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Entries in Locke (4)

Thursday
Dec252014

Top Ten Movies from 2014 You Should Catch Up With on Streaming

Margaret here, reporting from the warmth of the family home. In between gift-exchanging and major cooking projects, I'm going to be trying to catch up on as many 2014 movies as possible. For those of us without much time to run to the multiplex, there are plenty of options among recent acquisitions on streaming services. While most of the showiest would-be awards contenders are either still in theaters or holding off on their DVD releases, there are plenty of buzzy (and possibly even soon to be Oscar-nominated) movies available for the couch-bound.

Honorable Mention: Slow-burn crime drama Night Moves (Peter Sarsgaard, Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning) and Baltimore dirt-biker documentary 12 O'Clock Boys, both on Amazon Prime; Mind-bending relationship dramedy The One I Love (Elisabeth Moss, Mark Duplass) and low-key Swanberg indie Happy Christmas (Anna Kendrick, TFE favorite Melanie Lynskey), both on Netflix Instant.

 

10. Stranger By The Lake (Netflix Instant) This French erotic thriller had critics raving at the beginning of the year, though it hasn't been in much of the end-of-year conversation.

9. Nymphomaniac, parts 1 and 2 (Netflix Instant) Lars von Trier's latest provocation, served in two parts, is not for the faint of heart but is for anyone who wants to see Uma Thurman rip a scene apart in part 1.

8. Enemy (Amazon Prime) Celebrate our Year of Gyllenhaal with double the Jake in his second collaboration with Prisoners director Denis Villeneuve. It's been called "what might happen if someone let Terrence Malick make a "Twilight Zone" episode, with a quick rewrite by David Cronenberg." 

7. Blue Ruin (Netflix Instant) This grim, ultra-budget indie thriller is up for the Independent Spirit's John Cassavetes Award, given to an outstanding picture made for under 500K. Come for the revenge story, stay for the unsettlingly realistic gore.

 

6. We Are The Best! (Netflix Instant) This early-80s-Stockholm-set dramedy about three middle-grade girls who form a punk band irrespective of actual musical gifts has been cropping up on many a top-ten list, and has been widely praised for its infectious joyful spirit.

5. Locke (Amazon Prime) A tense one-man show, this claustrophobic thriller hangs completely on a star turn from Tom Hardy, who's earned TFE raves and even has Brad Pitt stumping for him at industry screenings.

4. The Immigrant (Netflix Instant) The fact that the Weinsteins are giving this sweeping period the redheaded stepchild treatment and dropping it from their campaign slate shouldn't keep you from checking it out. You, too, can join in the mass internet grumble over its being overlooked at the Oscars for Best Actress, Best Score, and Best Cinematography prizes. (It may yet take home some Independent Spirit Awards!)

3. Snowpiercer (Netflix Instant) Critics have been all over the brutal, absurd, and entirely original dystopian action film. It's a dark horse for Supporting Actress with Tilda Swinton's bonkers performance, and full to the brim with memorable setpieces. Don't be a shoe; watch it!

 

2. Under the Skin (Amazon Prime) The atmospheric alien fever dream has a legion of ardent fans, and is the hip moviegoer's choice for a top-ten-list entry guaranteed not to repeat at the Oscars. Guaranteed to be among the most visually memorable movies you see all year.

1. Ida (Amazon Prime and Netflix Instant) This little movie has been an awards magnet, and may well make a smooth trip to the Best Foreign film Oscar come February. Since it's present on two major streaming services and clocks in at a mere 80 minutes, there's no excuse not to catch up with this starkly beautiful and poignant Polish drama. 

Which movies are you planning to catch up with from home? Have any additional streaming recommendations?

Friday
Dec052014

Team FYC: Tom Hardy in Locke for Best Actor

Editor's Note: We're featuring individually chosen FYC's for various longshots in the Oscar race. We'll never repeat a film or a category so we hope you enjoy the variety of picks. And if you're lucky enough to be an AMPAS, HFPA, or Critics Group voter, take note! Here's David on Tom Hardy in Locke.

