2012 Jameson Empire Awards: Winners

The winners of the 2012 Jameson Empire Awards were announced this evening at a lavish ceremony held within London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.

Now in their seventeenth year, the awards recognise the the excellence of professionals in the local and global film industry, and were voted for by readers of Britain’s biggest film magazine.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy emerged the night’s biggest winner, bagging a total of Continue reading “2012 Jameson Empire Awards: Winners”

Jameson Empire Awards 2012: Nominations

The nominees for the 2012 Jameson Empire Awards were revealed earlier today on Empire’s official website.

The awards, now in their seventeenth year, aim to recognize excellence of professionals in the local and global film industry, and are voted for by readers of Britain’s biggest film magazine (vote here).

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Attack The Block, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy lead the way with four nominations apiece Continue reading “Jameson Empire Awards 2012: Nominations”

London Critics’ Circle Film Awards 2012: Winners

Actors, actresses, critics and industry types gathered at the BFI Southbank, London earlier this evening to reveal the 32nd annual London Critics’ Circle Film Award winners.

Emerging on top were The Artist, which scooped three awards; A Separation, which won two prizes; and We Need To Talk About Kevin, which – deservedly so – won British Film Of Year .

Anna Paquin (!!!) tied with Meryl Streep for Actress Of The Year, while Olivia Continue reading “London Critics’ Circle Film Awards 2012: Winners”

Evening Standard British Film Awards 2012: Nominations

Shame, Tyrannosaur and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy lead the nominations for the 39th London Evening Standard British Film Awards.

Selected by a host of Britain’s leading film critics, the London Evening Standard British Film Awards recognise the skill and audacity of those involved with the British film industry.

The awards, hosted by Stephen Mangan, will take place on Monday, February 6 Continue reading “Evening Standard British Film Awards 2012: Nominations”

BAFTA Film Awards 2012: Nominations

The nominations for the 2012 Orange British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA’s) were revealed earlier this morning by Daniel Radcliffe and Holliday Grainger.

The Artist lead the way with a whopping twelve nominations, with Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy following closely behind with a still impressive ten.

Meanwhile, The Descendants, We Need To Talk About Kevin, Hugo and The Help all picked up several nominations in key categories, while Paddy Considine, Continue reading “BAFTA Film Awards 2012: Nominations”

BIFA Awards 2011: Nominations

Paddy Considine’s Tyrannosaur, Steve McQueen’s Shame and Tomas Alfredson’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy lead the nominations for the 14th annual Moët British Independent Film Awards (BIFA’s), which were announced at a ceremony in London earlier today.

Other nominees include Ben Wheatley’s Kill List, Richard Ayoade’s Subarmine, Lynne Ramsay’s We Need To Talk About Kevin and John Michael McDonagh’s The Guard. 

The BIFA’s, an awards ceremony aimed squarely at acknowledging the Continue reading “BIFA Awards 2011: Nominations”

DVD Releases: September 19, 2011

Attack The Block (Review)

Director: Joe Cornish

Starring: John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker and Alex Esmail Continue reading “DVD Releases: September 19, 2011”

Feature: Top Ten Films Of 2011: January – June

So far, 2011 has been a fantastic year for film. Below, I’ve compiled a list of my ten favourites from the last six months, with a few honourable mentions that just missed out on a place. Finally, I’ve listed some somewhat less honourable mentions that you should probably avoid at all costs.

10. Never Let Me Go (February 2011)

Mark Romanek’s shamefully overlooked adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s momentous novel Never Let Me Go wasn’t exactly the hit Fox Searchlight were banking on, but that didn’t stop it being a beautifully explorative, acted and directed piece of cinema.

9. Animal Kingdom (February 2011)

This Australian crime-thriller rose from the underbelly, picking up momentum thick and fact for its astoundingly honest portrayal of a fully functional crime family. Striking direction, raw performances and compelling source material have made well worth seeking out.

8. Archipelago (March 2011)

Joanna Hogg’s stark look at family turmoil is beautifully captured and carefully paced to provide a deeply resonant and affecting glimpse into the highs and lows of family life and what makes people tick.

7. Heartbeats (May 2011)

Multi-faceted Xavier Dolan follows in the footsteps of acclaimed filmmakers Gus Van Sant, Pedro Almodóvar and Wong Kar Wai to write and direct Heartbeats, a film of true beauty, wisdom and depth beyond its years.

6. Arrietty (June 2011 – EIFF)

Studio Ghibli’s sprightly interpretation of Mary Norton’s acclaimed children’s book The Borrowers is directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, under the watchful eye of filmmaker extraordinaire Hayao Miyazaki. Arrietty boasts some truly illustrious animation and a score by French musician Cecile Corbel that made me go weak at the knees.

5. Bridesmaids (June 2011)

Kristen Wiig, well known for her long-standing stint on Saturday Night Live, was launched to stardom with hit comedy Bridesmaids. Directed by Paul Feig, the film features an array of flawless comedic performances, unforgettable gags and the goddess-like figure Rose Bryne.

