Monday Morning Quarterback Part III
By BOP Staff
November 16, 2011
Taking up for the little guy
Kim Hollis: As we head into awards season, are there any smaller films you'd like to champion?
Edwin Davies: It's been a pretty fertile year for independent and foreign language films, at least from what I've seen, and I'll just rattle off a couple of my favorites. I don't know how likely it is that any of them will end up getting serious consideration, but if you're not sure what to see at your local arthouse or rent from Netflix, then these titles might be worth checking out.
I went into this documentary about Ayrton Senna, the Formula One Champion who tragically died during a race back in 1994, with no real expectations. I'm not a fan of F1, didn't really know about Senna and nothing about the subject matter really spoke to me, but I came out absolutely amazed by it and it is a strong contender for my favorite film of the year. Using no talking heads, just disembodied voiceover played over footage from races and Senna's life, the film creates a vivid and exhilarating portrait of an extraordinary sportsman which is hugely involving and moving. It's a film that really understands how sport can be transcendent and how it can give hope to people who have none (there is a considerable focus on what Senna meant to the people of his native Brazil, which held him up as a symbol of hope and pride at a time of great economic and social turmoil). It's just a really beautiful and well-made film that I found hugely affecting.
Directed by Richard Ayoade, perhaps best(?) known in America for his role as Moss in The IT Crowd and Dean Lerner in Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, Submarine is a really hilarious and touching coming of age story set in a Welsh town in the 1980s and following the story of a young man trying to lose his virginity and to stop his parents breaking up. Ayaode directs the film in an incredibly smart and sharp way, employing the edits and shot composition to sell his gags as much as the lightning fast script, and it's a film that is funny and sweet in a very low-key, sardonic way that I find really charming.
The Skin I Live In
Pedro Almodovar's luridly entertaining potboiler about a plastic surgeon who...well, I can't really say anything else since the film has some twists and turns best left unrevealed until you watch it, but suffice it to say, it manages to be funny, creepy, sexy and disturbing, often in the same scene, and it boasts a career best performance from Antonio Banderas.
Attack The Block
Aliens invade a London tower block and a bunch of kids try to fight them off. A really entertaining homage to the works of John Carpenter, Walter Hill and Steven Spielberg, Attack The Block manages to sneak in some genuine scares and social commentary amongst all its cool action sequences and funny dialogue and it's a really fast, hugely fun work.