The Best Films of 2015

Caren Pistorius in Slow West

 

 

 

There’s a tendency among people who watch a lot of films to boost ones that stand out rather than ones that are good. This can lead to some perverse choices in the “best of” lists that proliferate at this time of year. So that probably explains the rogue nature of the list below – ha ha. If you’re expecting to find Spectre (not at all bad) or the latest Marvel movie or Jurassic World, look elsewhere. These are just the films, of the maybe 350 films or so that I’ve watched in the past 12 months, that jumped out and grabbed me. Some of them are 2014 releases.

 

 

 

 

Ten Best

 

 

Paddington (dir: Paul King)

Operating in Mary Poppins territory, this adaptation of Michael Bond’s books is charming, funny and clever, has jokes for kids and some more thoughtful though never intrusive observations for adults, integrates the animated bear from darkest Peru with the live action brilliantly and there’s even an action-star gag by support-playing baddie Nicole Kidman that’s aimed at ex-husband Tom Cruise.

 

Wild (dir: Jean-Marc Vallée)

The redemptive drama is a hard sell, but this one about a broken woman’s long trek to self-realisation works in every way. Reese Witherspoon is believably frail as the wee girl dwarfed by her huge rucksack (metaphor), director Jean-Marc Vallée uses music perfectly and does something many directors have forgotten all about – he structures his film visually, using the editing suite to full advantage. His compositional work is remarkable.

 

Ex Machina (dir: Alex Garland)

Just as we are realising that technology’s grip is icy, and Google might not be our friend, along comes Alex Garland’s directorial debut, a dystopian slab of hard sci-fi in which geeky Domhnall Gleeson falls for robot Alicia Vikander while hipster tech uberlord Oscar Isaac looks on. A three-hander – give or take – getting perfect performances from all concerned, and it glistens like a tiny, beautifully cut gem.

 

Kajaki (dir: Paul Katis)

A gaggle of British squaddies with names like Tug, Spud and Smudge wander into a minefield and suddenly their casually homophobic banter is replaced by focused professionalism and a sharp interest in staying alive. Gruesomely tense, horrific in its depiction of the damage inflicted by IEDs, is this the best British war film since Ice Cold in Alex? It’s a great war film by any standards.

 

It Follows (dir: David Robert Mitchell)

Sexual intercourse as an engine of death isn’t new in horror films, but It Follows finds a simple and brilliant new way of telling the story all over again – zombies who are “slow but not dumb” and might appear any time, any place, anywhere, dressed in nightwear or perhaps not very much at all. A lurchingly subjective camera, expressionistic framing and Disasterpeace’s Wendy Carlos-alike score help rack up the intensity even further.

 

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (dir: Ana Lily Amirpour)

The Muslim jilbab as a kind of vampire’s cape – what a brilliantly observed idea that is in one of the strangest horror films of recent times, which combines something of the mass-observation aesthetic of photographer Sebastião Salgado with the disjointed cool of early Jim Jarmusch. Shot entirely in California, yet clearly a film about and for Iran, it’s a fascinating, Middle Eastern take on the Let the Right One In “innocent vampire” genre.

 

Slow West (dir: John Maclean)

Michael Fassbender’s astonishing run continues with this out-of-nowhere debut by John Maclean, an exquisitely wrought western making clear its debt to old pulp novels and their love of hard-tack glamour and salty danger. Tense as hell, in fact the whole film is one long, slow build towards a great finale. And it looks the business too.

 

Aferim! (dir: Radu Jude)

There hasn’t been a great Romanian film for about ten minutes, but here’s a slightly different sort than what we’re used to – a historical picaresque following an 1830s cop and his son as they seek to capture a Gypsy and return him to his owner, a rich boyar whose wife has been too free with her favours. Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon inspires some of the look and pace of it, and Don Quixote is clearly also a reference, though Cervantes didn’t finish on as gruesomely gripping a high as this does.

 

Theeb (dir: Naji Abu Nowar)

It takes a while for it to sink in, but what we have in Theeb – as we follow the exploits of the youngest son of a Bedouin tribe in the Laurence of Arabia-era desert – is a story straight out of Rider Haggard territory. It’s the sort of ripping adventure that once upon a time emboldened Spielberg and Lucas to make Indiana Jones but is done without a cocked eyebrow here, with genuine danger, tough decisions, cruel fate and a bit of socio-economic background (the collapse of the Ottoman Empire) all adding spice.

