What’s Everyone Watching? Our Current 5 Most Popular Rentals (And Their Alternatives)

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INTERSTELLAR

See? This movie is why I never did high school physics. Because there’s nothing books can teach you that movies cannot. Matthew McConaughey saves the world and gives us all good excuses for why we’re late arriving to work (“Um, the gravity on the tube was like, super heavy, and so I was really quick but, like, for me it seemed like 5 minutes but for you it was like 3 hours. Theory of relativity, innit.”)

If you liked this then how about: SUNSHINE (2007)

From Britain’s favourite turner-down-of-knighthoods Danny Boyle, this underrated space adventure features a team of astronauts trying to, you guessed it, save the world. While the second half of this film trails off dramatically, it’s still worth a watch for its intelligent, emotional plot and characters.

Cliff Curtis realises that whoa, that sun is hot bro.

***

2014, THE IMITATION GAMETHE IMITATION GAME

The patrons of Video City have spoken, munching their Chinese take-away with a tear in the eye as Benedict Cumberbatch frowns his way to an Oscar nomination. He still trails co-star Keira Knightley by 2 nominations to 1 though, proving once and for all that the pout is mightier than the frown. Who knew? I for one look forward to him evening things up in the upcoming George Osborne: The Musical.

If you liked this then how about: ENIGMA (2001)

Kate Winslet asks co-star Dougray Scott about her Oscar chances. He says he prefers Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge.

A very different film about the same struggle to crack the German code that eventually just about won the war (don’t mention it), Enigma is part historical drama part noirish romance-thriller. A major flaw is that Turing isn’t even mentioned, but it’s still a solid, slow-burning spy drama worth a watch.

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leviathan.hero_-960x480LEVIATHAN

It’s very pleasing to me to see this film going out so frequently. As if it weren’t remarkable enough just by virtue of being made in Putin’s Russia with its powerful anti-totalitarian message, it’s actually just remarkably good. Russian-American tensions probably contributed to its loss at the Oscars, but history will remember this as a great work of cinema.

If you liked this then how about: WINTER SLEEP (2014)

‘Did I leave the gas on?’ wonders protagonist Aydin.

These two films dominated the Cannes Film Festival last year, and critics were divided as to which should win the top award. In the end Winter Sleep won out. One of the decade’s great films so far, this 3-hour character study is compelling, tragic and achingly real. Like Leviathan, it is a story about power, people and relationships, set against harsh rural landscapes.

***

THE DROP

I’ll admit that there was a moment watching this one, when Tom Hardy finds the abandoned puppy at the beginning, that I emitted a barely audible “oy vey”. But this is more than just a tough guy with a heart of gold (although,, dammit, Tom Hardy you do have a heart of gold!). This brooding character drama with a compelling layer of New York wiseguy shtick is like its puppy, finding its floppy-eared way into the hard hearts of Video City’s finest.

If you liked this then how about: SLEEPERS (1996)

Brad Pitt and Jason Patric chat about how bizarre it will be to audiences in 2015 that Patric was the more famous of the two at the time.

Based on Lorenzo Carcaterra’s controversial novel, this is a tale of friendship, revenge and a perplexing lack of Oscar nominations. This is, like The Drop, a story about past actions and their consequences. It’s refusal to be a simple revenge tale is what sets it apart; every action has a consequence.

***

PADDINGTON

This delightful blend of cuddly kiddie entertainment and Theresa-May’s-worst-immigration-related-nightmare has definitely bridged the child-parent divide and once again brought peace in the ongoing conflict that is Family Movie Night. That it also makes me wish I had Ben Whishaw on call to tuck me in with his melodious voice every night is neither here nor there.

If you liked this then how about: MOUSEHUNT (1997)

Lee Evans has a philosophical moment. Are we not all as mice in the cheesy mousetrap of cosmic existence?

Nathan Lane’s entire career seems to have been in underrated 90s comedies when you think about it. Here, he and Britain’s sweatiest man, Lee Evans, play two incompetent and clumsy men who inherit an old house from their father. They go to war with the resident rodent who has no intention of leaving. Parents and kids, the war is over. We have settled the dispute. Take this damn movie.

posted by Dave

Current Top 5 Rentals (and what you could be watching instead):

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

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Hi-light: Jennifer Lawrence’s Oscar-winning portrayal of a young widow struggling to get her life together in the face of sexual prejudice.

Lawrence Alternatives: Lawrence’s far more weighty performance as Ree in Winter’s Bone (2010). Also, Lawrence fans should check out The Burning Plain (2008) – good little drama co-starring Charlize Theron as a woman whose mysterious past won’t leave her alone.

Thematic Alternatives: Two Lovers (2010) starring Joaquin Phoenix about a young man with Bipolar Disorder and the two women who simultaneously enter his life. Story of Adele H (1975) and Camille Claudel (1988) – two slightly bleaker portrayals of historical characters who suffered from ‘mental health issues’, both about supremely talented women who, nevertheless, have historically remained in the shadow of the more famous men in their lives. Adele H was the daughter of Victor Hugo. Camille Claudel, the lover of Auguste Rodin. Both films star Isabelle Adjani.

SIGHTSEERS

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Hi-lights: The giant pencil. The killing of the Daily Mail reader. Poppy.

