Film Review of TAXI TEHRAN (2015)

Director: Jafar Panahi

Running time: 82 mins 


Jafar Panahi is an Iranian filmmaker who has been banned from making films by his own government. Jafar says this just makes him more passionate, hence this, his third film while banned. Panahi plays a version of himself as a taxi driver getting a list of fares around the city and recording them with dash cams to make his secret film. This was inspired by him doing it for real on his mobile phone first. There is a defiant streak to this film as unknown actors play the clients and speak freely about their city. The film is entirely set within the cab and reminded me a little of Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis. So here’s a dip into a society different from ours in the UK albeit with the same rebellious spirit.
SHOWING SUNDAY 15th May at Picture House, Keighley

C whitehouse

Film review of Captain America: Civil War


Director : Joe Russo, Anthony Russo

Cast : oh come on, you know by now.

Running time : 2 hours 30 minutes 


This maybe a Captain America film in the old scheme of things but movies have changed now and this is a further step of the Avengers series also. The lines have blurred. It’s still fresh in my mind how much of an impossible achievement it was to successfully have all those characters work in Avengers Assemble. It was a miracle that it worked so beautifully. Civil War has to balance yet more characters both old and new. The old characters are set in their personalities now and never put a foot wrong and now new characters just show up with almost no introduction which is thought was absolutely excellent. Two and a half hours though, well it felt it. There is a lot of talking about ‘signing the agreement’ and my son fidgeted in his seat. It reminded me of The Phanton Menace’s trade agreement waffle.

The film centres around a supposed showdown between friends though, a falling out where beat downs are handed out. But I never felt the weight of the argument, as both parties were still friends even when punching each other. They were basically having a family spat at worst. But that mid movie slap fight is a hugely funny and entertaining piece of film making which has brilliant choreography since all players have to be doing something with their skills set against another skill set, and all at the same time. Marvel seem to excel in keeping the funny moments and that just makes the scene pop. At the mid section point, I and the audience were in full swing, basically because of the star player, the web swinging Spider-man who steals the show even as Peter Parker. THIS IS HOW YOU DO SPIDER-MAN!

After the highlights of this battle I felt the film slow again though and you realise there’s all the wrapping up to be done and it was all a big mouthful to take. I felt like I’d over eaten afterwards especially as we all have to wait to see the rest of the movie during the credits and then after the film credits have passed. It’s exhausting even if you’re a fan.

This movie certainly has incredible moments which I won’t spoil here but there’s also a lot of dialogue to fill the running time out. Another great slice of this universe if somewhat overshadowed by our favourite wall crawler.
C Whitehouse

Film Review :The Jungle Book (2016)


Dir: Jon Favreau. 

Running time : 1 hour 45 

I think we all thought WHY remake this classic when news of its release hit some time ago. Most of us had this as some part of our childhood or maybe our own children’s childhoods. But although the animation from 1967 is laminated to us by our own glossy memories. What about the new children of today who missed it? My son is 7 years old and he was shown the cartoon at school. “It just looked so awful” he said. Well that cannot be said of this years version. The animation of the CGI animals is amazing and although there are moments when your brain is saying that you aren’t looking at REAL, the rest of the time you are absorbed into the interplay between the animal kingdom and Mowgli. Ah yes, Mowgli, played here by Neel Sethi. This isn’t a reinterpretation of the cartoon hero, it’s an exact replica. Just genius casting. In fact all the casting choices are spot on even e gender changed ones make sense. Concerned Baghreera By Ben Kingsley, lazy but fun Baloo by Bill Murray, dark and mighty Shere Kahn by Idris Elba, hypnotic Kaa (snake) by Scarlet Johansson and power mad gangster the orang-utan by Christopher Walken, all fall beautifully into their roles and lend their voices to make the friendships rich and powerful. But what of the songs? the score drops in subtle key notes from all the major players including Trust In Me before rolling delicately into our favourites like The Bare Necessities, which just makes you feel safe and warm again and I Wanna Be Like You. Oh the feeling that this was in safe hands is such a relief. Even though you know how it all plays out, there’s enough little unobtrusive detours to make you love it all over again. This one, my son really lapped up and tapped his foot along. For a 1 hr 45 running time, it seemed to fly by and I could’ve stayed in that jungle world much longer. The scenes of dark nights and really very black, but with no street light pollution, what do you expect? Then the day breaks and it’s a rich tapestry of colour again.

