The Great Gatsby (1925) by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Can’t say anything about this fantastic novel that hasn’t already been said better. The prose is excellent, it’s well-paced (how I enjoy a novel with no meandering subplots or dalliances), and thematically rich. The futility of the American ideal of working hard and earning your way into the upper classes is portrayed well; the reproduction…

Concussion (2015)

Concussion has a great actor at its helm, and is about an interesting controversy, but the film ultimately just doesn’t work that well. The pacing is choppy, the script is padded, the direction is workmanlike. The utter lack of a conclusion – while true to life – prevents the film from fully coming together. The…

Trumbo (2015)

Trumbo isn’t a subtle film. Neither is it a great film. But for many it’s an enjoyable film, and I happily count myself among that number. I figured a film about Trumbo and the blacklist would play down the actual communism and focus more on broader criticisms of McCarthyism, and the film largely did just…

Love and Mercy (2015)

I had very little knowledge of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys going into Love and Mercy, but the film is definitely one of my absolute favourites of 2015. The beautiful, subversive film utterly refuses to conform to any constrictive or maudlin genre conventions. The film is a character study exploring music (particularly the creation…

45 Years (2015)

A heartbreaking, restrained, quiet, mature, domestic drama. The film concerns a complicated situation in a long marriage, where the past rudely intrudes and threatens a marriage seemingly rock solid beforehand. That metaphorical spectre from the past haunts every single scene, her “presence” is suffocating, she’s as vital a character as the two leads (who are…

Bridge of Spies (2015)

A very solid Spielberg film. Tom Hanks is great as always, but Mark Rylance really stole the show in all of his scenes. Can’t shake the feeling the film was a bit…flat, though. Few characters really developed. The Donovan family life was pretty one-dimensional. I didn’t feel many characters were really feeling many ethical challenges;…