Sunday, 8 February 2015

BAFTA 2015 Winners Announced

The celebrities sparkled and the carpet was red. The BAFTA awards took place this evening in fabulous Royal Opera House in London and with many of the nominations echoing the upcoming Oscars so many people are wondering if there is an indication of who will take home a statuette alongside their BAFTA this year. Anyway, there are a few surprises but it's not a shock to see British movie The Theory of Everything having so much success, it's a shame the beautifully shot The Imitation Game didn't take home any gongs. The horror! Enjoy the list of winners while I head off for a celebratory drink or two.

Best Film in 2015

Dir: Richard Linklater

Leading Actor

Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything

Leading Actress

Julianne Moore - Still Alice

Outstanding British Film

The Theory of Everything
Dir: James Marsh

Best Supporting Actor

J.K Simmons - Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette - Boyhood

Original Screenplay

The Grand Budapest Hotel - Wes Anderson

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Theory of Everything - Anthony McCarten

So there it is, the glamour is over and the party has started. Were you surprised by the winners?

Saturday, 7 February 2015

The Imitation Game - Review - Spoiler Free - Oscars Countdown

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode
Director: Morten Tyldum
Genre: Drama
Running time: 112 minutes
Certificate: 12A
UK Release Date: 14th November 2014
                 Acting:      9/10
             Directing:      9/10
                      Plot:     7/10
                Overall:      9/10

This movie is spellbinding. I could leave it there but I guess you are looking for a little more, so we'll dive into the plot. It is based on a true story and tells of the life of Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) famous for his work at Bletchley Park during World War II, as well as his contribution to artificial intelligence and computing. An unusual person, and bonafide genius, his personal and professional lives collide in 1950s Britain.

On the surface this film doesn't look very exciting, in truth I approached it with a little trepidation as it looked very heavy in content, and as if it was made with 'Oscar' in mind. I couldn't have been more wrong. This movie was surprisingly funny in many places, captivating, excellently acted and well directed. I barely have a bad word to say about it for its form. However, there is a slight downside, and that's its accuracy. There has to be a certain responsibility from film makers when dealing with true subjects, and people going to this film with no prior knowledge are likely to believe it as a true portrayal. I am sure there are plenty of people who are completely unfamiliar with Turing's life and some, like myself, who could only claim a smattering of knowledge about Enigma and the Turing Test. The plot of this film is inaccurate. To explain too finely would be a massive spoiler but during the movie there is an accusation of a cover up that did not happen in reality, and this seems a little unforgivable when considering Turing's life.

This said, the film is engaging. Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley are both actors that I have not been a fan of in the past, but I was wrong again, they are both fantastic in their roles. The muted colours of the film reflect the austerity and remoteness of Turing's life, as well as setting the time period with an 'old photograph' feel. The movie cross cuts through time, moving between Turing's childhood, work at Bletchley Park, and later life, and it does so seamlessly and without confusion. Much of the more delicate matters of Turing's life are dealt with tactfully yet without avoidance. Overall I would recommend this movie to just about everyone. I haven't stopped raving about it since I saw it, and it is definitely one of my Oscar favourites for this year. Ignore the drab appearance and go watch it, it is interesting, informative, funny, moving, sad, captivating, inspiring and maddening. That's quite a lot of emotions for 122 minutes, you'll be getting your money's worth.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

American Sniper - Review - Spoiler Free - Oscars Countdown

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller
Director: Clint Eastwood
Genre: Drama
Running time: 132
Certificate: 15

If you're interested in this movie then you've probably already heard about that baby, and if you haven't you are about to. Where to start with American Sniper? My hopes were for a moving portrayal of the effects of conflict in a high pressure military role. I also thought that it might take an interesting look at the families of service men and the sacrifices made both at home and on tour. My hopes were not realised. This film is based on a true story, the source material is the autobiography by Chris Kyle. It follows the life of Kyle (Bradley Cooper) who grows up with a need to protect others. This combined with his environment leads him into a career as a sniper in the US Navy. As his career progresses his home life becomes slowly more fraught.

Does it Hit the Mark?

This was always going to be a difficult movie to review because it is based on autobiography, but the film left me feeling disappointed and unsure why it has been included in this year's Oscars line-up. It is well acted and the direction is sound, but it feels like Eastwood has worked by numbers and it doesn't have the grace of his previous films, like Million Dollar Baby. To add to this, there's a lot of flag waving and huge amounts of patriotism, and the complexities of the story get lost in the politics of the movie. This is a shame because the story of Kyle's life is both astounding and interesting. However, this film has done nothing to elevate it beyond the mediocre. When Kyle's struggle to assimilate his work and home life is explored the film seems to hold back and falls a little flat, which is not helped by Sienna Miller's occasional misfirings in her portrayal of Kyle's wife Taya.

And the Baby...

