The first of two films in as many months based on the life of Florence Foster Jenkins, one of the 20th century's earlier 'so bad they're good' celebrities, writer/director Xavier Giannoli's French production is set in the early '20s.

Catherine Frot is Marguerite Dumont, a very wealthy opera lover and patron of the artform. Trouble is, she also believes she can sing, when in actuality she can't carry a tune in a bucket. The power of her chequebook however, not only sees her tolerated by her local opera society, but keeps them under a self-imposed omerta; she is the goose that lays golden eggs, and none of her 'friends' are about to let the fact that she also sounds like one get in the way of a free ride. Yet Marguerite is oblivious to this, and frequently holds recitals at her stately home.

Giannoli explores some interesting avenues early on with a good assortment of colourful characters - should we be mocking Marguerite for simply doing what she loves? Or is public performance only for the exceptionally talented?

There are several excellent moments, and Frot is wonderful as the delusional yet kind hearted Marguerite, but the director's insistence on structuring the film like an opera (over what I suspect were five acts), has MARGUERITE running far too long before the final scenes peter out on a strange tangent.

MARGUERITE is released March 11 in the US, March 18 in the UK, and April 21 in Australia.


It’s probably safe to say that hoping for a ZERO DARK THIRTY from Michael Bay was going to be asking too much, but surely something on par with LONE SURVIVOR wasn’t out of the question?

To be completely fair, that second comparison is almost what we get. For perhaps the first half of Bay’s adaptation of this true account, the levels of macho bullshit on display are limited to an honest depiction, while the grey areas and complexities of the story are weighed fairly and John Krasinski (perhaps still best known as Jim from the US version of The Office) makes for a solid lead.

As you'd expect, it's a consistently superb-looking film, but as the bullets keep flying Bay can't resist his fetishism with all things war, technological, and alpha male. It’s all the more frustrating because he ranks among the top directors in the world who can shoot and cut a prolonged firefight; while he manages to make sense of the chaos for us, he once again ends up transgressing into jingoism and war porn almost to the point of self-parody. It would seem only some of the lessons of PEARL HARBOR were learned.

13 HOURS: THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI is released January 14 in NZ, January 15 in the US, January 29 in the UK and February 25 in Australia


John Crowley’s BROOKLYN is a nice enough, uncomplicated, straight-down-the-line romance. Nothing wrong with that, and although it didn’t particularly resonate with me, it will be very much to the liking of its target audience.

Adapted faithfully from Colm Tóibín’s simple historical romance novel by Nick Hornby, we follow Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) on her journey from 1950s Ireland to the New York borough as she goes in search of better employment prospects. After a rough beginning and a strong bout of homesickness for her dear sister, she finds a good job and falls in love in local Italian boy Tony (Emory Cohen). But tragedy and complication will soon strike, forcing Eilis to make some hard decisions.

There’s nothing particularly wrong with what’s currently in BROOKLYN; it’s what’s missing that’s the problem. It’s an enjoyable but purely vanilla experience, and a solid entry into the romance genre (certainly a cut above anything recent from Nicholas Sparks’ now annual, tired, pre-fab servings), but there’s very little that’s exceptional about Crowley’s adaptation. Saoirse Ronan is easily the standout (a good thing too, since the film rests on her shoulders) and the likes of Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent and Domnhall Gleeson never disappoint, but the performances are about it. Everything else is just… good.  The period-setting visual effects are passable, there’s nothing particularly impressive about Yves Bélanger’s cinematography or François Séguin’s production design. Michael Brook’s score is very nice, but from any given point Tóibín’s story is wholly predictable, while Crowley’s direction remains wholly unremarkable, and most deeply frustrating of all: there’s absolutely no subtext to the piece whatsoever – particularly annoying given the ‘hot button’ status immigration currently holds worldwide.

If you like curling up with an unchallenging romance novel, then this is for you. If you’re looking for a bit more complexity, see CAROL a second time – and don’t ask me how BROOKLYN beat Todd Haynes’ utterly superior film to a Best Picture nomination: that is a mystery for the ages…

BROOKLYN was released November 5 2015 in the UK, November 25 2015 in the US, and is released February 11 in Australia and NZ


They say third time’s a charm. It may have taken Ryan Reynolds four*, but he finally has a superhero movie worthy of his not inconsiderable talents.

