#841 – The Counsellor

Drama

I’m with the critics that liked the The Counsellor. In fact, I sort of loved it. There’s a lot of expensive sunglasses, couture clothing, top marque cars and lavish, design laden locations on show and the characters that occupy them are it’s safe to say deluded, cretinous, insane and morally fucked. This has been enough to put people off, but McCarthy’s script gets away with.

McCarthy refuses to bow to Hollywood convention. There is no hope, when things go bad they go bad and nothing is going to change that. The characters know their world. They talk of what’s going to happen. And it happens. This might not be to everyone’s taste, but this in McCarthy’s hands and directed by Scott works wonders when, as a viewer, you catch on to how this is going to play out.

There’s no hope in this film but what it has in spades is sharp ass dialogue and scenes you won’t forget any time soon. In ten years, in twenty years even, people will still talk about Cameron and that Ferrari (catfish), Pitt and Fassbender’s to-and-fro convos, the separating of a motorcyclist’s head from his body and that motorised fucking neck-tie.

The Counsellor Cameron Diaz

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#840 – Starlet

Drama

There might be too much attention given to capturing the x-rated teen dream Dree Hemmingway in wayfarers at just the right tight angle in Starlet but this can be forgiven. Downtown LA sun and bleached out exteriors are a mainstay of this self-consciously indie flick yet the story at its core is a genuine one. And when everything falls away this is about avoiding preconceptions and being nice to one another. Can’t dislike that.

Starlet

#839 – Better Living Through Chemistry

Comedy

It has reached a point where I’ll watch anything with Sam Rockwell in and enjoy it regardless, he’s that good. Better Living Through Chemistry is though good in its own right. It’s not up there with The Way, Way Back but has the same feel to it, a sort of spontaneity and refusal to be too serious. It’s fun.

Note the title sequence. One of the best of 2014.

Better Living Through Chemistry

#837 – Jeune & Jolie

Drama

Their is no way of getting around it Jeune & Jolie is French and then some, which isn’t always a fault. It’s not misogynistic as some have said, but it is a male fantasy played out in the most beautiful and languid visual style. It’s a style that matches the lead Marine Vacth who it has to be said was born for the screen, in the words of Claudia Winkleman, “an exquisite and beautiful creature.”

Young and Beautiful

#836 – Short Term 12

Drama

Short Term 12 is a gem of a movie. Brie Larson really acts in this, she’s on point from the get go. The narrative arc is perfectly paced too, giving you what you need to know exactly when you need to know it. The opening and ending sequences that book end the film are a precise example of a director knowing exactly what the story he’s telling is about.

See this film. It’ll show you that the world’s an okay place, which is something I like to be reminded of at fairly regular intervals.

Short Term 12 Brie Larson

#834 – Frances Ha

Comedy

Frances Ha is a brilliant film. Vibrant and important. Wholly relevant too for those leaving their 20s and stumbling through their 30s. It’s full of subtle moments that ring true for the demographic that’ll watch this film, it’s almost perfect.

In Frances too Greta and Noah have created a female character that should be heralded and lauded. Vitally a female character that is defined outside of the persistently male cinematic gaze. It’s a rare and beautiful thing.

Frances Ha

#833 – Upstream Color

Drama

Could I tell you exactly what when on in Upstream Color? No, definitely not. Did I like it? Yes. Though I feel the story, which is something to do with controlling others and then being one and the same as all organisms, had an element of hardcore sci-fi that would have been splendid in a more accessible narrative. That isn’t this film though and it was never meant to be. This film is an avant-garde visual and aural experience.

upstream color