Archive for December, 2013


My Month in Films: December 2013

December 31, 2013


28 films, 20 first time viewings

Best first time viewings
1. 3:10 to Yuma (Delmer Daves, 1957, USA)
2. 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen, 2013, USA/UK)
3. Midnight (Mitchell Leisen, 1939, USA)
4. Drug War (Johnnie To, 2012, China/Hong Kong)
5. Drums Along the Mohawk (John Ford, 1939, USA)
6. Nebraska (Alexander Payne, 2013, USA)
7. Whisky Galore! (Alexander Mackendrick, 1949, UK)
8. The Titfield Thunderbolt (Charles Crichton, 1953, UK)
9. American Hustle (David O. Russell, 2013, USA)
10. Oldboy (Spike Lee, 2013, USA) Read the rest of this entry ?


Sound On Sight’s 30 Best Films of 2013

December 28, 2013


I was invited to submit a list of my favourite releases of 2013 for Sound On Sight’s annual contributors’ poll, and I also wrote the capsule takes on Blue Jasmine, Drug War and Nebraska.

You can read the staff list here.


Wolf Children (Mamoru Hosoda, 2012)

December 23, 2013


Forgot to repost this during the UK theatrical release, so here it is for the home video release. Following a rewatch, I now like the film a lot more. Love, in fact.

Breakthrough success for The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Summer Wars outside of Japan has seen director Mamoru Hosoda labelled “the next Miyazaki” in certain circles, in regards to being an anime filmmaker of increasing international reach and appeal. Perhaps befittingly, his new film Wolf Children has some similarities in feel with highlights of Studio Ghibli’s output. It combines a high-concept, fantastical premise – like, say, Miyazaki having a literal flying pig as a protagonist in Porco Rosso – with a tender exploration of human growth as found in Ghibli’s more low-key dramas like Only Yesterday and the wonderful Whisper of the Heart

Full review at Sound on Sight


The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller, 2013)

December 23, 2013


Based on James Thurber’s short story, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty stars its director Ben Stiller as an inexpressive, daydreaming underachiever who, provoked by a takeover at the print magazine he works for, finally takes risks and embarks on a convoluted global journey. The takeover is led by a felt-bearded Adam Scott, who plays an even more one-dimensional bastard than his character in Will Ferrell comedy Step Brothers. Two hours of gloopy, insipid, narcissistic wish fulfilment ensues, alongside an uncomfortably extended promotion for dating site eHarmony…

Click for the full review for The Skinny


American Hustle (David O. Russell, 2013)

December 19, 2013


American Hustle is based on the Abscam sting operation of the late 70s and early 80s, but David O. Russell’s loose ensemble piece is more giddily concerned with the dysfunctional lives of key players involved in a scheme in which FBI agents posed as wealthy sheikhs to ensnare public officials, including an otherwise altruistic New Jersey mayor…

Click for the full review for The Skinny


The Skinny’s ‘Films of 2013′

December 15, 2013


I was invited to submit a list of my favourite releases of 2013 for The Skinny’s annual contributors’ poll, going by UK theatrical release dates but not including festival showings. I also wrote blurbs for what ended up being the #1 and #9 films on our group top 10.

You can read my list, other individual lists and the consensus top 10 here.
For reference, our lists were submitted in mid-November to make the December print edition of the magazine.


Seen Your Video #30: Bruce Dern’s Hair, Spectacular as Always

December 13, 2013


On the latest episode of Seen Your Video, Chris Ward and I go long on Ridley Scott’s The Counsellor and Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, while our classic film of focus this month is Robert Altman’s McCabe & Mrs. Miller. We also discuss a selection of recent releases, including Gravity, Short Term 12, Oldboy, Leviathan and Captain Phillips.

Stream the episode here.
Alternatively, you can download the episode or subscribe to the podcast by looking up Seen Your Video on iTunes.