Film of the Year 2015: Inside Out

Inside Out

So the time has come to declare my favourite film of 2015 and it may come as little surprise that the nod goes to Inside Out.

Not since Wall-E have I been so charmed and enchanted by a Pixar film. The thought and intelligence, the humour, the emotional toll, the multiple layers of thought. This journey into the emotions in all of us truly is a wonder.

The journey into the mind of a child growing up made me not only think of how my daughters are developing but also how am I doing as a parent to them. Am I doing things right to ensure they are well balanced?

Am I (as someone who is not a risk taker at all) encouraging them to not let fear have control? Am I encouraging them into joy? Am I similar to the Dad whose head is full of anger?

Nothing in 2015  has been as smart as Inside Out and nothing in the cinema has impressed me more. I laughed, I got misty eyed and I will watch it over and over again!

Inside Out will, without question,  win Best Animation Oscar but it SHOULD be a contender if not winner of Best Picture at the Oscars 2016.


Favourite films of 2015

There will be a post to declare my favourite film of 2015 in the next few days. These however are some of my favourites from what has been a decent cinematic year.

What have you watched and enjoyed this year?

Do you agree/disagree with these picks?


Disappointment of 2015 :Mad Max Fury Road


The end of 2015 approaches and that means the obligatory best of the year lists will soon be with us.

I think it’s also important to note the standout disappointment of the year too. I’m not miserable (much) but for someone who enjoys a cinema trip there is nothing worse than a major let down.

Bad films are bad films and there is very little can be down about that. A disappointing film however is in some ways more upsetting.

This year’s award for major disappointment (and I know I’m in a minority with this) was Mad Max Fury Road. I wanted to love it, the trailer excited me but when I sat down in the cinema I felt that the trailer was pretty much all you needed. This is nothing more than a 90 minute chase sequence.

My full tale of disappointment can be found here.

I know people loved this film and it will feature on many a ‘best of 2015’ list but for me it was the biggest let down of the year.

Review: Joy


I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I got the opportunity to see Joy. David O’Russell reunites again with Jennifer Lawrence to bring us the story of Joy Mangano and her extraordinary rise to fame despite her circumstances.

This is the story of a woman fighting against her family history, her failed marriage and her place in society.

Part drama, part biopic and part black comedy the film sees Lawrence maintain her record of great performances and, also contains within it, a welcome return to form for Robert De Niro starring as her emotionally abusive Dad.

This is a compelling ‘American dream’ tale with much to say about what it means to be a creative person,  what it means to rise above oppressive circumstances and the importance of never giving up.

I am a huge Jennifer Lawrence fan. Even when discussing mop design she is probably the most compelling screen presence we have in modern cinema. Throughout Joy you are rooting for her, willing her to succeed and hoping that she finds the joy she so desperately seeks.

I’ve read several reviews that have been hard on this film and I have to say I don’t understand why. I found lots to love and while it is hard to pin down exactly what genre the film fits into I believe in time it will be viewed as a classic.

Joy is released on 1st January 2016

Thanks to MovieHouse for advance screening access 




Film in 2015: You can’t watch them all!

Cinematic releases come thick and fast throughout the year and there are just not enough hours in the week to see them all. Sadly this means some very well received releases were missed this year by me.

Christmas is coming though so who knows what Santa may bring on dvd ………….

So here are the 5 films I most regret not catching in 2015 :

If you have seen any of these please leave a review/comments or tweet us @filmsandfaith

Also what did you miss in 2015??

Review : The Good Dinosaur

good dinosuar

Let’s be honest. It was always going to be a struggle for The Good Dinosaur. In normal circumstances 2 Pixar movies in a year would be a real treat. However when one of those films is Inside Out the film following in it’s footsteps was always going to underwhelm.

To be clear that is not The Good Dinosaur’s fault there are plenty of things to like within the film however they just fall a little flat.

The world of the Good Dinosaur is one in which the asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs on Earth missed it’s intended target and left us a world of talking dinosaurs and neanderthals in the animal role. Arlo is our hero, fearful, shy but determined to win the respect and admiration of his family.

Following an unfortunate event Arlo is sent off on a road journey with only Spot the neanderthal irritant for (unwanted) company. Arlo is left to find his way home in a world which forces him to face his many fears head on.

This movie is many things.  It is a movie about family, a movie about overcoming your fears and a road trip/ buddy movie all rolled into one and this may be the biggest problems the movie has. The film never clearly determines which of these is the true focus and this sadly means that none of the elements mentioned get the full attention of the creators.

Another issues for me was the film being set within a strangely adapted Wild West movie frontier. This does allow for some wonderful animation particularly in the surrounding almost real life scenery. It also however means that the film has wild west related distractions, for example T-Rex’s almost pretending to ride horses like cowboys in one sequence is particularly odd.

All in all there are things to like about the Good Dinosaur but I think the title is itself an indicator of how Pixar may feel. This is The Good Dinosaur it is not sadly The Great Dinosaur.

Review: Bridge of Spies


It has been 11 years since the last Spielberg/ Hanks collaboration The Terminal (2004) so to hear that they had reunited for Bridge of Spies was something that, in what to date has been a fairly mediocre year of cinema, had me very excited.

Bridge of Spies sees Hanks, as lawyer James Donavan, plucked form his day to day insurance cases to defend the alleged Russian spy Rudolf Abel played wonderfully by Mark Rylance. Already considered guilty by many Abel is to be given a ‘fair trial’ and  Donavan is caught in the crossfire of patriotism and doing what is right.

As the court case progresses we see a strong personal relationship build between the two and a trust that would have been a rarity in the Cold War period. While the relationship builds and the court case begins we see the parallel tale of a young American spy pilot take his training only to be subsequently captured by the Russians. Impressed by the fairness of Donovan the Russians reach out to him in order to make a spy for spy trade.

Cold war politics has never been so compelling. This is not the action packed spy world of Bond but rather the world of diplomacy and negotiation. This obviously involves lots of conversations in differing coms with very sparse ‘action’. However the film does not suffer for it and Hanks excels as the ‘everyday’ lawyer caught up in a situation much bigger than he could imagine.

We feel the conflict he and his family suffer from as he attempts to work through the moral maze of patriotism against doing the right thing. What is the right thing to do? What is the American thing to do? What are the values that an American should hold and how should they be acted out? Although set in the Cold War there is a very current and timely relevance to the film and the questions it poses.

Although based on true events during that period it is clear that  artistic licence has been taken and Spielberg is one of the greatest at pulling an audience’s heart strings. The familiar sweeping strings at emotive moments giving the audience little chance of resisting the emotional pull.

Bridge of Spies is a solid spy drama with great performances from Hanks and Rylance, classic Spielbergian direction and great writing from the Coen brothers it is as close to a cinematic dream team as you could hope for.

Bridge of Spies is on general release from Thursday 26th Nov 2015.

Thank to MovieHouse for advance screening access.