Ben Wheatley Alternatives: Check out the director’s previous films, all with a touch of the macabre about them: the horror, Kill List (2011) about a couple of contract killers, one of whom has a disturbing past that resurfaces sending things spiraling out of control. And Down Terrace (2009) in which a crime family endeavors to unmask the identity of the police informer nestled in their midst.

SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS

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Hi-lights: Not sure there are any.

Martin McDonagh Alternatives: Check out the director’s previous (and superior) film, In Bruges, a dark comedy about a couple of hitmen awaiting the consequences of a job gone wrong (also starring Colin Farrell) – and his short film, Six Shooter, which you can find in the Cinema 16 European collection.

THE HUNT

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Hi-Light: Mads Mikkelsen’s performance as the uncompromising accused.

Mikkelsen Alternative: This year’s Oscar-nominated Royal Affair, in which Mads plays the physician who becomes embroiled in a passionate affair with the young Queen of Denmark – an affair which changes the country forever.

Thematic Alternatives (just in case you’re interested – for whatever reason – in this sort of thing): Thomas Vinterberg’s much-celebrated previous film, Festen (1998), deals with a similar theme, this time the issue in question coming to light during a family get-together. And, for its witch-hunt storyline, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible (1996) with Daniel Day-Lewis and Winona Ryder.

UNTOUCHABLE

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French Comedy Alternatives: “If you enjoyed this, you’ll probably also like:” My Best Friend (2006) directed by Patrice Leconte, in which a business man, challenged by colleagues to produce his ‘best friend’, realises that he doesn’t have any friends, leading to a desperate attempt to find/make some. The Closet (2001) in which a man, in fear of losing his job, claims to be gay thereby falling into the ‘minorities’ category which he feels will offer job protection. And The Concert (2009) – former conductor of the Bolshoi Orchestra, disgraced 30 years ago for employing Jewish and Gypsy musicians and now relegated to the position of Bolshoi janitor, travels to France with his old group of musicians to play in a prestigious concert hall, under the guise of being the Bolshoi Orchestra. Heartwarming.

by Dixie Turner

What You’re All Watching – Top 10 Rentals: 1st Feb. 2013

Enjoy a spot of curtain-twitching? Are you keeping up with the Jones’? Well, in case you’re getting eye-strain from peering down your telescope to find out what other people are watching on their screens, here’s something to peruse in-between twitches of the curtain (though chances are you’ve been watching the same – voyeurism isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be…):

1. SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN:

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Tale of failure that was actually success.

2. LOOPER:

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Tale of future Bruce vs. past Bruce.

3. DETACHMENT:

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Tale of teaching.

4. BARBARA:

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Tale of surveillance, love and distrust.

5. 360:

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Tales of infidelity.

6. WHERE DO WE GO NOW?:

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Tale of girl power in the face of war and religious hatred.

7. QUEEN OF VERSAILLES:

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Tale of having it all and then having a bit less.

8. THE IMPOSTER:

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Tale of not being who you’re supposed to be.

9. ABOUT ELLY:

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Tale of mystery.

10. TAKE THIS WALTZ:

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Tale of how love gets boring.

Current Top 10 Rentals:

As usual, in no particular order, and with no guarantee of quality (they are popular, after all…):

MARGIN CALL

(Wall Street crash drama with Kevin Spacey etc)

KILLER JOE

(Psycho-killer Cop with Matthew McConaughey etc)

5 YEAR ENGAGEMENT

(Rom-com about a very long engagement, with Emily Blunt etc)

WOMEN ON THE 6TH FLOOR

(French comedy about a bourgeois couple and their Spanish maid, with Carmen Maura etc)

SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD

(‘Quirky’ rom-com about the count-down to the end of days, with Steve Carrell but Keira Knightley etc)

POLISSE

(French cop-drama about a Child Protection Unit etc)

FRIENDS WITH KIDS

(30-something couple watch their friends with kids and wonder what the f***k they’re all doing, with John Hamm etc)

YOUR SISTER’S SISTER

(Down-beat romantic comedy drama about 2 best friends, a sister and an awkward one-night stand, with Emily Blunt etc)

WHERE DO WE GO NOW?

(Lebanese comedy-drama about women taking charge of a politically explosive situation in their village, with and directed by Nadine Labaki of ‘Caramel’)

MOONRISE KINGDOM

(Coming of age comedy about 2 kids on summer camp who fall in love and run off together, with Bill Murray etc)

 

Current Top 10 Rentals…

As usual, in no particular order, and with only silent cries of  ‘why oh why?’…

THE DICTATOR: WHY OH WHY (so I lied)


2 DAYS IN NEW YORK:


DARK HORSE:


SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN:


PROMETHEUS:


SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN:


THIS MUST BE THE PLACE:


CAFE DE FLORE:


CABIN IN THE WOODS:


AVENGERS: ASSEMBLE:

Current Top 10 Rentals:

In no particular order, and with no guarantee of quality, here are the current top 10 most popular rentals:

MARLEY:

Musical Genius.

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HEADHUNTERS:

Scandinavian Thriller: Genius?

Thriller

THIS MUST BE THE PLACE:

Robert Smith Look-a-Like: Genius.

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LE HAVRE:

Foreign Genius.

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BATTLESHIP:

No Comment.

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THE SOURCE:

Sex-For-Water: Genius.

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ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA:

Anatolian Murder Investigation: Criminal Genius.

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RAMPART:

Corrupt Genius.

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BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL:

Casting Genius.

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BREAKING BAD:

Tragic Naughty Genius.

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