You may (or hopefully don’t) remember Reynolds turning up as Deadpool before, in 2009’s X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE. Fans can worry about the mangling of the character in that film no more, as 20th Century Fox have hit hard reset on their depiction of ‘the merc with the mouth’, and brought him fully back into line with the comics in all his red-costumed, R-rated, fourth-wall breaking glory. Yes, this is another reboot, but this one was very much needed.

It’s been placed in the hands of VFX artist Tim Miller (most famous for the opening credits of David Fincher’s THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO), marking his directorial debut, and thanks in no small part to a sharp script from Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese (who also wrote ZOMBIELAND together), all in all he’s done a bang-up job of resurrecting this beloved cult character.

As it’s Deadpool’s first film front and centre, we get the obligatory origin story. Wade Wilson (Reynolds) is a retired special forces type, getting by doing tiny vigilante contracts for folks in need. He falls in love (with FIREFLY / HOMELAND’s Morena Baccarin), only to discover that he has stage four cancer. In his desperation to rid himself of the disease, he signs up for a secret genetics program, but discovers too late that his benefactors aren’t all they seem. After some very unpleasant experiments and torture at the hands of bad guy Ajax (Ed Skrein), Wade’s long-dormant mutant genes are activated, leaving him able to heal incredibly quickly, but scarred from head to toe. Despite his sense of humour remaining intact, he swears revenge, yada yada yada...

The one thing they got right about putting Deadpool onscreen first time around was the casting, and Reynolds remains the perfect fit for the role. He carries the film effortlessly, and it’s clear that he’s loving it. Baccarin seems perfectly happy to go along with the silliness, T.J. Miller is fine in the underused role of offsider Weasel, while Brianna Hildebrand and Gina Carano are entertaining as two mutants new to the screen, Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Angel Dust respectively. Sadly it’s Skrein who gets the short end of the stick, as an uninteresting 1D villain - the one bit of the story that Wernick and Reese seemingly forgot to flesh out, making Deadpool’s journey, beneath all the pithy one liners, a bit humdrum. Good job those one liners are of such high quality.

Fox meanwhile seem to have learned their lesson and paid attention to successes outside their own experience. It feels like they've loosened the reigns on Miller & co. for DEADPOOL, that it’s an experiment on their part to let the nerds have a go, do it their way, and let the chips fall where they may. 'Their way' in this instance is at times very violent, very bloody, very sweary and sometimes more than a bit rude, but it’s a strategy that in this case deserves to see solid returns.

DEADPOOL, a lot like 2015’s ANT-MAN, succeeds almost entirely on its raucous, bouncy sense of energy and fun (it’s going to be great when the characters eventually cross paths, although don’t count on that happening any time soon). Miller is a less experienced director than Peyton Reed however, and has a tougher time whenever the laughs stop; the more serious moments of Wilson’s story never sit quite as comfortably, but Miller seems to sense his own weakness, and wisely keeps these somber moments as brief as possible.

As you’d expect though, his visuals dazzle - from the bravura opening credits shot (which also sets the tone for humour) and through an impressive action sequence, cleverly broken up and referred back to at key points throughout the film. Ken Seng’s cinematography works well, complimented by Julian Clarke’s excellent editing, and while the score from Junkie XL isn’t as pronounced or memorable as his work on MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, it juices the action nicely.

The timing of the production is somewhat canny. Arriving when for many ‘superhero fatigue’ has definitely begin to sink in, DEADPOOL could easily seem custom built as a reaction to the weight of characters saving the world in every film. Wilson’s steadfast refusal to be a part of that ideology, and his constant, merciless quipping at the expense of those who do (usually in the shape of the X-MEN’s pillar of metallic virtue, Colossus), provides welcome relief for a world that’s almost sick of being saved, or at least hearing the woes of those doing the saving.

Of course the other famously endearing quality of the comics was its meta qualities, and they transfer beautifully to the screen, largely thanks to Reynolds’ perfect, seemingly at time ad-libbed delivery. Nothing is spared, from his own previous failings in the genre, to Fox’s perceived refusal to bump up the budget of the very movie we’re watching: with DEADPOOL, ironic/meta/self-aware characters are officially back in fashion.  Also worth noting is the skill with which Marvel is shaping each disparate property into its ‘Cinematic Universe’, regardless of which studios have a lease on any given characters. Without giving too much away, fans will raise a smile at the location for the film’s climactic battle.

