5 Super hero movies to watch out for in 2014

There are some exciting movies scheduled to come out this year. Some of the biggest and best are the Superhero movies, and boy o boy is there a great selection coming out and not just from Marvel studios. Here’s my pick of the top 5 to look out for.

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 Robocop (Feb 7) 

A remake of the 1987 classic violent cop film, just like Dredd was remade in 2012 from the classic 1995 Stallone flick. This new film looks to revamp the super cool robo-suit and story line. With the likes of Gary Oldman and Samuel L. Jackson starring in it, it’s set to be a hit. Let’s hope it keeps the old audience happy and the new audience entertained. Although with a PG-13 rating instead of an ’18’ It may need to try a bit harder than before to get people excited about it.

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300 Rise of an empire (March 7)

This is the sequel to 300 released in 2006 starring Gerard Butler. Unfortunately Gerard isn’t starring in this one (maybe cause his character died). It shows the aftermath of his army being beaten and the mighty Spartans valiant campaign against the Persians. It’s only 102 mins long but hopefully it’ll prove to be a thrilling movie filled with action, pure manliness and impressive beards!

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Teenage mutant ninja turtles (2014 at some point)

Now this was one of my favourite TV shows as a kid – a bunch of dude turtles who love pizza and kicking butt. Whats not to like? Now there’s not much info out there on this film just the cast, which includes Megan Fox as April O’Neil. The movie also keeps changing it’s release date so fingers crossed it will come out this year. We’ve also been reassured that it will stay true to the comics. Plus with new technology really bringing the characters to life, it should be a pretty awesome film! Above is a taste of what the Ninja Turtles will look like.

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X-Men: Days of future past (July 18) 

Now this is an exciting saga in the series of X-Men comics. Time travel, and Wolverine are the two main things to take away from this. He has to go back in time to fix a future of doom for mutants and humans. Starring all your favourite X-Men this is set to be a great addition to the X-Men movie Franchise.

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Sin City: A dame to kill for (August 22)

This film sees the likes of Micky Rourke Playing the loveable psychopath Marv, Bruce Willis playing straight-laced cop John Hartigan and the beautiful Nancy Callaghan crossing paths with murderers, thieves and killer women in the reviled Sin City. This hugely anticipated film adds a new chapter to the beautifully shot series. When the first film came out, it created a sensation and an interesting new style of cinematography. I’ve been looking forward to this film for a long time and if it’s anything like its uniquely filmed predecessor, then I’m sure we won’t be disappointed.

So there’s my top 5 to watch out for, there are many more Superhero/comic book films set to come out this year, but these might just offer something a bit different to what we’ve seen in the past couple of years. So put these dates in your diary for a superhero-sized 2014!

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Netflix Randoms: God Bless America

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God Bless America (2011)

Directed by: Bobcat Goldthwait

This is one of those films where I saw the trailer and thought, hmm this might be quite an interesting indie film to watch. I logged it in my brain to ‘watch later’ and then forgot about it for about three years. Until it popped up on my Netflix. I must say, I wasn’t in the perfect mood to watch this film but with my Netflix randoms challenge in it’s fruition, I felt it was the best time to throw away my mood and click play before I forgot about watching it for another three years!

Lets start with the basic plot; Joel Murray plays a loveless, jobless and terminally ill Frank who is just fed-up with the world. So with his impending demise giving him an opportunity, he decides to take his gun and take out some of the stupidest, cruellest and most vile members of society. Along the way he is joined by a slightly Junoesque 16 year old called Roxy played by Tara Lynne Barr who loves violence and has a very negative view on most things. At first there’s a weird kind of sexual tension between them, that almost seems perverse but that is dispelled when the issue is brought up and dealt with swiftly by Frank; instead it becomes more of a father, daughter relationship and they both work very well with each other.

urlAt times this film can be thought provoking and Franks monologues can ring true against the way our society has turned out, you’ll find yourself nodding along to his thoughts. The victims he pursues include those who are similar to what we see in our own reality TV and what’s worrying is that they’re not even exaggerated characters. There are people who are actually like this, I guess the only thing that separates it from reality is the names of the TV shows. This is a protest against those fear-mongering talk show hosts and stupid, spoilt sweet 16 princesses who not only have themselves to blame but also their parents among other things. As Frank poetically puts it “The kind of freakshow that comes along every time a mighty civilisation’s collapsing”. It also addresses other issues such as the ease of having a gun in America, which is (and was at the time of the release of the film) a touchy subject.

