddington. But Mrs. Brown is on his side and she wants him to find the explorer so she talks Mr. Brown to take him to the Royal Geographical Society to look in their archives for M. Clyde, the famous explorer who many years ago had visited Peru. Told by the front desk that there is no record of him, Mr. Brown dresses as a cleaning woman to infiltrate the research room to get the information. But soon enough him and Paddington are caught and they make a lucky escape. As Mr. Brown and Paddington (and the children) bond, Paddington continues to look for the explorer, and one night when he overhears the Brown’s saying the he is causing too much of a mess in their home, he knocks on every M. Clyde door in town. But he’s not the only one looking, he’s also being chased by Millicent (a very mean Nicole Kidman) – a taxidermist at the Natural History Museum who wants to add him to her collection – stuffed. Will Paddington find the explorer in the hopes he will give him a home? Will he get kidnapped by Millicent and end up on her wall? How can anyone not be charmed and warmed over by his loveable face is beyond me!

Paddington the Movie does not disappoint on all levels. It’s funny, cute, loveable, charming, and a film for all members of the family. It also includes musical interludes from the era when Paddington was ‘born,’ music that is West Indian in flavour. And Ben Whishaw’s voice is perfect as Paddington (not quite grown up yet quite too young). And there are quite a few cameos in the film, including Matt Lucas as a cab driver and Peter Cipaldi as the Brown’s nosey next door neighbor. And even though a couple of the scenes in the film are a bit ridiculous (Bonneville dressed as a woman as mentioned above, and a long street chase where Paddington is returning the wallet of a man who happens to be a pickpocket), overall it’s a great film. But’s it the spirit of Paddington that this film is based on, and Producer David Heyman (Gravity) and Writer and Director Paul King successfully bring Paddington’s spirit to the film, a film to be enjoyed by all ages up to and after Christmas.

07th Sep2014

Before I go to Sleep – Film

by timbaros

before-i-go-to-sleep-picture-kidmanChristine wakes up everyday remembering nothing. She lives with a man who says he’s her husband, but she doesn’t remember him. One day she discovers the shocking truth about him, and the family she used to have, in the new film Before I Go To Sleep.

Nicole Kidman plays Christine. Ten years ago she was involved in an incident and ever since then she’s not been able to remember anything – she’s got amnesia. Everyday she looks at the photographs her husband Ben (Colin Firth) has put on the bathroom wall to help her spark memories of her life before the incident. Ben has even added post-it notes to the wall pointing to him that say ‘this is your husband’, and every morning, and at night when he comes home from his professor job, he tells her ‘I’m your husband.’
Christine uses a videocamera given to her by Dr. Nasch (Mark Strong) where she has recorded a message to herself explaining to herself her identity. Meanwhile, Dr. Nasch calls Christine everyday to remind her to play the videocamera so that she understands who she is and what is happening to her. Everyday his phone call to her is the same ‘Good morning Christine, this is Dr. Nasch. You won’t remember me but I’m helping you in your recovery. Go to your closet and have a look at the videocamera in the bottom drawer and look at the videodiary…. Do this and I will call you back in a few minutes.’
Christine still thinks she’s ten years younger than she actually is, but over the course of the movie she starts to remember bits and pieces of her previous life, with some help from Dr. Nasch. Is he helping her in her recovery or is he playing with her mind? Christine, at some point, remembers that she had a son, and she asks Ben about it. He confirms this but says their son died four years ago. But is he hiding some of the facts from her so as not to hurt her, and perhaps hiding something more? Christine then remembers a friend of hers, Claire (Anne-Marie Duff), who she meets up with and who confesses to Christine that she and Ben had an affair years ago. This revelation confuses Christine even more and it’s at this point that she questions her life and the people around her and who she can and cannot trust. It’s up to Christine, on her own, to figure out what exactly happened to her, and who is the identity of the man she lives with?
Before I Go To Sleep is based on the book of the same name by Steve J. Watson, adapted for the screen and directed by Rowan Joffé. We’re never too sure whether Christine is crazy and doesn’t understand the events around her situation and that she thinks she’s a victim of a conspiracy, or if she’s being exploited by the men around her and needs to figure out a way to escape. And this is the film’s strong point, not knowing what is what and who is who until the end of the film when the incident that caused her to have amnesia is explained. Kidman, who is in every scene of the film, is confused and lost, living in a claustrophobic world, wearing no makeup – with many closeups, she’s playing a character in search of her character. Firth is perfect as Ben, Christine’s husband who made the decision to check her out of the hospital where she was being treated (not in the film) for amnesia and care for her at home. Kidman and Firth both worked together in last year’s The Railway Man, a film that had tepid reviews. They’re better together in this film. Mark Strong is excellent as Dr. Nasch – he’s Christine’s lifeline, and the man who tries to keep her sanity. But at the ending of Before I Go To Sleep it creates a jigsaw puzzle that makes it difficult to understand the men’s motives, especially Ben’s motive, why he did what he did to her, and especially who exactly is Dr. Nasch. So there are more questions than answers when the film is finished. I would recommend reading the book to get a better grasp on the story as the finale of the film will just confuse and frustrate you.