 

Mommy (dir: Xavier Dolan)

With Tom at the Farm it became clear that Xavier Dolan was something of a genius. Mommy is further proof, a tough drama about the stumbling relationship of a flaky mother (Anne Dorval), her aggressive, firecracker ADHD teenage son (Antoine-Olivier Pilon) and their nervous neighbour (Suzanne Clément). It wears its emotions out there on a selfie stick – “fuck off” in this film often means “I love you” – and there are at least two scenes so powerful you might have to remind yourself to breathe.

 

 

 

Honourable Mentions

 

Victoria Almeida in What's Left of Us
Victoria Almeida drives the boys crazy in What’s Left of Us

 

 

Appropriate Behaviour (dir: Desiree Akhavan)

The life and times of a second generation Iranian, or of a confused bisexual, or of a girl in the big city, or of a struggling 20something – Desiree Akhavan gets it all just right in this through-the-fingers New York comedy.

 

Maps to the Stars (dir: David Cronenberg)

Still Alice won her the acting accolades, but Julianne Moore is actually better in this return to nightmarishness for David Cronenberg, as a fading star and member of a family for whom the term fucked really doesn’t cover it. The Player meets Sunset Boulevard.

 

Life After Beth (dir: Jeff Baena)

Aubrey Plaza gives it her absolute all as a newly dead zombie trying to have a relationship with old boyfriend Dane DeHaan – who finds her a whole lot more into him than she used to be – in a genuinely inventive comedy made all the better by the presence of John C Reilly and Molly Shannon as Plaza’s concerned parents. Dead funny.

The Tribe (dir: Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy)

Shot entirely in Lithuanian sign language, acted by first-timers and set in a school for the deaf where a new boy finds that the descriptor “sex and violence” barely covers what’s going on, this film sounds like a stunt – and it obviously is to some extent – but it’s a stunt that works. And the lack of dialogue is no bar to understanding when emotion this direct and action this unambiguous is concerned.

The Babadook (dir: Jennifer Kent)

There’s a touch of The Innocents in this highly atmospheric Aussie horror about a mother driven to desperation by her needy child. Or is it the child we need to feel worried for? Sure, it goes slack in the middle, and becomes over-focused on telling us that writer/director Jennifer Kent has seen a whole load of old horror movies, but wait for the finale – barking, scary and brilliant.

 

The Book of Life (dir: Jorge R Gutierrez)

A Mexican flavoured animation with a Day of the Dead theme and a plot with a distinct Orpheus and Eurydice flavour – she’s dead and he goes after her into the underworld (ish). The visuals are spaghetti western meets Ren and Stimpy, the songs are jaunty and mariachi-flavoured and the voicework (Ice Cube in particular) is exemplary.

 

Pictures of the Old World (dir: Dusan Hanák)

“The best Slovak film ever made”, the reputation of Dusan Hanák’s disarmingly simple documentary from the early 1970s – about the dirt poor lives of ancient peasants up in the back of beyond – is entirely deserved. “I’m going to die this year, I can feel it,” says one old timer. And that’s what it’s about – quite starkly. Death.

 

Two Night Stand (dir: Max Nichols)

Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Pink Panther, It Happened One Night and The Dick Van Dyke Show are all in the mix in this subversive comedy about a girl (Analeigh Tipton) who has hook-up sex with a stranger (Miles Teller) and then gets stuck in his apartment. Old-school screwball romance follows, charmingly, smartly and at speed.

 

Predestination (dir: Michael and Peter Spierig)

Robert Heinlein’s sci-fi story All You Zombies provides the backbone for the Spierig brothers’ follow-up to the similarly idea-crammed Daybreakers, a “guy walks into a bar” tale of a hermaphrodite (Sarah Snook) who walks into Ethan Hawke’s bar and tells him a story about time travel and the paradoxes that erupt from it. Refreshingly hard sci-fi.

 

Frequencies aka OXV: The Manual (dir: Darren Paul Fisher)

Strip away the romance and what is human courtship about? Status, clearly, according to this lo-fi, highly fascinating film about “what happens when a high frequency meets a low frequency” – hot, smart girl meets average guy, in other words. It’s patchily acted and a bit speechy towards the end, but there are enough ideas in this bizarre film for about 12 Hollywood blockbusters.

