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By midlandsmovies, Nov 12 2018 07:12PM

MIdlands Feature - Cinematic Crusade - The Best Robin Hood movies


With Robin Hood, not since Sherlock Holmes has an iconic British legend been turned into so many movie adaptations over the years.


A report from the NME earlier this year says there are 7 Robin Hood films in the works. However, having just reviewed Robin Hood: The Rebellion I think they’ve missed at least one. Well, 7 or 8 is still a huge number for the same brand recognition but one thing is for sure – it’s a legend ripe for the reimagining!


With so many iterations over the years – from 1908’s "Robin Hood and his Merry Men" which marks the first appearance of the outlaw on screen to porn parody “Virgins of Sherwood Forest” – there hasn’t been a genre that the Robin mythos hasn’t been adapted into. But which of the many versions are the best? Well, with ours and Robin’s Midlands origins we attempt to look at 10 of the best Robin Hood films from cinematic folklore. Please read on...





10. Robin Hood (1991) Directed by John Irvin

The first of two 1991 Robin Hood films on our list – take a wild guess at the other – sees Patrick Bergin embody the outlaw whilst an up-and-coming actress by the name of Uma Thurman stars as Maid Marian. Directed by John “Raw Deal” Irvin and produced by John “Die Hard” McTiernan, sadly don’t expect too much in the way of solid action but owing to Kevin Costner’s huge film later in the year, this film has been regularly overlooked and certainly underappreciated. Fighting nobility, the plot uses the same set up as the 1938 film where a war between Normans and Saxons gets things moving but the movie sadly, and unwisely, jettisons the Sheriff of Nottingham (why?) for some new villains. Filmed on location at Peckforton Castle in Cheshire – a non-Nottingham theme we’ll be seeing more of later – the 19-year age gap between Begin and Thurman is a bit icky but it’s well worth checking out as a bit of a curio in the history of Hood on film.


Hood Fact: The use of "Your Majesty" wasn’t used until almost 200 years later, the word “thugs” derives from the Thuggee which Brits wouldn’t encounter for another five centuries, the bloodhound was not a favoured dog breed until the 1500s and when Friar Tuck says he can afford swan's breast in Madeira, the country wasn't actually discovered until 1419 so he would have had difficulty! To be fair, many of the other films on this list commit worse crimes than these nit-picks.



9. Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960) Directed by Terence Fisher

Tagline: “The NEW and Greatest Adventures of Robin Hood... The World's Most Renowned Swordsman!" Sword? Surely bow and arrow? Anyways, a little-seen version, Sword of Sherwood Forest is a Hammer Film Production (them of ‘horror’ fame) and stars Richard Greene – who reprises the role he played in The Adventures of Robin Hood TV series from 1955 to 1959. Hammer stalwart Peter Cushing takes on the part of the Sheriff of Nottingham who has nefarious plans to confiscate a rich estate and, as always, is thwarted by Hood acting on the side of good. Several clumsy sword fights can be forgiven owing to a genuine love for the material and acting heavyweight Oliver Reed appears, but is re-dubbed, as Lord Melton. Unlike a few hammy Hammer sets, the film looks glorious filmed as it was on location in County Wicklow, Ireland – but again not in Nottingham sadly.


Hood Fact: From 1954 to 1967 Hammer Film Productions released three different movies starring the famous outlaw – as well as this there was The Men of Sherwood Forest (1954) and A Challenge for Robin Hood (1967).



8. Robin Hood (2010) Directed by Ridley Scott

Well, it’s not perfect. And then some. Seminal director Ridley Scott – a man known for his visual prowess and epic scale – takes the legend and sadly removes any fun despite a film filled with great actors and impressive locations. Here, Australian Russell Crowe is cast as Robin and is not the first, and no doubt won’t be the last, person to struggle with an English accent. His infamous BBC radio interview had him hopping mad – then walking out – when its authenticity was questioned (click here). Alongside Crowe is one of the best casts in the business, which includes Cate Blanchett, William Hurt, Mark Strong, Mark Addy, Oscar Isaac, Danny Huston, Eileen Atkins, and Max von Sydow. Yet it was the stodgy story and dour delivery that had people turning their noses up. Where’s Robin’s sense of mischief? Where is the adventure? Where is the film’s joy? For all its flaws though, you can still appreciate the fantastic Scott set pieces. Although, when seeing this film for the first time at the cinema I can still remember laughing out loud at the slow-motion sequence of Crowe popping out the sea (sea? In the legendary land-locked Nottingham?) in a shot of such ludicrous “epic-ness” there’s a perverse enjoyment of a film that takes a jaunty tale so seriously. You have been warned.


Hood Fact: The film's budget ballooned from $155 million to $200 million. Scott robbing from the rich film companies to deliver a poor film.



7. Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964) Directed by Gordon Douglas

A 60s musical set in Chicago during the Prohibition where two rival gangs compete for control of the city's rackets seems an unlikely interpretation but with so many films of Robin Hood appearing over the years, it’s these new takes that can standout amongst such a busy marketplace. Written by David R. Schwartz and produced by (and starring) Frank Sinatra, the film sees new mob boss Guy Gisborne (Peter Falk) ordering other gangsters in town to pay him protection whilst “Robbo” (Sinatra) gets together a band of merry men including pool hustler Little John (Dean Martin) and Will (Sammy Davis Jr.). Before long, the gangster ends up robbing from the rich and giving to a poor city orphanage. In a twist however, Barbara Rush as Marian Stevens (Maid Marian) is as duplicitous as they come, playing off both sides and looking out only for herself and stealing tainted money. Mostly a spoof, the film features the rat-pack stars belting out a variety of slick speakeasy hits including "My Kind of Town" which is the centrepiece number and was nominated for the 1964 Academy Award for Best Original Song. A quirky oddity, there’s enough swinging style to give Robin an updated unravelling by jumping into the seedy gangster genre.


Hood Fact: For a legend often containing imprisonments, ransoms and money exchanges, a scene depicting a kidnapping was filmed for Robin and the 7 Hoods but was quickly cut when star Frank Sinatra's son was kidnapped in real life. The 19-year old was released soon after after Sinatra paid the $240,000 demanded.



