7 items from 2015
Read More`: London Film Festival Adds Game Designer Alistair Hope to Lff Connects Talk Series The BFI London Film Festival has announced a new addition to the Lff Connects Series that is sure to make documentary fans celebrate. Academy Award-winning producer Simon Chinn ("Man On Wire," "Project Nim," "Searching for Sugarman" and "The Green Prince") will join BAFTA-winning TV broadcaster Louis Theroux ("Weird Weekends" and "When Louis Met...") for a discussion on television's intersection with film on Monday, October 12th. Both Chinn and Theroux's work has led them to deal with the same dilemmas: "Do certain ideas lend themselves to film and others to television? Or are we moving towards a future where those lines become more indistinct as media platforms converge?" The 59th Annual BFI London Film Festival marks a particularly special occasion for Theroux, as his first theatrical feature will have »
- Elle Leonsis
The controversial social psychologist Stanley Milgram gets a biopic as polymorphous as one of his own research studies in “Experimenter,” a highly formal, always fascinating movie from writer-director Michael Almereyda, who here delivers his most fully realized effort in the 15 years since his modern-dress “Hamlet” starring Ethan Hawke. Almereyda conceives of Milgram’s life and work as a kind of constantly evolving theater piece and runs with the idea, resulting in a decidedly Brechtian bit of filmmaking that routinely breaks the fourth wall and employs other bits of theatrical artifice to tell its tale. Such old-school indie-art-movie quirks won’t be to everyone’s liking, but for those who imbibe, “Experimenter” offers a heady brew of theories about the essence of human nature, and a Peter Sarsgaard performance that catches Milgram in all his seductive, megalomaniacal brilliance.
Milgram made his name in the more permissive, laissez-faire era of university-sponsored scientific »
- Scott Foundas
By Anjelica Oswald
After narrowing the Oscar documentary feature shortlist to five at the 87th Academy Award nominations Jan. 15, a number of notable exclusions were featured, particularly Al Hicks‘ Keep on Keepin’ On, which documents the mentorship and friendship of a jazz legend and a blind piano prodigy, and Steve James‘ Life Itself, about the life and career of famed film critic Roger Ebert. (James is no stranger to snubs and the exclusion of his 1994 film Hoop Dreams led to rule reform within the documentary category.) Both films hold 97 percent positive ratings on Rotten Tomatoes.
Some films surprised when they didn’t even land a spot on the shortlist, such as Red Army, which examines the rise and fall of the Soviet Union’s hockey team from the perspective of its coach. That film holds a 100 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
In light of these best documentary feature snubs, »
- Anjelica Oswald
By Anjelica Oswald
Making the transition from documentary to feature film — or vice versa — can be difficult, but some filmmakers are well-known for jumping between the two styles. Bennett Miller, whose directorial debut was the documentary The Cruise, has made three feature films, including this year’s Oscar contender Foxcatcher.
The Theory of Everything, another of this year’s Oscar contenders, was directed by James Marsh, who received an Oscar nomination for his documentary Man on Wire (2008), which showcases Philippe Petit’s unauthorized high-wire walk between the World Trade Center buildings in 1974. He is also well-known for his documentary Project Nim (2011), about a chimpanzee raised like a human child. Both films garnered him BAFTA nominations: Man on Wire for best British film and Project Nim for best documentary. If Marsh, who received a BAFTA nomination for directing The Theory of Everything, is nominated for a best director Oscar, »
- Anjelica Oswald
UK cinema in 2015 has plenty to recommend it. Here are 36 UK films of all genres to look forward to this year…
Dig past the litterfall of Kray Brothers biopics and tales of nubile teens on camping trips gone wrong, and you’ll unearth plenty for the UK film industry to boast about in 2015. From sci-fi romps and thrillers like Robot Overlords and Ex Machina to dramas like High-Rise, comedies like War On Everyone, spy flicks like Spectre and kids’ films like Bill, there’s no shortage of inventive, highly promising cinema coming from these isles.
We’ve included a few choice co-productions in 2015’s pick of the year’s most interesting-looking pictures, which bolsters our list in both size and breadth (and mostly means we Brits can claim partial credit for ace-sounding dystopian flick The Lobster).
In alphabetical order then, here are the 36 UK (or UK-ish) movies we’re excited about seeing this year… »
James Marsh, the British director of documentaries Man on Wire and Project Nim and a third of the very dark Red Riding TV trilogy, here turns in an accomplished but conventional biopic of Professor Stephen Hawking. Literately scripted by Anthony McCarten from the memoir by the subject’s ex-wife, Jane Hawking, the film follows the physicist from carefree cycling days in Cambridge, through the onset of motor neurone disease, to A Brief History of Time and the advent of the world’s most recognised electronic voice. It feels churlish to complain that the film is uncritical; we’re talking about one of the transcendent intellects of our age, so what’s to criticise? But this Working Title production is somewhat fuzzily life-affirming, and you wonder whether Hawking in his youth was quite as irrepressibly impish »
- Jonathan Romney
Though its title indicates otherwise, James Marsh's earnest domestic drama The Theory of Everything focuses less on its subject Stephen Hawking's work and more on his uniquely complex, uniquely devoted relationship with first wife Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones).
Eddie Redmayne gives an intelligent, endearingly guileless performance as Hawking, who we first meet as a hale and hearty Cambridge undergraduate months away from his diagnosis with motor neurone disease. Given two years to live, his main source of support becomes then-new girlfriend Jane, who resolves to stand by him despite the grim odds, and whose 2008 memoir Travelling to Infinity inspired the film.
7 items from 2015
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