Film Review: Away

Director David Blair’s Away is an inviting drama, with great performances from its two leads. The film tells a sweet story, despite some harsh circumstances.

Runaway Ria is trying to get away from her past. Joseph is in a desperate mindset. Despite their differences, the pair form an unlikely friendship in the seaside town of Blackpool…

Directed by David Blair with a screenplay by Roger Hadfield, Away is a drama with accents of a mystery thriller. The narrative is littered with flashbacks which offer both exposition and character development. The central strand is the friendship between Ria and Joseph, and there are a number of themes at play. There are overt and more subtle references to fairy tales. There is also a overarching theme of confinement which effects both protagonists.

As the film features numerous flashbacks, viewers must wait to see the backstories of both protagonists. In the first third of the film, it is not always immediately clear whether a scene is a flashback or present day. This can be a little confusing to begin with, but the distinction is clearer later in the film. It appears the emphasis is on the burgeoning friendship, rather than focusing on a chronological narrative. The friendship between Ria and Joseph seems authentic, thanks to the performances and a decent script.

Away is set in Blackpool, and the town is a fitting backdrop for the action to unfold. Sometimes the setting is used as a stark contrast to proceedings; the colour and light diverge from the bleak histories of the characters. Other times (the shots of the calm sea, for example), the mood seems to compliment the foreground entirely. Juno Temple delivers a wholly convincing performance as Ria. Timothy Spall is also great as Joseph; his controlled performance allows Temple to shine. Hayley Squires is also good in a support role.

Although the conclusion may not quite satisfy, Away is nevertheless a rewarding watch.

Away is available on VOD on 8th May 2017. The film is released in cinemas on 12th May, and on DVD on 15th May 2017.

Stuff To Look At

Plenty of trailers this week, with Mortdecai, The Maze Runner, Maps to the Stars and more…

Mortdecai

Here is the first trailer for Mortdecai. The film stars Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ewan McGregor. Depp plays Charlie Mortdecai, an art dealer on a mission to recover a stolen painting. The film will be released in January 2015.

The Maze Runner

Above is an introduction to the characters in upcoming action thriller The Maze Runner. Based on the best-selling novel, The Maze Runner is set in a post-apocalyptic world. The film will hit UK screens on 10th October 2014.

Maps to the Stars

David Cronenberg’s latest Maps to the Stars is about the celebrity-obsessed culture. The film features an enviable cast, including Julianne Moore, John Cusack, Robert Pattinson and Mia Wasikowska. Maps to the Stars will be released in UK cinemas on 26th October 2014.

Love, Rosie

Love Rosie is a new British comedy starring Lily Collins and Sam Claflin. The film focuses on best friends Rosie and Alex who decide to attend university together in the US. Love Rosie is scheduled for release on 22nd October 2014.

Planes 2: Fire and Rescue

Planes 2: Fire and Rescue is out in cinemas now. The above video shows how to draw protagonist Dusty. No matter how good the instruction, mine would still turn out looking nothing like that. Although I did draw a good Mrs Potts once.

Horns

Well this looks unsettling. Supernatural thriller Horns stars Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple and Max Minghella. The film hits UK cinemas on 29th October 2014, just in time for Halloween.

Film Review: Afternoon Delight

Afternoon Delight

Afternoon Delight is a suitably entertaining comedy which works best when concentrating on generating laughs.

Rachel is a stay-at-home mother who finds the pre-school activities she must participate in unfulfilling. With her marriage stuck in a rut, Rachel suggests to her husband Jeff that they visit a strip club, little realising the chain of events that will follow…

Afternoon Delight‘s story of a comfortable but bored housewife could have been grating, with its portrait of privilege. However, the film amuses thanks to a decent script.

Writer-director Jill Soloway’s debut feature concentrates on Rachel and her relationship with others. She is an interesting protagonist because she perceives herself in a way that is not necessarily accurate. She does not group herself with the other mothers, yet she does not have a job either. Her dissatisfaction with life is made bearable through her witty approach to situations.

Afternoon Delight‘s narrative could have followed a number of paths. The ending is not really predictable, given what has come before. Although the film has comedic tendencies, the final quarter sees a shift in tone. It lacks the humour of the rest of the film; the ending is much more serious. It feels a little out of place, and the very ending appears contrived. It is a shame, as Afternoon Delight works up until this point.

Soloway employs lots of close up shots, giving the audience a sense of intimacy with the characters. She does not allow viewers to shy away, even when they might want to. The soundtrack to Afternoon Delight is fitting.

Kathryn Hahn does comedy and awkwardness well as Rachel. Juno Temple is well cast as McKenna, while solid support comes from Jessica St. Clair and Michaela Watkins.

Afternoon Delight is a little uneven with the shift in tone, but does entertain throughout.

Afternoon Delight is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2013.

Trailer Round-Up

This week has seen the release of the first trailer for new Bond movie Skyfall and the teaser for Anchorman 2. Also featured are The Campaign, Killer Joe and Cosmopolis.

Skyfall

Well isn’t this exciting? Albeit with less of the unreserved glamour of the Roger Moore days, Bond is back in what’s looks to be another frenetic adventure. The tube train excerpt is sure to strike fear in the heart of any London commuter. Quantum of Solace was a bit disappointing, but hopefully director Sam Mendes will return Daniel Craig’s Bond to the form of Casino Royale. Skyfall is released on 26th October 2012.

Anchorman 2

A belated sequel to a much-loved film is always tricky. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy was a fantastic film, so the idea of a sequel is received with equal parts glee and skepticism. This teaser reveals nothing really about the film itself, but it is great to see Will Ferrell reunited with Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell and David Koechner. Hopefully that hot piece Baxter will also return for the sequel.

The Campaign

Before Anchorman 2 is released, here is another slice of Will Ferrell. The Campaign is a new comedy starring Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis and Jason Sudeikis. Ferrell’s line during the trash talking sequence alone makes me want to go and see this film. The Campaign is out on 28th September 2012.

Killer Joe

This looks like it will be a combination of tense and absurd. William Friedkin directs Killer Joe, based on a play by Tracy Letts. The film stars Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch and Juno Temple. Killer Joe is released in cinemas on 29th June 2012.

Cosmopolis

David Cronenberg’s last film, A Dangerous Method, was a letdown. From this brief teaser, Cosmopolis immediately looks inherently more Cronenberg, which is definitely a good thing. Starring Robert Pattinson, Paul Giamatti, Samantha Morton and Juliette Binoche, Cosmopolis is released on 15th June 2012.