The movie is at its best when Cooper is expressing Kyle's internal conflicts while in the field. This is also where the film gains dramatic tension, but it still feels a bit slick and glossy with something grittier needed to do justice to the subject matter. And, of course, there's the baby. There is a scene in which Cooper and Miller are acting a distressing and poignant conversation regarding Kyle's return to the field after the birth of their child. This scene is cut through by the baby they are nursing, an obvious doll that is being handed between the adults, it is so unconvincing that is is laughable and destroys the suspension of disbelief for anyone watching. There has been a lot of speculation regarding the reasons for using a doll in this scene, but for a movie with this kind of budget the doll is just plain sloppy.

American Sniper could have been so much more than its end result and if it had a more nuanced approach it might have risen to its potential. This film is slick and functional, but unless you are really interested in the US military or Chris Kyle it might leave you a little cold.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Gone Girl - Review

Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris
Director: David Fincher
Genre: Thriller, drama
Running time: 149 minutes
Certificate: 18

I have another confession - when I'm not watching movies I'm a bit of a bookworm. That's why when I watched Gone Girl I walked through the door with preconceptions from the novel. If you like reading then you probably didn't miss the uproar surrounding the book Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Prior to the movie announcement I had already read it (a fantastic page turner) and when I heard the movie was in production my anticipation was huge. I knew that if it was executed to reflect the quality of the source material it was going to be a gripping. Then David Fincher was set to direct and I just couldn't wait. My watching relationship with Fincher is complex at best because although he is an artistic director who deserves auteur status, his portrayal of female characters makes his films difficult when viewed through the lens of gender. However, it turns out that Gone Girl happens to be the movie that moves Fincher away from this reputation a little. Anyway, I digress. In case you've missed it, Gone Girl tells the story of Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike,) a young woman who is married and has moved from New York to Missouri with her husband, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) to care for his ailing mother. One day Nick returns home to discover that Amy is missing and the house is in disarray, it looks as if Amy has disappeared after a struggle, and as the investigation deepens the suspicion surrounding Nick's behaviour heightens.

If I had to describe Gone Girl in one word it would be spellbinding. This is a gripping and skillfully crafted film that puts a marriage under the microscope with some chilling results. Trying to write a spoiler-free review of this film is a challenge in itself, but it is safe to say that I would highly recommend it (but be prepared for a grown-up movie which can sometimes shock). The film is beautiful to look at, with muted tones and Fincher's trademark slick yet gritty visual aesthetic. The plot is compelling and the characters are engrossing. Fincher has done it again. Pike has been nominated for the Best Actress Oscar for this role (and she truly deserves the nod). She embodies the role in a way that takes you on her journey, and you are drawn to the characters of Nick and Amy, even at times when you would rather look away. Affleck has been under-rated in this performance, most likely because his portrayal is more understated and gets overshadowed by Pike. However, Affleck plays his role to perfection and makes this everyday guy with a tendency to smile at the wrong moment a really believably flawed character. From beginning to end this is a film with very few flaws, from excellent script writing through to pleasing visuals and thrilling plot, but be warned, if you are experiencing any relationship difficulties you might want to give this a miss, it has the ability to create paranoia in even the most steady of couples.

This is one of the more gruesomely entertaining offerings from this Oscar season and it also has strong female characters, something that is missing from many of the other nominations. It is available to buy in the UK from Feb 2nd 2015, go on, grab a copy and enjoy the ride. You won't regret it.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Oscars 2015 - Nominees Announced

It's been a while but I'm back just in time for Oscar season! So, the nominees have been announced and it's all about the countdown to the ceremony on Sunday February 22nd. There have been a few surprises, like Jake Gyllenhall's missing from the nominations for his totally engrossing and terrifying performance in Nightcrawler. I am really happy to see Rosamund Pike's performance didn't go unnoticed in Gone Girl, though, she is mesmerizing and truly deserves the nod. Now it's all been announced, here at Silver-Celluloid we thought you might like to see a full review of each film that has been nominated. Over the next few weeks we are going to do just that. Anyway, enough of this, I'll just go and dust off my dress for my Oscar night party while you guys take a look at the nominees for this year's big categories.

Best Picture

American Sniper

Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller
This powerful, biographical war drama, based on the book by Chris Kyle, is the eleventh Oscar nomination for Clint Eastwood.


Directed by: Alejandro G. Inarritu
Starring: Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Stone
A black comedy about a washed-up actor, Riggan Thomson, who is famous for playing an iconic superhero. Thomson is trying to make his comeback by getting his own dramatic production on Broadway.


Directed by: Richard Linklater and Catherine Sutherland
Starring: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke
Drama depicting life through the eyes of a young boy for twelve years. This is Richard Linklater's fifth nomination.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Directed by: Wes Anderson
Starring: Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Adrien Brody
The owner of the Alpine Hotel recounts his younger days as a lobby boy at the Grand Budapest Hotel. This film will stand as Wes Anderson's sixth Academy nomination.