Turned towards the Sun (dir: Greg Olliver)

A simple and revelatory documentary about 90-something poet and Second World War hero Micky Burn, a long-form visual version of a Daily Telegraph obituary whose power lies in the richness of Burn’s Zelig-like life. He was – just one for-instance – the guy in the secret radio room at Colditz.

 

What’s Left of Us aka El Desierto (dir: Christoph Behl)

A simple but powerful Argentinian zombie movie about a girl, a boy and another boy all locked up together in a house while the world goes to hell in a handcart outside. And inside, it turns out, once sexual dynamics and the fallout of a fetid love triangle start to exert themselves. Victoria Almeida is a powerful and provocative lead, the sexy counterweight to the hothouse atmosphere of death.

 

Tusk (dir: Kevin Smith)

Kevin Smith reminds us how good he can be with a film about a guy (Justin Long) being turned into a walrus by a demented surgeon (Michael Parks) while his much-cheated-on girlfriend (Genesis Rodriguez) searches for him. A simple film, it somehow manages to be funny and appallingly gruesome at the same time.

 

Face of an Angel (dir: Michael Winterbottom)

Michael Winterbottom’s drama takes the bones of the Meredith Kercher/Amanda Knox case and constructs a brilliant meditation on the modus operandi of the media, as well as a modern-day Dante and Beatrice tale in which film-maker Daniel Brühl is smitten by virginal Cara Delevingne, as anyone watching probably will be too.

 

While We’re Young (dir: Noah Baumbach)

Not-as-young-as-they-once-were couple Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts try to keep up with hipsters Adam Horovitz and Amanda Seyfried in a very Jewish New York comedy – smart, dry, a touch bitter – about the importance of being not just true to yourself, but of doing this absolutely and totally properly.

White God aka Fehér Isten (dir: Kornél Mudruczó)

Kicking off with a quote by Rilke, this unique Hungarian film is like a Disney animal flick about the adventures of a mongrel, except done as existential sci-fi – what exactly would happen if dogs had the same degree of consciousness that humans have?

 

The Salvation (dir: Kristian Levring)

Director Kristian Levring used to be a Dogme man, but shouts “I’m so over all that now” with this remarkable western that’s like a fusion of Sergio Leone, John Ford, Sam Peckinpah and Robert Aldrich, with a perfectly cast Mads Mikkelsen as a Clint Eastwood-alike quester after vengeance. If looks could kill…

 

Run All Night (dir: Jaume Collet-Serra)

Another of Liam Neeson’s geri-actioners, though this time he’s back with director Jaume Collet-Serra for a deliberately retro dash for the finish in which strong, silent Neeson takes on the good guys, the bad guys and eventually the whole of New York. Hugely overwrought, entirely satisfying, it’s genre done properly.

 

Still the Water aka Tutatsume no mado (dir: Naomi Kawase)

If Douglas Sirk had been Japanese he might have come up with this overheated love story about teenage lovers hedging towards full penetrative sex as the waves crash, storms rage and their families conspire against them. Leisurely, beautiful, lusty and lovely, an unusual mix of the entirely natural and the gigantically metaphorical.

 

Phoenix (dir: Christian Petzold)

The latest of a string of dark, intelligent films that director Christian Petzold and actor Nina Hoss have made together is a revenge drama set in the aftermath of the Second World War where Hoss, just released from a death camp, is recruited by her own husband to play his dead wife – he doesn’t recognise her, obviously – and she plays along. Oh deary deary me.

Marshland aka La Isla Mínima (dir: Alberto Rodriguez)

Stunningly good-looking policier about an ageing Franco-supporting cop and his younger more democratic sidekick investigating a murder out in the photogenic Guadalquivir marshes in 1980. Brilliantly acted and shot, with locations and music to match, it’s even got does a car chase in an entirely new way. Did I mention how good it looks?

 

Little Accidents (dir: Sara Colangelo)

Old school 1970s-style humane ensemble drama with a standout Boyd Holbrook as a survivor of a terrible mining disaster whose testimony about the event at an upcoming hearing are going to decide the futures of a whole lot of people in town. An ambling drawl of a movie, with Elizabeth Banks and Jacob Lofland almost as good as Holbrook, surely a star of 2016.

