Attack The Block
I watched this film a few weeks ago and I still crack up when I think about it. It was refreshingly funny; the one-liners were superb, and based on this I think first time writer/director Joe Cornish has a bright future in this industry, and I'm excited to see what he's going to do next.
It was fresh and appealing to a wider range of modern youth, an audience which I don't think is targeted enough. Yes, you have all the franchises and comedies etc, which are supposed to draw in that sort of crowd, but I think a lot of teenagers will actually relate more to this film, mostly due to the fabulous cast and the dialogue, which uses more of the common teenage vernacular, and this use of slang is what is going to make teenagers sit up and take note of films being made if more are done like this.
I'd have liked it to have been scarier, but the original plot and the look of the aliens more than makes up for that slight disappointment. It is a nice revamp of alien invasion flicks, so much so that it sounds actually believable.
As for the cast, I think it was a good idea to have a young, relatively unknown cast, and the biggest name was Nick Frost, who isn't in it a great deal, which is good because I having seen it I'm glad that nothing detracted from the main youth cast. John Boyega (who portrayed Moses, the leader of the gang of yoofs), could have a very nice career if he keeps giving performances like this. (Side note: I feel like I should give a special mention to my good friend and regular commentor on the blog, Garen, who is followed on Twitter by John Boyega. She's immensely proud of this fact.)
I watched this on the plane to Florida recently, and had to try really hard to control myself so I didn't burst out in uncontrollable fits of laughter. It's very very dark humour, which suits me fine, but Juno writer Diablo Cody delivers another fine script. It's an interesting premise - what happens to that Queen Bee when she grows up? The answer, according to Cody, is a super-bitchy, self-centred immature creature - essentially an older version of the teenage thing.
Charlize Theron deserved more recognition for her performance as the narcissistic teen-lit author whose writings reflect her own life. I mentioned in a post earlier this year that a lot of people in the industry were confused as to why she hadn't been nominated for awards, and now I can see why - it's probably the best performance I've seen of hers (admittedly, I haven't seen them all, including her Oscar-winning role in Monster). But she gave a better performance than 99% of the other female leads I've seen, and certainly better than at least three of the Oscar-nominated performances this year.
I like as well that this film isn't predictable. I thought I was able to tell what was going to happen from early on, but it has a surprising ending which isn't necessarily pleasant, but it's certainly a good thing that it didn't go down the obvious route and become another superficial flick.
We Need To Talk About Kevin
Another of the female performances that was overlooked this year was Tilda Swinton's in this, which is even more of a travesty than Charlize Theron. But not just that, every aspect of this film deserved much, much more recognition than it got; it was virtually flawless.
It is a truly brutal and horrific film, but the subject matter is handled well, considering how dark it is. I hadn't read the book so I didn't know beforehand what was going to happen, though I was able to guess the general climax of the story.
Tilda Swinton has never been better, in my opinion, and that is saying a lot considering what a fantastic actress she is. But she was completely convincing and conveyed her character so well. Her supporting cast were also commendable, including John C. Reilly as her husband, who should do more serious roles, as he was a revelation; also, the two actors who played her son at different ages - Jasper Newell as young Kevin gave one of the best child performances I've seen for some time, and Ezra Miller is suitably sinister as the teenage Kevin.
Essentially, the film is perfect, and it's an absolute travesty that not only was it virtually ignored at the awards this year, but also that it hasn't reached a wider audience. I highly recommend that everyone sees this. It's by no means a cheerful film, but it has stayed with me for a long time.
I didn't enjoy it, and personally I thought it was very overrated. I'm glad I didn't spend money going to see it, put it that way, but I'm annoyed I've now lost two hours of my life on this film which I could quite happily have gone the rest of my life without seeing.