6. Robin and Marian (1976) Directed by Richard Lester

Before tackling his own American icon in Superman II, director Richard Lester went back to the past heroes of the UK with this period romantic adventure starring Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn. Strangely including comedian Ronnie Barker as Friar Tuck, the film was mostly shot in sunny old Eng—actually in Zamora, Artajona and Orgi in Spain – standing in for France rather than the Midlands at times too. With this suspect geographical anomaly (a Robin Hood film tradition you will see as we continue to go through the list), the movie had big names, a score composed by John “007” Barry and came off the back of Lester’s take on another classic swashbuckler The Three Musketeers (1973). It moves away from the traditional narrative where we get an aging Robin Hood fighting abroad before his return to Nottingham but [SHOCK HORROR SPOILER WARNING] he actually dies at the end. An interesting look at age, legends, love and wisdom, Robin and Marian may be one of the most complex, and interesting, versions of the nostalgic tale to date.


Hood Fact: Connery seems inexplicably linked to the Hood fable from his appearance here to his cameo as King Richard the Lionheart in Prince of Thieves (1991). He also appeared in Time Bandits (1981) which featured John Cleese’s comical Robin Hood. And it doesn’t stop there as his own son Jason Connery would later play Robin Hood in Robin of Sherwood (1984)!



5. Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993) Directed by Mel Brooks

Parodying the Robin Hood myth – but more specifically the 1938 and 1991 film versions – Mel Brooks undoes some of the legend’s classicism and replaces it with the pratfalls, visual jokes and verbal gags seen in Brook’s previous comedies. Cary Ewes plays a solid Robin holding together the chaotic narrative stemming from the eclectic support cast and bit-players which includes Dave Chappelle (in his first film role and clearly inspired by Morgan Freeman’s Moor), Isaac Hayes, Tracey Ullman, Patrick Stewart and even Dom DeLuise. A point-of-view shot following an arrow’s impossible journey around a forest (in the trailer only no less) is another direct reference to Prince of Thieves and whilst it pokes fun, it respects the story’s heart and never feels like a direct dig at the tale. Favourite line? “Unlike other Robin Hoods, I can speak with an English accent”. With this and some actors interacting with the crew on screen, Men in Tights takes a swipe at a number of past performances whilst warmly acknowledging the history of Hood on film into the bargain.


Hood Fact: As mentioned several times already, the geography of Great Britain is again suspect here – maybe intentionally so given the film’s parodic nature – but at the end of the movie when the camera is zooming out the castle is shown to be around Milton Keynes. Tut Tut.



4. Robin Hood (1973) Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman

Can humanoid cartoon animals portray historical characters better than Russell Crowe? You bet your ass they can! Disney’s box office success found fans owing to its excellent voice cast, fun animation and catchy tunes and although it may have aged a little worse than its initial box office suggested, the movie’s biggest draw is its entertaining and light-hearted take on the hero. Languishing in development hell since the mouse house’s Snow White (1937) the tale is inspired by Reynard the Fox – a medieval fable featuring a trickster red fox character. This version’s Little John shares eerie similarities with Baloo from The Jungle Book (1967) who was also a bear that had been voiced by Phil Harris and classic sequences are incorporated from the traditional Robin Hood narrative. One such take is the cordial tree-crossing in which Robin Hood and Little John wander over a fallen tree which bridges a river – this twists their usual legendary fight at the same location.


Hood Fact: The famous gap on Terry-Thomas' teeth was incorporated into the design of the character he voices, Sir Hiss (a snake) – and it makes a handy opening for his forked tongue to dart out from.



3. Robin Hood (1922) Directed by Allan Dwan

As the first film ever to have a Hollywood premiere, held at the now legendary Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre, Robin Hood was also one of the most expensive films of the 20s with a one-million-dollar budget. Douglas Fairbanks stars in this black and white silent movie as Earl of Huntingdon/Robin Hood and with sword fights, castles, horse chases and a feather in his hat, this much-lauded classic help set up many of the tropes we know from the films today. A massive film for its time, its use of over 1200 extras can be seen in spectacular battle scenes in huge Hollywood scale with some of its impressive sets being designed by architect Lloyd “Hollywood Bowl” Wright.


Hood Fact: Alan Hale, Sr. made such an impression as Little John in this film that he reprised the role sixteen years later in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) opposite Errol Flynn. Then he played the character again in Rogues of Sherwood Forest in 1950, 28 years after his initial performance in this original.



2. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) Directed by Michael Curtiz

Considered by many to be the definitive Robin Hood interpretation, the film is most known for Errol Flynn’s magnetic performance of Robin but director Curtiz (of Casablanca and Mildred Pierce fame no less) should be equally lauded for helming this legendary production. As well as Flynn, superstar Olivia de Havilland stars as Lady Marian Fitzwalter (Maid Marian) whilst Basil Rathbone takes the role of Guy of Gisbourne. Melville Cooper’s take on the High Sheriff of Nottingham is underrated and once again a film company (this time Warner Bros.) made their most expensive film ever with its budget being a richly $2 million. With its adventure spirit, a host of dramatic yet charismatic performances and fantastic fights, this film is rightly held as the pinnacle of chivalric swashbuckling on film and won Academy Awards for Art Direction, Editing and Original Score from celebrated composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold.


Hood Fact: James Cagney (of Curtiz’s earlier film Angels with Dirty Faces) was originally cast as Robin but walked out on his Warner Bros. contract and the filming was postponed three years, as a result – but paved the way for the role to go to Flynn.



1. Prince of Thieves (1991) Directed by Kevin Reynolds

As I have mentioned before on this site 1991 was a brilliant year for film which saw Terminator 2, Silence of the Lambs and JFK having huge critical and commercial success but it was Bryan Adams’ soundtrack song to Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves that takes me back to that infamous year. Spending what felt like 16 years atop the charts at number one (it was in fact a record-breaking 16 long WEEKS) the song’s cheesy love lyrics also earnt it an Academy Award but was the perfect accompaniment to a film that was (and still is to me) one of the guiltiest pleasures of the nineties. Costner’s intense and dodgy-accented New Orleans attorney in JFK from the same year was left behind for the dodgy-accented outlaw in a film which balanced both folk tale fun alongside serious issues of history, honour and guilt. Stealing the show of course is Alan Rickman’s BAFTA winning turn as the Sheriff which cemented his career playing legendary villains. It was also Rickman who brought in friend Ruby Wax to improve the Sheriff’s scripted dialogue. Also in on the act is a superb support cast including Morgan Freeman, Christian Slater and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio who all give a bit of a depth to the characters we’ve seen dozens of times before. The brilliant rousing music score was composed by Michael Kamen and was subsequently used on Walt Disney trailers and gives me chills each and every time I hear it. The movie contains a split arrow sequence that nods to Flynn’s 1938 archery contest scene, a Sean Connery cameo as King John (who else, huh?) and lots of laughs and action that entertains to this day. Having kept the VHS of this film – I think it was the first one I ever bought – I’ve always had a soft spot for it and although it’s so cheesy it should be served with crackers, the film’s tone is the perfect adventure mix of silly and serious.