This is a lovely cozy hug of a film and Jon Favreau must be sat proud that it all came off as well as it did. A must see all over again.
C Whitehouse

Film Review of HARDCORE HENRY (2016)


Director: Ilya Naishuller

Running time : 1 hour 36

Cast : Jimmy -Sharlto Copley

Henry’s Father – Tim Roth 

Estelle – Hayley Bennett 



THIS IS FOR THE PLAYERS may be the PlayStation 4 adverts tagline, but it fits perfectly with this movie. It isn’t really a film at all by conventional standards. To any modern gamer, this is just what we see day in day out. When playing the latest Call Of Duty or Uncharted game, we say to ourselves, wow, this is just like playing a movie. I think that was the genesis of how Hardcore Henry came into existence. If you follow that logic, there is nothing original about this movie at all. I sat there thinking firstly about when shaky cam first met kinetic action to a bevy electro beat. To my kind came RUN LOLA RUN up to CRANK. Recently though, THE RAID was the film to lessen the dialogue scenes and try wall to wall fighting. 

Like any video game, there’s little in the way of story. The movie and trailer starts like HALO or many others, in a lab with some doctor talking you through your predicament. HALF-LIFE was the next touchstone and BLACK OPS 3 as your body is cybernetic and takes a beating but you can still fight on. 

Produced by Timur Bekmambetov of WANTED and NIGHT WATCH fame, the visuals are brilliant. The cuts however make even less time for your brain to make sense of things. I would’ve preferred it to be in real time, one continuous shot. Director Ilya Naishuller and Sharlto Copley (DISTRICT 9) also worked on Payday 2 together. Ilya doesn’t waste more than 30 seconds between action or carnage. Skydive into Call Of Duty shoot out, into Mirrors Edge free running, into Uncharted vehicle shoot out, into Farcry jungle stealth, into Battlefront soldier attack, into GTA5 lap dancing place…and on and on, never letting up. 

Sharlto Copley plays about 20+ characters (also a video game device- Black Ops 3 campaign/assassins Creed Black Flag- ) with its magufin allowing one conciencesness to flit from one body to another. Unfairly it’s the Sharlto show because we don’t usually see the face of our lead character, much like, yes you’ve guessed it, in video games. 

Also, our lead cannot speak as briefly touched on in the trailer. 

Now worth every good hero game or movie there’s a villain. Here, it’s a telekinetic albino Andy Warhol looking dude. He looks very much like Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luther albeit albino. 

He’s hammy. Not meanacing but brutal. Like most game villains, he’s paper thin. 

So if you can remember the church scene in The Kingsman, and imagine that for one and a half hours, you can picture this experience. 

But all that said, as much as the few woman partners who I sat near constantly kept checking the time on their smartphones…..I had a blast. I absolutely loved it. There’s moments of inventive kills which didn’t hold back because it’s rated 18. I just had a great time once I was aware that it simply was 90 minutes of end battles stuck into one non stop movie. 

I can’t wait to see it again. 

Like having two shots of adrenalin injected into both legs while listening to Don’t Stop Me Now by QUEEN. 

In fact, exactly that. 



C Whitehouse 



Copley, Henry, hardcore, Roth, video game 

The Diary Of A Teenage Girl (2015)

Director : Marielle Heller 

Running time 1hr 42

Cast: Minnie- Bel Powley

Charlotte – Kristen Wigg

Monroe- Alexander Skarsgard
In the time of the hangover from the excess of the 60’s, a young girl, Minnie (Bel Powley) discovers firstly her sexuality and then other vices which is understandable since her mother Charlotte (Kristen Wigg) is always doped up on something. The film wastes no time in having Minnie announce to her little tape recorder that she’s just had sex- with her mothers boyfriend Monroe played by Alexander Skarsgard. Whilst at first this struck me as distasteful, the film itself has no judgements about it. This is a journey of one girls blossoming into adulthood and has a comical angle through emotional highs and lows interspersed with animation and dream like sequences to show what’s in Minnie’s head. Minnie is in charge of the situation mostly and so there’s less of an icky feeling as it goes on. Look, it’s very sex central, I’m not gonna lie. But it’s one a bunch of awards. This is an honest reflection of discovering what’s out there in the big wide world teenagers are thrown into. The movie wonderfully captures the vulnerability and the headstrong selfishness of youth.

