Short Term 12 Blu-Ray Competition

Short Term 12

Lost in all the hullabaloo of the London Film Festival you might have missed my gushing review for Short Term 12. For some reason I gave the film only four stars which in hindsight was a little too reserved of me.

Set in an American foster home Short Term 12 looks at the lives of the children seeking shelter there and the equally complicated lives of the staff, in particular the strong and slightly broken Grace as played by Brie Larson. Larson has a lot of supporting roles in comedy films under her belt but her performance here is nothing short of a revelation. She truly is a remarkable actress and I wish Short Term 12 had been seen by a few more eyeballs when it went on limited release in the UK.

With the DVD and Blu-ray release coming up on 10th March I’m going to have a little push to get you to see this film and I am helped by the fact that I have three copies of the Blu-Ray to give away!

To be in with a chance of winning one of the Short Term 12 Blu-rays simply enter your details below:

This competition has now closed

Entrants must be at least 18 years of age and be a UK resident. The competition closes on 10th March 2014 at 5pm. Three winners will be selected at random from the entries submitted and prizes will be sent to the addresses given in the entry.

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Out Now – 1st November 2013

Short Term 12

Short Term 12
Set in a children’s home in America and dealing with the daily dramas and small victories this involves Short Term 12 features is “funnier than you might expect with a whole lot of heart” and features a “career defining performance from Brie Larson”. Or so I say anyway. Leave your cynicism at home and go see this.

Philomena
Dench and Coogan team up to find the son that Dench was forced to give up as a child. “I laughed, I cried, I texted my mum and sister to ensure they go and see it.” And then I wrote a review. If you don’t cry at this one I worry for your soul.

Thor: The Dark World
Blah, blah, blah, Thor. Gush, gush, gush, Loki! Swoon, swoon, swoon, Portman. Surprisingly fun installment in the ever-growing Avengers juggernaut. OMG, I reviewed this one too! At this rate we’re in danger of looking professional. HA!

Krrish 3
Third installment in a Bollywood superhero franchise that had completely passed me by. Expect lots of action and drama… but will they sing?

The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia
Hang on. HANG ON! Connecticut and Georgia are US states separated by over 800 miles! I refuse to watch any film so ambiguous about its setting.

Drinking Buddies
I’ve not seen a lot of writer/director Joe Swanberg’s work but what I have seen I moderately enjoyed. Drinking Buddies looks to be one of his more accessible films and has a cast of people you’ve heard of! I won’t tell you their names. That would be too easy.

Gloria
“A story set in Santiago and centered on Gloria, a free-spirited older woman, and the realities of her whirlwind relationship with a former naval officer whom she meets out in the clubs.” Well that sounds adorable.

Nosferatu the Vampyre
Re-release (from the BFI obviously) of Werner Herzog’s 1979 remake of the most classic of all vampire films. I hear it’s amazing. Or I read that it is amazing… Probably on the BFI website so who knows if I am to be trusted.

Cutie and the Boxer
Documentary exploring the marriage of acclaimed boxer painter Ushio Shinohara and his wife, Noriko, as she strive to claim an identity of her own. For the record a boxer painter punches the canvas with paint covered gloves. No joke.

Short Term 12 – LFF Film Review

Short Term 12

As a cynical Brit I struggle to enjoy any film that tries too hard to tug at my heartstrings or seems to be shoving an important message down my throat. Films that purport to be realistic dramas but have the damaged individual fixed by the time the credits roll are a huge turn off for me. When Short Term 12 began I was quite concerned that this film about a foster care facility and its young staff would turn out to be precisely this overly earnest type of film.

Thankfully I was wrong.

Short Term 12 features a large ensemble cast of characters encompassing both children in foster care and the supervising staff of their care home. In the film we see a glimpse into the lives of those in care and how the staff deal with the issues that arise and try to give children in troubling situations as stable a childhood as they can before their fate is decided. The heart of the film is Grace (Brie Larson) a staff member at the home who has endless patience for the children under her care but much less patience for the parents who have let them down and the bureaucratic system they are all involved in.

Brie Larson is in that increasingly long list of actors who have been waiting for years for their one big breakout film. Larson has put in solid work in small roles on the big screen (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and 21 Jump Street to name a couple) and larger roles on the small screen (Raising Dad and United States of Tara) and has been a working actor for most of her life without necessarily getting a role that would act as her calling card. Finally with Short Term 12 I think Brie Larson has found it.

Grace is not just a strong figure in the lives of the kids she cares for but has her own less than perfect past to deal with that is affecting her present day personal life. It is the texture provided to her character that makes Grace a palatable person to have at the centre of such a sincere film and it is a career defining performance from Larson that really sells this character to the audience.

Short Term 12 is an effecting story with many threads as we meet a variety of damaged and lost children each with their own tale to tell. Some are explored in more detail than others and not every thread is tied up neatly by the film’s close. The film feels like a brief visitation to a difficult place where good people are trying their best to help others and there is a real sense of the story continuing long after we have pulled away out of the home that lends everything a layer of authenticity and believability.