The Imitation Game

Directed by: Morton Tyldum
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley
Tense drama about the life of Alan Turing, the leader of the Bletchley Park decoders who worked to crack the enigma machine during World War II.


Directed by: Ava DuVernay
Starring: David, Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Tim Roth
The events surrounding the 1965 freedom marches and the life of Dr Martin Luther King Jr are explored in this weighty drama.

The Theory of Everything

Directed by: James March
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones
A biopic of Dr Stephen Hawking which looks at his personal life. A bitter-sweet drama of relationships under the pressures of life, love and disability.


Directed by: Damien Chazelle
Starring: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons
A young drummer lands a spot in a prestigious music conservatory where he meets a formidable teacher. They develop an unusual and dangerous relationship.

Actress in a Leading Role

Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night

French born Cotillard already has a statuette from her win for Actress in a Leading Role. In 2007, her portrayal of Edith Piaf, in the movie La Vie en Rose, gained her the gong. For this nomination Cotillard plays a factory worker who has one weekend to convince her fellow workers to give up their bonus so that she can keep her job.

Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything

This is Jones' first nomination in which she plays Jane Hawking, the wife of the eminent physicist Dr Stephen Hawking.

Moore's fifth nomination, she portrays Alice Howland, a university professor who learns that she is suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl

Pike plays the fascinating Amy Dunne, a woman whose disappearance casts suspicions on her husband. This is the first nomination for Pike and is well-deserved.

Reese Witherspoon – Wild

A previous winner for her 2005 role as June Carter in the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line, Witherspoon enjoys her second nomination for her portrayal of a woman named Cheryl who decides to trek a thousand miles in order to recover from a tragic event.

Actor in a Leading Role

The almost unrecognisable Steve Carell had earned his first Oscar nomination for the role of John du Pont in this true story of a millionaire whose fixation with wrestling leads him to ask an Olympic wrestler to live and train at his estate.

Bradley Cooper – American Sniper

Cooper has been nominated in previous years (2012, 2013) for his roles in Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle. This nomination sees him play Chris Kyle, a marksman who is left dealing with the horrors of war.

Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game

Cumberbatch's first ever Oscar nomination is for his roles as Alan Turing in the true story of the mathematician who worked tirelessly to crack the enigma code during the Second World War.

Michael Keaton – Birdman

Surprisingly this is the first nomination for Michael Keaton. He plays character of Riggan, a washed-up actor who has been famed for his role as a superhero and is now preparing for a show on Broadway.

He makes us proud to be British! Redmayne is enchanting and moving in his portrayal of Dr Stephen Hawking in the biopic of the world famous Physicist.

And the rest


Alejandro G. Inarritu - Birdman 
Richard Linklater - Boyhood 
Bennett Miller - Foxcatcher 
Wes Anderson - The Grand Budapest Hotel 
Morten Tyldum - The Imitation Game


Actress in a Supporting Role

Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
Laura Dern – Wild
Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game
Emma Stone – Birdman
Meryl Streep – Into the Woods

Actor in a Supporting Role

Robert Duvall – The Judge
Ethan Hawke – Boyhood
Edward Norton – Birdman
Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons – Whiplash

Animated Feature Film

Big Hero Six
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

So there they are, the biggies, although there are loads of other nominees to see as well, for all that amazing behind the scenes stuff that most people ignore (yes, I know, including me today!) If you want a run down of the full list then head off to the official Oscars website for loads of information on the nominees. What do you think? Is it a good list or has anything been forgotten? I personally think that it is a very white, very male list of nominations this year, and as always, where is the comedy?! Please let us know what you think in the comment section below and join the debate. See you in a few days for our first review of the Oscar nomination countdown, Gone Girl. We hope you will join us.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Sundance Festival London 2014 Schedule Announced

Check out the London Sundance Festival. Linked to the Sundance Festival in the U.S., the London Festival promises a huge line-up of cinema and music for every film aficionado out there. The festival starts on Friday 25th April and runs through until Sunday 27th April, and will show the cream of the independent cinema crop as well as panels and talks. Tickets are still on sale here, but they look set to go like hotcakes, so get there quick. Also, budding film-makers have the chance to purchase the Shorts Workshop package which is a Sunday seminar with advice, discussions and practical lessons. There are also tickets available for the Opening Night Party, so why not get yourself down there?

For more information on the Sundance London Festival and ticket information go here

Friday, 6 December 2013

Celebrate Woody Allen's Birthday with Woodystock

Woody Allen celebrated his 78th birthday this month, and that means it is time for Woodystock. This special event is held on Saturday 7th December at the Hackney Picturehouse cinema in London and is organised in association with the LOCO London Comedy Film Festival. Woodystock has become the annual celebration of Woody Allen's comedy and this year will be playing one of Woody Allen's classic movies, as well as live comedy from three young stand up comedians and Woody Allen-themed cocktails with live jazz. So if you are in the Hackney area, why not get yourself down there for some laughs and self-deprecating comedy? For more information, visit here.