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Frantz, 2016 – ★★★★★

A journey of friendship, love, grief and forgiveness.

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The Age of Shadows, 2016 – ★★★½

A decent spy thriller set against the backdrop of Japanese occupied Korea in the 1920s. At times I found it a little difficult to follow the intricacies of the plot, I think as a result of my own lack of knowledge about the time and context in which it was set.

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Fences, 2016 – ★★★

This is a piece of theatre. You could be forgiven for thinking you were watching a National Theatre Live screening. It’s probably a result of the relatively fixed staging – I can only recall a couple of scenes that weren’t either in the house or the yard.

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Hacksaw Ridge, 2016 – ★★★½

Since The Passion of the Christ I have come to expect to be challenged by films directed by Mel Gibson. The first half of Hacksaw Ridge lulled me into a false sense of security. We see Desmond Doss tackling the challenges of a childhood with a drunk for a dad, growing into an upstanding member of the community and falling in love. It was hard not to get swept away in the romance of it but I knew war was coming.

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Mustang, 2015 – ★★★½

The best thing about this film is the juxtaposition of the childhood innocence – encapsulated for me in the indoor swimming scene – and the perceived promiscuity of the five sisters at the centre of the story.

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The Grand Budapest Hotel, 2014 – ★★★★

I’ve been putting off watching The Grand Budapest Hotel since its release. Wes Anderson’s films intrigue me but it is rare that I enjoy them. Sometimes I wonder if I just don’t ‘get’ him.

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Carol, 2015 – ★★★★★

Opening with a tracking shot through the streets of New York in the 50s, Carol is reminiscent of Far From Heaven, Todd Haynes’ homage to Douglas Sirk. Carol is shot with the same care and attention to detail.

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Wings of Desire, 1987 – ★★★★

The perfect film for a Sunday afternoon date.

Since watching this I’m making a conscious effort to notice the simple and small things in life that we sometimes take for granted. A step towards mindfulness, perhaps.

Vía Letterboxd – ekcragg

Love & Mercy, 2014 – ★★★★

If you asked me if I’d like to see a film about Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, I’d have said ‘not likely’. Then I saw the trailer and it intrigued me. I like Paul Dano. I like Elizabeth Banks. And I was keen to see what has become of John Cusack. Just before arriving at the cinema, I almost changed my mind and went to see something else. I’m so glad I didn’t.

It doesn’t matter if you’re not a fan of the Beach Boys. The band, and their popularity and success, are kept largely in the background. If you’re a fan of music, of any kind, I’d encourage you to see this.

There’s a stand-out performance in each of the two threads of the story. In the early years it’s Dano – outwardly measured and inwardly chaotic. In the later years it’s Banks – whose facial expressions and body language convey such a range of emotions.

The film is as much about music and the process of making it as it is about the highs and lows in the life of Brian Wilson. It’s about creativity. And perhaps what’s best is it almost doesn’t feel like a biopic.

Vía Letterboxd – ekcragg

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