Friday 9 February 2018

Loveless Review

The latest film from Leviathan director Andrey Zvyagintsev is released in UK cinemas on 9th February. You can find my review of Loveless from the London Film Festival at Starburst Magazine here.

Here's s snippet:

"Stuck in the loveless marriage of the title, a divorcing Russian couple must try to put aside their hatred of each other when their neglected son suddenly goes missing. As if just living with your ex isn't bad enough, Boris (Alexei Rozin) and Zhenya (Maryana Spivak) are forced to cooperate not just with the police and volunteers, but also with each other..."

Here's the trailer:

More reviews from London Film Festival 2017

Friday 26 January 2018

Last Flag Flying Review

Richard Linklater's new film Last Flag Flying is in UK cinemas from 26th January 2018. I caught it at London Film Festival and reviewed it for Starburst Magazine. Here's a snippet of my review:

"Richard Linklater delivers his most mature film to date in Last Flag Flaying, starring a trio of acting heavyweights; Bryan Cranston, Steve Carrell and Laurence Fishburne. After offering some of the greatest films about boyhood, high school parties, college days and finding young love while travelling, Last Flag Flying sees the director on melancholic form with a film about war, death and growing old (not so) gracefully..."

Read more of my review of Last Flag Flying at Starburst Magazine here. 

Here's the trailer:

More from the London Film Festival 2017


Friday 12 January 2018

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Review

After winning Best Motion Picture Drama, Best Actress for Frances McDormand, Best Supporting Actor for Sam Rockwell, and Best Screenplay for writer/director Martin McDonagh at the Golden Globes last week, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is released in the UK on Friday 12th January.

It is highly deserving of its plaudits, particularly for McDormand and Rockwell. I was lucky enough to see it at the London Film Festival in 2017 and my review of the film that all the cool kids are simply referring to as 'Three Billboards' is up at Starburst Magazine here. 

This is a film I can't wait to see again and I recommend you get down to a cinema to see it asap. 

Here's a snippet:

'Seven months after the rape and murder of her daughter, Mildred Hayes (McDormand) has had enough of the inertia of the police investigation. Seven months with no answers and no arrests. With the police having given up, Mildred decides to pay for a series of messages to be plastered high on three disused billboards outside her home. This most public of provocations, and the personal prodding of the town’s Chief Willougby begins a feud between Mildred and the police department, not helped by Mildred’s foul mouth and stubborn, but righteous refusal to accept that the cops could give up on catching her daughter’s killer...'

Read more at Starburst Magazine

More reviews from LFF 2017

Thursday 4 January 2018

My top 25 films of 2017

I have contributed my top 10 films of 2017 lists to Yahoo  Movies 20 best movies of 2017  and HeyUGuys Online Critics Top Ten but since then, the list has already changed as I've finally managed to see the wonderfully moving A Ghost Story and the mind-bending mother!. So they are both now making an appearance in my top 10.

Here's my top 25 of 2017, until further notice!

25. Detroit
24. Okja
23. Fences
22. IT
21. Call Me By Your Name
20. Atomic Blonde
19. Dunkirk
18. Baby Driver
17. God's Own Country
16. La La Land
15. John Wick Chapter 2
14. A Monster Calls
13. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
12. Free Fire
11. Patti Cake$
10. War for the Planet of the Apes
9. Patriots Day
8. Trespass Against Us
7. The Florida Project
6. Ingrid Goes West
5. Lion
4. A Ghost Story
3. mother!
2. Good Time
1. Get Out

But as always, there are a huge amount of films released in the UK that I have not managed to see. Among the many I've missed, the ones I'm most excited to catch are:

The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Toni Erdmann, Blade Runner 2049, Brawl in Cell Block 99, My Life as a Courgette, Loving Vincent, Paddington 2 and Thor Ragnorok.

What were your favourites of the year, and more importantly, what do I still need to get a move on and watch?

Thursday 7 December 2017

Blade of the Immortal Review

Blade of the Immortal is out now in UK cinemas and I was lucky enough to catch it earlier this year at the London Film Festival. It seems to be getting a pretty wide release so you should not have any problems finding the film at a cinema near you. My full review of Blade of the Immortal is at Starburst Magazine here. But for the time being, here's a taster of what you can expect...