Hood Fact: Everyone always dismisses the film’s geography – land in Dover, get to Hadrian’s Wall then enter Nottingham by nightfall on foot but…..if the cliff is just a cliff and the wall just a wall then you can land in Grimsby at 5am in Summer and get to Loxley near Sheffield in 62 miles which is just kinda possible. And that’s what I’m sticking to.


Michael Sales

By midlandsmovies, Dec 19 2017 08:54AM

Top 5 Christmas Movies


Midlands Movies writer Guy Russell gets in the Christmas spirit by choosing his personal top 5 festive films that bring a warm feeling to his winter heart.


Well, it's that time of year again. The season of festivities, goodwill and a large amount of Christmas films showing in either the cinema or through the television at home. From childhood classics to black comedy capers here are my Top Five Christmas films.




1) Home Alone (1990)


An obvious choice but rightly so. Premiering in 1990, over the past 27 years Home Alone has cemented itself as a holiday classic. Starring Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McAllister, a 10-year-old boy whose parents have accidentally left him home alone in the madness of making a plane to Paris for the festive season. Burglars Harry and Marv (Joe Pesci & Daniel Stern respectively) are working the McAllister’s street not knowing Kevin is left behind. What ensues is a hilarious, chaotic fight to claim the house.


With a brilliant score by John Williams, family-friendly direction by Chris Columbus and original screenplay by John Hughes, not only is Home Alone a Christmas favourite but a favourite all year around.


Honourable Mention: Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992). Whilst repetitive and overlong, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York recreates some of the same magic the first had one has, adding the festive New York atmosphere into the mix as well as the hilarious addition of Tim Curry as a snobby hotel concierge.



2) The Muppets Christmas Carol (1992)


One of the greatest and most heavily adapted stories of all time, A Christmas Carol is brought to life in a unique way in The Muppets Christmas Carol. A live-action musical starring an on-form Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge whilst the supporting cast feature Kermit, Mrs Piggy and the rest of The Muppets. As a comedy film with modern songs and puppets it would have surprised many when this film revealed itself to be one of the most faithful re-enactments of Charles Dickens story. Michael Caine brings the film to life as Scrooge is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve night, they visit the past, present and future in the hope he can see the error of his ways and redeem himself.


The cold, bleak, Victorian London setting is realised fantastically and compliments the film further as a Christmas classic.


Honourable Mention: Scrooge (1951). Another adaptation of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge is a lot more straightforward than The Muppets take on the subject matter. Alastair Sim portrays the titular character here brilliantly however when first released the film didn’t take off, only finding an audience many years later.



3) Die Hard (1988)


Recently voted “Britain’s favourite Christmas film” by the British public, this action adventure film from John McTiernan splits fans down the middle as to whether or not it can be classed as a “true” Christmas film.


The odds are stacked against off-duty police officer John McClane as he is trapped in a L.A. skyscraper during a Christmas Eve party while terrorists storm the building led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman). Released during July 1988, it became a smash hit summer blockbuster. With its sunny Los Angeles setting it’s easy to see why some people disregard Die Hard as a Christmas film however the merry soundtrack and seasonal references are peppered throughout bolstering the argument this is one of the greatest Christmas films of all time.


Honourable Mention: Die Hard 2 (1990) Suffering from the same problem Home Alone 2 had, this sequel was accused of being too repetitive when first released as John McClane fights more terrorists on Christmas Eve, this time at an airport. It has become a firm favourite since then too, myself finding it greatly entertaining. It even has snow this time around!



4) The Family Stone (2005)


One film that doesn’t pop up on these lifts very often is The Family Stone, a comedy-drama film that follows the Stone family as they gather at their parent’s home, amongst them is Everett Stone (Dermot Mulroney) who introduces his family to his new fiancée Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker) during the holidays. However, she receives a hostile reception and invites her own sister to stay causing further complications.


The Family Stone is a Christmas film that doesn’t get much air time come the festive season and it’s a shame. A moderate box-office and critical hit, it’s funny enough and has some real dramatic clout. It has a real slice of life feel to the film as there are awkward dinners, family rifts and arguments over spouses whilst balancing the comedy well.


If you’re after a snowy, Christmas setting with a fun premise then I would definitely recommend The Family Stone.


Honourable mention: Christmas Vacation (1989). Everyone’s favourite screwball family The Griswold’s return as they plan a big family Christmas involving both Clark and Ellen’s parents. Similar to The Family Stone in the sense that the family rarely get on for longer than ten minutes however in traditional John Hughes fashion the film doesn’t pass by without a happy, festive finale.



5) Bad Santa (2003)


Produced by the Coen Brothers and starring Billy Bob Thornton, Bad Santa was always going to be close to the knuckle and it does not disappoint. Alcoholic safe cracker Willie (Billy Bob Thornton) and fellow thief Marcus (Tony Cox) hit a mall every year at Christmas whilst posing as the stores Santa and his little helper, complications arise however when Willie befriends a troubled boy.


One of the crudest but funniest Christmas films of all time, Bad Santa will have some opposition for its less than gleeful outlook on the season however its use of advent calendars and store Santa’s more than make up for it.


If you’re a fan of the comedic talents of John Ritter, Bernie Mac and Billy Bob Thornton then check Bad Santa out! Just avoid the 2016 sequel.


Honourable mention: The Night Before (2015). Booze, Drugs and Debauchery come together to produce a Christmas three friends will never forget. The Night Before stars Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Anthony Mackie as childhood friends who get together every Christmas Eve to support Ethan (Levitt) who lost his family at Christmas. They decide to end their tradition but not without going out with a bang. The Night Before is a welcome addition to the adult Christmas genre providing enough laughs for the viewer to remember why they’re having such a good time.


Guy Russell

https://twitter.com/BudGuyer


By midlandsmovies, Dec 17 2017 05:23PM

Midlands Movies Favourite Films of 2017





20. What Happened to Monday Dir. Tommy Wirkola

What we said: “The film’s chases, fire-fights, explosions and shoot-outs will satisfy fans of action yet it is so well constructed, with decent narrative and character development, that these have an emotional weight as an audience sides with the siblings’ plight. A career high for the director and with Rapace returning on a high from an earlier cinematic stinker, the film sits alongside Snowpiercer and Predestination as a fantastic under-valued science fiction story”.