Speaking of which, is it just me, or are they even taking the piss out of Marvel’s penchant for ‘big thing falling out of the sky in the third act’? You be the judge.

*don’t forget BLADE TRINITY

DEADPOOL is released February 10 in the UK, February 11 in Australia and NZ, and February 12 in the US.



Danny Boyle’s STEVE JOBS – the God-knows-how-manyeth-film centring on the Apple cornerstone – strangely doesn’t feel much like a Danny Boyle film at all. That’s because (and this is where your appreciation for the movie will either wane or skyrocket) it feels like an Aaron Sorkin film: this is The West Wing’s IT Crowd (minus laugh track, and laughs), if you like.

When he’s on form, I’m a big fan: that seminal TV series, A FEW GOOD MEN, THE SOCIAL NETWORK and especially MONEYBALL all remain a pleasure for me to watch, so I had no problem with the trademark wall-to-wall dialogue, nor with what is essentially a ‘stage play on screen’ feel from Boyle’s subtle approach; the director who managed to make 127 HOURS (man trapped alone by small boulder) thrilling, absorbing and brimming with style seems content to be almost invisible here, and when visual flourishes do appear (a rocket taking off is superimposed on a hallway wall at one point), they are almost jarring for being too few and far between. It’s unusual, but never offensive.

Fortunately for some, they’ll barely notice any of this for the meaty drama, strong performances, and of course that dialogue. Structured as anything but an honest, straightforward biopic (which drove Joshua Michael Stern’s Ashton Kutcher-led JOBS down several snoozy holes), Sorkin’s screenplay aims far higher, morphing recurring key moments of Jobs’ life into three acts, represented as the backstage preparations three key product launches: the Macintosh (1984), his failed NeXT system (1988), and the iMac (1998).

Naturally the action centres almost completely around Jobs himself, flawlessly anchored by Michael Fassbender (INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, the recent younger Magneto in X-MEN), who nails the incongruence of the guru’s personality perfectly; so in synch with his designs and how to sell them, so unable to process complex human empathy. He’s flanked by longtime stalwart marketing head Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet) – and yes, apparently her accent really is that all over the map. Other recurring appearances come from Steve Wozniak (a terrific Seth Rogen), Andy Hertzfeld (the ever strong Michael Stuhlbarg), former Apple CEO John Sculley (Sorkin veteran Jeff Daniels), estranged partner Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterston) and his estranged daughter Lisa, played at three different ages by Makenzie Moss, Ripley Sobo and Perla Haney-Jardine.

Offscreen, cinematographer Alwin Küchler shoots the three acts on three different stocks: 16mm for 1984, 35mm for 1988 and digital for 1998 – yet another subtly glorious touch, while Daniel Pemberton’s score is one of the year’s best.

Like an Apple product, STEVE JOBS is almost perfectly made and packaged, yet it simply won’t be to everybody’s taste – but fans are going to love it.

STEVE JOBS is released October 23 in the US, November 13 in the UK, and February 4 (2016) in Australia and NZ


The latest feature from the curious imagination of Charlie Kaufman is a low key drama on loneliness and disconnect in the vein of LOST IN TRANSLATION. Naturally though, being from the mind of writer of BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, ADAPTATION and ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, it’s also presented as stop motion animation.

David Thewlis (NAKED, the HARRY POTTER series) voices Michael Stone, a customer service guru visiting a Cincinnati hotel to promote his latest book. To the depressed Michael, everyone in the world - including his wife and son - looks and sounds exactly the same, voiced by Tom Noonan (MANHUNTER, HEAT), until he meets the shy Lisa (voiced by THE HATEFUL EIGHT’s Jennifer Jason Leigh) and immediately becomes infatuated.

Co-director and stop-motion specialist Duke Johnson has forged outstanding work with the imperfect-bodied models, and Kaufman’s script houses a number of great ideas and moments. Some of the most intriguing ones however, are left frustratingly underexplored - particularly egregious when the film begins to feel overlong (unsurprisingly, it began life as a much shorter creation). Nonetheless, Thewlis fans will be comforted to know that yes his character is, however briefly or partially, decapitated.