Takashi Miike's 100th film Blade of the Immortal reveals a director in no danger of slowing down, and certainly not easing off on the bloodshed. Based on the manga series by Hiroaki Samura, this is even bigger, bloodier and better than Miike's recent 13 Assassins.
The body count in the opening five minutes is enough to make Tarantino blush as samurai Manji fails to save his little sister from being sliced to death at the hands of a gaggle of wrong'uns. That's not to say Manji doesn't make them all pay for their crimes, leaving the ground strewn with corpses not for the last time in the film. However, Manji is mortally wounded and saved by a witch with sacred bloodworms that render Manji immortal and unable to die even after decapitations....

Read the rest of my review here. And while you're here, how good is that poster above?

Here's the trailer:

More reviews from London Film Festival

Saturday 2 December 2017

Happy End review

Happy End, the latest film from Michael Haneke (Funny Games, Hidden, Amour) is out now in UK cinemas. My full review of Happy End is at Starburst Magazine here.

And here's a little taster of what you can expect from the film, and my review:

Happy End follows three generations of a successful construction dynasty, but Haneke’s characters are frustrated, bitter and broken right from the first frames of the film.
Anne (Isabelle Huppert) oversees the business and deals with the fallout from a construction site accident. Her doctor brother Thomas (Mathieu Kassovitz) is reconnecting with his teenage daughter, who has come to live with the family after Thomas’ ex-wife overdoses. Anne’s aging father Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) has stepped away from the business as his health is starting to fail. Anne’s son is drinking too much and appears to be crying out for attention.

It’s a plot full of major events that mostly happen off screen. A car crash, an overdose, a suicide attempt and more are involved but Haneke’s focus is on the quieter moments of relationship drama, including some surprisingly tender moments of inter-generational mutual understanding as well as inevitable conflict.

Read more here

Read more reviews from London Film Festival 2017 here.

Saturday 18 November 2017

Out now: 78/52, Thelma, The Florida Project Reviews

Still in cinemas around the UK are some more films that I saw at the London Film Festival including Psycho documentary 78/52, Scandi-sort-of-horror Thelma and Sean Baker's Tangerine follow-up The Florida Project.

My review of 78/52 is up at Starburst Magazine here and this is is a snippet from the review:

"Director Alexandre O. Philippe takes the approach of honing in on one famous sequence; the Psycho shower scene. Hitchcock’s most famous set piece is put under the microscope, subjected to rigorous analysis, and (excuse the pun) showered with praise by a gaggle of talking heads including critics, directors, actors, editors and professors. Philippe has assembled an impressive list of some of the master of suspense’s biggest fans and all are eager to pore over the minute details of the sequence that has 78 cuts and 52 camera setups (hence the title)."

Also out is Joachim Trier's oddball horror film Thelma which I also reviewed at Starburst Magazine here. Here's the synopsis of the film from my review:

"The titular character is a young woman who has arrived in the city to study biology at university, for the first time living away from her rural-living religious parents. While Thelma makes friends and enjoys her new found independence, her strict parents are frequently phoning to check up on her. When Thelma meets classmate Anya, something awakens in her that is not just about her sexuality, but might also be supernatural."

Finally, The Florida Project is also out at the moment and though I have not reviewed this elsewhere, I have to highly recommend it now. The film mainly follows a child that lives in a motel down the road from Florida's Disneyworld theme park. She lives in poverty with her weed-smoking, foul-mouthed and irresponsible mother. 

I found this film incredibly depressing. What interests me is that many critics have gone on about the joy of the film. Seeing the story through the eyes of this young carefree girl makes it all seem so much more innocent and magical than it really is. What The Florida Project really deals with is inequality on a terrible scale, but also the way that some people fail to help themselves time and again. 

It angered me. It made me think of some old friends of mine. Friends that can barely make ends meet, but still manage to take drugs even though they now have children. People that I find it hard to call friends now even though I know damn well how hard their lives are. 

I think The Florida Project  is a brilliant film and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it pretty much everyday since I saw it two weeks ago. I found it very hard not to judge some characters and by the end, it left me thinking even more about someone close to me who works in social services. It's definitely not a barrel of laughs and I found it hard to see the joy that so many others saw in it. But it is brilliant, and strangely beautiful, with some of the best performances of the year across the board and a perfectly tragic open ending. See it if you can.