If you’re the kind of person who at times feels a little disenfranchised from society, then this is the film for you. If sometimes you close your eyes and wonder what the world would be like if there were less reality TV show stars in it, this is the film for you. Ok, yes, it is a step too far in trying to solve the problem of todays materialistic society but in a weird way, it’s cathartic. The cartoon-like violence makes it kind of ok to take pleasure in watching Frank blow the brains out of a sweet 16 princess who lashed out because her parents got her the wrong car.

If you’re the kind of person who at times throws a hissy fit because your parents got you the wrong games console for christmas or if your the kind of person who laughs at mentally ill people who are lulled into a false sense of acceptance for humiliation and entertainment (not that you’d admit it) then you might think that this film isn’t for you. You might be right but I think you should still watch it, because it offers a blood stained mirror in which you can see your own reflection.

You’re taken through the journey with Frank and you find yourself saying, “oh for god sake!” As the world he lives in reveals itself to be even more distorted. You can almost tell he doesn’t want to doit at first but as the film progresses he gets carried away with it all and it becomes almost gratuitous.

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This film shows how our obsession with fame has driven us all to madness. You do end up wondering, who is the psychopath? Frank and Roxy? Or the people encouraging this obsessed mentality? Obviously we can’t go around playing god deciding who should and shouldn’t die, that’s just not how it works but in this film you can certainly fantasise about it. We can’t forget that this film is also just a black comedy and a very good political satire – you shouldn’t take it too seriously.

Overall it’s an interesting film but it’s not for everyone, namely borderline psychopaths so a word of warning, if you are that way inclined, this film may just push you over the edge.

On the Box: The Musketeers

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The Musketeers (2014) 

Written & directed by Adrian Hodges

Since Homeland finished, there hasn’t been much to look forward to on a Sunday, expect perhaps the results of the latest ‘celebrity humiliate myself for charity but actually it’s for my own self promotion’ show. I am ashamed to say, I had resorted to watching said shows. I don’t know what it is about them that makes them so catchy to watch. But anyways we’ll address that subject another time. Yesterday saw the launch of an exciting, swashbuckling new drama on BBC ONE: The Musketeers. An adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ 17th century adventure of ‘The Three Musketeers’. Why they felt the need to take ‘Three’ out of the title makes me wonder, is it because actually there are four main characters even though D’Artagnan isn’t a musketeer, or did they just want it to sound a bit edgier? Well whatever the reason I’m sure only a few people were affected by the title.

The Three Musketeers was one of my favourite stories when I was younger and having seen most of the adaptations, notably probably the most famous, at least in the UK, was the 1973 adaptation, starring Oliver Reed playing a worryingly accurate alcoholic Athos and the 70’s pin-up of the moment Raquel Welch. So having seen those, I already had my critic head on. This series promises to be an adaptation fit for a 21st Century audience, my verdict?  I was certainly entertained.

The characters are well depicted and the actors make them their own, so I immediately forgot about any film that had come before it and judged it for what it was. They’re all good looking leads, which I’m sure the ladies will love and for the men? Well, there’s lots of swashbuckling, musket exploding action, along with a couple hotties in there as well.

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The characters of the story are all very strong, men and women – Namely Constance Bonacieux played by Tamla Karli who to me, is and will be on an equal playing field to the bearded band of brothers. It seems maybe she will be the one getting roped into most of their adventures and at points saving at least one if not all of them from death. With this being a 10-part drama you can already tell, there are stories behind each character, which will be revealed along the way, not only that but they also have lots of room for development, to become well loved characters. D’Artagnan played by Luke Pasqualino has lots of room to grow and mature as a fully fledged Musketeer. Athos played by Tom Burke, is rinsed with depth, you can tell there’s an underlying anger and angst that makes you think he will flip out at any moment and we want to find out more, at the moment he is the most interesting character.  There are still characters,I think, that are still waiting to come out of their shell, especially from The Musketeers’ arch enemy Cardinal Richelieu played by Peter Capaldi, fittingly dressed all in black. We were given a little taste of an even darker, colder side to him at the end, which made him instantly more interesting as the baddy.