12th Jan2014

The Railway Man – Film

by timbaros

images-63The Railway Man is based on the true story and best-selling memoir by Eric Lomax, a British Army Officer who has a hard time dealing with his war past when he was sent to a Japanese prisoner of war camp in 1942.

Lomax, played by Colin Firth, is a sixty-something man who also happens to be a railroad enthusiast who has collected railway memorabilia all his life. The film begins with Lomax, in Berwick-upon-Tweed, in 1980, doing what he likes to do best since he was a boy, being enthralled by steam trains, and their timetables. On one of the trains, after a connection in Crewe, he sits across from Patti (a beautiful Nicole Kidman), a young recently divorced woman who is on her way up to Scotland. He impresses her with his train knowledge, and they chat then say their goodbyes. He manages to track her down (all too easily) and before you know it they end up getting married (it happens too quickly). After their marriage, Patti notices strange strange behavior from Eric. At times he becomes distant, clams up and wants to be left alone, has nightmares, and has stopped paying the bills, including the rent. Patti tries to get Eric to open up about what is bothering him (post-traumatic stress), but he simply does not (and cannot). Patti goes to speak to one of his friends at the lodge he hangs out in, Finlay (Stellan Skarsgard), who tells him about Eric’s tragic WWII past.
The Railway Man then begins as a new movie, transporting us to 1942 Singapore. Eric, now a young man (played by a very good Jeremy Irvine), is a Signals Engineer with the British arm. Him, along with a few thousand other soldiers, become prisoners of war after the Japanese forces overrun Singapore. We see the Japanese flag go up, and the soldiers get thrown into railway cattle cars to be sent to an unknown location. Once at a prisoner-of-war camp, they are put to work on the notorious Burma Death Railway where men of all ages were forced to break through rock to make the railway, some with their bare hands, at times beaten and starved. Trying desperately to survive, Eric and some of the soldiers attempt to build a radio from various parts collected from within the camp. Unfortunately, they are caught by the Japanese officers and are subjected to beatings, interrogation, and torture. Eric manages to survive all of this, however, the experience leave him physically and emotionally scared for life. Finlay tells Patti that “War leaves a mark.”
Finlay goes on to tell Patti that “You can’t possibly imagine what he’s been through.” She is very inquisitive why there is such a code of silence between these ex-British soldiers, and why they don’t talk about what happened to them in the war.  Finlay gives Patti one final bit of information, he knows where Eric can find the Japanese officer who beat him up all those decades ago. She gives this info to Eric, which sets up an expected, and unrealistic, showdown between the two men, at the exact same location. The tortured is now the torturer.
The Railway Man tries to tell a very moving, beautiful and true story, but it’s attempts to do so fail miserably by director Jonathan Teplitsky. While the relationship between Eric and Patti is a loving one, and the 1942 scenes very realistic in their execution and acting, as a whole The Railway Man is not a great film. Some scenes feel forced, some not natural at all. The filmmakers went to great expense and travel to try to turn Lomax’s book into a film; they went to Edinburgh to visit Eric’s old stomping grounds, they went to his school, his place of work, the bridge where he watched trains go by, they even went to his childhood home, and also to Tokyo to record interviews with Takashi Nagase, the Japanese soldier who tortured Eric during the war. But as a whole, it fails to become the epic film it yearns to be. And unfortunately, Eric Lomax died in 2012, not having been able to see the story of his life on the big screen. He was able to visit the set when they were filming, but perhaps it was best that he didn’t see the movie. Eric had survived the darkest place and lived with it his whole adult life, so why would he want to relive it on the big screen in his old age? The catharsis of this film is that he was able to shake off the bad memories of the war and come to terms with the man who caused him most harm (physical and emotional), and with a great love, who helped him get through life to its natural end.
The Railway Man is a powerful story of love and redemption but will probably get lost with the rest of the Christmas/ award worthy films that are now being released. It is worthy of a watch on DVD at home.