Horns

I wish people would give Daniel Radcliffe a break. OK, so maybe some of the role choices he’s made haven’t worked out, but if his first role hadn’t have been Harry Potter, then he would probably have made the same number of bum choices as most young actors. It’s just that we all know who he is.

The problem in this film isn’t Radcliffe at all; I think he’s OK, in fact. The problem is the director hadn’t quite decided what type of film this is, and so it kept lurching from black comedy to romance to horror. The flashback scenes were way too long and I think the film ended at least twice. It was just too out of balance tonally, and even Radcliffe and Juno Temple couldn’t rescue it.

Not all bad, but as a whole, not coherent.

Dracula Untold

Coming in at 92 minutes (including credits) in this day and age is usually a good thing.

But to be honest, this is actually about 55 minutes worth of plot with some repetitious and over-long fight scenes as padding. There’s just not enough going on.

What there is is OK, but I like my vampires sexy and gothic – this wasn’t. And I swear down there were more shots of the back of Luke Evans’ head than of his face.

The last 5 minutes were by far the best, most intriguing, and promising of the whole hour and a half, and saved the whole film from total boresville – curious to know where this is going in future movies?

’71

Very impressive and tense story of a young soldier (Jack O’Connell) who gets left behind in a Catholic part of Belfast in 1971 when his battalion’s activity goes wrong.

The decade and atmosphere are extremely well presented, even though in many ways that’s an irrelevance, as the story is not typical of those usually set against the backdrop of the troubles: the only side we’re really invited to take is that of a naive young man who finds himself in an extremely dangerous situation. And Jack O’Connell makes sure that we’re rooting for him with a convincing performance.

A shame for me that Sean Harris was less convincing this time – can’t quite put my finger on why as he’s usually reliable.

Gone Girl

So the girl is gone. But where? And more to the point, why?

Far too much has been written about this film holding up a mirror to Modern Marriage, or that it is misogynistic, blah blah blah … well we can stop that right now.

This is just a good thriller with a few interesting twists, driven by a couple of individuals who we soon learn are unstable narrators.

It takes a good dig at those hounding down (and consuming) content for 24 hour media outlets, and for this reason, Ben Affleck was great casting here for his own personal experience (think Bennifer). Neil Patrick Harris was too … well … disconcerting I suppose, and could have done with underplaying his character a little to start with.

But Rosamund Pike did indeed live up to all the marvellous things being said about her, and definitely deserves all the praise.

Difficult to say more without spoilers – but worth a watch.

Maps to the Stars

When I’d seen David Cronenberg’s last film Cosmopolis a couple of years ago, I said “I was intrigued, never bored but sometimes a bit mystified …”

Well, I could say exactly the same about Maps to the Stars.

Watching the shenanigans of a bunch of neurotic, insecure Hollywood stereotypes shouldn’t have been quite so enthralling, but it was. One madly horrible thing follows another, until there is nowhere to go but inevitability.

Perhaps the Hollywood tropes were a little 90s (or perhaps not – I’ve never been to Hollywood!) but Cronenberg certainly views no topic as being off limits.

Oh. And what is it with Robert Pattinson and his activity in cars …?

Ida

I think Ida would win the award for the most beautiful road movie ever made.

Every shot is so perfectly framed and lit (in black & white) – absolutely breathtaking.

Ida is a young novitiate preparing to take her vows, but is first forced to find out about her family before taking the final step. She sets out on this journey against the backdrop of a Poland unpicking itself from the fingers of Stalinism, with a conflicted history and an eye towards the West for its future.

A film that had been heaped with praise from the festival circuit, and one which did not disappoint at all.

Stunning.