Monday, 30 June 2014

Top 20 Films Still to Come in 2014

It’s nearing that time where the second half of the film calendar begins. Currently the sun is out in the British summer but by the time you’ve read this sentence, it will probably be over. There’s no better place to shelter form the weather than the cinema. When it’s too damn hot and you realise that Britain isn’t equipped at all with little amounts of air-con installed elsewhere, the cinema is the best place to cool off. When the weather turns to the more frightful, you can sit inside the dark room all cosy, only hearing the rumble of the stereo rather than the storm. That’s why it’s time to look forward to many cinema trips during the second half of 2014.

Currently, the year has been a bit of a mixed-bag. As usual, we get the delayed Oscar fair here in the UK which brought us Steve McQueen’s powerful, Oscar winning 12 Years a Slave; it gave us another classic piece by Martin Scorsese with the white-collared Goodfellas, The Wolf of Wall Street; and it gave us Spike Jonze’s wonderful romance Her which spoilt our eyes thanks to the beautiful cinematography by Hoyte van Hoytema. Then we’ve had the bittersweet swansong of the legendary Hayao Miyazaki, the surprising and refreshing blockbuster of Edge of Tomorrow and the most brutal actioner since, well, The Raid with The Raid 2. That along with two impressive films from Lord and Miller with The Lego Movie and 22 Jump Street. Even X-Men: Days of Future Past – their most ambitious product yet – had a lot of hype, a lot of potential but Bryan Singer’s capable hands crafted an intelligent ensemble blockbuster.

That’s not to say that the year has been brilliant. Aaron Paul’s feature follow ups to Breaking Bad have been poorly received – not his performances which have still been sterling. Gareth Edwards’s Godzilla gave new life to the creature but unfortunately not the characters surrounding it, leading to many impressive moments but wholly disappointing by the sheer mediocrity surrounding it. Disney’s possible foray into villainy was eventually a cutesy reimagining of one of their scariest villains with Maleficent, which instead sowed way too much sympathy into a protagonist that revelled in villainy for a single scene – Angelina Jolie really does impress in it, but sadly not much else does. With Jupiter Ascending from the Wasachowski siblings sadly pushed back to February 2015 in the UK, it can feel a little empty currently. 3 Days to Kill recently came out but that has not improved this year. Don’t let that dampen your spirits.

Let’s look at the top 20 films still to come in 2014 – big and small – that are worth looking forward to.

Note: Though there are no foreign releases here, it is because there appears to be no widely released films scheduled for the cinema. Though there are sure to be many great ones, is unlikely that they will get the wide distribution that some others did. Apologies!


Wednesday, 25 June 2014

MTOS Questions on The Greatest - 29th of June 2014

This Sunday, the 29th of June 2014, I will be hosting #MTOS (Movie Talk on Sunday) once again. This post will contain the questions of the night released at ten minute intervals, starting from 8pm BST (British Summer Time). For those who are unfamiliar with the format of #MTOS, it's very simple to join in! Every Sunday at 8pm, an assigned host prepares a topic and releases 10 questions every 10 minutes, ending at 9:30pm. The conversations, debates and community feel of #MTOS is unrivalled. It helps many people find new films or even get an outlet for their love of a particular film, actor, director or whatever is linked to the question. It often is trending on Twitter because of the high volume of tweets from the film community that gather together for that hour and a half. It's always a pleasure hosting and taking part so please do join. This week's topic is The Greatest and the questions were written by my good friend Paul Furr (@JustCallMeFurry). Simply, his questions and topic were better than mine so please follow him as well. Follow me on Twitter @ashleyrhys where I will be posting all the questions. Also follow @MovieTOS, the official Twitter and the creators of the fantastic idea @askimrach and @raghavmodi who gather the fanatics together week after week to make sure they have somewhere to share their passion for film.

Important things: remember to tag your tweets with #MTOS so everyone can see them. Format your answers like so "A1. Your answer to the question here. #MTOS" so everyone knows the context of your tweet.

Q1. Heroes are defined by their actions and the greatest directors frame them to be truly heroic. What is the greatest hero shot of all time? #MTOS

Q2. A lot of pressure is on a first time director. What is the greatest film by a first time director? #MTOS

Q3. Stunt men are underappreciated. Action sequences can thrill us with brutal fights & spectacular chases. What is the greatest cinematic stunt and action sequence of all time? #MTOS

Q4. Superman made a man fly, Jurassic Park gave us dinosaurs & Roland Emmerich destroyed the world again and again. What is the greatest Special Effect ever put on screen? #MTOS

Q5. Songs in films beautifully captures the spirit and motivations of the film it represents. What is the greatest song in a film of all time? #MTOS

Q6. The power a film can hold over it's audience can often move them to tears. What is the greatest tearjerking moment of all time? #MTOS

Q7. The thrill of being scared is one of the most primal experiences us cinema goers can be on the receiving end of. What is the greatest scare moment of all time? #MTOS

Q8. The death of a hero, villain or a supporting character can have a profound effect on a film... What is the greatest death scene of all time? #MTOS

Q9. Everyone loves a truly dastardly villain. Who is the greatest cinematic villain of all time? #MTOS

Q10. What is the greatest line of all time? #MTOS

Hopefully I will see you on Sunday night for movie chatter that will make us trend again. Let's make it The Greatest #MTOS yet! 8pm! (BST) Sunday! See you there. 

Interview with James Ward Byrkit

Originally this film was quiet, entering the festival circuit around the world with very little known about it. The more it is shown, the more recognition and critical acclaim it seems to be gaining with plenty of festival awards in tow. James Ward Byrkit‘s feature debut, Coherence is a self-confessed “brain bender” shot in an entirely improvisational way but that in no way means it is nonsensical or badly thought through. The tightly plotted film recently struck up a lot of success taking home the Best Film prize at the FANT Bilbao Festival. We luckily had a few moments with the director and writer of this mind-melting thriller and chatted in depth about Coherence and his process in a tight scheduled, improvisational, actors’ heaven of a film.