Click here for full review





19. The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017) Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos

What we said: “With one of the best casts of the year, the film will find its fans in those willing to go to the darkest and most gruesome places and uses an antiquated literary device to help provide its metaphorical narrative. It feels that it exists beyond its ancient allegory and with perfect performances, the movie will hopefully gain interest for its artistry alone but in fact leaves an audience with so much more to contemplate”.

Click here for full review




18. Logan Dir. James Mangold

What we said: [Robb Sheppard REVIEW] “All the ingredients are there: Logan’s relationship with Patrick Stewart’s infirm Xavier is touching and shows a tenderness previously unseen, whilst his role reversed turn as a father figure to a young girl sees him move closer to the feeling of family that he’s been so afraid of. This is the finest X-Men outing yet and a near-perfect presentation of a jaded, aging, flawed hero”.

Click here for full review




17. Jackie Dir. Pablo Larraín

What we said: “With a constant shift from public to private, and back again, director Pablo Larraín films many of the scenes in a Kubrick-esque one-point-perspective which both signifies institutional structures but maintains the focus on the lead performance as the world spins around her. Jackie is a rare insight into the private world of a very public figure”.

Click here for full review




16. Mommy Dead and Dearest Dir. Erin Lee Carr

What we said: “The juxtaposition of interesting witnesses, side tales and the natural twists and turns of a barely believable story keeps the interest up. Tackling the lofty subject matter of neglect and child abuse alongside the mystery of a murder case, Mommy Dead and Dearest is terrifying yet very honest in its portrayal of the depths of dishonesty”.

Click here for full review




15. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Dir. James Gunn

What we said: “GOTG Vol. 2 is an exceptional feat. The film could be the best-looking Marvel film to date with its eye-popping colour palette and with outstanding costumes, make-up and special effects scenes will satisfy the action fans. However, for me it showed that if you care about your leads then these are hugely heightened and the film’s best asset is Gunn himself in delivering the whole package of a blockbuster franchise and is the Guardian of his own gorgeous galaxy”.

Click here for full review




14. Christine Dir. Antonio Campos

What we said: “Hall does superb work with a complex character that could have easily been exploitative. It avoids focusing on the terrible incident that made her “famous” and attempts to explain what could have caused such a tragedy. Christine’s career-minded female juggling the demands of work, love and womanhood exposes the mental strain of life yet handles all of these difficult themes with compassion and without judgement”.

Click here for full review




13. Baby Driver Dir. Edgar Wright

What we said: [Kira Comerford REVIEW] “Baby Driver proved to be a highly entertaining ride. There are some huge chase scenes to be found throughout...where I sat forward in my chair, mouth wide open, holding my breath with my eyes glued to the screen”.

Click here for full review




12. I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore Dir. Macon Blair

What we said: “One of the biggest and best surprises of the year so far, a superb central performance shows how one frustrated nobody can go almost full-on “John Wick” in the face of an apathetic society. Funny and fascinating, this indie gem uses the reluctant hero trope to perfection as an awkward misfit becomes involved in crimes just by circumstance and bad luck. Yet, there’s no bad luck in the execution by the filmmaker who delivers a knock-out punch of hilarity and humanity”.

Click here for full review




11. The LEGO Batman Movie Dir. Chris McKay

What we said: “The references are nicely woven into the fabric of the film and the jokes hit the mark far more times than they miss. A cool comic comedy, I’d recommend this to anyone who loves Batman and his history over the years and whilst younger kids may not get all the history, the film is enough of a fun family romp to be enjoyed by any audience looking for lots of laughs”.

Click here for full review




10. Brigsby Bear Dir. Dave McCary

What we said: “The low budget nature of their endeavours clearly reflect the filmmakers’ own passions and every positive ounce of that is on screen. Good-natured without being drippy, Brigsby Bear invokes the best parts of child-like innocence and exalts the benefits of simplicity in order to find the basic joys in an ever confusing world. Brilliant”.

Click here for full review



9. Get Out Dir. Jordan Peele

What we said: “A suitable sense of dread is created, not with any jump cuts (although there are a couple) but with an interesting narrative, story development and unsettling atmosphere, Who would have thought such basics would really appeal to cinema fans? Eh, Hollywood? Peele keeps it simple and the film is all the better for it and all the characters are played well be a cast of diverse actors who held hold the whole film together, without ever falling into horror-cliché territory”.

Click here for full review




8. Hacksaw Ridge Dir. Mel Gibson

What we said: “A fully rounded cast deliver a great screenplay and although Garfield as Doss takes centre stage, it really is an ensemble film with everyone delivering their role to perfection no matter how big or small. Catch this as soon as possible and tinsel town’s biggest outcast has once again come in from the cold to deliver a passion project that favours hope over horror on the big screen”.

Click here for full review




7. Free Fire Dir. Ben Wheatley

What we said: “Wheatley has created a sharp action thrill fest...and with a fantastic cast it aims to be more than a throwaway list of killings. Although it’s a little rough and ready round the edges, the film uses this to its advantages making Free Fire a comical accomplishment that will engage fans of Wheatley’s work but will widen his appeal with something more commercially accessible”.

Click here for full review




6. Miss Sloane Dir. John Madden

What we said: “Having already been won over by Chastain’s central performance and the tight script, the film concludes with somewhat of a twist ending I didn’t see coming. But all of the narrative – and almost all of the scenes throughout – squarely rests at the door of Chastain...It’s an intense single piece of acting that without which the movie would simply fall apart. Miss Sloane ends as a well-made and brilliantly paced character study that covers both personal and political themes”.

Click here for full review




5. The Love Witch Dir. Anna Biller

What we said: “Enchanting and engaging, The Love Witch sees Biller creating a multifaceted masterpiece that, whilst on the surface tells the story of a technicolour temptress, is a far more magical experience mixing low-budget tropes with high-brow awareness”.

Click here for full review




4. Raw Dir. Julia Ducournau

What we said: “Raw infects the audience with an orgy of limbs whilst Justine’s withdrawal is depicted in a painfully straight forward filming style. Raw takes the flesh-eating concept and attempts to normalise its presentation. The film becomes a biting metaphor for growing up and its effects on the body and succeeds on many levels and after it had finished I found an obsession with its images and themes and longed for another taste of its delicious pleasures”.