Turbo Kid (dir: François Simard, Anouk Whissell, Yoan-Karl Whissell)

Utterly on-the-nail pastiche of 1980s straight-to-VHS movie-making, a post-apocalyptic Total Recall meets Mad Max story of a BMX-riding kid, called Kid, gaining special powers, falling for a special girl (a special Laurence Leboeuf) and saving the world. Funny and gory, with in-jokes for nerds, and a fabulous John Carpenter-like soundtrack by Le Matos.

 

Mad Max: Fury Road (dir: George Miller)

Pedal-to-the-metal furious punk-funk madness, with a barely speaking Tom Hardy as Max, the road warrior on the road with badass Charlize Theron (the film’s real star) while director George Miller obsessively choreographs the relentless chase/action mayhem around them.

 

Tomorrowland (dir: Brad Bird)

Whatever happened to the futurism of jet packs and flying cars? Brad Bird answers the question with jaw-dropping visuals in a modern-day Wizard of Oz quest-adventure coolly received by critics with ass/elbow disassociation disorder.

 

Cop Car (dir: Jon Watts)

Another of those great Kevin Bacon movies he comes up with every few years, with our guy as a really bad cop on the trail of a couple of kids who have nicked his car, unaware there’s something in the boot they really don’t want to be discovering. A high-concept B movie of real distinction, lean, simple and with smart, believable dialogue, especially for the kids.

 

Palio (dir: Cosima Spender)

A remarkable documentary about the Palio, a horse race run in Siena, Italy, twice a year, which takes such pains to introduce us to its characters – chiefly, the young buck hoping to steal the grizzled champion’s crown – that when the race kicks off, you’re really in the medieval square with the riders.

Minions (dir: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin)

After the boring Despicable Me 2, who’d have thought that a spin-off – the backstory of Gru’s little yellow helpers – would have worked this well. Brilliantly animated and written, it’s a breathless, idea-packed, funny, inventive animated comedy.

 

I Believe in Miracles (dir: Jonny Owen)

Even if you have no interest in the 1970s, or British football, or managerial legend Brian Clough, this documentary about his astonishing success and idiosyncratic style will have you hooked. “The most charismatic man I ever met,” says one former player, part of the team of underdogs he willed to European Cup success, twice.

 

 

And if you want to watch or buy any of the films, this Amazon link will allow you to do just that – enjoy!

 

 

© Steve Morrissey 2015

 

26 October 2015-10-26

Jacir Eid and Hussein Salameh in Theeb (aka Wolf)

 

Out This Week

 

Theeb (New Wave, cert 12)

Jordan’s contender for this year’s Best Foreign language Oscar is, somewhat unexpectedly, an old school adventure story, the sort of thing Rider Haggard would recognise, set in a Lawrence of Arabia desert and starring Jacir Eid as a Bedouin kid. Eid is an untrained actor, as are most if not all of the excellent cast – goodies and baddies – and the plot is a basic dash across the desert, away from bad guys and towards a well which a floppy-haired English interloper wants to visit, for reasons probably nefarious. A sealed box provides a bit of a Maguffin, the cinematography knows that David Lean has been here before and so contents itself with sweeping up around the edges, and the soundtrack moves often into a lush, slow Brahms/Wagner territory as Theeb is subjected to most of the standard threats of the genre – sun, dehydration and bandits, all beautifully folded together to produce a drama of escalating tension. Adding a hint of spice is the First World War lurking in the background, the disintegration of the Ottoman empire and the arrival of the railway, a disruptive technology which has driven previously upstanding Bedouin men to the dark side. Will this cunning film win the Academy Award? Who can tell, though the Foreign language Oscar is generally the only one where absurd politics, tokenist voting and outright fantasy aren’t in the driving seat, and a great film generally wins. This could do it.

Theeb – Watch it/buy it at Amazon

 

 

 

Terminator Genisys (Paramount, cert 12)

