REVIEW OF END OF WATCH - Danny's film of the week
Claudia: Everyone’s going to be very grumpy, because everyone likes this film except for me. I thought it was full of clichés; I thought that the footage when they’re filming themselves is annoying. The end, and obviously I don’t want to give it away, is ridiculous.
I thought Michael Peña was the best thing in it, but Jake Gyllenhaal, not being able to find a girlfriend - really? You’re Jake Gyllenhaal!
Danny: It’s a deeply old fashioned movie. It’s much less like James Ellroy, the great L.A. crime writer, and more like John Wayne. What’s fantastic about this is the sheer electricity it’s got. In Michael Peña and Jake Gyllenhaal, you’ve got this great bickering double act, who you always know deep down will take a bullet for each other - a bromance for want of a better phrase.
I will concede that the found footage doesn’t add very much. The script gets cluttered up with stuff like Jake Gyllenhaal constantly having to explain why he’s putting down his video camera to make an arrest. There’s still something thrilling about the filmmaking here. It’s the kind of movie making that gets its’ hands around your throat. Also, Michael Peña has been very good in some not so good movies, and I this a genuine breakthrough performance.
REVIEW OF SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK - Claudia's joint film of the week
Danny: I don’t know what Jennifer Lawrence got paid to star in this movie, but whatever it was, it’s not enough. Whatever charm this film has is solely down to her. Without her, this film is insincere, tacky, and tasteless. I’ve seen muggings at cash points that are less cynical than this film. I just distrust a film which can’t, or won’t, tell the difference between someone having bipolar disorder and someone being quirky. The whole thing feels like a Hollywood executive’s idea of what they feel a Mike Leigh film should be. I want you to imagine Mike Leigh smothered in cheese, which is really what this film is.
Claudia: There are no words to describe how much I love this film. I watched it; I sobbed. It is sincere. Bradley Cooper, who I’ve always ignored, is brilliant in it, Jennifer Lawrence is brilliant, De Niro is brilliant.
It is a fabulous, thrilling, gripping, and funny, and romantic film. It’s life-affirming. I adored it! I love Mike Leigh, and I love cheese in the can. This is dreamy. If Bradley Cooper gets an Oscar, I will weep with happiness.
REVIEW OF NATIVITY 2: DANGER IN THE MANGER!
Danny: Jessica Hynes is always excellent; she’s excellent here as well. Her aside, this film is brutal. I’m not even sure we can talk about this as a film—it’s half a panto and half a pitch for a West End musical, which I’m sure it’ll end up as. Some of the kids are very good, and I would say on balance, professionally, it’s probably better for them to do this than sweeping a chimney.
Mr Poppy is a figure from nightmares. In reality, no school in the country would let him within 50 feet of the gate, let alone in a classroom. I’m not sure the people behind Nativity 2 have even been to a classroom, or a school... I still prefer it to Silver Linings Playbook though.
Claudia: I like everyone who’s in it - they’re all really good. But essentially the story is about an irresponsible teacher, a baby being stolen, and kids being held by a rope down a cliff. I’m too old, too tense, and too boring to take such a thing. The story is a bit bonkers. And then all these kids have to watch somebody give birth to twins! Though I also think, if you’re ten, or under ten, you will love it. I think it’s for kids.
REVIEW OF THE HOUSE I LIVE IN - Claudia's joint film of the week
Danny: The House I Live In takes this panoramic view of the war on drugs, and looks at all the links in the chain, from the users and dealers on the street, all the way up to the politicians and the very big business that are the prisons in America now. If that sounds a little like “The Wire” you might not be surprised to find that the creator of “The Wire,” David Simon, pops up here as the lead talking-head to connect the dots. He is very compelling and I think the film is compelling.
It takes what you might think is an argument you are familiar with, and makes it new. For me, it’s as angering and heart-breaking as I found End of Watch thrilling. People should see a double bill of both.
Claudia: This is an absolutely phenomenal piece of work. I love Silver Linings Playbook, but I absolutely would urge you to make it a double cinema week. This film is extraordinary. Like Danny said, it tells you what you already know, but it fills you with rage. I went immediately online to look for petitions to sign.
The House I Live In can be seen at the following locations:
Curzon Soho, London
Oval Space, London (pop-up screening)
Broadway Cinema, Nottingham
- Series Producer
- Jayne Stanger
- Claudia Winkleman
- Danny Leigh
- Executive Producer
- Basil Comely