Click here for full review




3. Dunkirk Dir. Christopher Nolan

What we said: [Kira Comerford REVIEW] “....Overall, Dunkirk is a knock-out. It’s a grown-up film that can be enjoyed by the younger generations, and works to give a three-dimensional view of how events played out during this amazing operation that took place in WWII. It combines terrific performances with a score that ratchets tension perfectly, and visuals that place you right at the heart of the action”.

Click here for full review




2. The Last Jedi Dir. Rian Johnson

What we said: “With an expansion of its themes and both the classic and new characters finding their place The Last Jedi will hopefully satisfy super Star Wars nerds and general film audiences too. With such great filmmaking from Johnson, it’s a huge task to tackle the lore and the fan expectations of the infamous space opera, but the director more than comes through. Yet the main thing is the film is a lot of fun. Lots of unadulterated fun. And like the best cinema has to offer The Last Jedi leaves you both with a smile on your face and a lump in your throat”.

Click here for full review




1. Loving Vincent by Dorota Kobiela & Hugh Welchman

What we said: “It’s all too easy to allude to this as a masterpiece but a masterpiece it is nonetheless. In the end, Loving Vincent provides a portrait of a conflicting and unknowable sequence of past events that maintains the celebrated artist’s place in the art world. The story, music, acting and, of course, the unique painted design combine perfectly to create a dazzling canvas to be studied over, and most of all enjoyed, like Vincent’s best works already are”.

Click here for full review


Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Jun 2 2017 09:09PM



Well, it's been nearly 5 years since I launched Midlands Movies and in 2012 I did one of my first ever blogs by writing a simple feature about my favourite 50 films of all time (click here).


This was done straight off the top of my head so after all this time I thought it would be very intresting to do it again! Will any of them change? What has aged well and which are no longer sitting in my favour, I wonder?


As always, these lists are entirely subjective and with *only* 50 to choose from I have obviously missed out some great films I love but thought it would be intriguing to put out a new list so many years later.


So, below is the full 50 films (and I have to clearly state that these are in no particular order):


1 Back to the Future Trilogy

2 Alien Quadrilogy

3 The Dark Knight

4 Almost Famous

5 The Big Lebowski

6 Goodfellas

7 Withnail and I

8 Die Hard

9 Dr Strangelove

10 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

11 The Fall

12 Fight Club

13 12 Angry Men

14 The Godfather 1 & 2

15 Groundhog Day

16 Heat

17 Indiana Jones Trilogy

18 Batman '89

19 Jurassic Park

20 LA Confidential

21 Gladiator

22 The Matrix

23 Memento

24 Gravity

25 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

26 The Prestige

27 Psycho

28 Pulp Fiction

29 JFK

30 Reservoir Dogs

31 Robocop

32 Schindlers List

33 Toy Story Trilogy

34 Star Wars: Original Trilogy

35 The Silence of Lambs

36 Some like it Hot

37 Inception

38 This Is Spinal Tap

39 T2: Judgment Day

40 Trainspotting

41 Unforgiven

42 Django Unchained

43 Wall E

44 The Wolf of Wall St

45 The Warriors

46 Shawshank Redemption

47 Lord of the Rings Trilogy

48 Se7en

49 Zodiac

50 Mad Max: Fury Road


A quick check shows that the following great films have slipped out the list after 5 years:

American Beauty, Anchorman, Minority Report, Raging Bull, Requiem for a Dream, True Romance, Chinatown, Sin City, The Sixth Sense, Spiderman 2, Team America: World Police and Full Metal Jacket.


These were replaced by The Fall, Groundhog Day, Heat, Memento, Gravity, The Prestige, Trainspotting, Unforgiven, Django Unchained, The Wolf of Wall St, Zodiac and Mad Max: Fury Road


Maybe in a few years I will do another check of these and no doubt some will stick around and some will move on - and again allow myself some trilogies in there to get more films in! LOL.


Midlands Movies Mike






By midlandsmovies, Feb 26 2017 10:55PM



Midlands Movies 2017 Film Award Winners


First of all, the Midlands Movies crew and I would like to say a great big thank you to everyone who made suggestions and nominations for our first ever film awards.


A special thank you should also go to all the artistic filmmakers, actors, writers, directors and more who have shown throughout the last 12 months that the Midlands region is a hot bed of talented folk from across different communities and locations.


Midlands Movies is very grateful for your enthusiasm and support in our efforts to help celebrate the brilliantly gifted artists who endeavour to tell their stories no matter what they may be and advance the local filmmaking industry.


And your encouragement has also helped build on the achievements of the Midlands filmmakers, so we would like to reward the hard work and accomplishments of those involved, and showcase this talent to the rest of the UK and beyond.


Winners were certainly not easy to decide upon as the selections were all of such a high quality. Therefore big congratulations go to all of the films submitted as we enjoyed each and every one of them. Finally, Midlands Movies hopes that this celebration can help ensure an even more successful movie awards as we develop an event for next year.


Until then, we have the pleasure in announcing the following Midlands Movies 2017 Film Award winners in each category below.


Mike Sales

Editor, Midlands Movies



Cinematography

Nominations: Transcended, Our Father, The Long Way Home, Archway 0173, Dolls

WINNER: Karl Poyzer (Transcended)


Costume Design

Nominations: The Long Way Home, Hollow Men, Night Owls

WINNER: Sammy-May Buxton (Hollow Men)


Documentary

Nominations: JA40: The Junction Arts Story, Who Killed British Cinema

WINNER: Robin Dutta & Vinod Mahindru (Who Killed British Cinema)


Editing

Nominations: Archway 0173, Static, Dolls, Squidge, Working Girl

WINNER: Keith Allott (Dolls/Archway 0173)


Actress in Leading Role

Nominations: GRID, Static, Squidge, Arrivals: Rachel, Crossing Paths

WINNER: Charlie Clarke (GRID)


Visual Effects

Nominations:The Long Way Home, The Slayers, Paper Plane, Darkwave: EOTS

WINNER: MangledPixel & Mike James VFX (Darkwave: Edge of the Storm)


Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

HONORARY WINNER: Tom Young (Pitiful Corpses - monologue from The Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov)


Music (Original Score)

Nominations: Our Father, Frettin, The Long Way Home, Karma, Squidge, Dolls

WINNER: Zachary Start (Our Father)