Funnier than you might expect with a whole lot of heart Short Term 12 only occasionally contained too much sincerity for my cynicism to handle. Superb performances by Larson and the rest of the cast too numerous to list here the film is held together by understated direction and naturalistic dialogue from Destin Cretton.

Short Term 12 screens at the festival on the 19th October and is in UK cinemas on 1st November 2013.

BFI London Film Festival 2013

BFI London Film Festival 2013 Line-up

BFI London Film Festival 2013

It’s that time again! Yesterday the line-up for the 57th BFI London Film Festival was announced to a lot of press that didn’t include ourselves. Last year’s festival was a lot of fun and I successfully saw more films than I could handle but there was no one film that got me properly excited like there had been in previous years. 2013 looks to be different.

A quick perusal of the festival brochure reveals a long list of films that I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of from a number of writers, directors, and actors who are at the height of their game or at the beginning of what appear to be very promising careers. The line up for this year’s festival, running from 9th – 20th October, has got me properly excited and it looks like it will be easy for me to find enough films for me to finally break the 30 films in a festival barrier.

Below I have picked out ten films from the extensive list that the BFI are screening. What follows is far from an exhaustive list but rather is made up of films I have been waiting to see for a while or anything that caught my eye as I frantically scrolled through the festival brochure. My advise to you is to download the full brochure and give it a thorough read through so that you are ready when member’s booking opens on 12th September. Tickets go fast and some BFI members (ahem) are very quick with their keyboards.

Philomena

Philomena
Judi Dench stars as a Irish Catholic woman on the hunt for the son she gave up against her will more than fifty years ago. Steve Coogan is the jaded journalist who accompanies her on the journey in this film he co-wrote. Dench and Coogan are a double act I refuse to miss out on.

Gravity

Gravity
Alfonso Cuarón directs George Clooney and Sandra Bullock in a drama about a pair of astronauts whose space shuttle becomes damaged leaving the pair stranded and unable to contact earth. Lots of good buzz surrounding this film and it could well be only the second film after Life of Pi to use 3D properly.

The Invisible Woman

The Invisible Woman
Ralph Fiennes returns to the London Film Festival with his second feature as director in which he also takes a starring role. The focus of the film is on Charles Dickens and his secret love affair with a young actress played by Felicity Jones as she looks back on the affair later on in life. I think we all know why this film interests me.

Blue is the Warmest Colour

Blue Is the Warmest Colour
This year’s Palme d’Or winner is coming to London. A film about a love shared by two teenage girls that stirred up a lot of controversy in Cannes thanks to extended graphic sex scenes. Those scenes aside this film promises to be a tender look at young love that captures all its messiness and turbulence.

Don Jon

Don Jon

Joseph Gordon-Levitt takes on the triple role of writer, director, and actor in his first foray behind the camera. He plays the title role of Jon, a porn obsessed young man who falls for a woman equally obsessed with romantic comedies. The woman in question is Scarlett Johansson who seems to be channelling the cast of Jersey Shore. A confident debut from a strong young talent, I’m there.

The Double

The Double

Early this week I was Googling The Double in the hopes that it was coming to UK cinema’s soon. I adored Richard Ayoade’s debut film Submarine and have been eagerly awaiting his follow-up ever since. Now we have it in the form of a film about a man who goes unnoticed at work until his exact double joins the company. Witty and romantic as only Ayoade can be.

Under the Skin

Under the Skin

Scarlett Johansson’s performance as an alien hunting for men in Glasgow has drawn a lot of praise and excitement in the past week. The film is described as “a brilliant amalgam of fantasy and reality” and from the sounds of it not all the men in the film who fall for the alien’s charms were aware they were in a film at the time. I’m baffled enough to be intrigued.

Kill Your Darlings

Kill Your Darlings

Daniel Radcliffe has come a long way since Harry Potter and has showcased his ability to act on TV and on stage. Now it’s time for his to prove himself on the big screen. Here he plays Allen Ginsberg in his first year at University as he meets fellow future heavyweights of the Beat Generation and embarks on a tumultuous affair.

Afternoon Delight

Afternoon Delight

Any film with Juno Temple in is worth a second look which is why this film finds its way into this list. Temple co-stars as a stripper who is taken into the home of a bored housewife played but the too often ignored Kathryn Hahn. Darkly funny and the debut film from a female writer/director this should not be a cheap or sleazy affair.

Short Term 12

Short Term 12

Much like Juno Temple, Felicity Jones, Judi Dench, Richard Ayoade, or Joseph Gordon-Levitt there is another artist whose work I find myself absolutely needing to see and that is Brie Larson. Too often resigned to the role of love interest or comic relief Larson is finally getting a proper meaty role as a supervisor at a foster-care home who finds herself having to deal with her own past as she helps a new resident with theirs.