I’m not even particularly passionate about cooking but Ratatouille is very much ‘up there’ as one of the best animated movies. Considering that it comes from the same family that created the Toy Story films, this should be no surprise.
Who can resist the beautiful tale of a rat with an all-consuming passion for cooking?
Now, I’m not suddenly saying that I like rats. I find the real life furry, long tailed beasts absolutely terrifying. But the magic of animation means that the most seemingly hideous beasts can be made to look more beautiful than anyone could’ve ever imagined.
As you can see from these pictures, there’s cuteness, definitely plenty of cuteness. Cuteness mixed in with comedy and the occasional action sequence, making for a super animated fantasy adventure.
Ratatouille is an inspirational tale. The sort with the types of positive, encouraging and lifting messages I’m sure I’ll never tire of hearing.
Oscar nominated for his moving portrayal of real life computer scientist, mathematician, logician and cryptanalyst, Alan Turing; Benedict Cumberbatch is an Actor whose work I must pay much closer attention to from now on.
His version of Turing, an important man in the history of Britain, especially during the Second World War and how it came to end when it did is brilliant.
Directed by Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game is a thrilling biographical drama that grabs you from the very beginning. You’ll find yourself laughing out loud in several parts, thanks to Graham Moore’s Oscar winning screenplay.
You’re also bound to chance upon feelings of gratitude for the times in which you live – whatever your background. Reason being, when you think about how things actually transpired for Turing in the very end, it’s worse than a great shame. Particularly considering the importance of the work he did in serving his country.
One of my favourite moments is the opening dialogue of Tyldum’s film. Reason being, it happens to be exactly what I want to say to people I watch movies with – as the voice of the movie. It’s basically what every film commands from audiences that sit down to watch.
If you haven’t already watched The Imitation Game and you want said opening dialogue to remain a surprise, stop reading now.
‘Are you paying attention? Good. If you’re not listening carefully, you will miss things. Important things. I will not pause, I will not repeat myself and you will not interrupt me.
You think that because you are sitting where you are and I am sitting where I am that you are in control of what is about to happen. You are mistaken. I am in control, because I know things that you don’t know. What I will need from you now is a commitment.
You will listen closely and you will not judge me until I have finished. If you cannot commit to this, then please leave the room. But if you choose to stay. remember you chose to be here. What happens from this moment forward is not my responsibility. It’s yours. Pay attention.’
Firstly, I love the name of the female star of the Gina Prince-Bythewood directed Beyond The Lights. If you didn’t already know, It’s British actress Gugu Mbartha-Raw.
The pressures of fame and success as a female in the music business is an important aspect of this carefully handled story – which also stars Minnie Driver, Nate Parker and Danny Glover.
As I watched, I found myself reminded of all the times that famous and wise musicians have emphasised the importance of surrounding oneself with ‘the right people’ – people who tell you the truth and those who absolutely have your best interests at heart.
There’s also a great message about personal truth and how it can be difficult to accept, but more often than not, when it finally is, therein lies the beginning of a journey toward one’s own version of happiness.
Sometimes being selfish is the only way. Especially since it’s from love of self and learning of / knowing one’s value that you have the strength to do what deep down you know you must.
Watch it because you’re curious about what the world of such a story can be like and because you want to know if and how the protagonist comes to fair under the pressures of both fame and her own personal truth.
Incase you weren’t already sure of what Richard Linklater’s Oscar winning film is about, It’s all in the title. To clarify, the audience is essentially invited to witness the life of an American family over 12 years and through the eyes of a young boy.
The story begins from childhood and continues to the point said boy, Mason – played by Ellar Coltrane, becomes a college student. Unsurprisingly, the film is nearly 3 hours long. The only time the length bothered me was within the first 30 minutes – the point after which things did become more interesting.
As a result of the movie being filmed over the extended period of 12 years and with the same Actors, the technical and narrative achievement is notable. Additionally, the profound sense of realism – the kind not often found on screen is one of the key reasons Boyhood is much celebrated.
What is also refreshing about Linklater’s film and style is the nuanced performances. There is no over explanation of everything. The audience is trusted to think and reach their own conclusions.
What I enjoyed most about Boyhood is the relationship the two main siblings have with their parents, particularly Mason’s interactions with his father (Ethan Hawke). The conversations they have and the father’s responses are just the kind of thing one would hope for.
Watch it because even though the title is Boyhood, the film also has something to say about motherhood, fatherhood, family and life in general.
My favourite thing about Birdman is the pleasant surprise of Zach Galifianakis in a serious dramatic role. Though not a particularly sizeable one, he does a brilliant job.
Directed by the apparently unpronounceably named Alejandro González Iñárritu, the acting, dialogue and distinct style of shooting are impressive.
It’s clear why critics love Birdman and equally so, why some of the general film watching public don’t. Something to do with the film not being quite ‘traditional.’
Regret about familial relationships and difficulty adapting to the changing environment are two of the key themes Iñárritu’s Oscar winning film explores.
The film is dark, both thematically and aesthetically. As such, cheered up is unlikely to be how you feel as you watch. That said however, you’ll be entertained because all the Actors deliver very noteworthy performances that result in Oscar nominations for Michael Keaton, Emma Stone and Edward Norton.
Audiences will get insight into what it can be like behind the scenes of a highly anticipated theatre production. Especially how peculiar things can become when said production is the responsibility of a formerly successful Actor who also happens to be extremely desperate for a comeback.
I particularly love the Time Square scene. Not because of its comedic value, but as commentary on how even when things still continue to go wrong after a long obstacle-filled struggle, you can find a way for the show to go on.
Happy Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) 🙂
The Theory of Everything is the love story of acclaimed theoretical physicist and cosmologist Professor Stephen Hawking and his wife, Jane.
For those hoping that The Theory of Everything will delve deeply into the science Hawkings is famous for, that’s not the emphasis here.
High quality performances are seen all round including the portrayal of Jane by Felicity Jones. However, it’s Eddie Redmayne’s incredible 2015 Best Actor Oscar winning turn as Hawking that generates nothing if not the utmost respect for his talents and handwork.
Redmayne manages to expertly embody Hawking’s physicality, emotions and famously mischievous sense of humour through the various stages of his life before and from the onset of motor neurone disorder.
Directed by James Marsh, this biography / drama for me, is about the beauty of friendship, love and most of all, what is possible with the human spirit.
As Hawking put it himself:
“There should be no boundary to human endeavour. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. While there is life, there is hope’.