Film

I haven’t seen anything amazing at the cinema for a while, so for my film recommendation I’m going to turn to a film that blew everyone away back in the summer of 2010. Inception, from the supremely-talented Christopher Nolan is a film that remains on my Top Ten list to this day. It’s hard to specify what exactly about this film I love. The acting to start with is sublime. A wonderful ensemble cast led by the fantastic Leonardo DiCaprio works wonders with a complex yet brilliantly crafted script.

Leo gets better and better as he ages, and some of the scenes in which he plays against Marion Cotillard in Inception are in my opinion, his best acting to date. Tom Hardy proves he can do funny and suave alongside tough, Ellen Page works as a brilliant audience surrogate throughout and even Nolan regular Michael Caine gets a cameo.

Acting and scripting aside, I think what really makes this film stand out for me is the direction. Inception was a passion project for Christopher Nolan, having written it some years previously but not managed to get the funding together.

Without giving away too much of the plot, the disparate strands of the different realities which feature are so brilliantly woven together that you feel like you’re experiencing multiple story lines simultaneously. The film is incredibly high-concept and yet proves both that a blockbuster can be intelligent and a thought-provoking film can be fun! If you haven’t seen it, go watch it right now!

TV Series

We were a bit behind the times on this one, but the last thing I sat down to properly watch with the wife was Westworld (I’m not counting Season Seven of Game of Thrones – still going at time of writing). Words cannot express how much I loved Westworld. I’m probably at best a casual fan of Westerns. I don’t seek them out or earnestly watch them, though I enjoy the classics I’ve seen over the years (and Back to the Future III is my favourite of that particular trilogy).

Westworld managed to transcend any categorisation of itself as a sci-fi or western by being incredibly good. The direction, the writing, the acting all drew you in to an engaging, incredibly spider-web complex story but at no point did you lose track of the characters you came to care about. It’s fantastic to see Anthony Hopkins, who has flailed about in some awful films recently, prove what a brilliant actor he still is. I could watch him act alone, all day, but surrounding him with the excellent Thandie Newton and Evan Rachel Wood, not to mention Ed Harris and Jeffrey Wright was a masterstroke!

It was a triumph of a TV Show – every single one of it’s ten episodes I enjoyed, they built to a fantastic climax which has left me desperately excited for Season 2 – which annoyingly won’t be shown till 2018.

Podcast

Logo of School of Movies

Finally (and I’m aware this is cheating as it’s an Audio Podcast) but I really cannot recommend enough ‘School of Movies‘ by the incredibly talented power couple of Alex and Sharon Shaw. The weekly podcast, covering a vast range of films, is consistently amusing and informative, featuring a variety of interesting, witty guests to ensure constant freshness. What I like best about Alex and Sharon however is their ability to examine films from a fresh independent viewpoint.

They are not reliant on a set series of opinions, they don’t go with the flow. If they don’t like a popular film, they’ll say so – but crucially they’ll explain why in a completely non-patronising manner.

For someone like myself who really enjoys lists in all their forms – they’ve done a great series of shows on some of the biggest film franchises. The Harry Potter series of podcasts was brilliant, as was their hilariously-cutting dismantling of Sam Raimi’s Spider-man series. My favourite to date however is their (still-ongoing) series of in-depth discussions on Disney’s Animated Classics – which number in the 50s!

I can also recommend Alex’s podcast / book series the New Century Multiverse – which is equally awesome.

Matthew Lowe has worked at Slinky Productions for almost two years. He loves Sausage Rolls, History and Spreadsheets!

Find out more on our Meet the Team Page – or watch Matt’s Quick Fire Questions. 

Tune in next month for our October Edition of ‘What We’ve Watched’ from Editor / Camera Operator Tom Perrigo.