Peter Capaldi as Cardinal Richelieu in the BBC's The Musketeers.

Along with the action and the drama there’s plenty of comedy, which isn’t a bad thing, it’s a well choreographed, cheeky kind of comedy fuelled by the confidence of the characters and lends a witty little wink to the viewer. This drama’s predecessors have also been a mixed bag of comedy, drama and action so if you liked them, you’ll really like this. The fight scenes are great fun to watch and the extra sparks of the swords making contact, give it that surreal SCHING! BOOM! WALLOP! Of a superhero flick. It might seem a little exaggerated but lets face it these guys were the superhero’s of the 17th century. Although the plot isn’t quite by the original book, it still feels very much part of the story that I’ve grown to love,The Three Musketeers.

It’s only been the first episode so I can’t really judge too much but as I said before, I’ve been entertained. It was a great introduction into the series and it’s everything you want and expect from The beloved Musketeers along with the swordplay, big guns and big busts. We haven’t heard the famous ‘all for one’ quote but there’s still plenty of time. It’s not as gritty or powerful (yet) as other BBC dramas such as Ripper Street or Peaky Blinders but it’s got entertainment value, which appeals to the masses. I think the characters also have a lot of potential to grow into something interesting.

There’s no doubt, it’s an easy watch, very well shot and directed. Each episode seems like it’ll be a self contained adventure, with a deeper plot that carries along the whole show. Now I can finally say I’m looking forward to watching something on a Sunday. So join the Musketeers every Sunday at 9PM on BBC ONE. Lets just hope you don’t get too carried away and challenge your boss to a duel on Monday morning.

Netflix Randoms: The Perfect Host

My main reason for signing up to Netflix in the first place was Breaking Bad. After I had finished with the series I was left with a wide range TV series to try and get addicted to. Unfortunately none so far have lived up to their predecessor. You may ask, well why don’t you cancel your subscription of £6 a month and spend it on a Whopper meal from Burger King instead? Well my answer to you is this: My curiosity gets the better of me and Netflix is full of random films I’ve never heard of. Many low budget, others just didn’t make it to the UK cinemas and lots I’ve just plain forgotten about. So I thought I’d risk a few hours of my life each week and watch some/one of these random films. My first spin of the roulette wheel of films was ‘The Perfect Host’ and I must say it didn’t disappoint.

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The Perfect Host (2010)

Directed by: Nick Tomnay

This picture is the exact one that is shown on Netflix. What caught my eye at first was that Frasier’s Brother is in it (for those of you unaware of Frasier, it’s a 90’s sitcom). Now in Frasier, this actor– David Hyde Pierce plays the eccentric brother and he plays it very well. So knowing this and thinking that I hadn’t seen him in anything else apart from Frasier I thought, ‘yeah, why not’. The blurb for it was short and didn’t give much away and with a viewer rating of only three and a half stars I was a bit skeptical.

The basic plot goes something like this (without trying to give too much away): A bank robbing fugitive, Clayne Crawford played by John Taylor goes out in search of somewhere to hide from the law. He manages to con his way into the house of Warwick Wilson played by David Hyde Pierce, who at first appears naive, over polite and easily manipulated. Clayne is then invited to Warwick’s dinner party, where Warwick’s facade fades and turns into something more sinister.

I’m going to leave the plot there, because I want you to watch it.

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This Film is a crime thriller, with at times a hint of black comedy. It made me feel uneasy throughout but in a good way, because you never expect what’s going to happen next, even when you think you’ve found the answer, something happens to mix it all up again. You, like Clayne Crawford are lulled into a false sense of security even though, from the get go, you know something isn’t quite right. At the beginning you are kind of against Clayne, after all he is a bank robber and he did lie his way into someones house but as the night progresses you swap sides and pray he escapes. This may sound confusing but there are three storyline’s, but it’s not confusing whatsoever because they all come together at the end of the film. And what an ending it was, I love it when the bad guy gets away with it. Whoops I just gave away the ending! Or did I? In this film who really is the bad guy? Well you’ll have to find out.

