|My film of the year: Brooklyn|
Odeon Screen UnseenThis time last year I started going with the family to the Odeon Screen Unseen showings – usually Monday nights, usually critically acclaimed, usually £5 a ticket. All good. The risk is you sit down not knowing what is going to come up on the screen! That way we got to see Nightcrawler, Whiplash, Selma, and It Follows last year – all fascinating in one or more ways. This week it was Room and when the title came up I was happy (and worried) because it was a book I had raced through earlier in the year, astonished at the tension built up by the narrative voice in Emma Donoghue’s novel. It could have gone either way.
|Emma Donoghue, Jacob Tremblay, Brie Larson - Room|
Room was excellent, I thought. The lean screenplay, the photography and editing, the final shot of the suburban garden in the snow…. All worthy of prizes but equally wonderful were the performances from the sublime Joan Allen as Nancy to the heroic Tom McCamus as Leo, from an intense William H Macy as Robert to Wendy Crewson as a devastatingly smooth TV interviewer – all cameos of great power. But could an Oscar nomination go to a 7-year old? Jacob Tremblay as Jack certainly goes through a convincing gamut of emotions in the film, spending half of the running time looking horribly ill. But I will be very surprised if Brie Larson isn’t nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. She, I think, plays unpredictably, sometimes unsympathetically, maternal but highly-strung, dead-eyed but full of life force, strong and vulnerable – and at all times, in my opinion, playing truthfully to the dramatic situation.
|In the Heart of the Sea, Murphy, Gleeson, Fairley, Whishaw, Hemsworth|
Ron Howard’s film about the loss of the whaling ship Essex and how it inspired Herman Melville’s Moby Dick is less obviously award-winning except possibly in the special effects categories. I wasn’t bored but my daughter spoke the truth when she said it had elements of the cartoon version of Thumbelina – ie one disaster after another. Chris Hemsworth scrubs down well (and looks truly wasted at times) and Ben Whishaw, Brendan Gleeson and Michelle Fairley can do no wrong in my eyes; as for Cillian Murphy, I would watch him read the phone directory. But there was something about the structure of the movie (the script, maybe?) that meant I cared very little about the outcome, though absolutely cheered for the whales (and excellent dolphin performances, too.) Oscars for the special effects, I think, and thank you to Cineworld who presented this in an early Secret Screening!
|Carol, Mad Max: Fury Road, Mr Holmes, Diary of a Teenage Girl, Ex Machina|