Festive movie picks

Last month I attended the 2019 London Film Festival.

There are some great movies previewed that I want to recommend and review. In this article, I will be talking about three movies that I saw at the Festival and one film that was not part of the festival but is currently tracking to be the big blockbuster of the winter season.

Movie of the Month

Jojo Rabbit: 12A

One of the most hyped films going into the awards season, is the new Taika Waititi film, Jojo Rabbit. Taika Waititi is a fantastic New Zealand filmmaker, best known for directing Thor Ragnarok two years ago.

Whilst that film certainly has some creative styles he brought to the table, in my opinion it was nowhere near the quality of his smaller indie films. Boy, Hunt For The Wilderpeople and What We do In The Shadows, which are all great movies.

So I was really happy to see that he would return to make a smaller, more contained film and, thankfully Jojo Rabbit did not disappoint. The film is a satire, set during World War 2 about a Hitler youth, Jojo (Roman Griffith Davis) who discovers a Jewish girl that his mother, played by Scarlett Johansson is hiding from certain death.

He discovers her in hiding, and an unlikely friendship ensues, causing him to question his ideology. Add to this his relationship with his imaginary friend Adolph Hitler, played by the director himself Taika Waititi.

This film succeeds by creating serious and black comedic tones to illustrate the futility of racial hatred and stereotyping. 

Whilst at times the film is very funny, there are some very emotional, hard to watch scenes.

This is a definite Oscar contender and well worth watching.

Rating: 4/5

Release Date: 1 January 2020

All Reviews by Matthew Farrelly

Children’s Movie of the Month

Frozen 2: U

Before I start my review of this film I want to let you know that I did not contribute to the 1.3 billion dollars that the first film made in cinemas back in 2013. I watched at home and thought it was okay – it had a few catchy songs, but overall it did not leave an impression on me.

Frozen 2 is pretty much the exact same experience as the first one. There are a couple of catchy songs, the animation in this film is spectacular especially when compared to the first film.

But I could not get over the fact that this film felt incredibly unnecessary. One thing that the first Frozen film had was a sense of closure to its characters and story. This film feels like Disney just making a sequel for financial gains, not for quality.

By the time you read this review, this movie will probably have already made about a billion dollars and everyone at Disney will opening the champagne and planning its sequel.  Like I said, this film is perfectly average and if you want a film to entertain your kids before Star Wars, this might for you.

Rating: 3/5

Release Date: out now

All Reviews by Matthew Farrelly

This month’s picks

The Irishman: 15

The closing night film of the London Film Festival was The Irishman.

This is the new film directed by Martin Scorsese and stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci. It tells the story of Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran played by Robert De Niro who is a World War Two Veteran who joins the Pennsylvania Mob Group led by Russell Bufalino played by Joe Pesci. A friend of Bufalino, Jimmy Hoffa played by Al Pacino hears stories of him “painting houses” and recruits Sheeran to some work for him whether it is to help him financially or by taking ‘care’ of people that pose a threat to him. What follows is a riveting, engaging and somewhat heartbreaking exploration of gangster life.

The performances across the board are phenomenal, De Niro And Pesci are fantastic but its Al Pacino who steals the entire film. Everything else about this movie is pretty much flawless; directing, editing, soundtrack, score and costume design. It is a fantastic movie that you absolutely need to watch. The Irishman is 3 1/2 hours long and is already in cinemas right now.

Rating: 5/5

Release Date: in cinemas now and available on Netflix

The Two Popes: 12A

Another film that I saw at the London Film Festival, was The Two Popes directed by Fernando Meirelles. This film tells the true story of the Papal Resignation of Pope Benedict the 16th played by Anthony Hopkins, and election of Pope Francis played by Jonathan Pryce. The main reason I chose this film at the festival is due to the fact that I went to the first Papal Audience of Pope Francis 6 years ago at Hyde Park London. Not only that, Jonathan Pryce is one of my favourite actors and he is by far the star of this film. Not only does Pryce look exactly like the real-life Pope Francis, but his performance is mesmerising. Anthony Hopkins is great as well and although there are, in my opinion, some production flaws in some scenes, he is really charming to watch. If you do see this film, you need to know is that is a very slow film, but that didn’t bother me much, knowing the director’s previous films. It has a very calm atmosphere along with some humorous scenes. It is a film you should definitely check out.

Rating: 3.5/5

Release Date: limited cinema release on 6 December – Netflix from 20 December

Reviews by Matthew Farrelly