David Hyde Pierce plays a convincing character and subtle changes in the way he speaks, acts and even walks, shows his dexterity as an actor and his natural eccentricity makes him the perfect person to play a Psychopath.  He plays alongside an actor called John Taylor who, to me at least, is relatively unknown, which was good I think, because there was no preconceptions about what he would be like or what films he was in, so to me he could have just been a real fugitive on the run, that they just happened to film.

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Overall, I think this a fantastic film, well worth the watch. For me, it’s the twists and turns and fact that most of it happens in one night, in one house between mainly just two characters. That kind formula for me is a winner, especially if it’s well acted and well scripted, like this film is. I think it’s safe to say I found hidden gem. I implore you to watch it but be warned, it may make you think twice about going round someones house for a ‘dinner party’ and whether you drink red or white.

On the box: Dolphins, spy in the pod

Dolphins: Spy in the Pod

Producers: John Downer and Rob Pilley

Narrated by David Tennant

This documentary follows the lives of dolphins from around the world. It is a stunning and insightful program that lives up to the quality of previous documentaries from the BBC. This time the film makers used innovative methods to record the inquisitive dolphins by putting cameras in remote control sea creatures. The result is a truly unique view into the world of dolphins and we get to see how intelligent and delightful they really are, we fall in love with the sea creatures all over again.

It’s narrated by David Tennant who provides a soothing voice that accompanies the tranquility of the show. The music is also spot on. The film is shot beautifully even from the spy cameras, which you wouldn’t expect but they capture some unique and awesome sights. For example a super pod gathers and they blow bubbles to greet each other, the result resembles an underwater starry sky, which is truly breath taking, I can only imagine how it must look in HD and on a huge screen. We also get to ride on the back of a dolphin.

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With such diverse communities around the world they almost resemble tribes in the human world. One of the most fascinating things I discovered was that they each have names which they call out to each other. Among other things their personalities and curiosity are infectious and you spend the whole time smiling and imagining what they are saying, it feels like the film Finding Nemo but in real life.

The last episode aired today but you can still catch it on BBC iPlayer, I highly recommend watching this, it’ll make you want to come back as a dolphin in another life.

Will the wolf win at the cinema?

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The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Director: Martin Scorsese

This film is based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stockbroker to his fall to corruption, crime and the feds. It epitomises the ‘yuppie’ culture that surrounded the 80’s and early 90’s. Now as a 90’s kid myself, I’m no authority on how it really was, but I can imagine this comes pretty close. This decade was all about making money and buying status symbols; Ferrari’s, Yachts and Penthouse Apartments to huge estates in the Hamptons. The best way and easiest way was to be a StockBroker. It was the fast track to becoming a millionaire and this film was an obscene display of everything that was and is wrong with that culture, people making money too quickly and not knowing what to do with it.

We follow the life of Jordan Belfort played by Leonardo DiCaprio, a middle class young man, who wanted more from life. He is introduced into the fast-track, ruthless world of Brokerage by Mark Hanna– Played by Matthew McConaughey, who portrays a yuppie arsehole very well. His brief introduction into this world: ‘how else would you do this job? Cocaine and hookers my friend’. From then on, we see very little Mark Hanna and his wonderful insights, but you can’t help but see how he has hugely influenced Jordan Belforts’ attitude to the industry. I guess it worked because by the time he was 26 he had made $46million dollars.

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Leonardo DiCaprio plays this character very well, I mean I’m not familiar with the real life Jordan Belfort, but all the same it’s a convincing performance. At times you even feel like you’re on his side, as if you want him to get the better of ‘the man’. Why shouldn’t he make millions of pounds if he want’s to. The aim of the game in stock brokerage is to sell, and Leonardo DiCaprio sells his character pretty well, along with his dancing. His pieces to camera and the narration are engaging and entertaining and at no point do you feel like he’s going on a bit, they’re brief and straight to the point.

