best of 2014, british film, Favourite films, Movies

Favorite films – Pride (2014)

Shown this Christmas on BBC2, 2014’s Pride was my favourite film of that year and hopefully will find a wider audience on its terrestrial television premiere.

This is an article I wrote about the film (with a few minor edits) for the late and much lamented movie magazine Verite. Continue reading

best of 2014, british film, Movies, Podcasts

Hear me rant on the Britflicks podcast!

My appearance on the venerable Britflicks podcast has just gone live, I was asked to pontificate on the past year in British film and give my top 5 British movies of the year, my honourable mentions, my least favourite, and finally pick an all-time favourite British film. It’s like a double helping of jam roly poly with custard!

Couple of apologies/points of order: I rant so hard you can hear me losing my voice, sorry for the cough; I hideously mis-use the word ‘centenary’; and I sort of accidentally call Grant Morrison an English artist.

Apart from that, I stand by it all!

You can listen to the podcast vie the following link

best of 2014, Movies, Reviews, science fiction

Best of 2014 – Godzilla

And in my last blog post of 2014 (this time 4 realz, I promises) I want to revisit another of my 2014 highlights that ended up being squeezed out of my year end top 10, Gareth Edwards’ magnificent mega-budget revival of Godzilla. By this time you have either seem the movie or will be well aware of the plot details that necessitated the follow public service announcement at the time of release. But it’s New Year’s Eve and I have chores, so I can’t be bothered re-writing the thing.

Thanks for reading this blog since I launched it only a few months ago, I hope you stay aboard the good ship Renn through 2015… Continue reading

best of 2014, Movies, Reviews

Review – We Are The Best (Vi är bäst!)

Often lumped together with Danish provocateur Lars Von Trier due to vague geographical proximity and a shared interest in the presentation of confrontational material, it is perhaps surprising that Swedish director Lukas Moodysson should be responsible for one of the most heartfelt, honest and purely joyful films of the year. Continue reading

best of 2014, Hidden treasures, Movies, Reviews, science fiction

Hidden treasures – The Congress

Here is one of the most recent films to feature in my ‘Hidden Treasures’ selections. Ari Folman’s The Congress was actually only released in the UK in 2014 and is fresh to DVD and Blu Ray here. It is the sort of film that seems tailor made to become a cult movie, but in the current climate many films are being lost in the sheer volume of material available to view (legitimately) online. I saw The Congress at the London Film Festival in 2013 and it is fair to say it blew me away, especially on a big screen with a thunderous sound system. Continue reading

best of 2014, crime, Movies, Reviews

Review – Blue Ruin

Released in early 2014, Jeremy Saulnier’s second film Blue Ruin was a tight, suspenseful, violent, darkly humorous revenge thriller, and one of the best American independent films of the year.

The film’s very strong opening section is light on dialogue but heavy with detail introducing Dwight (Macon Blair) a homeless man living on a Delaware beach. The film invites us into a solitary world as he scavenges food from trash bags and bathes in empty beach homes (a detail that neatly establishes that he can both break into a house and escape from a tight spot, something that will be useful later). By withholding the information and exposition normally imparted in dialogue, Saulnier forces us to try and build a narrative of how this young man has come to drop out of society. We see that Dwight is resourceful, street smart and has a library of books stashed in his makeshift home. Continue reading

best of 2014, comment, Movies

My favourite movies of 2014

Can we draw any conclusions about the state of film in 2014? More to the point can I? As I noted in my ‘most annoying films of 2014’ list, I am not a professional film critic and while I am privileged enough to see a lot of films at press screenings, as an enthusiastic semi-amateur I still see a lot on my own dollar. Like everyone else in these penny pinching times, that means I’m choosy. Even the pro-critics cannot hope to see the full range of movies released in the UK in each year, let alone all the movies that play festivals, or go direct to video (or whatever is your streaming option of choice). So I’m reticent to draw firm conclusions.

[But I’m obviously going to anyway.] Continue reading

best of 2014, Favourite films, Movies, Reviews

Favourite films – Boyhood

A long gestating dream project for Texas based filmmaker Richard Linklater, Boyhood is an intimate family drama charting the journey of Mason Jr (Ellar Coltrane) across the spectral Rubicon that separates boy from man. As the film begins Mason is in the 12th grade through and as it closes some 160-odd minutes later he is of College age. A variety of characters enter and exit his life, but the constants are his immediate family: mother Olivia (Patricia Arquette); sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater, the director’s own daughter); and on the fringe his estranged father Mason Sr. (Ethan Hawke). Continue reading

best of 2014, Favourite films, Movies, Reviews

Favourite films – Stranger by the Lake

Stranger by the Lake won Alain Guiraudie the best director award in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section, in the same year as Blue is the Warmest Colour collected the Palm D’or. Of the two gay themed films in many ways Guiraudie’s is a more challenging proposition for general audiences than Abdellatif Kechiche’s three hour lesbian romance. However beyond the presence of gay characters and explicit scenes there is no real comparison; Blue is the Warmest Colour sought to explore the universality of first love, whereas Stranger by the Lake is a film confrontational in its presentation of a sub-set of gay life defiantly outside the hetero-normative mainstream (and most likely niche even within the wider spectrum of LGBT lifestyles). Continue reading