Oscar nomination tagged posts

The 10 Best Films of 2017

Another year, another 10 movies that define why we love cinema. 2017 was such a strong year for film releases that many excellent movies failed to make our Top 10.

Honorary shout-outs then to such must-sees as Wind River, IT, Mother!, Una, A Silent Voice and Wonder Woman. Great movies all, all pipped to the post by the titles below.

Whatever brow-furrowing misbehaviour 2018 brings, one sliver of good news is that cinema should remain in fine shape. From what we saw at the London Film Festival in October, at least three five-star movies will be released next year.

But, without further ado, here is Electric Shadows’ 10 Best Films of 2017…

  1. Brawl in Cell Block 99

Writer/director S...

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Moonlight (2016)

Director: Barry Jenkins

Writer: Barry Jenkins (screenplay), Tarell Alvin McCraney (story)

Cast: Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes, Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, André Holland, Jharrel Jerome

Cert: 15

Running time: 111mins

Year: 2016

What’s the story: The life of Chiron, a black man from a rough area of 1980s Miami, is charted through three key stages of his life, from childhood to teenage years and full adulthood.

What’s the verdict: Moonlight and La La Land could not be more different. Moonlight is a coming-of-age story about the struggles of a young black man growing up ostracised and gay and saddled with an abusive crack-addicted mother in a deprived area of Miami...

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Spotlight (2015)

Spotlight-posterDirector: Tom McCarthy

Writer: Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer

Cast: Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci

Cert: 15

Running time: 128mins

Year: 2015


What’s the story: Boston, 2001. The Spotlight team, investigative journalists at The Boston Globe, uncover decades of child abuse and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese. What will it take to bring the truth to light?


What’s the verdict: Spotlight opens in 1976 at Christmas time. But, there’s scant reason to be merry in this sober, shattering account of abuse in the Catholic Church.

A journalism film on par with The Insider, Salvador or, yes, All the President’s Men, this is also a lament/clarion call for factual reporting in an age of opinion...

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The Revenant (2015)

The-Revenant---posterDirector: Alejandro González Iñárritu

Writer: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Mark L. Smith, Michael Punke (source novel)

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, Domhnall Gleeson, Forrest Goodluck

Cert: 15

Running time: 156mins

Year: 2015

What’s the story: 1823, the Great Plains of the American Midwest. Following an attack by warriors of the native Arikara tribe, a company of fur trappers flee across the harsh terrain for the safety of their fort. But, matters turn even darker when Hugh Glass, their guide, is mauled in a bear attack.


The full verdict: Alejandro González Iñárritu is better with bears than with birds. After the teeth-grinding self-satisfied Birdman, he delivers a survival movie guaranteed to have you cancelling that Lake District camping trip.

Not that ...

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2015 – Rewind and Re-View

That was the year that was 2015 then. As 2016 looms, let’s look back at what happened movie-wise.

As is tradition, we’ll begin with…

The Visit is the worst film of 2015 because it was close to being one of the best. Writer/director M. Night Shyamalan seemed to be making a compassionate chiller where the horror came from young eyes witnessing the ravages of old age. Until he snatched defeat from the jaws of victory with a third act twist, polluting all the good work done in the first hour. Time to call it an M. Night, mate.

AUTO-EROTICISM – Mad Max: Fury Road
Avengers: Age of Ultron was sound and fury and little else. Jurassic World was dumb-fun. But, everyone’s gear stick was slammed into fifth by George Miller’s astonishing action movie...

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Blu-Ray review: Wild Tales

Wild-Tales-posterDirector: Damián Szifrón

Writer: Damián Szifrón

Cast: Ricardo Darin, Erica Rivas

Cert: 15

Running time: 122mins

Year: 2014

Blu-Ray Region: B


The lowdown: Outrageously entertaining collection of six stories, managing to blend slapstick comedy, ultraviolence, class war, urban terrorism, and the worse wedding party in Argentinean history. Tied together with the piano wire of revenge as a central theme, this is breathlessly accomplished and, Oscar and Palme D’or nominations later, puts writer-director Damián Szifrón on the map. Pulp Fiction meets Fight Club goes some way to describing the delights in store.


The full verdict: Portmanteau films risk outstaying their welcome long before the end credits roll...

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The Tale of Princess Kaguya

The-Tale-of-Princess-Kaguya---Isao-Takhata,posterDirector: Isao Takahata

Writer: Isao Takahata, Riko Sakaguchi

Cast: Chloe Grace Moretz, James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Lucy Liu, Darren Criss (English language version), Aki Asakura, Tatasuya Nakadai, Takeo Chii, Nobuko Miyamoto

Cert: U

Running time: 137mins

Year: 2013


The lowdown: 80 year old Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata’s probable swansong happens to be his finest movie. A bold, enchanting, retelling of the one thousand year old Japanese folktale The Bamboo Cutter, it’s as fresh as Frozen and as visually daring as the best of Pixar. Magical, thrilling for all ages and captivating throughout, if Studio Ghibli does shut up shop for good now Hayao Miyazaki has retired, this is a wonderful film to bow out on.


The full verdict: Less well-known than Hayao Miyazaki, Isa...

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Benedict Cumberbatch on playing The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game - posterBased on the life of British mathematical genius Alan Turing, The Imitation Game was a fine choice to open the 58th BFI London Film Festival. Leading the team at Bletchley Park who cracked the Nazi Enigma code machine, Turing was also the father of modern computing and without his work you may not actually have the PC, tablet or phone upon which you’re reading this.

But, Turing’s life was beset by secrets, including his homosexuality which he was forced to conceal during a period in British history when discovery brought harsh jail sentences or damaging experimental drug treatments.

The Imitation Game delves into Turing’s work during World War 2, an unhappy childhood at an exclusive public school and a scandal in the early 50s that saw Turing arrested for gross indecency and was only r...

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