There are interesting scenes, when he is addressing his company, which resembles an American preacher, shouting and hollering at his disciples who are baying, laughing and dancing like mad men all in the name/religion of money. He is the preacher and his office is the church. At times even you might feel a little surge of money driven hysteria.

Jonah Hill also plays a great money obsessed Donnie Azoff, who only cares about money and getting f***ed up. He is a comedic character, but in this film there is an air or sophistication to it, it feels real, instead of forced.

This film reveals a life that very few of us are familiar with. Even the top 1% richest people don’t even know about this world, and they’re the ones fuelling it. It’s quite a long film at nearly 3 hours long, at times I did wonder if it was all too much. It was sexy but in no way sophisticated, instead it was ostentatious and opulent but in a vulgar way, as if you’d gone to restaurant and eaten a few too many oysters and to some it may even leave sour taste in the mouth. If it does, I’m afraid you may be taking it a bit too seriously, after all, it is a black comedy.

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The style it’s been filmed and story reminds me of the film Blow but instead of cocaine as their drug of choice, it’s money and it’s ever so slightly more legal.

It is certainly worth investing your time in, with great performances from all the characters and a story where a lot happens, you will leave the cinema exhausted but entertained. It’s a film surrounded by controversy and if thats not a reason to watch it, I don’t know what is. On the other hand, if you have a sensitive/weak bum and don’t fancy sitting down for so long, maybe wait for it to come out on dvd or online, get comfy with a drink of your choice (preferably alcoholic) and give it a watch, it won’t get old.

On the box: The 7.39 part 2

The happy couple

(Warning Spoilers)

We left off from the first episode with Sally and Carl taking the lift to their night of promiscuity. This final instalment of the two-part drama, I have mixed feelings about. In parts it was as disappointing as their first attempt at making love. In others the acting and chemistry between Sheridan Smith and David Morrissey made you feel that it was ok that they were cheating on their other halves and they portrayed the sexual tension very well after they decided to ‘only do it one time’. They kept their characters well and made the most of the script. I suggested in the first review that we might expect the consequences of this blossoming romance and the expected happened, they were caught, and with the acting talent that is Olivia Colman you would have expected more than a few clever lines and stabbing stares, they should have made more of her. After that, everything you thought would happen, happened.

It felt like the drama would have been better if it ended in the first part and just left it there, almost in a more artistic version,  left open for the viewer to decide. Instead the second part concluded in a ‘Disneyesque’ –two years later– happy ending where everyone forgets and forgives and Carl was just a silly little boy who made a mistake.

This drama started interesting with a well acted and written script but ended with a well acted but obvious script. It’s a good drama but not great and if you really want to watch this show, I would recommend you download the first part on iPlayer and leave the second part to your imagination. 

Catch both episodes on BBC iPlayer

On the box: The 7.39 part 1

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This two part drama started on Monday and so far it’s about a middle-aged  sales exec male and a younger female health club manager meeting on a their morning commute and forming a relationship that only exists between point A and point B –1945 film Brief Encounter ring a bell?–. The rest of the time, she goes back to her exercise mad fiance and he goes back to his ‘nice’ wife and stereotypical teenage children.

The drama, in parts feels like a comment on how we go about our daily lives wishing something else happened, wondering whether there’s more to it than just waking up, going to work, getting home and going to sleep. Using the train journey to interrupt this monotony is an interesting thought in this drama as many people see their commute as ‘me time’. A time to listen to your own music, or watch your own shows, without anyone but your next stop disturbing you.

In the most part though it feels like a romance between the two main characters played by Sheridan Smith – Sally and David Morrissey – Carl, who start their relationship rather turbulently with an argument over a seat, which I’m sure we’ve all either had or witnessed. This then quickly forms into a friendship after Carl offers an olive branch and they delve into the forbidden world that is talking to a stranger on the train, as they realise they have more in common, feelings begin to get stronger and we see a promiscuous albeit inevitable romance emerge. So is this what happens if we talk on the train? New friends with the promise of adultery? No wonder we all keep quiet, otherwise the train would be full of averted gazes and awkward silences, oh wait isn’t that already happening? Am I not being told something?