Supporting Actor

Nominations: Hinterland, Transcended, Just Charlie, Kebabylon, Arrivals: Rachel

WINNER: Annil Mittoo (Kebabylon)


Sound Mixing

Nominations: Paper Plane, Frettin, Static, Transcended

WINNER: Joey Lever (Paper Plane)


Best Picture (feature)

Nominations: Neville Rumble, The Slayers, Frettin’, Just Charlie

WINNER: The Slayers


Animation

Nominations: The Fairy & the Dragon, Aladdin & his Magic Teapot, The X-Mas Files

WINNER: The Fairy & the Dragon by Alex Sinclair


Actor in Leading Role

Nominations: Transcended, Squidge, Dolls, Night Owls, Capricious

WINNER: Jonny McPherson (Night Owls)


Supporting Actress:

Nominations: Archway 0173, Just Charlie, Neutral

WINNER: Eleanor Worthington Cox (Archway 0173)


Best Picture (short)

Nominations: Feiht, Archway 0173, A Girl in Words, Static, Transcended, Dolls, Night Owls, Capricious, Ballpoint Hero

WINNER: Feiht by Harry Wilding


Directing

Nominations: Frettin, Neville Rumble, Ballpoint Hero, Static, Squidge,

WINNER: Lee Price (Frettin, Neville Rumble) & Richard Miller (Ballpoint Hero, Neville Rumble)


Foreign Language Film (screened in Midlands)

HONORARY WINNER: Justicia Justiciera by Rafa Dengra


Makeup /Hairstyling

Nominations: Transcended, Hollow Men, Just Charlie, Night Owls, Darkwave

WINNER: Charlotte Price (Night Owls)


Music (Original Song)

Nominations: Frettin’, Just Charlie, Crossing Paths, Night Owls

WINNER: Balls Balls Balls (Frettin’)


Production Design

Nominations: Our Father, The Long Way Home, Transcended, Hollow Men, Night Owls

WINNER: Jen Meredith (The Long Way Home)

Honorary mention: Bugsy Malone (The Curve Theatre)


Sound Editing

Nominations: Frettin, The Long Way Home, Dolls, Paper Plane, Static, Squidge

WINNER: Martin Critchley (Squidge)


Original Screenplay

Nominations: A Girl in Words, Hinterland, Night Owls, Arrivals: Rachel

WINNER: Sophie Black & Tommy Draper (Night Owls)

By midlandsmovies, Dec 30 2016 08:57PM

MM Writer Kira Comerford Best 10 Films of 2016


So, here I have put together a list of my top ten films of 2016. It has been quite a mixed year for film this year, and this became clear to me when trying to make this countdown. I've seen some truly awful films during the last twelve months, a few that have been questionable, and a handful that have been true show-stoppers.


10. The Hateful Eight

I had looked forward to seeing this in cinemas and then missed out on the opportunity, so paid full price for the DVD when that came out. It is at this point I have to tell you that the only reason The Hateful Eight has made this list is because other 2016 films were worse - I had to pick the lesser of a few evils if you will. It really was not what I have come to expect from Quentin Tarantino, but in comparison to some of the other tripe from this year, I guess it was okay...


9. Suicide Squad

A film that was a big talking point this year was CD's Suicide Squad. I'll be honest, I'm a bit defensive of this one - I don't think it deserved the absolute savaging it received. Fair enough, it was nowhere near as good as the hype surrounding it built it up to be, but it wasn't terrible in my eyes. It was a bit of fun that I think has set up the foundations for a series of new stories in that universe.


8. The Revenant

It was the film to finally Leo that Oscar and it was quite an enjoyable watch. The beautiful scenery captured by director Alejandro Innaritu really did The Revenant a lot of favours, and while at times it did feel a tad too long, I think I would struggle to pick a point where the runtime could be trimmed down at all.


7. Doctor Strange

Another film to receive quite a build up was Doctor Strange. I thought Benedict Cumberbatch did a great job as the title character, but I feel like Mads Mikkelsen was wasted as Kaecilius. The film set things up nicely for any future storylines in this universe, but part of me just hopes they make full use of whatever talent gets cast there.


6. Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them

This prequel to the Harry Potter franchise turned out to be a very pleasant surprise for me. Eddie Redmayne was so perfectly cast as Newt Scamander and after seeing him in the role, I find it hard to think that there was a time someone else would have been in contention/ It really was a terrific family film and I enjoyed every moment of it.


5. Bone Tomahawk

I'm a sucker for a good western, and the idea of this one really appealed to me. It slowed down considerably in the middle, but the ending was well and truly worth it. I still haven't quite managed to erase that scene from mind! The western/horror mix that Bone Tomahawk opted for is one that I think holds a lot of promise once the formula has been tinkered with.


4. Kubo And The Two Strings

In my opinion, 2016 and the years before it have been pretty poor for animated films, especially those brought to us by Disney and Pixar. However, we have been presented with one real gem recently. Kubo And The Two Strings was a wonderful breath of fresh air with it's story that originated in Japanese folklore. Plus, the whole thing was done with stop motion animation, which made it even easier to appreciate all the hard work that went into it.


3. The Nice Guys

A film that I think surprised a lot of people was The Nice Guys, featuring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe as the world's worst detectives. I'd say the film could be described as this generation's Lethal Weapon, with plenty of action and some seriously funny moments. You can imagine how happy I was to find someone had bought me the DVD for Christmas.


2. Spotlight

The only awards season release I got to see in cinemas was Spotlight, and it ended up being money well spent. It told a harrowing story very well, and I was backing it to win every Oscar going, although it only clinched Best Picture on the night. The performances by the whole cast were terrific and it was good to see the stories of the people who first brought these atrocities to the surface.


1. 10 Cloverfield Lane

10 Cloverfield Lane takes my number one spot for so many reasons. The long-awaited follow-up to 2005's Cloverfield did not disappoint audiences, and it turned out to ban other dark horse amongst this year's releases. John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead provide brilliant performances in a film that constantly changes direction, leaving you second guessing what could happen next for most of the film. This film takes the top of the podium purely for the fact it was such a surprise for me, and I'm really looking forward to what is to come next.


So, there you have it - my top ten films of the past year. I saiid at the start it was a mixed bunch and I don't think I was wrong. Western, sci-fi, comedy, drama, animation and a few other things thrown in for good measure prove that regardless of what anyone says about film this year, there has certainly been something for everyone.


