Five film recommendations for February

Five film recommendations for February

‘The television screen is the retina of the mind’s eye’

And that’s just the way I like it. Let’s face it people, without film what would be? Damn bored, that’s what. So let’s fight life’s tedium together and watch some movies!

Got a favourite film to recommend? Then post a reply below!

Film:  The Hide (2008)

Director:  Marek Losey

Staring:  Alex MacQueen, Phil Campbell, Laura Hopwood

Why you should check this out:  Marek Losey’s directorial debut, The Hide is a funny, tense thriller played out within the unlikely setting of a windswept bird-hide. Avid bird watcher Roy Tunt (Alex MacQueen) offers shady stranger Dave John (Phil Campbell) shelter from the elements within the hide and an uneasy friendship develops. But when news of a police manhunt comes through on the radio, mutual suspicion threatens to turn events ugly.

The Hide is simplistic in formula, yet surprisingly effective, as the meticulously crafted character play effortlessly sustains the 84mins of running time. Brilliant writing, excellent performances and obvious directorial ability serves to turn the stereotype that ‘bird watchers are boring’ on its head. Go see.

Film:  The Hill (1965)

Director:  Sidney Lumet

Staring:  Sean Connery, Harry Andrews, Ian Bannen

Why you should check this out:  Another Lumet classic, charting the grim rivalry between guards and prisoners in a North African military prison. New convict Joe Roberts (Sean Connery) is put through his paces as the over bearing Regimental Sergeant Major (Harry Andrews) tries to reform him as a ‘proper soldier’. This basically entails beatings, starvation and endless gruelling marches up ‘the hill’: a merciless mound of sand dominating the camp. Determined not to be broken under the cosh of brutality, Roberts resists this rehabilitation, with dire consequences.

Fans of Lumet’s work will not be disappointed: The Hill boasts some great character play, statements against oppression and his signature strong ending. A nice alternative to the typical war film, The Hill is a fine addition to an already outstanding filmography.

Film:  Michael Clayton (2007)

Director:  Tony Gilroy

Staring:  George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson

Why you should check this out:  Although a recent and fairly well known release, I like this film too much not to give it a recommend. Michael Clayton (George Clooney) is a ‘fixer’: a law firm operative drafted in to clean up messy situations. When friend and lawyer Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson) goes AWOL after an apparent nervous breakdown, Clayton is charged with bringing him back. Against a backdrop of deep rooted corporate corruption, Clayton begins to see the ugly truth of the profession he has protected for so long.

From the outset, it’s clear that Michael Clayton is an extremely polished film. The well defined characters flourish within an evenly paced, engaging narrative that reveals much about the corporate mindset that rules the contemporary world. The cinematography is smooth and flowing, matched by James Newton Howard’s notable score. Simply put, there is very little to dislike.

Film:  Videodrome (1983)

Director:  David Cronenberg

Staring:  James Woods, Deborah Harry, Sonja Smits

Why you should check this out:  With the recent release of Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, it seems a good opportunity to look back on one of his greatest accomplishments: Videodrome. Exploring the audience’s ever increasing penchant for extreme TV, cable programmer Max Renn (James Woods) becomes sucked into a surreal world where reality and fantasy become indistinguishable.

Mixing classic Cronenberg themes of sex and violence, body horror and surrealism, Videodrome takes the viewer on a unique, disturbing journey while making a prophetic statement about the future of modern entertainment. A must see.

Film:  Death And The Maiden (1994)

Director:  Roman Polanski

Staring:  Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley, Stuart Wilson

Why you should check this out:  Adapted from Ariel Dorfman’s 1990 play, Death And The Maiden tells the story of Paulina Lorca (Sigourney Weaver), a one time political prisoner who underwent a horrendous regime of torture and rape. When mysterious guest Dr Miranda (Ben Kingsley) unexpectedly turns up at her house, Lorca attempts to convince her husband (Stuart Wilson) that Dr Miranda is in fact her ex-captor.

With its intense character based narrative, Polanski draws out every ounce of ability from his talented cast, showcasing a level of performance rarely seen. The result is a tense, fraught thriller that encourages empathy and condemnation alike.

For fans of stage adaptations in the vein of Closer, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and anything Lumet, you are guaranteed to enjoy this superb film.

To interact with Henry – follow his tweets @filmfellahenry


About filmfellahenry
Film reviewer, script writer and occasional painter. Fan of Lumet, Aronofsky and Kubrick, with a good measure of early John Carpenter thrown in. Particularly like post-apocalyptic sci-fi, horror and fantasy film genres.

One Response to Five film recommendations for February

  1. Adam Tabor says:

    They came out years ago, I’ve already seen them. Watch some up to date movies Brown

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