4. Albatross (June 2011 – EIFF)

Niall McCormick’s British coming-of-age film premiered at the 65th Edinburgh International Film Festival to rave reviews. Written by burgeoning writer Tamzin Refn, Albatross is a fully realised and thought-provoking piece of cinema, chock full of heart, depth and humour to boot. If Jessica Findlay-Brown doesn’t become a star, then there’s something seriously wrong with the world.

3. Black Swan (January 2011)

Granted, this film opened last year in America, but due to different release schedules it was early January before I had a chance to see Natalie Portman give an Academy Award winning performance in Darren Aronofsky’s daringly dark psychological ballet thriller. Hauntingly brilliant.

2. Submarine (March 2011)

Former IT Crowd actor Richard Ayoade made his directorial debut with the mesmerising, outlandish and warm-hearted indie comedy Submarine. The entire cast, not least relative newcomer Craig Roberts, delivered remarkable performances.

1. Blue Valentine (January 2011)

This emotionally crippling insight into one couple’s turbulent relationship shot Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams back into the limelight, and earned them a few dozen award nominations in the process. After years of suffering various unfortunate setbacks, Derek Cianfrance’s passion project came to fruition with such intensity that it was hard to ignore. From the offset I was hooked, so it’d be impossible for Blue Valentine not to be my top film of the year so far.

Films of notable interest: Hobo With A Shotgun, Trust, Project Nim, Attack The Block, Rango, The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adèle Blanc-Sec, Rubber, Pina 3D, Scream 4, Winnie The Pooh, Meek’s Cutoff, X-Men: First Class, The Silent House, 13 Assassins, Perfect Sense, Thor and Cave Of Forgotten Dreams.

Films to think no more of: Mars Needs Moms, Larry Crowne, Ghosted, I Am Number Four, The Rite, Faster, Chalet Girl, Red Riding Hood and Battle: Los Angeles.

UK Box Office – May 13 – 15, 2011

1. Thor – £1,360,418

2. Fast Five – £1,155,540

3. Attack The Block – £1,133,859

4. Insidious – £963,963

5. Hanna – £821,081

6. Water for Elephants – £695,631

7. Rio – £592,142

8. Something Borrowed – £489,848

9. Priest – £202,483

10. Arthur – £151,755

Review: Attack The Block (2011)

Attack The Block is a low-budget British sci-fi blockbuster from writer/producer extraordinaire Joe Cornish, starring a mix of established actors and unknowns engaged in an intense battle for their meagre council estate in South London.

The film begins with young nurse Sam (Jodie Whittaker) being mugged by a horde of teenagers from her South London housing estate, when they are interrupted by something large falling onto a nearby car. The action immediately switches to the youths confronting and killing a vicious, unearthly creature – unknowingly making themselves the target of an invasion of flesh-ripping aliens.

The premise may seem straightforward, but Cornish injects the script with such warmth, humour, action, violence and thrills that it evolves from a low-budget sci-fi film into something much larger. He finds that elusive dynamic that makes an instantly timeless blockbuster, which is as much a nail-biting action-thriller as it is an amusing character study.

The fact that the action remains within the surrounding environment of the titular “block” makes the film feel even more claustrophobic, realistic and altogether climactic. However, by littering the film with witty dialogue, playful characters and a wonderfully fanciful yet astute premise, Attack The Block manages to be hardcore and genuinely frightening, while never taking things too far and losing its earthy charm.

Cornish’s direction complements the confined action superbly. By layering it with throwbacks to 1980’s filmmaking, Cornish keeps the special effects, gimmicks and tricks to a minimum. Instead, he opts for laid back, restrained camera angles, letting the actors, action and scenery spur on events and take centre stage. The similarities to John Carpenter films are uncanny, but Cornish is bold and defiant enough to put his own mark on the creature feature genre.

The alien effects are almost entirely practical, and are exposed magnificently through abrupt snatches of ruthless imagery that’s reminiscent of several cult-classic horror films, including An American Werewolf In London and Ghostbusters. Their rugged design is blazingly original, making them undeniably more figurative than most mega-budget Hollywood beasts. A few subtle CGI enhancements add visceral gloss without ever ruining the authenticity of the aliens and supplementary gang war.

The cast, which is splendidly comprised of three known UK actors – Whittaker, Nick Frost and Luke Treadaway – alongside a smorgasbord of unknown teenagers, are uniformly top-notch. Frost delivers an over-the-top yet wonderfully humorous turn as Ron, Whittaker plays Sam with a captivating naivety and earthiness, and Treadaway brilliantly captures the personality of a posh stoner. Meanwhile, John Boyega stands out from amongst the unknowns, giving a powerful and genuinely unnerving performance as Moses.

The casting itself gives the film an extra layer of realism, as most of the actors were handpicked from council estates and youth clubs around London. Moreover, the willingness to address many current questions about war, racism, and violence in today’s society allows the film to remain level headed and appealing to a wide viewership. It’s unlikely to leave many feeling unimpressed or unaffected.

All in all, Attack The Block is a thoroughly entertaining, truly original, strikingly executed and – in my opinion – instantaneously classic British sci-fi cross-breed. It’s a film that simply cannot be missed.