Kira Comerford

By midlandsmovies, Dec 17 2016 12:28AM

Top 2016 films from MIdlands Movies Editor, Mike Sales


After a very tough year personally, I think I have gone for a much more light-hearted Top 20 than in previous favourite lists of mine but there is also something from most genres including comedy, action, horror, drama, documentary, sci-fi and much more.


Not sure it was a “classic” year in terms of films that will have longevity but what it did have was creativity in spades and in at least three cases, the rejuvenation of well-worn franchises was actually the biggest surprise for me.


Read below for the final list of my favourite 20 films in 2016 and links to the full reviews from the site.




20. Hardcore Henry Dir. Ilya Naishuller

What we said: “The violence was suitably over-the-top and generally creative, an excellent and campy Sharlto Copley gets multiple characters to inhabit – including the delivery of a song and dance number – and the stunt work is superb”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---Hardcore-Henry/10854265


19. Anomalisa Dir. Charlie Kaufman/Duke Johnson

What we said: “With dazzling animation, Kaufman’s tight script and a distinctive style to wrap the themes around, this exceptional film is that rare beast where mock-up mannequins gives us not just an imitation of life but show the intimacy of life. When Kafka meets Aardman you get Kaufman”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---Anomalisa/10628676


18. Race Dir. Stephen Hopkins

What we said: “2016 has provided a wealth of sports films for fans and Race is a movie that makes you want to read more on a subject which is a rare commodity. Breaking track and field records alongside breaking barriers in America, I recommend you take a chance with this winning film as, despite its shortcomings, is one worth investing your soul in”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---Race/10758379


17. Hunt for the Wilderpeople

REVIEW TBC


16. De Palma Dir. Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow

What we said: “De Palma’s legacy as a filmmaker has been assured with a genre-hopping career with unforgettable cinematic images. De Palma is a fantastic documentary…[and] for those wanting to get an insightful and, more importantly, honest review of someone’s life, De Palma lets the director do all of the talking”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Reviews---Midlands-Movies-Film-Catch-Up-Blog-2016-Part-2/10911312


15. Midnight Special Dir. Jeff Nichols

What we said: “A supernatural thriller with a stunning piano-led soundtrack, Midnight Special takes an unexpected route to well-worn themes. Nichols has created an enigmatic film for those willing to stick with a cryptic cross-country cruise that doesn’t answer all the questions, but when done this well – it doesn’t need to”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---Midnight-Special/10684545


14. Zero Days Dir Alex Gibney

What we said: “It’s a hush-hush story with all the twists of a spy thriller…this is an astonishing documentary. A fantastic journey of code-makers and breakers, Zero Days goes beyond its niche technical audience and becomes a successful critique on global warfare in the 21st Century”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---Zero-Days/10817614


13. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

What we said: "With enough action, throwback ‘easter eggs’ and a host of characters whose journeys we haven’t followed before, Rogue One delivers a solid sci-fi story of hopeful resistant fighters rising up against their wicked oppressors. It's done with fun, flair and impressive visuals that whisks you off to that galaxy far, far away like the annual family holiday. Comforting, expected but with an extra trip or two thrown in. We'll all be back again next year".


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---Rogue-One---A-Star-Wars-Story/11026222


12. High-Rise Dir. Ben Wheatley

What we said: “High-Rise is a film that bubbles up slowly from the bottom until it reaches a gloriously gory finale. Experimental but just the right side of coherent, the film explores wickedness and immorality and if you go along with its wantonness you’ll find many more highs in a slow burner - building to a pinnacle of decadence”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---High-Rise/11025992


11. Everybody Wants Some!! Dir. Richard Linklater

What we said: “Avoiding clichés, Everybody Wants Some blurs the lines of the traditional jock stereotype. Whilst plenty of time is given to their competitiveness, the film deconstructs this and…at the core is a spirited story of male-centred affection and despite the burliness and muscle-flexing bravado shown by the physical players, Linklater has created a film with much more soul than you would imagine”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---Everybody-Wants-Some/10848732



10. The Nice Guys Dir. Shane Black

What we said: “Its use of Warner Bros 70s "Big W" logo designed by Saul Bass shows that the Nice Guys is much more than nice – it’s a big slice of retro-influenced cool. With stylish direction, a sophisticated script and a set of trendy performances, Black’s latest is best enjoyed as a hip cocktail of cynical repartee and noir style”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---The-Nice-Guys/10848731


9. Hell or High Water Dir. David Mackenzie

What we said: “From dusty roads to budget diners, the film revels in its unobtrusive locations and settings to add realism to a well worn tale. Efficient in story-telling and with flashes of action interspersed with intimate tête-à-têtes, Hell or Highwater is a low key success that is both gritty and smart, tough and stylish and definitely one of this year’s highlights”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---Hell-or-High-Water/11025994


8. Creed Dir. Ryan Coogler

What we said: “For the fans, all the ingredients of the Rocky formula are there with a focus on the characters you have grown up with but the drama is so well crafted there is plenty for those who know nothing about the journey so far. This means that Creed is a filmic feat, an emphatic return to form with an individual voice from director Coogler that amounts to a knock-out triumph”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---Creed/10461550


7. Bone Tomahawk Dir. S. Craig Zahler

What we said: “Bone Tomahawk therefore ends up being a furious film with pockets of revolting cruelness and the dust-covered savages are a fascinating twist on the “cowboy and Indian” stories of the past and whilst the horse-based passage through the wild is a Hollywood chestnut, the film’s formula mixes in new aspects to the genre. A bloody smattering of torture and mutilation gives the movie a bleak twist that will also satisfy the horror crowd and its no-frills narrative was a thrilling ride along”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---Bone-Tomahawk/10534068


6. Eye in the Sky Dir. Gavin Hood

What we said: “Marvellous powerhouse performances from the entire cast are elevated by Mirren and Rickman showing their legendary range in a remarkable film. Drone controllers Aaron Paul & Phoebe Fox are excellent support as those with their fingers-on-the-triggers but in the safety of your own home the film asks you to question what you would sacrifice for the sake of protecting others. And it doesn’t get much more significant than that”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---Eye-in-the-Sky/10939145


5. The Revenant Dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu

What we said: “The film’s endurance reflects the characters’ fight for survival and combines thrills with more tender moments in a hard-hitting expedition of a movie. The director brings nuance and refreshing ideas – the camera gets “fogged” by the actors’ warm breaths in the chilly air at times – but with a superb cast the film is just a log cabin away from setting up camp in Oscar territory” (Editor – and boy did it!).