We should have guessed, when Arnie started doing all that social media PR before the launch of Terminator Genisys – playing a living waxwork at Madame Tussaud’s, tweeting about cycling around London – that the film sucked. Lacking any clear idea what it should be about, the fifth in the series goes for a multiverse approach, adding to the concepts we’re familiar with in the previous films (no, let’s be honest, the first two films) – in other words the awakening of Skynet and its attempt to secure its present (ie our future) by going back into the past (our present) and removing John Connor from the equation. Arnold Schwarzenegger is of course back, as both an old cyborg and a CG-airbrushed more recent arrival from a different future, and the line “I’m old, not obsolete” is bandied about quite a lot, in the hope it might become some sort of ironic catchphrase. Emilia Clarke is the best thing in the film, glowering fiercely as Sarah Connor and catching Linda Hamilton’s roid-rage attitude. Jai Courtney, Jason Clarke and JK Simmons (an Oscar last year, now back at work as usual like an “it won’t change me” lottery winner) are all thrown into the blender along with visits to the years 1984, 1997 and 2017 and there are a lot of the sort of special effects which were impressive when we were still impressed by special effects. A couple of chase sequences apart, it’s a lifeless, soulless, confusing and outright dull film, the sort of thing that might well indeed have been created by some entity with a titanium skeleton and not much stretched over it. As a couple of episodes of the Sarah Connor Chronicles, it might have passed muster.

Terminator Genisys – Watch it/buy it at Amazon

 

 

 

Spy (Fox, cert 15)

Having done Bridesmaids and The Heat together, writer/director Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy finally put her in sole starring position in a spy spoof that would be a lot funnier if it just acknowledged that Mike Myers has been here/done this and just recycled Austin Powers’ jokes instead. In fact it does, at times, because isn’t that little sketch about McCarthy being fitted out with fiendish spy gadgets – most of them disguised as embarrassing haemorrhoid preparations – not an indirect  lift of the Powers’ penis pump gag? But, first things second, the plot being that McCarthy is the backroom wonk forced out into the world of derring-do when suave Bond-like field operative Jude Law is killed. Along for a shadowy ride is disavowed agent Jason Statham – playing an absurd version of his normal bullet-headed “you twot, what a pair of vaginas” character in a parody so close that you can sense he’s slightly concerned it’ll tarnish Brand Stath. He’s very funny, in fact, and provides the film with its best moments, when they should by rights have gone to McCarthy, whose ability to riff profane feels tacked on here. Other flavours in this enjoyable if non-essential comedy are Miranda Hart doing her latterday Margaret Rutherford act of dithering and winking to the camera, Rose Byrne as an evil and  hot Bulgarian villainess, Bobby Cannavale as a weapons hungry terrorist, Peter Serafinowicz as a randy Italian who’s probably got a “ciao bella” tattoo on his penis, Allison Janney as a funny spin on Joan Allen’s woman-with-balls character in the Bourne films. Everyone, in other words, is an expert at what they do. The result, however, just kind of lies there, a touch limp, as if no one involved had noticed that spy films already spoof themselves.

Spy – Watch it/buy it at Amazon

 

 

 

Pasolini (BFI, cert 18)

Having watched director Abel Ferrara do great things with little more than a single camera and two actors in his Dominic Strauss-Khan take-down, Welcome to New York, I had great expectations of Pasolini. Both men, Ferrara and Pasolini, are ripe for revival (with Ferrara, in his mid-60s, still young enough to make more classic films, if he wants to). So, yes, that is the sound of a gigantic “But” and a general sense of disappointment wheeling into view, because Pasolini doesn’t quite seem to know what it’s there for. Is it a story about an Italian artist, Catholic by birth and left wing by enculturation, plotting his next artistic move after the heady 1960s have evaporated into the arid 1970s? Or is it the story of a gay man in a stridently heterosexual society who gets beaten to death on the beach after taking one cruise-by assignation too many? Ferrara brings up Pasolini’s politics, and hence his art, only to use them as a kind of window-dressing, leaving us outside staring in at a film-maker with a unique and still influential style. So, instead, mostly we get the man, and in the shape of Willem Dafoe, an actor probably as good as you’re going to get as Pasolini, a sleek, fastidious if austere intellectual with a lively bullshit detector and an aversion to flattery. Ferrara’s most interesting, though not successful experiment, is to construct a kind of homage to Pasolini’s style of film-making inside the film, and cast Pasolini’s real-life former lover, Ninetto Davoli, as middle aged man – a Pasolini avatar – engaging in some bacchanalian celebration in which the “gays and the lesbians come together and they procreate their race” – love the typically wonky translation. All you’d need is a leggy Arab lad and golden dildo and you’d have the full fondue. Though it doesn’t really work, this is a small but beautifully crafted film, shot in stygian browns, a filigree work that’s quite lovely in spite of its  sepulchral tone. And for that, and Ferrara’s evident renaissance, let’s give thanks.

