12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave

What an utterly compelling and uncomfortable watch this was. Chiwetel Ejiofor delivers a stunning performance as Solomon Northup, a free man, kidnapped and sold into slavery. Michael Fassbender’s slavemaster Epps is as intimidating and cruel as he’s ever likely to be on the screen. In fact, there wasn’t a bad performance in the entire film. Steve McQueen’s run of superb films continues and you’ll understand when you see it why it has, and will, continue to win awards.

Cinema & Time

A conversation with Richard Linklater (director of the Before… trilogy of films) through cinema and time… about cinema and time. If you haven’t seen them, I highly recommend the trilogy of films shown in the video. Start with Before Sunrise. (hat tip to John Morton who pointed this video out on Twitter)

Blackfish

Most of the stuff that I’d read or watch is non-fiction so Blackfish was a documentary on my radar as having gotten great reviews recently. It’s a film that investigates incidents involving killer whales in captivity and is quite shocking. It’s clear that these mammals have a social sense far greater than humans (as has been evidenced by brain MRI) and the damage that captivity does to them is truly immeasurable. I believe we’ll look back in years to come and realise how much of a mad practice this is. Recommend viewing.

Star Trek: Into Darkness

star-trek-into-darkness

This is basically a stream of consciousness seen as I saw it this morning. It doesn’t contain spoilers.

Star Trek: Into Darkness is the follow up to J.J. Abram’s 2009 film which introduced a time travelling element, skilfully avoiding pissing off the fanbase and setting a clean slate. As the name suggests, things get a bit darker in this one with Benedict Cumberbatch’s John Harrison the baddie that is out to get Star Fleet. Cumberbatch’s performance is gripping and he provides a menacing presence whenever he shares a scene. Chris Pine’s Kirk is the man in pursuit of Harrison and Pine gets the opportunity to really add some meat to the character’s bones this time around. Speaking of “Bones” McCoy, I really liked Karl Urban’s portrayal of the Doc in the first movie and he gets some brilliant lines this time around too.

The rest of the Enterprise crew are given proper arcs and each of the main members plays pivotal roles at times throughout. The action is on a par with anything you’ll have seen before and the CG is flawless. It actually feels like the characters are in the scene instead of being digitally placed (which inevitably they were at times). Are there plot holes? Yes but then again, there have been in the majority of summer blockbusters I’ve seen in the past few years. The thing here is that they don’t grate at all as the film goes at some pace. The only problem I had with it? It’s slightly too long but I could comfortably sit through it again and will. It’s unsure whether Abram’s will return for a third film as he journeys to a galaxy far, far away to film Star Wars: Episode VII in 2015. If he doesn’t, he’s set the Star Trek world in good stead for the future.