ANOMALISA is released December 30 in the US, February 4 in Australia, and March 11 in the UK

Review: ROOM

As child performances go, 2015 will go down as a strong year, and young Jacob Tremblay’s performance in Lenny Abrahamson’s ROOM plays a very big part in that (although amazingly there was one better – see Abraham Attah’s unforgettable turn in BEASTS OF NO NATION).

Tremblay is Jack, the five year-old product of his Ma’s (Brie Larson) captivity at the hands of ‘Old Nick’ (Sean Bridgers). For his entire life, the boy and his mother have been confined to an inescapable room the size of a prison cell, with nothing but a small skylight and occasional ‘visits’ from their awful captor offering any hint of a world beyond. Ma has kept the miserable reality from Jack, until she begins to see a loosening in Old Nick’s behavior, and suddenly finds the boy crucial to their one chance for escape.

In Hollywood terms this is grim stuff, but Abrahamson is firing on all cylinders with ROOM, not only drawing a fine performances from Larson and Tremblay (itself a massive task for a director when so much of the film is on the child’s shoulders), but also in tempering the dark reality with Jack’s sense of wonder – which is harder than it sounds. Together with cinematographer Danny Cohen, Abrahamson also manages to keep the claustrophobic setting interesting, and one protracted escape attempt genuinely tense.

At its best, Emma Donoghue’s screenplay (from her own novel, which I’ve not read) impresses most with its clever reveals of the young boy’s perspective; we’re often reminded that his ‘normal’ is wholly different to ours. Nearly all of these are enjoyably subtle, yet there are some stumbles - at least one critical juncture ROOM feels a little too neat; other times, the emotional button pushing can feel a little too much.

Overall though, this makes for a fine, almost refreshing Hollywood drama (although the awards gushing might be reduced to a trickle if a few more people had seen 2014’s SIDDARTH) which will break out Abrahamason as a major director, set up Tremblay for a lifelong acting career (should he choose it), and finally expose to many the strength of talent that Larson’s fans have always known that she’s had all along.

ROOM is released January 15 in the UK, January 22 in the US and January 28 in Australia.

Review: RIDE ALONG 2

By the end of 2014’s highly successful RIDE ALONG, we knew that we were going to be seeing more of Payton (Ice Cube) and Barber (Kevin Hart). Sure, the formula needed a few tweaks here and there, but Hart’s natural underdog charm and Cube’s permanently grumpy straight man are the stuff long-running movie franchises are made of.

It’s almost shocking then that so little care seems to have gone into RIDE ALONG 2; most of the tweaks in this sleepwalking sequel have been made in the wrong places.

Key among these is Hart's character. In the first film, Barber was the runt outsider who just wanted to become a good police officer, but was willing to listen and learn. After about a year on the force, it seems all that has gone out the window; he’s learned nothing, and is generally speaking just a terrible cop. It sounds nit-picky for a buddy cop comedy aimed at 13 year old boys, but this oversight of character brings the film crashing down around the ears of its two stars. Throw in a tediously hackneyed, sub-80s TV episode plot (Payton drags Barber along to a case in Miami involving Benjamin Bratt’s suave, rich and connected villain) that rarely allows either star to play to their comic strengths, and you’re in for a very long, only occasionally funny 100 minutes.

With its safe-but-highly-profitable PG13 rating, I'm not predict any box office trouble for the series, but if director Tim Story & co wanted to get back on track from here and come up with something more than coasting, it’s going to require a lot more care in the writing phase.

RIDE ALONG 2 is released January 15 in the US, Australia and NZ, and January 22 in the UK

Blog: SOME DAMN FOOL IDEALISTIC CRUSADE - Episode One: Never Tell Me The Odds

This account is more or less an unedited stream of consciousness, written in an airport. So y'know, sorry if it doesn't make total sense.

I promised myself that this time it would be different. I wouldn’t get caught up in to the hype machine, the publicity juggernaut. After the disaster of ‘the dark times’, I would be measured in my anticipation and excitement. And yet here I am, sitting in an airport, waiting to travel a thousand kilometres to attend the midnight screening I still don’t technically have a ticket for.

Somewhere in October, after seeing the second trailer for STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, I was calmly convinced that the series was in safe hands, and going to have the combination of nostalgia and innovation to it that I could trust. JJ Abrams and his team had me at “Chewie, we’re home.” I decided not to look at any further preview footage of the movie, and to avoid as much media coverage as possible, right down to averting my eyes from the toys now in stores. I just wanted to go in cold, and be as pleasantly surprised as possible. To this end, I decided I would make a special trip out of it, and see it in full IMAX.

This is the reason for the travel. I live in Brisbane, a town where in 2003, the owners of our IMAX cinema, in their infinite wisdom and foresight, decided to cease operation. The building was purchased by a local budget cinema chain (good), but they cropped the IMAX screen to a regular 2.35:1 ratio (bad, especially when THE DARK KNIGHT came a long a few years later and made the giant screen profitable again). In addition to this, Sydney’s IMAX in Darling Harbour recently got renovated, and now boasts the largest IMAX screen in the world. They also have the 15/70mm projectors, which in layman’s terms, basically means the biggest/best/shiniest/chromiest version of the film that someone like me could wish for.

“Fair enough,” you say. “But that doesn’t explain why you would go without a ticket.” And you’re right, it doesn’t. Here’s what happened: October 20th, tickets for THE FORCE AWAKENS went on sale in Australia. Well, they did in most places. As I sat at my computers (yes, there was a back-up running just in case) at 6:45am, patiently hitting refresh every 60 seconds or so, I wasn’t nervous. We’re 15 years into the 21st century after all, and broadband has been around long enough now for people who work in this area to know what is going to be required, even on a record heavy traffic day.

Or so you’d think.

7am – the official on sale time – rolls around, and the screen goes from a quick refresh of the ‘not yet on sale’ message to… nothing. No problem, just congestion - this is to be expected. Refresh both computers. Nothing is happening. For a long time. Juuuust big ol’ patches of nothing happening. I check other web pages, all coming up fine. I become nervous. I consult IMAX Sydney’s FORCE AWAKENS facebook page. Everyone seems to be having the same problem, which momentarily relieves the anxiety – until updates begin appearing from people in line at the box office who have their tickets. IMAX are selling to people who are physically at the location, while no-one else is able to purchase.

I refresh the IMAX ticket page. Still nothing. Ten minutes go by. All the best seats (the centre of the rows from the middle to the back of the cinema) will have gone by now. If you’ve never been in an IMAX before, never sit down in the front corners. It’s a complete waste of money, whatever anyone there tries to tell you. Fifteen minutes go by. Anxiety leads to fear. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. Suffering at any rate, for the useless twat who hasn’t booked enough server space to cope with the rush for tickets that should have been calculated in by any half-way competent head of IT.

People on the facebook page are starting to lose their shit. The IMAX box office phones are also not being answered. 30 minutes go by. While I’m holding onto some kind of stiff upper lip delusion, still no official response from IMAX through any of their social media channels. Eventually, after more than 40 minutes, a message appears on the facebook page. A cheery ‘due to heavy traffic, we’re having technical difficulties with our web booking service at the moment, soz!’ sort of thing, which only serves to enrage me more. All hope is lost. Even though I can’t check the website to see, I know that the midnight session will be totally sold out. Not even the shitty front corners will remain. The hate is flowing through me now, and I snap, leaving a post on the facebook page that I’m not proud of but still technically stand behind.

But soon another post appears on the facebook page. A post claiming that someone has queued at the box office and bought tickets for the wrong session. They wanted tickets to 12:01 Friday, and have tickets to 12:01 Thursday by mistake. Straight away this looks waaaay too good to be true, and is so covered in red flags it could pass as a member of the Emperor's Royal Guard. But there’s something about it. The person is asking face value (yes, another red flag), not seeking advance payment online (not out of this yet), and crucially, claims they themselves are still going - it's just their friends who can't make it; if I got the ticket, I would go through the box office with them and be sat right next to them. I take the chance, contact the seller, and secure myself one of these tickets; never tell me the odds.

Even without committing any money, I’m at first deeply suspicious of this whole course of action, but I’m keeping a lid on it. Then a few weeks later, I get a text message from the seller saying they have changed their mobile number, and are just keeping in touch. Coincidence? Maybe. Huge fucking red flag? Equally possible. I develop a sinking feeling in my stomach, and begin to research ticketing fraud. PARANOIA! I decide to go CSI on this person’s ass – I pretty much cyberstalk them, backtracking from the gumtree ad, and unless they’re committing major identity fraud on some poor unsuspecting rube (which is not beyond the realm of possibility, according to my research), I know their full name, their phone number, where they work, and what they look like. I may have actually been disappointed that I didn’t have a photograph to ‘enhance’ in some very flash piece of hi-tech identifying software. I’m halfway to calling the cops and setting up a sting on this person, but I don’t know how I’d explain the “if we actually go into the cinema, you can cancel the whole operation” part. Because I still want to believe that everything is going to work out. I begin to understand how people get caught up in email scams. All this could yet turn out to be my Nigerian Prince story. But as I’ve not parted with any money, I keep it under my hat.

Now, I’ve got form for this – a have quite a long history of doing seemingly bizarre things to see movies. In the pre-internet age, I entered a phone competition about fifty times a day for two weeks to win free movies, popcorn and coke every day for a year. There was some method to the madness – it was a game of skill (and trivia) to begin with, so I knew approximately how much I was strengthening my odds. It worked, and it turned out pretty handy as it was what remains my only university year; Hoyts cinemas Adelaide became my home away from home, and free kitchen. I can claim with reasonable confidence that I was the first person in Australia to buy tickets for at THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING. Yes I've done the marathons: Theatrical versions? Tick. Extended editions? Tick. In cinema? Yup - although I'm far from the Lone Ranger there, of course. In the days when I actually got paid to do stuff like this, I, along with two stoic (equally foolish) friends watched what was then all twenty Bond films back to back. It was a laugh. In fact, the first marathon the three of us did was all six Star Wars movies for the first time on DVD. On another occasion I actually queued from 5am on a Sunday December morning outside Odeon Leicester Square to the press screening of KING KONG. Why?! No one else turned up until 7! They can't all be brilliant decisions...

And that’s the question: why? I honestly couldn’t tell you. It’s just what I do - it’s how I have fun. Dorky? A bit. Pointless? Probably, but it’s a better way to pass the time than plotting assassinations of Rupert Murdoch.

So yes, it probably seems like madness to fly 500 miles (and 500 back) on such a long shot, where I’m so vulnerable a target. But the alternative would mean a) passing on a potentially incredibly fun experience and b) never knowing either way – and maybe that’s worse; I’d rather be crushed by disappointment than eaten away by doubt.

And then this morning I received another text from the seller. They wanted to know if everything was still good, and despite the news – I shit you not – actually reporting of a fucking tornado tearing through southern Sydney as we were texting, I replied in the affirmative. And when I did it, I included a little Star Wars in-joke. And you know what? They got it straight away. They replied that they were at the beginning of their marathon in preparation for tonight’s event. It was like – if I may mix my influences here – it was like the rays of the sun shining through the Staff of Ra onto the map of Tanis. I have a good feeling about this...

Despite writing this before my flight, I learned that Brisbane domestic airport has no wifi, and so this was published after landing in Sydney.

Review: CAROL

Feeling very much like a companion piece to his 2002 melodrama FAR FROM HEAVEN, Todd Haynes’ CAROL again sets us in a New York (and Connecticut) winter, and again pits a well-to-do housewife against sociosexual norms of the time. If their stories weren’t taking place five years apart, Carol (Cate Blanchett) and FAR FROM HEAVEN's Cathy could probably have worked wonders by walking to each others houses for tea and support.

Where the taboo on Cathy was even the most subtle contact with a black man, middle-aged Carol - while married and with a daughter - is a closeted lesbian, a fact which her upper-crust husband (Kyle Chandler) finds humiliating and threatening. Though dormant for a time, Carol’s ‘unnatural’ feelings are re-ignited when she is served by the young and uncertain Therese (Rooney Mara) in a department store. It all has the potential to scandalously wrong.

Haynes, Blanchett and Mara are getting the lion’s share of the plaudits for CAROL (and they are all marvellous, with Blanchett’s performance feeling particularly Oscar friendly), but the real winners here are those charged with getting the look of the film right: cinematographer Edward Lachman, production designer Judy Becker, art director Jesse Rosenthal, costume designer Sandy Powell and the swathe of others who've recreated the repressed 1950s Americana from muted pastels, matte fabrics, gentle tungsten and Super 16mm film stock. It's a vast achievement, which together with its two fine central performances elevates CAROL's potentially movie of the week material into something quite special.

CAROL is released November 20 in the US, November 27 in the UK, and January 14 in Australia.