The BAFTA nominations were announced yesterday and showed plenty of love for The Artist, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and, in a pleasant surprise, Drive. With all nominations limited to the technical categories, Harry Potter best give up its hopes of finally getting any major awards. Less frivolous than the Golden Globes and a major stop on the way to the Oscars, the BAFTA nominations are exciting if pretty unsurprising.
Amongst this huge list what I want to focus on are the nominations for the award for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer. In a time when we are looking towards the future of independent British cinema this is an uplifting category to see, especially after the devastation of Felicity Jones not making the shortlist for the Rising Star Award. I still love you Felicity, don’t worry.
Of the five nominees for Outstanding Debut, Attack the Block, Black Pond, Coriolanus, Submarine and Tyrannosaur, I have seen four and three of those made it into my carefully constructed Top 20 Films of 2011. Having five confident debuts from British talent is proof that the UK film industry has a future and that the various funding schemes are working. Looking back at yesterday’s talk of funding for production it’s interesting to see that Film4 helped fund Attack the Block, Submarine and Tyrannosaur, lottery funds went into both Attack the Block and Tyrannosaur, and Black Pond was made for just £25,000.
In my various reviews I’ve described these first-time features as intense, confident, fun, effortless, powerful, brutal and honest. What am I trying to say? Just that I’m incredibly proud of British cinema and continue to be relieved that yesterday’s report didn’t try to mess with a winning formula.
As 2011 comes to a close is it my obligation as a film blogger to put together my pick of 2011’s releases. I’ve gone for my top twenty as narrowing it down to just ten would be too harrowing a task and my only rule is that they must have been released in UK cinemas during 2011. This takes us from The Next Three Days (absolutely not in the list) to The Lady and The Artist and is only limited to films I have seen. I’ve also chosen not to speak to the wider Mild Concern team, mostly due to laziness, barring watching Waste Land at Kat’s insistence. This was a decision I have come to regret considering the rambling you will find below.
The scene properly set, let’s get onto the list. Looking back 2011 has been a great year for cinema, here are my top 20 releases of 2011:
It’s no secret that we loveSubmarine, and it will take an impressive batch of films in the next five months for it not to reach our top 10 of 2011. This tale of a teenage boy dealing with his parent’s troubled marriage and struggling with a first love is as near perfect as any film this year. Richard Ayoade’s direction is stunning, unpolished and creates frame after frame of gorgeous visuals.
The cast all seem to understand the tone of the film perfectly, from Yasmin Paige and Craig Roberts as the awkward young couple, to Sally Hawkins and Noah Taylor as the awkward parents on the verge of breakdown. Only Paddy Considine gives a slightly misjudged performance as a marginally too broad mystic healer.
Submarine is a must-see and for me, a vital addition to my DVD collection.
The DVD has a fair few added features including a commentary with director Richard Ayoade, author of the Submarine novel Joe Dunthorne and director of photography Erik Wilson, cast and crew Q&As, music video, deleted scenes and interviews. The Q&As are taken from the film’s appearances at various film festivals and mostly consist of Ayoade being completely endearing and self-effacing while avoiding answering any serious question directly.
There is also a full version of Through The Prism with Graham T. Purvis, essentially a long performance from Paddy Considine in character and to camera, and footage from a test shoot which shows just how well planned and considered Ayoade’s style was. With such a low-budget we are sadly lacking any form of a making-of documentary.
This is an essential release and is out on DVD and Blu-ray right now. You won’t regret it.
One good film out today, though you are obliged to stay in watching Comic Relief or go down to your local community centre and do something funny for money. Submarine can wait for Saturday, don’t worry.
A comedy about “wannabe bad boys” that actually looks quite funny from the trailer. You still won’t catch me watching it though.
The Lincoln Lawyer
Supposedly tense thriller about a lawyer fighting a case while working out of his car. How tense can a film starring Matthew McConaughey be?
The best thing out in a while. As beautiful as it is funny, and filled with more amazing debuts than… erm… hard to think of a comparison. Oliver is a 15 year old boy trying to save his parents’ marriage and if possible enjoy a wonderful evening of love-making with the dimmer set to halfway. Just see it. You’ll love it.
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger
A film following two married couples as they deliver dialogue that should be performed by Woody Allen, the very man who wrote and directed the mess. He used to be so good.
Ballast (limited release)
Gritty drama looking to the fallout after a man’s suicide.
Benda Bilili! (limited release)
A heart warming documentary about a band from Kinshasa. There is some debate in the two near identical synopses on IMDb as to whether it is “five paraplegics and a young able-bodied teenager” or “four paraplegics and a young able-bodied teenager”. Can’t wait to find out which!
Between the Canals (limited release)
Irish crime film set on St. Patrick’s Day. Something tells me this should have had a Thursday release.
Route Irish (limited release)
Ken Loach directs “the story of a private security contractor in Iraq who rejected the official explanation of his friend’s death and sets out to discover the truth.”
At long last you can all see some well edited clips set to music, in the form of a trailer, for Submarine. Richard Ayode has a little masterpiece on his hands here and the trailer only hints at how good the film is, we loved it and are sure you will too when it comes out on the 18th of March.