It’s oh so quiet….Not much to report on this week really. Things will probably kick up a gear as the dark nights draw in further and the kids get a week off at some point in October.

About the best thing I could write about at the moment really is how good is the final season of Breaking Bad?!? So so very good and if you aren’t watching it then all of it is on Netflix for you to absorb. Only two episodes left now and man it is looking like it’s going to go out on a massively epic and unexpected note. If they stick the landing this will be one of the best crime saga’s of all time standing alongside The Wire and The Sopranos.

Anyway, here’s what else is playing…

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

David O’Russell’s triumphant comedy drama from last year features career best performances from Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and a return to form for Robert De Niro. It is also one of the best portrayals of living with bi-polar disorder and what grief does to you that I have seen without resorting to crass comedy.

Many have criticised the second half of the film for becoming conventional as it races to a dance competition finale. This seems absurd to me as if you consider the eventual outcome of this then it seems anything but conventional. Much of the joy of this film is seeing two great characters whose lives constantly threaten to spiral out of control find each other in the middle and reach some kind of peace, whereas in other hands it would have been a soppy kiss in the rain conclusion.

You don’t get that kind of thing here, but somehow knowing that things will probably get better for each of them is enough.

Available on NOW TV

Ruby Sparks

Ruby Sparks (2012)

One of the unsung gems of last year was this follow-up to Little Miss Sunshine from directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. Ruby Sparks is a de-construction of the type of boy meets girl indie comedies that have been popular over the last few years where a hipster writer writes his dream girl and she literally appears and he finds he can write her behaviour to suit his selfish needs.

This is a double-edged sword of course and leads to a lot of philosophical questions about fate, free will and if your perfect partner really is that perfect. It’s brilliantly written and performed by leads Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan and should definitely not be missed.

Available on NOW TV

The Bay

The Bay (2012)

Weird how a one-time awards winner is now dipping his toe into the found footage sub-genre but there you go. Barry Levinson’s horror entry concerns the outbreak of a biological threat in a small town surrounding a lake. Although there isn’t really any kind of main character to root for especially, this still has some wonderfully skin crawling moments that will make you think twice about dipping your toe in a lake for a while.

Available on NETFLIX

Reel Steel 1

Real Steel (2011)

Real Steel is one of the best kids’ films of recent memory. It tells the tale of a washed up boxer who now promotes robots into fights out in the wastelands of Middle America. He is then left in charge of the son he never knew whilst trying to get his one big break going.

This film is a rare beast in that in balances cool robot fighting effects work, a touching father and son story and builds a believable future world wonderfully. It’s not going to change the face of cinema as we know it but it’s fun, heartfelt, and a worthwhile film that all the family can enjoy.

Available on NETFLIX

Speed Racer

Speed Racer (2008)

An almighty box office flop upon release, The Waschowski sibling’s interpretation of the classic anime show has grown in popularity since it first came out and has fans now and those fans are very vocal. For me I find this film still too much to take on board.

The visuals, the bizarre performances and the length are just an all-out assault on the senses and I can’t seem to process it. However on a purely visual level as something to entertain sugar hyped five-year olds, it’s probably a safe option.

Available on LOVEFILM

Four Rooms

Four Rooms (1995)

Back in the mid-nineties a bunch of then hip directors got together and produced this vanity project which is like a see-saw in terms of actual quality. Tim Roth is great as the bell boy who connects these four tales revealing a since untapped talent for physical comedy. Alison Anders segment is pointless, Alexandre Rockwell’s is only marginally better, then Robert Rodriguez’ s naughty kids segment is a blast of black humour and its concluded by a great piece of lengthy Tarantino dialogue which he unfortunately chose to star in himself but roped in Bruce Willis as well. Worth a look to see what it was that so upset critics at the time but nowhere near the quality of individual directors solo efforts.

Available on LOVEFILM

The Crow Salvation

The Crow: Salvation (2000)

The Crow franchise has been ill-served by sequels since the poignant cult original. Out of all of them though this is probably the best, deviating just enough from the core story without losing what we know and love. Eric Mabius is no Brandon Lee but at least cuts a different and still fairly striking pose in mechanic overalls instead of the leathers. Of course after this was Wicked Prayer, which was embarrassing.

Available on LOVEFILM

Vaughn in Swingers

Swingers (1996)

Swingers launched a whole load of careers despite a misleading title which could lead to some….misunderstandings. Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Ron Livingston and Doug Liman all got careers off the back of this charming and funny tale of struggling single actors in la la land. Endlessly quotable and re-watchable, it’s still so money and doesn’t even know it.

Available on LOVEFILM

The MAsk

The Mask (1994)

The second film of three released in one year that launched Jim Carrey to mega stardom. The Mask is also a good example of how Hollywood used to do comic book adaptations. Basically they ignored the majors and adapted everything that Dark Horse comics were putting out at the time so we also got Barb Wire and Timecop in the years that followed.

Although it’s not quite as dark as the comic original, the live action Looney tunes fun has not aged at all and it remains that rare phenomenon, a successful comic adaptation that has a focus on comedy and musical numbers. Plus that first appearance by Cameron Diaz is some debut let me tell ya!

Available on LOVEFILM