October 19, 2016 | Category: Films

Film Fight 2016: April

Another very late post, April’s Film Fight features four films.

First up, Midnight Special is a great sci-fi, indie film that manages its world building with defat and care. You’re shown what appears to be a kidnapping, with the layers of why this act is happening being pulled back over the first half of the movie, before the film takes a different turn. The cast is excellent, with Michael Shannon bringing his usual level of intensity to proceedings. The very last scenes are, perhaps, lacking the solidity of the rest, but not so much as to be off-putting. Odd, but tense. Very worth seeing. (See my Midnight Special Twitter review)

The idea of a filmed first-person sequence has been around for a while, but I don’t recall seeing a full-length movie that commits to the idea in the way Hardcore Henry does. Sadly, the film’s striking and sometimes tense set-pieces are lost in mess of camera movement. If first-person is going to work, it’s going to need a lot more image stabilisation to be watchable. That’s before mentioning the awful dude-bro dialogue, some of the worst I’ve seen in a long time. What starts as a good idea quickly becomes unwatchable, for more reasons than the shaky cam. Avoid. (See my Hardcore Henry Twitter review)

Continuing Disney’s quest to remake every one of their cartoons as a live-action film, The Jungle Book surprises with some nice shots and great performances. However, as with so many remakes, they can’t help but cram it full of shoehorned attempts at nostalgia and ill-advised musical cues. Fine, but very unnecessary. (See my The Jungle Book Twitter review)

Finally, Miles Ahead is Don Cheadle’s feature directorial debut, in which he also stars, about the latter days of Miles Davis. Despite what feels like a tight budget, Cheadle delivers a film that looks, sounds and feels the part. The music, editing, and central performance work together to give us an insight into Davis’ genius and downfall. Very good. (See my Miles Ahead Twitter review)

The winner for April is Miles Ahead, for its strong take on the subject matter.