People have said that this drama is unrealistic, I’m not so sure, maybe those people are uncomfortable because it’s visualising their own unfaithful train-romance fantasy. And it’s strange because the way the story has unfolded with the very well written script along with our animosity with the commuting main characters makes it feel like this train romance is almost acceptable, and so far we’ve forgotten about the other people that surround the main characters, whose lives would be turned upside down if they knew what was happening. Let’s see what tonight’s episode holds.

Catch up on last nights episode on BBC iPlayer

This film won’t con you out of entertainment

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American Hustle (2013)

Director: David O’Russell

It’s been a while since I’ve been to the Cinema, well at least a few weeks. One film I was excited about was American Hustle. Maybe it was the worlds (and my) current obsession with Jennifer Lawrence, maybe it’s because I had just seen silver linings playbook – which I unexpectedly really liked – and saw that it had the same director and actors, or maybe it’s my love for ‘con men’ films and how clever they are.

If you, like myself have seen every episode of hustle at least twice, you’ll come into the movie thinking you know every trick in the book and you’ll probably guess what’s going to happen mid-film. But that doesn’t take anything away from the pure entertainment this film emits. It’s classed as a Crime/Drama, but I wouldn’t rule out comedy also.

We start out by finding out that ‘some parts of this film may be true’,  instantly adding more of a connection with the loveable main character – Irving Rosenfeld played by an unrecognisable Christian Bale. I’d think that maybe he was wearing a fat suit but considering his dramatic weight changes in past films, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was real.

In fact, all of the main characters appearances are entertaining. In true 70’s style Bradley Cooper appears with a dodgy looking perm as Richie DiMaso , the power hungry FBI agent. His gun-ho attitude towards everything, covers up the fact that he’s a thirty-something loser living with his mum. Amy Adams plays the seductive Sydney Prosser – Irving’s team mate and lover – appears in every scene, with no bra with her boobs teetering on the edge of revealing themselves, which is great for the guys, unfortunately all the girls have is Christian Bales bulbous belly to stare at. Her unconvincing British accent makes you wonder whether it’s intentionally bad or that she’s just not that good at accents. My favourite character was undoubtedly Jennifer Lawrence playing Rosalyn, the ‘undomestic’ house wife, leeching off the illegitimate money that her husband Irving is making. She plays the annoying house wife, who ruins everything so well that it makes you think there’s more to her, maybe there is but I guess we’ll never find out. You look forward to every scene she’s in, they’re almost comedy sketches in themselves.

The rest of the characters played their roles well with Jeremy Renner  playing the ‘innocent’ Mayor Carmine Polito, Robert De Niro making an almost cameo appearance of the familiar mafia boss he often plays and even the American comedian Louis C.K as the bullied boss of Richie DiMaso.

Overall the film is very entertaining, easy to watch. The trailer makes it look more classy than comedic although the 70’s styling does add an element of cool to it. I found myself laughing throughout and it’s refreshing to see some of these actors playing in something more light-hearted than some of their bigger films. It’s not a blockbuster, nor is it the movie of the year but you’ll leave feeling satisfied having parted with your cash, instead of conned.

Check out the trailer:

The films I watched this Christmas

As we all know, Christmas is the time of year where the family gather round the TV to enjoy what the festive season has to bring in terms of films. Opening up the radio times is almost as exciting as opening the first present under the tree, only to then realise it’s the same pair of socks your nan got you for the past seven years. For some reason, program co-ordinators for television channels seem to think that viewers’ memory only lasts for 12 months. The question is do we really watch these films? Whilst the kids are glued to angry birds version 5000, the dad reads the twentieth edition of ‘Jeremy Clarkson- my miserable life’ on his new kindle paper-fire-HD and the mum is chugging a bottle of cheap rose in her extra large wine glass whilst trading cookery shows on the phone with Sharon from next door. I ask you, do we really watch these films? I’m not sure, but one thing is certain, I don’t watch them. This year I decided to go to my local library rent a dvd. Yes you heard right, ‘rent’ a DVD. You thought that died off with Blockbusters right? Well it hasn’t – mind blown. So in pursuit of less festive and more thoughtful films, that I very much doubt would be shown on British television, I went to the foreign films and ‘Artificial eye’ section (a film distributor that specialises on foreign and art films). And boy did I find some great, not so great films and certainly none of them festive. Here’s a quick review on a couple that stood out the most, hopefully it might spur you to watch something a bit different this year.

