Blog / 2014

Christopher Fowler
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It's a safe bet that no-one will look back on 2014 and regard it as a classic year for Hollywood, which, as always, went where the money was - this time looking to the East, as films inserted locations and stars from China, Japan and India in an effort to increase revenue in those growing markets. After the bizarre cash explosion of 'Frozen' in SE Asia that caught even Disney by surprise ('Frozen'…
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Christopher Fowler
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There are times when not being American helps you take an outsider's viewpoint on a true story; I came to 'Foxcatcher' knowing nothing about the peculiar life of John 'Golden Eagle' du Pont (played here by an unrecognisable Steve Carrell), from one of the richest families in the US, but I imagine a lot of Americans are now familiar with the story. The facts are simple; Olympic gold wrestler Mark…
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Christopher Fowler
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Tim Burton's directorial style has never been very sophisticated or subtle. That's fine; neither was Ken Russell's, but he combined sound and imagery brilliantly. Burton started out with the childlike colour explosions of 'Pee Wee's Big Adventure' and 'Edward Scissorhands', and only fell down when he reined in his sense of the absurd. 'Sweeney Todd' partly defeated him because he never came up…
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Christopher Fowler
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It's been a strange year for film, with mainly weak blockbusters, no decent Hollywood comedies and no strong horror movies. A further retreat into sequels and reboots has set the pattern for the future, and only Universal is doing something fresh, ditching the 30 year-old idea of the tentpole release to concentrate on a smaller, wider range of films. But it was a good year to be a kid - apart from…
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Christopher Fowler
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You would think there's no more fun to be wrung from the vampire genre. Then along comes this New Zealand comedy, an absolute gem of a movie from the 'Flight of the Conchords' gang (itself one of the best comedies in recent memory), nailing the horrific/comic possibilities of four vampires sharing a house together. The BBC had made 'Being Human', which turned into a silly supernatural soap, but…
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Christopher Fowler
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Well, it's over. Farewell, Hobbitses, and thanks for all the fun. Last night I saw Borimir, Chlamydia, Moulinex, Fafnir, Ariel, Moomin, Thorax Oakenfold and Legoland go into battle for the last time, bringing together an end to a thirteen-year film cycle all the more remarkable for its consistency of tone. This time for 'The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies', they were pitted against each…
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Christopher Fowler
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You'll hear much talk of this as we run up to Oscar season, with good reason. Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu, director of '21 Grams' and 'Amores Perros', has created something so unique in this comedy-drama that it feels he's pushed the boundaries into a new kind of filmmaking. I ran through his credits on IMDbPro and an extraordinary list of hits came up for which he received the credit of 'Thanks'…
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Christopher Fowler
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Writer/director Dan Gilroy's debut feature is a stylish LA night-noir that comes on like Scorsese and plays out like a cross between Michael Powell's 'Peeping Tom', 'Network' and 'Taxi Driver'. Films with disturbing lead characters are tricky to pull off - how do you make an audience care? Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a bug-eyed, intense, delusional thief who discovers his purpose in life after…
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Christopher Fowler
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NO SPOILERS - FIRST HOUR DISCUSSION ONLY! A friend I love but whose taste is suspect complained to me last week that 'Interstellar' was three hours of his life he'd never get back. I loved every minute, but during the comedown afterwards I was hit with the 'Interplanetary Ming-Mongs'. 'Interplanetary Ming-Mongs' is a device named by Victoria Wood to describe the technobollocks spouted by earnest…
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Christopher Fowler
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Put two men in a room and they'll eventually talk about drainage. We like discussing the nuts and bolts of invention, and to that extent 'The Wind Rises' could be called a boys' film. But it is also achingly beautiful, surreal, fragile. I first fell in love with the work of Miyazaki Hayao, animation director of 'Spirited Away', back in the early 1980s when I played 'Castle Of Cagliostro' on a then…
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