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.
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)
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.
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)
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.
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)
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.
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)
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