You hear Tom Hardy’s Ivan Locke before you see his face. Hardy has spoken about the mistaken origins of his attempt at a Richard Burton-esque Welsh brogue, but the dialect is the least important aspect of how the choice functions in acting. Locke’s accent makes his voice measured and plaintive, remaining a calmly placating force across his telephone conversations as he journeys across the British Isles one fateful night.

Steven Knight’s surprisingly tense script sets the groundwork for the surprising tension of Locke, but it’s Hardy’s performance that creates the compelling emotional drama out of events as mundane as a concrete pour. Any singular character piece like this inevitably relies heavily on its sole performer, and Hardy proves himself both actor and star, contorting his charisma so that Locke’s passion for his abandoned job and his complex dedication to both his wife and the other woman he is travelling to see are clear just by the way Hardy’s eyes shine. 

Knight’s chamber play doesn’t even allow Hardy the luxury of standing up once he enters the car at the beginning, limiting the actor even further. It’s a remarkable acting challenge, but the emotional delicacy Hardy is able to develop from just his voice, face and hands is an incredibly graceful experience. Locke is a character defined through his relationships to the people on the end of the phone (and a ghost in the backseat), and the way Hardy softly modulates his voice across the course of seismic emotional shifts creates an intimacy that Knight’s script might otherwise have precluded through its decisive audio choreography. Simply watching the contours of his face and how different they have become by the film’s end is more compelling than the majority of films released this year.

Other FYCs 
Original Screenplay, The Babadook
Original Score, The Immigrant
Supporting Actress, Gone Girl
Visual FX, Under the Skin
Cinematography, The Homesman
Outstanding Ensembles

Wednesday
Nov122014

2014 European Film Awards Nominations

Manuel here bringing you some more awards talk from across the Atlantic. 

Ida, the nomination leader with 5 citationsTis the season for awards and so before we could even digest those British Independent Film Awards nominations, here come the European Film Awards to dole out their own. They bring great news to several Best Foreign Language Oscar hopefuls. Poland's Ida, Russia's Leviathan, Sweden's Force Majeure, Italy's Human Capital, Turkey's Winter Sleep, Austria's The Dark Valley, and Belgium's Two Days, One Night are all well represented. Take a look at the below-the-line categories and you'll find a number of welcome inclusions (one must give respect to any awards body which gives Mica Levi an award for his hauntingly discordant score for Under the Skin). Kudos to the TFE team who have reviewed all the films up for 2014 European Film.

27th European Film Awards Nominations

European Film 
Force Majeure
Ida
Leviathan
Nymphomaniac Director’s Cut – Volume I & II
Winter Sleep 

Catch the full list of nominations after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
May082014

Review: Tom Hardy is "Locke"

Here's Michael C. with a new review...
 

Is it too early to declare Tom Hardy in possession of one of the all time great movie voices? As the title character in Steven Knight’s Locke, Hardy speaks in an elegant Welsh timbre that brings to mind a slowly unraveling Richard Burton. It is an endless pleasure to listen to, which is fortunate since we have little else to latch onto through Locke’s 85 minute running time. The story begins late one night with Tom Hardy’s Ivan Locke leaving work in his BMW and follows him in real time on one long fraught drive to London. Just a man in his car trying to prop up his crumbling life, armed only with his voice and the digital Rolodex on his dashboard.

It seems like a twisted joke to cast Tom Hardy in such a role. From Bronson to Warrior to Dark Knight Rises, Hardy has proved himself to be one of our most intensely physical actors. Trapping him in the front seat of a car for the whole running time might as well be putting him in a straight jacket. Yet the casting turns out to be a masterstroke since that caged animal energy charges what might otherwise be a tedious stylistic workout with a surprising amount of tension...

Click to read more ...