C Whitehouse

Film Review: Carol (2015) Coming in April 2016 


Running time : 2 hours 

Director: Todd Haynes (I’m Not There) 

Cast: Cate Blanchett – Carol

Rooney Mara – Therese 

Sarah Paulson – Abby 

Kyle Chandler – Harge 

In older, less enlightened times, same sex relationships were far less understood and the confusion of such feelings led to therapy as if it were a mental illness. Here is a film which deals with the topic and sees Carol and Therese gravitate towards each other with a misunderstood desire which could cause problems for all their loved ones around them. The dialogue is one thing but it’s the silences which speak volumes between the pair. The film shows heartache and longing equally well. In other films on this topic there’s usually a heavy hand taking the sexual images too far, but here it’s purely romantic and understandable. The film is sensitive and tender towards its lovers and we feel their spark of attraction shine off the screen. Great, believable performances which convince.

C whitehouse
Film review, Carol, Blanchett, Mara

Anomalisa (2015) Film Review 


Director : Duke Johnson, Charlie Kaufman

Running time : 90 minutes.

Cast : David Thewlis – Michael.

Jennifer Jason Lee – Lisa.

Tom Noonan – Everyone else.

Charlie Kaufman’s script suits the stop frame animation as the solipsistic Michael plods around world weary in surroundings where everyone is voiced by just one man, even have the women.

Then Lisa falls into Michael’s world and is a ray of insecure light in his darkness. This may be animation but it’s certainly not for kids with it’s sprinkle of bad language and a sex scene. This is no Team America  joke movie though, instead it’s more in the style of The Fantastic Mr Fox with straight spoken dialogue and realistic human behaviour.

Once you start to not notice the puppetry, it becomes an oddly romantic love story of two people meeting and experiencing each other. What it lacks in twists and dramatic turns, it makes up for in its sheer artistry. Just like A Scanner Darkly, you walk away a little puzzled from what you just witnessed but glad that you did.

C Whitehouse

Anomalisa, Kaufman, Animation, review,

 

Film Review: Still Life 

Film Club Screening, COMING SUNDAY 20th March   90 mins at 6.00pm


Dir: Uberto Pasolini

Cast:  Eddie Marsan – John May

Joanne Froggatt – Kelly Stoke

Eddie Marsan plays John May, a council case worker whose job it is to find the next of kin for people who die alone with seemingly no family. John is meticulous and through to give the best send off to the clients that is possible. It’s ironic though, because John has no family himself and is almost setting himself up for a demise to match his subjects. That is until his last case has him meet a young lady called Kelly, played by Joanne Froggatt who is the daughter of the latest passed loner. Suddenly a spark is lit and there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon for Mr May.

The film uses tones of greys and blues to paint both Johns workplace and his homestead. The film is like a peaceful stroll through a graveyard on a summers day. It’s a lightly uplifting yet subtly sad observation about the forgotten living and the lives they lived no matter how loved they were in life.

John has worked for Lambeth Council for many years but in times of greater efficiency ie down-sizing, is to be made redundant; however he finds himself on a liberating journey of self discovery that will make him question everything and start living life at last.

 

 

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KEIGHLEY FILM CLUB is a volunteer organisation run by committed film enthusiasts who wished to bring a remit of art, independent and social documentary films to the Airedale area; such films would otherwise not get a screening locally as they are not being viable for  commercial cinema.

We are part of the Cine North programme operated by the National Media Museum that supports rural cinema; we get support from the Bradford City of Film run by Bradford Council and have had some initial funding from Keighley’s Area Committee. We get ongoing support from Charles Morris, proprietor of Keighley Picture House, which allows our members and supporters to enjoy the luxury and comfort of the cinema.

Picture House