More from the London Film Festival 2017 

Strangled review

Strangled is a Hungarian film based on the true story of a serial killer known as the 'Monster of Martfu'. I caught this at the London Film Festival earlier this year and it's now getting some kind of a cinema release in the UK. It might be difficult to find a cinema that's actually playing it, but it is supposedly being released on November 17th 2017.

My review of Strangled is up at Starburst Magazine and here is a snippet about the story:

"In 1957, a woman leaving work at the Martfu shoe factory is raped and murdered and her body is dumped in a river. The man who was last seen with her, Reti Akos is arrested and eventually admits to the murder despite his sister’s vehement protests of his innocence. Seven years later, a killer strikes again murdering, mutilating and dumping women’s bodies in similar ways to the previous crime. But with Reti still doing his 25 years in jail, the detectives and prosecutors begin to investigate the new crimes and question if they got the wrong man."

More reviews from the London Film Festival 2017

Ingrid Goes West and Good Time Reviews

I know that its tempting to go and see Batman vs Superman 2 or whatever its called, but please rethink your life and go see Ingrid Goes West or Good Time instead. My review of Ingrid Goes West is up at Starburst Magazine here. In a nutshell, it's hilarious, insightful, awkward and tragic. It probably sends out a very dangerous message so I wouldn't let your depressed teenage kids near it. But if, like me, you spend a lot of time on Instagram or Twitter sharing every thought or moment of your life with friends and strangers, then you need to see it. Here's a snippet about the story from my review:

"Ingrid's life is a mess. Her mother has died leaving her a fat inheritance, but she's left in a psychiatric ward after a meltdown at an old friend's wedding. Obsessed with Instagram, hashtags about perfection and happiness and the perfect emoji to use when commenting, she's desperate for a friend, and for someone to notice her (and more importantly ‘like’ her pictures). Discovering the seemingly perfect life of social media sensation Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen) in a magazine, she moves to LA to needle her way into Taylor's life, no matter what the cost."

If Ingrid Goes West doesn't take your fancy, but neither does another all-star superhero team-up, then why not try Good Time. I haven't actually reviewed this film, but it absolutely blew me away. I knew Robert Pattinson was good, and has been making some interesting choices since finishing up with Twilight, but this film is next-level good.

It's about a criminal (Pattinson) with a mentally challenged brother. After a robbery goes wrong, Pattinson's vulnerable brother ends up in jail. Pattinson has to figure out a way to get his brother out  before something terrible happens to him.

Good Time is constantly going in unexpected directions, it pulsates with a brilliant score and it moves at a breakneck pace. What I loved most about it though, is its final scene. I won't spoil that here, but it's incredible how it makes you see the entire rest of the film in a different light. Well it did for me anyway. Undoubtedly one of my favourites of the year, I highly recommend a visit to the big screen for this one.

More from the London Film Festival 2017.

Tuesday 18 April 2017

The Handmaiden Review

The Handmaiden is on its way into UK cinemas right now. It seems to be getting a great deal of attention and a decent marketing push so hopefully if you're interested in seeing it, you should be able to find it in a cinema near you.

Here's a snippet of my review...

Erotic, emotionally charged and unsurprisingly laced with a splatter of torture, The Handmaiden is a return to both Chan-wook’s thematic preoccupations and native Korean language after his English language debut, the wonderfully eerie Stoker.
Told in three parts, The Handmaiden is no step back for the auteur, even if it not only repeats itself in its own internal structure, but also traverses similar territory to his previous films. The three parts are central to the twists in the story as Korean thief Sookee is employed to be the handmaiden of Japanese heiress Hideko in part one. Sookee is actually in the employ of a fake Count who is keen to swindle Hideko out of her fortune by seducing and marrying her and then having the poor woman driven mad and locked up in an asylum. Sookee’s job is to convince Hideko that she really does love the Count, and in return Sookee will receive a portion of the fortune. But when Hideko and Sookee start to feel a growing lust and affection for each other, allegiances are tested...

Read the rest of my review of The Handmaiden at Starburst Magazine. 

And here's the trailer: