Amount of country films per year from 2010 to 2017 915 British movies scheduled for release this year. Hollywood an the UK are so intertwined that it's difficult to distinguish between American and British movies. Just look at the amount of English directors in charge of huge Hollywood Blockbusters (Christopher Nolan just to name one). So it's therefore better to say that after 2015 the number of US/UK collaborations have increased significantly.
List of highest grossers of the decade & budget
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
2010's best rated British movies out on DVD, Bluray or streaming on VOD (Netflix, Amazon).
I, Daniel Blake (21-10-2016, 100 minutes)
With 'I, Daniel Blake', social-realist director Ken Loach won his second Palm D'Or last spring. And deservedly so; 'Daniel Blake' is a heartfelt and poignant film about the hardships that fall upon the incapacitated in the UK.
A charming, little coming of age film about a young girl trying to reunite her estranged family during a hot summer day. A dreamy and visually overwhelming debut. We're very much looking forward to what director Esther Campbell will do next!
Locke isn’t the first film that takes entirely place in a single space. Recently we’ve seen Buried (a coffin) and All is Lost (a yacht). In Locke, we follow Tom Hardy in a power house role as Ivan Locke, a construction foreman determined to come to terms with something he did in the recent past. The entire film takes place in a car and the only thing we see and hear is Locke making phone calls via his speakers which unravels his recent past and his current plan bit by bit to the viewer. A single location film is always tricky, as it either becomes a gimmick or just plain boring. Stephen Knights’ clever and economically written script however, makes this British film a standout in the subgenre.
Even though Wheatly is still a new kid on the block in English cinema, it feels he’s already an established name. Given the years he has been active as a film maker, his output has been quite high. Which is a good thing, because his dark yet fresh films are quite something. We could easily have chosen any of his other features from the 2010’s, but picked Sightseers, as it embodies what Wheatley stands for the best. A darkly humourous, twisted film about a seemingly ordinary couple in a camper on a rampage through England. Please make sure to check his other films too!
In 2004, Jonathan Glazer directed Birth, a reincarnation drama with Nicole Kidman which was met with mixed results. For years it was silent around Glazer, up to a point where it wasn’t clear whether he would ever shoot a movie again. Thank God he did. Under the Skin, which stars Scarlett Johansson in probably her most interesting role since Lost in Translation, is a small cinematic wonder. Johansson plays an alien seductress who preys on men in Scotland. Under the Skin is sexy, enigmatic and visually overwhelming. Please, make sure to watch this one on a big screen. Comparisons have been drawn to Stanley Kubricks’ work, which for once isn’t an overstatement. One of the more innovative and best British films of the last few years.
Again Richard Ayoade. Well, you could easily say he’s our favorite new British director. With The Double, which is loosely based on Dostoyevski’s famous novella,he’s in for something entirely different than Submarine. The result is daring and fascinating and ultimately better. Jesse Eisenberg, who is going through somewhat of a renaissance after a few disappointing roles, is Simon James, a colorless employee of a nondescript Soviet-like workstation. The events take a surprising turn when all of a sudden his doppelgänger, James Simon (played by Eisenberg as well) shows up. James is his, however, his opposite in literally everything, which makes Simons’ life even harder than it already was. The Double is both visually stunning and dazzling story-wise. A British film for which the word ‘kafka-esque’ seemed to be invented.
Philomena stole the hearts of many last year. At one point, it even seemed to have a serious chance at winning the Best Foreign Film oscar. It didn’t, which is a good thing, considering the films it was competing with. Still, Philomena is a really enjoyable and moving film. Steve Coogan, who seems to become a better actor every year, is brilliant as a cocky politician turned journalist who’s determined to unravel a simple Irishwoman’s (even more brilliantly and atypically portrayed by Judi Dench) past.
Out of nowhere came Scott Graham, a young and very promising Scottish director. Shell is a small, intimate coming of age story about a girl who lives with her lonely, surly father in a secluded area somewhere in the Scottish Highlands. They own a gas station and the passing drivers are about the only people who connect her to the world outside theirs. Dialogues are sparse in this film, as father and daughter merely communicate without talking, fastknit but opressive as their relationship has grown.
