Spotlight

My Top Ten Favourite Films of 2016

It’s the end of the year so that means it’s time for best-of lists! So if you haven’t spotted my top ten list on HeyUGuys Movie Bloggers Top Ten – a list you should check out because it’s interesting to see what a load of different bloggers love – here is my top ten and my thoughts on each film. Now please note, all of these were released in the UK in 2016 because as you’ll notice, a couple of these films came out last year in America. If the film title has a link, it goes to my review of it. These are kind of in order but really the only one that has a definite spot is my number one film of the year, nothing has beaten it.

10. 13th
13th is a powerful and important documentary about the American prison system and racism in America. It’s shocking and frustrating at times because it shows how racism is almost encouraged through laws, still it’s riveting film everyone should watch.

9. Midnight Special
Midnight Special really surprised me. It’s definitely one of those films that benefits from going into it knowing as little as possible. It’s a beautiful film full of love and hope and a special kind of magic.

8. Spotlight
Spotlight was so stressful but so good! Just seeing the time and effort this group of ordinary journalists to share the truth about something so horrible is inspiring (more…)

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Thoughts on BAFTA 2016 Winners

Bafta TrophyThe BAFTAs were last night and I have some thoughts on the winners. I didn’t watch the BAFTAs on BBC One as I was engrossed in my book (A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab if you’re interested) but I followed along on Twitter so I knew pretty much who all the winners were before the show even started on the TV.

I don’t know how much the BAFTAs will be a guess as to what the Oscars winners will be, history dictates that there’s usually some crossover but who knows. But I was pretty OK with most of last night’s winners. The two big nominees that I have yet to see are Brooklyn and Steve Jobs so I can’t really comment on those that much.

Now onto the stuff I can and want to talk about. First up Best Film, I can understand why The Revenant won, it’s got all the things voters love – it was tough to make, cast and crew could’ve died etc etc but I really would’ve liked any of the other nominees to win, especially Spotlight. That film really touched a chord with me so I kind of want it to win everything it’s been nominated for so I was really pleased when it won Best Original Screenplay. The same point can be made with Alejandro G Inarritu’s Best Director win for The Revenant, I get why he won but really I wanted any of the other nominees to win more.

The acting categories are always interesting. Leonardo DiCaprio was pretty much a shoe-in to win Best Actor, I don’t think The Revenant was his best work and if he goes on to win the Oscar, a part of me thinks it will be a bit like a “we’re finally giving you the Oscar and we don’t really care what film it’s for” Oscar. I’m so happy Brie Larson won Best Actress for Room, gosh she was amazing in that film and she was my favourite out of the nominees. Mark Rylance won Best Supporting Actor for Bridge of Spies which I was happy about, would’ve liked Mark Ruffalo to win for Spotlight because I love Ruffalo but I’m happy about Rylance’s win. Like I said, I haven’t seen Steve Jobs so I can’t comment on Kate Winslet’s performance but I really hoped Alicia Vikander would’ve won for ExMachina.

I was surprised (but pleased) by how many awards Mad Max: Fury Road won. I loved that film a ridiculous amount so it see Margaret Sixel win Best Editing for it was amazing. One of the reasons I liked Mad Max: Fury Road so much was because it didn’t look like your usual quickly-edited-so-you-can’t-really-see-what’s-happening action films and that was down to Margaret Sixel. Mad Max: Fury Road also one Best Costume Design, Best Production Design and Best Make Up and Hair and were all worthy of the prize.

I also want to talk about the EE Rising Star Award. This Award is the one BAFTA that is voted for by the public it’s always an interesting one. I’m so happy John Boyega won! To be honest I’d have kind of been OK if any of the other four nominees won but Boyega has a special place in my heart. He gave a great speech and I’m still so happy for him.

Did you watch the BAFTAs last night? Do you get caught up in awards buzz or don’t you care that much? Let me know if there was anyone you’d wished have won below

The full list of winners: (more…)

REVIEW: Spotlight (2015)

spotlight movie posterThe true story of how journalists at the Boston Globe exposed the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese.

When the Boston Globe’s new editor Marty Baron (Live Schreiber) takes over, he tasks the papers investigative team Spotlight to look into claims that the Catholic Church knew about child abuse by priests and had covered it up for decades. This starts a somewhat hesitant investigation to begin with – Boston has a large Catholic populace and the Church is a powerful entity – but as they begin meeting victims of abuse and a lawyer (Stanley Tucci) who will keep fighting for the victims, they realise that they have discovered something huge.

Spotlight is truly an ensemble film. There is no real lead as these journalists are a team, fighting for the same cause. You believe that these people have been working with each other for years and understand how each other tick. Walter ‘Robby’ Robinson (Michael Keaton) is the head of the team who knows some of the top dogs that might have been involved with the cover-up while Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams) looks out for the victims and wants them to know how important their stories are. Mike Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo) gets increasingly more passionate about justice as the case progresses and Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James) is the guy who looks for minute details to make sure the story is water-tight. They all give great performances as people who are often shocked and dismayed by what they uncover.

The way Spotlight is shot and the lack of showy performances makes it sometimes feel like a documentary, that you are watching these real people struggle with their findings and their desire to expose the truth. The script should be commended as well, there’s no quips and there’s only one real loud argument but that doesn’t stop the film from being captivating.

Spotlight does a great job of not sensationalising this chilling story. It shows that the legwork of investigative journalism often takes months of research and interviews but that doesn’t make it any less tense and thrilling. It also doesn’t talk down to the audience, it expects you to keep track of all these people they’re investigating and talking to and to make the connections yourself.

Spotlight is a gripping and important true story that everyone should see. 5/5.