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---The-Revenant/10434659


4. The Invitation Dir. Karyn Kusama

What we said: “Director Karyn Kusama has got nearly everything right with the film, getting great performances out of a good mixed cast, as well as filling her dark shots with trepidation, terror and a fair amount of fear. Expertly crafted, The Invitation creates anxiety through a superb central performance by Logan Marshall-Green, and is an alarming achievement where nothing is what it seems. Filled with fear and a few frightful revelations, this is one party I recommend you RSVP to on its release”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---The-Invitation/10646298


3. Hail Caesar! Dir. Joel & Ethan Coen

What we said: “A homage, a pastiche, a tribute – the Coens’ ‘Hail, Caesar!’ is a masterclass in the technical but with warm comedic touches, a playfully simple narrative and heaps of laugh out loud moments, it also passes the audition to join those great films that are also about films. With the look of an LA Confidential and a raucousness verging on a Carry On film, the Coens’ latest offering has all the ingredients of the bygone age it affectionately lampoons”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---Hail-Caesar/10705393


2. Green Room Dir. Jeremy Saulnier

What we said: “With the passing of star Anton Yelchin, it is even more sorrowful to know that the up and coming actor was putting in great performances right until the end. Bloody, nasty and at times gruesome, this is a superb film where characters make suitably realistic decisions and its understated opening of a down-and-out band playing the shitty underground music circuit contrasts brilliantly with the subsequent carnage later on. Brutal and uncompromising, ferocious and savage, fans of physical and emotional heaviness will lap up this dark movie from the director of Blue Ruin”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Reviews---Midlands-Movies-Film-Catch-Up-2016/10802467


1. Captain America: Civil War Dir. Anthony and Joe Russo

What we said: “Here there is a better balance of characters than Age of Ultron and great action sequences and moving scenes help ground the film but the airport scrap between the two warring factions is simply “amazing” in all “senses” of the word. With an ending that’s as gripping as it is meaningful, the last but not least important aspect is Chris Evans as Captain himself. Originally somewhat of a clichéd damp squib of a character – the 40s hero is a war-time stereotype – Marvel have created an absolute pivotal role for the superhero and Evans’ superb approach creates a (narrative) freedom that Cap’ himself would be proud of”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---Captain-America-Civil-War/10712083



By midlandsmovies, Feb 28 2016 01:01PM

Midlands Movies Mike Oscar Predictions 2016


Every year I have a go at predicting the Oscar winners and 2016 is no different. So many good films this year that I passionately love so a pretty strong field throughout especially in the technical categories.


So, here are my predictions for tonight's show and good luck to everyone involved:


Best picture

The Big Short

Bridge of Spies

Brooklyn

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Room

Spotlight


Winner: The Revenant (although I want Mad Max to win)


Best actor

Bryan Cranston - Trumbo

Matt Damon - The Martian

Leonardo DiCaprio - The Revenant

Michael Fassbender - Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne - The Danish Girl


Winner: Leo (although Cranston in with a HIGH chance)


Best actress

Cate Blanchett - Carol

Brie Larson - Room

Jennifer Lawrence - Joy

Charlotte Rampling - 45 Years

Saoirse Ronan - Brooklyn


Winner: Brie Larson


Best supporting actor

Christian Bale - The Big Short

Tom Hardy - The Revenant

Mark Ruffalo - Spotlight

Mark Rylance - Bridge of Spies

Sylvester Stallone - Creed


Winner: Sly Stallone (I really hope so but Rylance is CLOSE second)


Best supporting actress

Jennifer Jason Leigh - The Hateful Eight

Rooney Mara - Carol

Rachel McAdams - Spotlight

Alicia Vikander - The Danish Girl

Kate Winslet - Steve Jobs


Winner: Rooney Mara


Best director

Lenny Abrahamson - Room

Alejandro G Inarritu - The Revenant

Tom McCarthy - Spotlight

Adam McKay - The Big Short

George Miller - Mad Max: Fury Road


Winner: Alejandro G Inarritu (but again, George Miller is the one I want to win)


Best adapted screenplay

The Big Short

Brooklyn

Carol

The Martian

Room


Winner: (One of the closest categories but) I’m punting on The Big Short


Best original screenplay

Bridge of Spies

Ex Machina

Inside Out

Spotlight

Straight Outta Compton


Winner: Spotlight


Best animated film

Anomalisa

Boy and the World

Inside Out

Shaun the Sheep Movie

When Marnie Was There


Winner: Inside Out (with Anomalisa outside bet)


Best foreign language film

Embrace of the Serpent - Colombia

Mustang - France

Son of Saul - Hungary

Theeb - Jordan

A War - Denmark


Winner: Son of Saul


Best animated short

Bear Story

Prologue

Sanjay's Super Team

We Can't Live without Cosmos

World of Tomorrow


Winner: World of Tomorrow


Best cinematography

Carol

The Hateful Eight

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant

Sicario


Winner: So close but Academy chooses The Revenant (Hateful 8 AND Mad Max outside chances)


Best costume design

Carol

Cinderella

The Danish Girl

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant


Winner: Mad Max


Best documentary feature

Amy

Cartel Land

The Look of Silence

What Happened, Miss Simone?

Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom


Winner: Amy


Best documentary short

Body Team 12

Chau, Beyond the Lines

Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah

A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness

Last Day of Freedom


Winner: Last Day of Freedom


Best editing

The Big Short

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant

Spotlight

Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Winner: The Revenant


Best live action short

Ave Maria

Day One

Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)

Shok

Stutterer


Winner: Day One


Best make-up and hair

Mad Max: Fury Road

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

The Revenant


Winner: Mad Max


Best original score

Bridge of Spies

Carol

The Hateful Eight

Sicario

Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Winner: The Hateful Eight (Morricone!)


Best original song

Earned It, The Weeknd - Fifty Shades of Grey

Manta Ray, J Ralph & Antony - Racing Extinction

Simple Song #3, Sumi Jo - Youth

Til It Happens To You, Lady Gaga - The Hunting Ground

Writing's On the Wall, Sam Smith - Spectre


Winner: Lady Gaga


Best production design

Bridge of Spies

The Danish Girl

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant


Winner: Mad Max (but maybe The Martian)


Best sound editing

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Sicario

Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Winner: The Revenant (but maybe The Martian)


Best sound mixing

Bridge of Spies

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Winner: The Revenant (love to see a bit of Force Awakens here)


Best visual effects

Ex Machina

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Winner: Mad Max


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