April 2016 Recap

I had a week away at the start of April, in County Cork and Norfolk, so I’ve been playing catch up for the rest of the month, and unfortunately haven’t seen several films that I wanted to catch in cinemas. Jacques Audiard’s Cannes-winner Dheepan, the first two Arabian Nights films by Miguel Gomes, The Brand New Testament, Louder Than Bombs…these have all eluded me as I’ve not been into London much, and they’re not yet available to stream (as far as I’m aware). However, being limited to the local multiplex does have an up side, and I’ve caught a few new releases this month that have surprised me by being better than I expected, including Eye In The Sky, The Jungle Book and Captain America: Civil War. Despite the week off I still managed to watch 25 films this month, of which 12 were new releases. In that respect I’ve been posting two reviews a day here and there, so thanks to those who are managing to keep up and retain an interest in whatever chuff I have to say.

So, I’ll start by quickly running through those 12 new films. Aside from the three mentioned above, which are well worth seeking out (even though The Jungle Book‘s director Jon Favreau seemed a little reticent to use the songs at his disposal), I also caught the fascinating documentary Speed Sisters, the one-take technical marvel that is Victoria and the French thriller Disorder (aka Maryland), all of which I’d also recommend. I liked Jeff Nichols’ latest, Midnight Special, and the new film by Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda, Our Little Sister. Wildly different, but both worth a watch. Later in April I was disappointed by Nasty Baby and Bastille Day – I can’t believe the latter has received some positive reviews, it’s very poor, bar one or two decent action sequences – and ultimately underwhelmed by Couple In A Hole, which never quite delivers on its intriguing premise. However the month ended well, with the aforementioned Captain America: Civil War successfully managing to deliver big-screen fun in spades, and Son Of Saul, which is my film of the month and possibly the best film I’ve seen in 2016 to date.

Uh…what else? I caught up with a few other recent releases, including The Witch, Sherpa, Sunset Song, Blind, Future Shock! The Story Of 2000AD and La Famille Bélier, with the first four of those making strong impressions. Eskil Vogt’s Blind in particular is a film that I already want to watch again. Talking of re-watches, I saw Eden again, which was my film of the year last year, and enjoyed it just as much the second time around. I also caught a couple of older films I’ve seen a few times before, The Dirty Dozen and The Running Man, as well as Penny Woolcock’s brilliant coastal documentary From The Sea To The Land Beyond (second review to come, so here’s a link to the first). Last, but by no means least, I finally caught up with J.C. Chandor’s impressive debut Margin Call, John Patrick Shanley’s well-acted Doubt, and for my April blindspot I watched Shane, one of the great 1950s westerns.

So, it was a really good month for me overall, and despite missing a few films at the cinema that I’d wanted to see I can’t complain. As stated above my film of the month for April, in terms of the new releases that I’ve managed to see, is Son Of Saul, the harrowing Holocaust drama that won the Best Foreign Language Film award at the Oscars earlier this year. It’s incredibly powerful, as you’d expect, and well worth your time and money.

Comments 8

  1. Jordan Dodd May 7, 2016

    Nice round-up! I can’t believe you have soooo many movies to choose from at theatres man. There is at most ten different movies playing in the only art-house-type cinema in my state. At least half of what you mentioned won’t make it here, and if it does it will be after the movie is on bloody DVD.

    Oh and High-Rise got a release date! It’s in June! The freaking movie is already streaming online! None it makes sense

    I am totally with you on Son of Saul, dunno if you saw my review, but I simply could not find fault. Amazing yet horrifying.

    There is a small feature on youtube about that insane opening scene of Son of Saul if you’re interested, the DOP (I think) explains what he was trying to achieve. I really like that he uses long takes but isn’t all flashy and wanky like Luzbeki.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NUcMT7HOIY – very interesting watch!

    Oh and that reminds me, I meant to ask, how is the camera-work in Victoria compared to say… Birdman? Like I say I find Luzbeki’s style a bit wanky.. I wanna see Victoria (inevitably on DVD) but I’m real curious to see how the single shot turns out.

    Sorry for the essay of a reply there

    • Stu May 7, 2016

      Well some of those I’ve watched on demand at home, through Curzon or other rental services. UK has become really good for that of late…there are lots of ways to see independent films the day or week that they come out. I can’t really find any fault with Son Of Saul either – it has taken me a week to write a review and I’m still not happy with it, but got to post it and move on really. Thanks very much for the link – I will definitely watch that later.
      I like Luzbeki a lot but the cinematography in Victoria is way less polished than his recent work; the camera’s hand-held for most (if not all of it) and the DP is on the move alongside the characters, getting in cars with them and following them up stairs and all that. I’m amazed you never see him reflected in a mirror or in glass!

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