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A Christmas of Films


If anything has marked out this Christmas as something out of the ordinary it's been the quality and variety of the films I've seen. As usual much respect to the great Dr Kermode for pointing me in the right direction for some of the less obvious choices. Some of these are DVDs Santa Beth gave me, the others are movies I caught on iPlayer.

So, in no particular order:

Hanna - it's hard to tell you a lot about Hanna without giving away the plot, which is ... extraordinary. But if you like a fast moving thriller, and you're willing to go along with the plot and not worry too much about some of the holes in the edges it's a ripping good yarn about a young girl called Hanna to whom things happen.

Source Code - no, no, not that sort of source code silly. This is science fiction and it's all about time travel. As you find out in the first few minutes our hero is stuck on a train trying to work out how it blew up by going back over the same eight minutes over and over again. Directed by Duncan Jones1 who was also responsible for the superb Moon (which he also wrote as well as directing).

Senna - documentary of the life of the great Ayrton Senna. Everyone expected this to be nominated for an Academy Award this year in the documentary category but apparently it's not on the long list. Perhaps Americans don't "get it" as they don't really do Formula 1 much. But having said that Mark Kermode isn't a fan either but he loved the film.

In fact he said that the first time he watched it he had no idea that Senna was going to crash (and die) at Imola and it came as a genuine surprise to him when it happened. I did know so for me that sequence was one of the most moving in the film as I knew we were watching some of this man's last living moments, but of course he knew nothing about what was coming. Very curious.

Anyway it is very well crafted documentary and had us glued to our seats for the 1hr 45min running time. I thoroughly recommend it. I now need to get my hands on TT: Closer to the Edge a documentary about the Isle of Man TT which came out last year which Dr K was also impressed by (and he's not a bike racing fan either).

Son Of Rambow - complete change of pace this and a movie I confess I'd not have touched if it wasn't for Dr K's repeated recommendations. And he's not wrong. It's very good, very funny. A sweet tale about two young lads and their evolving friendship as they make their own movie and by doing so grow up a little. And it even features a TR7. What more could you want?

Bridge to Terabithia - I watched this with rather false expectations as I was expecting a kids fantasy movie but it's rather more complicated than that and I could see why it has a PG rating given what happens to one of the lead characters towards the end of the movie. But I rather liked it. I think older children would lap it up. And we adults can sit and blub quietly to ourselves (I did).

Lucky Number Sleven - now this one was an 18 which for me is a bit of a risk (I remember when we got about fifteen minutes into 28 Days Later and had to stop watching it, we never did watch any more) but in fact it's a well crafted thriller with a good twist in the tail at about 80% of the way through. Nicely done I thought2.

The Ipcress File - I think this was Caine's first film as star after his success in Zulu and I love it. By now you don't watch it for the plot, you watch it for the clothes, for the cars, for the social mores, for the way it's filmed, for the way it's acted. The whole thing is a joy. To think I was only five years old when it was filmed.

And of course there's also been the return of Sherlock. Hurrah.

  1. As you may know Duncan Jones is better known to we oldsters as Zowie Bowie, son of David.
  2. We concluded it was an 18 because lots of people die, some of them quite nastily, but you've not invested emotionally in any of them so it's hard to get worked up over it.

Tags: films, tv Written 04/01/12

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