In this season of reflection on the best films of 2015, anticipation of awards season, and all the screen gems waiting to be discovered in 2016, it’s time to get confessional.
The strain of “proper adult” life taking its toll, last year I fell asleep in the cinema for the first time. On three separate occasions actually. The culprits, all well-received films, some exceptionally so, might just surprise you.
As a fan of Studio Ghibli, Isao Takahata’s first film in years was somewhat of a let down. Of course, visually it was as spectacular as any film from Japan’s premier animation house, yet it was bogged down by the weight of too much mythology and far too drawn out.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
I know, I know. In the eyes of many, this is pretty much a cardinal sin. I fought to stay awake after a late night (I was unfortunately kept up by the dross that is Sisters) but ultimately failed and had the briefest of naps in the bursting-at-the-seams screen 1 of the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse. At least I didn’t miss that moment.
In my defence, I watched this at a midnight screening in another time zone. I made it at least halfway through. I’m not really sure how Joy and co. tracked down the lost memories though!
And the ones I wish I’d slept through
Sisters, obviously. But it was far too brash and loud, despite the incredibly comfy chairs of the Cambridge Vue.
Aloha. Possibly the only 2015 release that’s worse than Sisters. But thankfully far less offensive. I can’t comment more as I’ve actually repressed the experience.
Life. While I half expect the likes of Miss You Already or The Longest Ride to be pretty throw-away entertainments that will do for a much-needed cinema fix before retreating into the recesses of my mind, Anton Corbijn’s biopic of the relationship between James Dean (Dane DeHaan, who I really admire) and photographer Dennis Stock (Robert Pattinson) had promise, it’s narrative just didn’t cut it. This is a totally bare bones story stretched tracing paper thin for almost 2 hours. You’d get more from a simple exhibition of Stock’s original photos of Dean. I was kept awake, incredulously waiting for the narrative to actually develop.
Suite Francaise. This was a sappy shocker that did a better job of inducing nauseous groans than elucidating its historical context. Matthias Schoenaerts is easy on the eyes though, and Kristen Scott Thomas is always worth watching. If you’ve got three hours to spare, Stick on The Horse Whisperer instead. If not, give In the House a try.