Nobody seemed to expect much of Daniel Radcliffe’s acting skills upon finishing the Harry Potter series. In The Woman in Black, he proved he is pretty solid and he actually keeps on proving it in all the latest features he is in. The Woman in Black (produced by legendary horror company Hammer!) is a nice, old-fashioned haunted house tale about a young widowed lawyer who has to arrange the sale of an old house, located on a remote island. This film doesn’t really offer anything new, but James Watkins’ atmospheric gothic flick proves that a horror film full of cliches and archetypes can still be scary as hell.
There are a few pretty good films out there that show that the free (sexual) spirit of the sixties and seventies wasn’t always that great, like Lukas Moodyssons’ Together (2000) and Dorotheé van den Berghe’s My Queen Karo (2009). Ginger & Rosa is one of those films too. Elle Fanning impressively plays a young girl whose world is turned upside down when her best friend is starting an affair with her father. The film starts out as a mediocre coming of age film, but soon evolves into a poignant portrait of a time in which intellectuals could use the free spirit for their own benefits.
And yet another debut. And again a book adaptation; family drama film Broken is loosely based on Harper Lee’s masterpiece To Kill a Mockingbird. Broken‘s tone is a lot darker, but it shares the book’s core. Skunk is an eleven year old girl who, like in so many coming of age stories, loses her innocence during a summer, after she’s confronted with a fair amount of injustice. Director Norris succeeds wonderfully in translating a classic Southern Gothic tale to a modern day story in England, but the films’ greatest asset is young Eloise Laurence, who portrays Skunk in such a nuanced way.
We already discussed this one earlier, but Weekend is simply too good to leave it out here. The set up is simple and brilliantly effective. Two gay guys meet each other and fall in love over the course of a weekend. Russell is an introvert guy, who still hasn’t completely come to terms with his sexuality while Glen is outgoing and slightly rebellious, but somehow the chemistry is enormous. The sad thing is however, Glen leaves for the United States after the weekend. Weekend is achingly beautiful and provokes a feeling so strong you can almost taste it.
Andrea Arnold left her mark with her previous efforts Red Road (2007) and Fish Tank (2009). Wurthering Heights, a remarkable take on the well known and often adapted book is something different, while at the same time Arnold maintains her distinctive raw and poetic style, reminiscent of Terence Malick’s best work. It’s daring how she made a so often told story her own. A refreshing little gem amongst that endless list of well crafted but often boring Brontë and Austen adaptations.
Another promising debut film marking a bright future for British cinema. Tyrannosaur can be placed in a long English tradition of social-realist drama, the films Ken Loach and his followers have patented. It tells the unlikely story of Joseph, a lower class widower with some serious anger issues and Hannah, a devote Christian who has her domestic problems of her own. Both wounded souls in their own respect, Joseph and Hannah find comfort in each others’ company. Considine shows that these typical raw British lower class stories never wear out, providing that you tell them craftfully.
‘Read the book first’, is what people always say when you’re about to watch an adaptation of a novel. I’m not quite sure if that goes for British-Japanese novelist Kazuo Ishiguro’s works too, as Remains of the Day is a much better film than a book. Never Let Me Go, based on a Ishiguro novel too, is quite impressive, which makes me wonder how much I’ll like the book. It’s a dystopian romance story, set in a boarding school in an alternate time. It would be a waste to spoil the unexpected twist in the plot, but lets say it gives you a clear idea of the horrific ‘side effects’ of cloning.
Before directing his debut film Submarine, Richard Ayoade was a recognisable face in Britain already, albeit as an actor. He was part of the cast of popular cult comedy series The Mighty Boosh and The IT crowd, which made his directorial debut all the more anticipated. Submarine, an adaptation of the novel with the same name is an excellent, off beat coming of age dramedy about a young Welsh boy who’s destined to lose his virginity and to save his parents’ marriage. Arctic Monkey’s frontman Alex Turner was asked to write an original score for the film, which lifts the film to an even higher level.
Mike Leigh is certainly no stranger to directing honest films, inhabited by utterly real people. At the centre of Another Year is an elderly couple blessed with a large circle of friends. Friends with all sort of problems, who all, to a greater or lesser extent depend on them. You don’t need to expect big plot twists here. Another Year follows a group of friends in the autumn of their lives during four seasons. Nice things happen, awful things happen. There aren’t that much directors, however, who are able to make that worth your while. Another impressive achievement by one of England’s most beloved directors.