Breathe In (2013)

It’s no secret that I think Felicity Jones is kind of a big deal. I recently saw her in The Theory of Everything which earned her an Oscar nomination. Jones plays the ex-wife of Steven Hawkings and does an incredible job, showing vulnerability and strength to her performance. However my favourite role of hers is in the 2011 indie hit Like Crazy, it’s such a beautiful and intimate film which feels very natural and heartfelt.

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Now I had heard of Breathe In before but never got the chance to watch it. However, if I’m serious about my admiration for Jones (except I will never watch Chalet Girl) I had to watch Breath In, which also co stars Guy Pearce. The film was directed by Drake Doremus, who also made Like Crazy and reunites with Jones for a far more sombre affair (no puns intended). Jones stars as a young British student Sophie, who forms a close attachment to Keith Reynolds, played by Guy Pearce.

Drake Doremus is known for his “blank canvas” approach to filmmaking. He would give the actors a detailed description of the the scene setting and allow the actors to improvise. Felicity Jones states that it was slightly more poised and constructed than Like Crazy but had a very similar vibe whilst filming. You can definitely feel an authenticity in the performances and that’s what I love about Felicity Jones, there’s a hardness yet a softness. She knows to to rein it in yet express herself.

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Felicity Jones also describes Breath In as having a classical feel. This is conveyed by not only the beautiful cinematography, but the soundtrack. The album features the film’s original score composed by Dustin O’Halloran, who previously collaborated with the director on Like Crazy. It is a soothing piece of music drenched in melancholy. The soft piano sounds perfectly reflect the characters emotions and compliment the lovely blue colour scheme of the film. Sometimes the characters don’t need to say anything, the music and the locations say the rest. It’s almost as if they’re other characters in the film.

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In all honesty, Like Crazy is my favourite film out of the two. There was a raw and stripped back approach with substance and compelling characters. The thing that lets Breathe In down slightly, is that lack of plot. Not a lot happens in the film, it’s a slow burner. But I understand what the director was going for, more emotion and character over plot. In that case it works, but even then I felt like I needed a bit more from the film. Even the ending is quite underwhelming, but honest. Where as with Like Crazy there was more to get from the film.

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Breathe In is an interesting film to analyse. On one hand yes, it is about an affair, but it’s not as cliched as it sounds nor does it overdramatise it. You understand the attraction to each other, without condoning it, but the way it’s dealt with is quite refreshing. I don’t want to give too much away but basically, actions have consequences.

Guy Pearce plays an aspiring musician who uses his talents to teach a High School music class. Yet Megan Reynolds (Amy Ryan) is less supportive of his dream to gain the chair of an orchestra and move to New York. Pearce blames having a child so soon cut their care free life short which resorted them to suburban life. In all honesty, I see the wife’s point. Teaching is a respectable job and where they live is beautiful. They seem to be a fairly happy family and are well liked by friends and locals.

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But when Sophie (Felicity Jones) comes along, who shares a passion for music, the dynamic of the Reynolds family changes. Sophie is an enigmatic character, a character hard to read at first. She’s a mature soul who seems to have lost a zest for life, unsure of herself and almost like she’s lost a spark of passion for her music. Yet throughout the film we discover she feels she wants to feel free and is unsure of who to perform her music for. She wants to chose to play, not be told to play. Felicity Jones perfectly conveys all these conflicted emotions that Sophie feels. There is a freshness and conviction in Felicity Jones’ performance, that keeps you watching waiting to see what she unfolds with her character.

This is a little gem in the filmography of Felicity Jones, a one which many people may have not seen. But I advise you to check it out and form an opinion yourself. It lacks substance but is a beautiful film that features great performances fro Felicity Jones and Guy Pearce. Drake Doremus’ filmmaking style is felt on film, creating an intimate and organic feel. But more importantly, you have to watch Like Crazy.

Felicity Jones can currently be seen in the Oscar nominated biopic The Theory of Everything. She can do no wrong.



