BAFTA 2012 Debrief

Last night BAFTA presented their annual film awards to an excited crowd of famous people, and I managed to forget that the ceremony was happening due to having a fun weekend and the fact that BAFTA somehow forgot to invite me along to the event.

BAFTA made some wise choices last night as they threw plenty of awards at The Artist, (Best Film, Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Film Music and Best Costume Design) and showed some much-needed love for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Outstanding British Film and Best Adapted Screenplay).

Meryl Streep took home an obvious win for her role in The Iron Lady making her Oscar win so certain it isn’t that exciting any more (and makes me think I should really make an effort to see the film). Christopher Plummer took home Best Supporting Actor for Beginners, a great role in a charming film which hopefully more people will seek out now that Plummer is winning awards all over the place.

Senna picked up Best Documentary and Best Editing making this the first year I can actually see what makes the editing in a certain film superior to others. As Senna was cut and pasted together from archive footage with nothing new being filmed for the documentary it is a pure feat of editing. It’s the equivalent of taking all of your old home movies and trying to cut together a BAFTA winning documentary, probably not worth the effort.

Further down the list of winners The Skin I Live In was dubbed Best Film not in the English Language and Rango won Best Animated Feature Film. Both films from my Top 20 Films of 2011 and both deserving winners, not least because I haven’t really seen any of the other nominees.

Perhaps the category with the most interest for me, partly because of the great talent taking up each space on the short list and partly because this was a category for which the winner was not obvious, was the BAFTA for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer. The award went to Paddy Considine for Tyrannosaur and is a great victory for a stunning debut. Frankly I would probably have had the same reaction for any of the nominees (though possibly not Coriolanus) as I have a lot of love for Black Pond, Submarine and Attack the Block.

For the full list of winners skip on down to IMDb.

Well done BAFTA, you did good.

BAFTA Nominations and the Great British Debuts

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.

And now for the full list of nominees without comment: Continue reading

Top 20 Films of 2011

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:

Continue reading

Out Now – 7th October 2011

Johnny English Reborn
I have a soft spot for the original Johnny English film and am a little excited about this sequel. The plot is pretty irrelevant, Rowan Atkinson will be pulling funny faces and hopefully that’s enough for you.

The Lion King
One of Disney’s best is back on the big screen and in 3D. Unnecessary? Perhaps. All I know is that my sister still isn’t happy about an extra song being added on the DVD and doubt she’ll appreciate feeling sick while watching a childhood favourite.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
Slightly above average for a modern horror, Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce ignore their daughter as she is terrorised by tiny creatures who want to eat her teeth. Plenty of genuine scares certainly gave me the willies.

Perfect Sense
Ewan McGregor and Eva Green play a couple falling in love as the world around them falls apart due to the global population losing its sensory perception. Luckily McGregor can use the force, so he’ll be okay at least.

Midnight in Paris
He cannot be stopped! Woody Allen is back with yet another romantic comedy, this time set in France and starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams. Oddly for a modern-day Allen film, this is actually getting some good reviews. Phew.

Tyrannosaur (limited release)
No dinosaurs in sight, just a well acted gritty bit of drama that I absolutely loved. Olivia Colman is a revelation and should never be called Olivia Coleman, it just isn’t her name.

Four Days Inside Guantanamo (limited release)
Fancy seeing an under-age prisoner interrogated for four days? Hard to stomach yet sadly completely non-fiction. Not a great date movie.

When China Met Africa (limited release)
This week’s second BBC documentary explores China’s growing investment in Africa and what this means for the rest of the world. Personally I think we should all start learning Chinese now so we can properly greet them as our new overlords.

Tyrannosaur – Review

Extrapolated from the short film Dog Altogether, Paddy Considine’s directorial debut Tyrannosaur follows the tentative friendship formed between eternally angry and violent Joseph (Peter Mullan), and the tragic charity shop worker Hannah (Olivia Colman).

This is not the uplifting story of redemption you might be expecting, the pair don’t solve each other’s problems. The film is far more raw and honest than that, at no point satisfied with walking the expected path. To say there is a plot twist would make the story seem too gimmicky, let’s just say there is a moment that shocked me and which I couldn’t have seen coming.

Tyrannosaur risks falling into the over-subscribed category of the “gritty british drama” yet somehow elevates itself above that. The film is much more cinematic than your average kitchen sink drama; dark shots with a sharp focus raise the production values above its peers.

While Considine has done a brilliant job directing, the emphasis in Tyrannosaur is most definitely on character. Peter Mullan plays a brilliantly layered and emotionally damaged Joseph, a man so irredeemable in the opening scene and yet ultimately a man who we root for. Olivia Colman is at the top of her game, that slight sadness she sometimes allows to show in her eyes during otherwise comedic performances take centre stage as she rises triumphantly as a dramatic actress. Eddie Marsan also deserves a nod for bringing to life character so hateful the audience is against him before he speaks his first line.

Powerful, brutal and honest. An attention grabbing and emotionally raw feature debut from Paddy Considine. Olivia Colman broke my heart and Peter Mullan terrified me. In the months since I saw this film I haven’t been able to shake its shadow. Superb.

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