Pasolini – Watch it/buy it at Amazon

 

 

 

Death of a Gentleman (Spectrum, cert E)

There are two films inside this documentary by bloggers Sam Collins and Jarrod Kimber. One is the film the cricket enthusiasts set out to make, about the five day “Test” game and how it’s being tested itself by the arrival of the more baseball-like 20-20 game. Then there’s the film that eventually started to emerge – about a cabal inside international cricket’s governing body apparently trying to kill the five-day game as part of a covert plan to take control of international cricket for financial gain. What Collins and Kimber should have done, when they realised they had this bigger story on their hands, is sat down and worked out whether Film A and Film B were compatible. In tougher, kill-your-babies mode they probably would have jettisoned all the material about Ed Cowan, the upcoming Australian cricketer who says “Test cricket, for me, is the game” (Film A) and instead focused more on the deliberate suffocation of the game (Film B). On this tack, we get quite a bit on dubious Giles Clarke of the English Cricket Board, and on oleaginous N Srinivasan, the cement magnate at the top of India’s cricketing board of control. But really we need more about the murky machinations of recent years, and which have only redoubled since the International Cricket Council moved its headquarters to Dubai – that greensward emirate. Collins and Kimber, in late reveals, tell us that most of the national cricketing countries of the world are denied financial support by the cash-rich ICC . And that China (where cricket is extremely popular, perhaps surprisingly) gets next to no ICC funding to develop the game. The current arrangements are the result of some stitch-up between bad guys England, Australia and India, we’re told, in what looks like some Freudian late-colonial fever dream with reach-around benefits. Whether you agree with me about film B (corruption) over film A (sad decline), what we have here is a very overstuffed documentary. However, whichever way you slice it, the stink is unmistakable. Football, it seems, isn’t the only sport rotten from the top down.

Death of a Gentleman – Watch it/buy it at Amazon

 

 

 

Barely Lethal (Signature, cert 12)

Something isn’t quite right about Barely Lethal, starting with a title suggesting it’s aimed at internet porn-surfers, when in fact it’s a high school movie working the John Hughes Breakfast Club angle, with a bit of Mean Girls referencing thrown in for the purpose of keeping things slightly up to date. Inching into Jennifer Lawrence/Shailene Woodley action-heroine territory is Hailee Steinfeld, as a teenage ninja who gives up tutelage under Samuel L Jackson and instead tries to make a go of it as a normal girl at a white-sliced high school. Cue “being a regular teen is harder than being a badass assassin” jokes. The film is well scripted, with bags of smart lines that play to and against the expectations of this sort of thing – jocks and nerds, embarrassing sex-talking dads, rake-thin bitches – given fresh impetus by the super-assassin twist. If only the direction were as nimble – there’s a spam hand at work in Kyle Newman, who should either study hard (and quickly) or get out and do something different.

Barely Lethal – Watch it/buy it at Amazon

 

 

Enchanted Kingdom (Universal, cert E)

There are two ways to go for a nature documentary aimed specifically at people who aren’t interested in nature documentaries. One is the approach best seen in 1982’s Koyaanisqatsi, which piles on image after image in an attempt to arrive at a bliss overload – wow, isn’t the planet amazing! The other is the old Disney tactic of turning animals into human stand-ins with a “this cute little fella” voiceover. In Enchanted Kingdom, a BBC documentary narrated by Idris Elba in Beneficent Oz mode, there seems to be a determination to do a bit of both. As the camera roams restlessly from the bottom of the African ocean to the top of Mount Kenya, we are treated to image after spectacular image, with Elba occasionally dropping the omnipotence to make a joke about a wildebeest sniffing a fellow animal’s bum. Sections of the film could be pulled out and used as five-minute demonstrations of the BBC’s amazing skill at this sort of thing – those strange mountain plants that wrap up warm as the freezing night air arrives, then unzip in the morning as the tropical sun comes up; that crocodile lying 99 per cent submerged, an eyeball away from a drinking wildebeest. Personally, I wanted more facts and less of the Disney-esque soundtrack, and there is no real overarching story, no connection between the barracuda in the ocean and the sidewinder snake in the desert, apart from the African setting. Like I said, a nature doc for people who don’t do nature docs, though the footage, the footage…

Enchanted Kingdom – Watch it/buy it at Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

© Steve Morrissey 2015