I have set a goal for myself to watch films I haven’t seen before. It happens, you miss films you should have seen or films you wanted to see but never had the chance to watch them. Recently I viewed Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014).

Good timing as well because it was recently nominated for 9 Oscars this year. Normally the Oscar season is full of films that came out in the past few months, so it makes it even more interesting how a film that came out in March 2014 has received a lot of award show buzz. Is it worthy of this attention?



It stars Ralph Fiennes as a concierge who teams up with one of his employees to prove his innocence after he is framed for murder. It is a star studded cast featuring Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jude Law and many more.

My verdict for the film is quite favourable. I am fairly new to Wes Anderson’s style as I have only seen Moonrise Kingdom (2012) apart from The Grand Budapest Hotel, but I get his unique vision. There is no question of a doubt that Anderson can be labelled as an auteur, a director with a specific stamp mark over his work. There is a whimsical nature to his films, a vibrancy and great mixture of comedy and drama. Specially The Grand Budapest Hotel is a visual treat. Beautiful pastel colours and incredible production design. The locations were otherworldly, isolated and makes it stand out.



The cast ensemble is something to admire. The Wes Anderson usuals Tilda Swinton and Edward Norton feature, as well as Oscar winning Adrien Brody playing the eccentric Dmitri Desgoffe und Taxis. But of course the standout performance is delivered by Ralph Fiennes who plays the egotistical and devoted concierge of the hotel. Fiennes leads the film seamlessly and has great on screen chemistry with newcomer Tony Revolori (Young Zero Moustafa) who have to try and clear the name of Monsieur Gustave H. Young Zero wholeheartedly follows Gustave on his wild adventures, and even though it is unconventional, there is something amusing in their partnership.


There’s a scene where Gustave asks Zero why he wants to be a Lobby Boy at the hotel, and he replies: “Well, who wouldn’t? At the Grand Budapest sir, it’s an institution.” That’s the start of their friendship.

Whilst I admire Wes Anderson’s style, it’s not my favourite film. Personally I just take his films on surface level, there’s no clear depth to them. That’s not to say there’s no meaning in them and that they are hollow, because they’re not. But for me the reason why I loved The Grand Budapest Hotel is because of it’s visual beauty and his refreshing filmmaking style.


Also I was quite disappointed that Oscar winner Tilda Swinton was only in the film for a couple of minutes. She is an incredible actress and she fits perfectly in this film and her character lingers throughout, yet from the way her role in the film was advertised you would have thought she would have more on screen time. Another actress I thought was underused was Soarise Ronan, a young actress with a maturity. Again, her character had a right place in the film but I wish she was featured in the film more.


So basically, I more admire than love the film. I love Wes Anderson’s direction and his personalty seeps through the film, yet it’s more style over substance. The cast was great and had their own place in the film, but because they’re all so great you wish they all had more screen time. But of course, sadly that cannot be the case. It is definitely worth the watch, so you can understand Anderson’s style.

Speaking again of its Oscar attraction, the film has been nominated 9 times in most of the major film categories. Including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Writing-Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. It received a lot of love from the Golden Globes (winning Best Film- Comedy or Musical) and also recognition from the BAFTA’s. This is following its early release from March 2014 and has been available to buy on DVD for months now. It is Wes Anderson’s highest grossing film of his career, rolling in over $174 million worldwide against a $23 million budget. I am really happy for this recognition, I definitely don’t dispute it. But I don’t think it should win big, it should win at least for the production and technical categories.



That is another reason why I admire this film, it can have that effect on people. To stay around in peoples minds months after its release so it can be labelled Oscar worthy. I think it will give the film more exposure and persuade more people to watch the film.

Next on my list I want to watch Two Days, One Night featuring Marion Cotillard, already an Oscar winner who has been nominated for her second Oscar this year. The film is in French so hopefully the nomination will give more exposure to the film and people, like myself, can finally get around to watching it.

Academy Award for Best Film Blog Post

The Academy Awards. My favourite time of the year when we get to celebrate film and the amazing performances the year has brought us. It is a good year, but pervious years have been stronger. There’s no equivalent to 12 Years a Slave or Gravity, however there are some distinctive nominees. Such as the one of a kind Boyhood, the “one long take” comedy Birdman and the pastel coloured The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Sadly there have been some snubs that would have made the list more diverse. Female directors Angelina Jolie and Ava DuVernay failed to make the cut. DuVernay’s film Selma recieived little love from the Academy as well. Amy Adams and Jessica Chastain failed to get nominations, however they are multi Oscar nominees who sadly wouldn’t have won even if they did make the list. Adams did recently win the Golden Globe for her role in Tim Burton’s Big Eyes.

It’s a long blog post but I hope you enjoy it and engage in discussions of who you think should win, who was snubbed and do you think generally it’s a good list. I’ve highlighted the films that I think will win and put the films in Italics of the ones that I want to win.

Best Picture

American Sniper



The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game


The Theory Of Everything



Whilst it may not be the most interesting list, it does feature some good films. I still need to see all of them but the ones I have seen are unique. For example, Boyhood stands out as being the most bold and unique piece of filmmaking. Having been shot over 12 years, the film seamlessly goes through each stage of their lives being one coherent film. For that reason, I believe that Boyhood will win and should win.

Best Director

Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman

Richard Linklater, Boyhood

Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher

Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game


Wes Anderson is one of the most fascinating and visionary directors out of the list. Being what some would call an auteur, he is finally recognised in the Best Director and Best Picture category after receiving Best Original Screenplay nominations in the past. However, Richard Linklater has done what no director has done before. It must have taken courage to keep coming back year after year, having a vision but not knowing exactly how it will turn out. I commend him for making such a stripped back, raw and unique film that is one of a kind.

Best Actor

Steve Carell, Foxcatcher

Bradley Cooper, American Sniper

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game

Michael Keaton, Birdman

Eddie Redmayne, The Theory Of Everything


Interestingly enough, this list consists of nominees and no Oscar winners. So it’s an even playing field I guess. Now, whilst I’m not a huge Cumberbatch fan, he gave such a convicting performance. He is a great actor and showcased his skill brilliantly in The Imitation Game. However, after losing out to Redmayne at the Golden Globes, could his chances of Oscar glory fade away?

Best Actress

Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night

Felicity Jones, The Theory Of Everything

Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl

Reese Witherspoon, Wild

amy dunne

My heart says Rosamund Pike but my head says Julianne Moore. This list is a great list, I love all of these actresses. Pike gave a career defining performance as ‘Amazing Amy’ in the 2014 thriller Gone Girl. She gave such a complex and exciting performance. However, Moore is now a five time Academy Award nominee and recently won the Golden Globe for Best Actress, could Moore have her moment at the Oscars? Either way, it’s an incredible achievement for Pike for her first nomination and also for Felicity Jones. I haven’t seen The Theory of Everything yet but I’ve loved her since 2011’s indie hit Like Crazy. I’m personally happy that Cotillard has received her second nomination, after winning for La Vie En Rose in 2008.

Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Laura Dern, Wild

Emma Stone, Birdman

Meryl Streep, Into The Woods

Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game


Emma Stone gave a hilarious stand out performance in Birdman, easily one of the highlights of the film. However, Arquette recently won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress and has a lot of buzz around her performance spanning over 12 years. For me it is between these two to take home the trophy. However I’m really happy for Knightley’s second nomination, she was so good in The Imitation Game.

Supporting Actor

Robert Duvall, The Judge

Ethan Hawke, Boyhood

Edward Norton, Birdman

Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher

JK Simmons, Whiplash


JK Simmons has been receiving critical acclaim for his performance in Whiplash, having recently won the Golden Globe. I have yet to see the film but I expect great things from him. That’s why I think he will potentially win. However, Ethan Hawke gave an impressive performance spanning over 12 years. Having been nominated three times before, he is an actor that deserves due credit for his one of a kind performance in Boyhood.

Animated Feature

Big Hero 6


How To Train Your Dragon 2

Song Of The Sea

The Tale Of Princess Kaguya


Fans of The Lego Movie are in despair. The film has been apparently been snubbed by the Academy Awards. Personally, I’m not that heartbroken. It’s a colourful and fun film, but the ending ruined it for me and I can’t look at the film that same way again. Now the big contenders are Disney’s Big Hero 6 and DreamWorks Animations How To Train Your Dragon 2. Personally I hope that latter wins. The first one was worthy but lost out to Toy Story 3, this time with Pixar out of the way, How To Train Your Dragon 2 deserves due credit for being a mature animation full of action, heartbreak and fun.

I’ve only mentioned some of the categories, please go on my Facebook page and there will be a link so you can see the full list of nominees.

Pain Demands To Be Felt

Film has the ability to bring together people from all walks of life. It has the power to start conversations surrounding important issues like 12 Years a Slave did or recent release Selma has done. It also allows you to be exposed to a variety of situations you may or may not have experienced. That’s what I love about films, experiencing a characters story and truly empathise with them, without being too close to the situation. With 12 Years a Slave, it feels so raw and brutal yet we know we never have to suffer the pain of slavery. You can follow Solomon’s journey, without having to be wrongly imprisoned, you can feel his struggle to fight for freedom without battling against oppression.


As stated in my blog post about animation, my film taste is varied. This allows me to experience films ranging from Changeling to Tangled, because no matter what the genre it’s the story and character that is important. But for this blog post I will focus on the more serious side of film, the more darker and emotional type. To list a few, I love Never Let Me Go, La Vie En Rose, Seven Pounds, 12 Years a Slave and so on.

For me, these types of films allow me to let my guard down and just feel emotions. I have never been a clone knowing I would be harvested, or fight to find my missing son, or feel the burden to save seven lives, but watching films covering these topics I can try and understand their pain. In The Fault in Our Stars, Hazel states that “Pain demands to be felt.” For which I can agree with.


*Spoilers ahead*

Clearly film is my passion, but I don’t look to it for life advice. However, when watching Never Let Me Go, it made me think about life really deeply. If you’re unfamiliar with the film, it follows three characters who are clones created to be harvested for organs. With the knowledge of the fact they have short life expectancy and struggling with trying to define what makes us human and dealing with relationships. It’s a grounded science fiction film which really struck a chord with me.

Led by Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightly and Andrew Garfield, the film really got to me and just made me think about how we need to spend our lives in a meaningful way. Imagine knowing that you will die around your mid 20’s. With the sole purpose to survive, not to live a fulfilled life, so you can donate organs so others can live longer and happier lives. It must be heartbreaking knowing you can never truly live and that it will just end.

I tend to put myself in the shoes of the character. So when I watch the film I try to imagine what it must be like knowing you will die soon. Imagining what it must be like to see friends close to you die and to know you will never experience the pleasures of life. Most heartbreakingly of all, knowing that your life will just end. Nothing beyond life itself (for would a clone go to the afterlife?) These questions and thoughts are posed strongly when I watch this film.


Another film which I can completely connect to without having to lose a child, is the 2008 drama Changeling. Angelina Jolie boats a heartbreakingly real performance in her Oscar nominated role as Christine Collins. A mother who fights against all obstacles to find her missing son. Jolie completely leads the audience through her characters journey, as you feel her pain and root for her to find justice for her son. Specifically when she is wrongly imprisoned in a psychiatric ward, as an audience member you feel Christine has faced injustice and you want to fight for her freedom. Not only does she have to deal with losing a son, but when she knows the found child is not her son no one believes her. Then they basically throw her away, you just have no idea what she must have been feeling.

Not to mention this is based on a true story in 1928. What makes it even more poignant is that you never see Christine find her son, despite all she went through. However, a survivor of the events of the film, reveals how Walter escaped. This gives Christine hope that Walter could be alive. I can really easily connect myself to a character, and I felt Christine’s sense of hope and comfort in knowing her son may have found refuge.

12 years

Speaking of hope, through pain there is hope. In 12 Years a Slave, after a horrific account of a mans years in slavery, he is rescued and given his life back. The moment where he is picked up from the Epps’ plantation, the camera stays with Solomon’s face which perfectly encapsulates a range of emotions. From relief, to confusion, to disbelief and to joy. Whilst you know his life will never be the same, it is an incredible story of perseverance, survival and hope. In The Pursuit of Happyness, when Chris Gardner (Will Smith) finds out he’s secured a job, you feel a huge sense of relief on behalf of the character. To overcome such obstacles, to have finally achieved the means to create a better life for himself and his son, it’s inspirational. Sometimes joy doesn’t find a character (look at Never Let Me Go) but doesn’t matter. What matters is feeling emotions, going on a journey with the characters and having a wider understanding of the world.

What kind of films do you enjoy? Feel free to comment and share your opinions!

All By Myself

Happy New Year! Hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Years! Welcome to Collision Films first blog post of 2015. After spending a lot of time with people over the festive period, I thought this would be a fitting topic to discuss: All By Myself (at the cinema).

Cinema trips are generally seen as an opportunity to socialise with your friends or family, to attend a film screening with a group of people. If you mentioned to the general public about the concept of going to the cinema alone, you may get some strange looks.

However, I am here to tell you that some people go to the cinema alone because I am one of them. It’s not something I do all the time, however on some occasions I have decided to go to see a film by myself.


This is not to say I don’t enjoy going to the cinema with people, because if you do go with people you share the experience with them and you can discuss the film together. Yet there are pros to going on a solo cinema trip.

Naturally I am a deep thinker, and this applies to when I analyse films and try to comprehend what has just appeared on the screen. So when the film ends I usually sit through the full credits to let the film digest, so I can come up with a general opinion of the film.

It’s the last thing that you want to hear when the film ends and two seconds after the screen has turned black, someone asks, “What did you think?” or “It was so good/bad!” and I sit there thinking how they haven’t even give the film time to settle in. How can you know if a film is really good or bad if you haven’t considered the reasons why?


There are those who consider this sad, and use words like ‘lonely’ or ‘weird’ to describe heading to the pictures by yourself, but those people are wrong.”1 I loved reading this in the Summer 2013 TOTAL FILM issue by Alex Zane. Someone finally understood my cinema habits and didn’t judge them.

Alex Zane explains how he is truly happy by going alone to the cinema, a statement I can agree with. People often ask me if a film is spoilt because I love analysing films, the answer is no. For me that is why I love films, to go deeper than just saying a film is good or bad. Films allow you to experience so many different things, and to try and relate to characters and place yourself in their story.

I loved it this time last year, I was living in halls for my last year at university and I took more solo trips to the cinema, especially during the film awards season. After work I would go to the Tyneside cinema and do my “research” in time for the Oscars. If there’s one place I would recommend, it would be the Tyneside Cinema. I’m not a cinema snob, but there seems to be more acceptance of going solo to the cinema there then Odeon or Empire cinemas. There is a true love for film at the Tyneside Cinema.


This may sound slightly out of norms, but sometimes I enjoy looking around at people (if the cinema is busy) and see what type of people are there. So many people from different walks of life can be brought together by film, what is it about the film that does this? Are people just there to pass time? Are there any other film fanatics out there? I guess I’ll never truly know. Don’t worry though, I don’t give people intense stares, just glances around the room.

There is a stigma around the concept of going to the cinema alone, that it’s not socially acceptable. Whilst I love seeing a film with people, another side of me loves the solace of viewing a film alone. To be given the time and space to form your own opinion and then to share it with people. It’s not like I see every film by myself, but if there’s a film out I want to see but no one else does, I have no problem seeing it solo. Expect me to be at the Tyneside Cinema a lot over the next month doing my “research” for the 2015 film awards season.

Would you go the cinema by yourself? Feel free to comment and share your thoughts!

1Alex Zane. TOTAL FILM Summer 2013. Page 34.