Die Wand (The Wall) – 2012

The moment Frau realises she's trapped

Director: Julian Polsler

This is a touching and thoughtful Austrian-German film, directed and written by Julian Polsler, adapted from the novel by Marlen Haushofer. The main character, Frau (Martina Gedeck) becomes surrounded by an invisible wall in the middle of the Austrian countryside. She is totally isolated from all human contact with only Lynx – a loyal dog to keep her company. At first, you think, what happened on the outside world for this to happen, is she the only person left? What must the people outside the wall be thinking or is she in some kind of purgatory? As the film progresses you end up not caring about what could’ve happened and just caring about her survival, you become completely immersed inside this still, beautiful world inside the wall, just as she is.

The events that unfold make you think about what it means to be human, the responsibilities that Frau takes on, like looking after animals and tending to the land show weak and strong moments, that help sculpt her into a human who we might not be so familiar with in this fast-paced selfish day and age. In one particular scene we are reminded of the needless violence that human nature sometimes expresses and it’s interesting how you feel at that moment almost looking at a human from a non-human point of view. It’s a quiet, pensive film with a beautiful and deeply written script that makes you think, the only way it could have been written is if it had actually happened to that person in real life. The majority of the script is read by Frau as a narrator, she hardly speaks in scenes themselves and if she did speak more it would have interrupted the relationship that was forming between her and nature. I highly recommend watching this film, if not for the interesting questions it poses about humanity, nature and loneliness, then for the absolutely stunning scenery it’s shot in.

The Turin Horse – 2011

Stepping out, into the barren land

Directors: Bela Tarr & Agnes Hranitzky 

This is a dark and mysterious hungarian film inspired from when Friedrich Nietzsche witnessed  a horse being whipped violently in Turin. Nietzsche was horrified by this act and hugged the horse and wept. In less than a month he was diagnosed with a mental illness and eventually died. But this isn’t a story about Nietzsche, it’s a story about the horse and the trials and tribulations of the owner and his daughter. At 146 mins long it’s a trial in itself to keep watching it. Long repetitive scenes are accompanied by a lurking soundtrack played by a fiddle and an organ which makes an appearance every so often, drumming into your head the monotony of this pairs life. They’re in a farm in a barren windy land, you can hear the wind battering against the windows, the doors and the walls. We follow them throughout a number of days, you loose track of what day it is with how much the film repeats itself, with their menial chores. But in each day something small and subtle happens, which affect their lives in a big way.

If by the 100th minute you haven’t switched off the film and committed suicide then you have a very strong character, or are very curious, throughout the whole film you make yourself believe that something big is going to happen, but nothing does. Each scene is so long but so beautifully shot it feels as if you’re walking through a gallery of oil paintings, which then ends on the most beautiful, disturbing and moving of all in the final scene. I’m not sure whether I would recommend this film to anyone with a weak disposition, or suffering from depression. But all I’d say is this, if you do choose to watch it, make sure you have something super happy and exciting to do afterwards, because that’s the only way you’ll be able to get over the dark cloud this film will leave over your head.

Overall probably not the best choices if you want to invite Christmas cheer into the family home. But what they did do was offer a different way of watching films, which was a refreshing change from the Crash Bang Wallop, in your face, obvious films you might find yourself watching for light entertainment, which is fine if that’s what you want. The stripped down simplistic style of these films means that nothing can hide behind big explosions or cheap laughs, which I think makes them so great, they seem more honest and sincere and if you don’t like it, it won’t apologise. If you want to be inspired and if you actually want to watch a film, I would recommend world cinema.