Monday, 26 September 2016

London Film Festival 2016: A Date for Mad Mary by Darren Thornton



Part of the First Feature Competition, A Date For Mad Mary is an Irish production from writer Colin Thornton and first time film director Darren Thornton. Adapted from Yasmine Akron’s play 10 Dates For Mary and directed on stage by Darren Thornton himself, the film delivers hugely enjoyable comedy moments and is at times very touching. On paper, the script might not sound like the most original of ideas - but the story manages to win you over from the outset, with an entertaining dialogue and a realistic portrayal of a young woman stepping into adulthood, albeit reluctantly. Mostly funded by the Irish Film Board, the film is a refreshing spin on the romantic comedy strand, but also deals with themes of rebellion, identity, friendship and love. With a storyline which would feel at home within the more rigid structure of the Hollywood rom-com, Mary is however so much more than just a comedic love story.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Raindance 2016: Sick Of It All by Brian McGuire



Writer-director Brian McGuire’s latest low-budget indie comedy, Sick Of It All, which received its world premiere at this year’s Raindance Festival, recounts a day in the life of Anthony Prince (Logan Sparks), a harassed cold-caller and vintage toy collector who is tasked with organising a dinner party by his jaded wife Rose (Amy Claire) but instead becomes side-tracked by his idiot brother’s plot to kidnap his own son LP (Zion McGuire).


McGuire has described his new production as “a film noir style [sic] comedy about a loveless relationship, strangely based on the French children's book, The Little Prince.” There are at least two problems with this statement.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Stranger Things by Matt Duffer & Ross Duffer


In the age of rebooting past pop culture, many properties are announced years ahead of time and written about endlessly. In film we've seen loads of 80s remakes that have already been forgotten. TV has reignited properties such as 24, Full House, and Gilmore Girls. Most of these reboots, especially in film, are nostalgic cash grabs (occasionally there’s a good one). But opposite of that approach, and a rarity, is another kind of nostalgia that is earnest and in the spirit of Spielberg and Lucas creating Indiana Jones as an ode to the films of their youth.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Disorder by Alice Winocour - Review


Paranoia, suspense and thriller take centre stage in the ambitious French production Disorder, in which director Alice Winocour makes a surprising foray into the well honed genre territory. Featuring Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts (A Little Chaos, Far From The Maddening Crowd, Suite Francaise), the film is a dramatic change of direction from Winocour. Her directorial debut Augustine, a stylish costume historical drama, saw her film being nominated for best foreign film at the 88th Academy Awards in 2013.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Captain Fantastic by Matt Ross



A seventeen year old boy camouflaged in mud kills a deer with a knife and emerging out of the forest are his five siblings who watch their father, Ben (Viggo Mortensen), initiate the seventeen year old, Bo, into manhood.

Ben and his six children live off the land in the Pacific Northwest forest. All six children, from seventeen-year-old Bo to seven-year-old Nai, speak multiple languages and are experts in everything from history to physics. Their daily rituals involve physical conditioning, listening to Bach, studying, hunting, and in the evening they huddle around the fire for an improvised musical jam sesh. In this musical scene without dialogue Ross conveys the emotional cohesion and loyalty they have together. Ben's approach to parenting is rigid in routine but full of compassion and love.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Hunt For The Wilderpeople by Taika Waititi



While this disappointing summer has been filled with studio blockbuster #brands, Taika Waititi invites us into the New Zealand bush for a witty coming of age road trip and a breath of fresh air. His zany and energized sensibility provided laugh after laugh with the excellent What We Do In The Shadows. Wilderpeople is his Moonrise Kingdom, a charming children's tale with a father/son dynamic that has more excitement than most of the summer blockbusters.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Check The Gate Season - The Search for the American Soul in the Right Stuff



Check The Gate is a new season dedicated to presenting films on film that will run at the Prince Charles cinema this summer. It is a collaborative efforts curated by various journalists and film collectives such as our friends at The Badlands Collective. Among the impressive line-up, peppered with rare films and old favourites, the highlight might well be the 70mm presentation of The Right Stuff, probably one of the greatest American films ever made. Our contributor Andy Zachariason tells us why, and it feels fitting to publish it on this 4th of July.


In 1980 the silhouette of a man in a fedora and the crack of a whip signaled a new hero in American cinema and set the stage for the onslaught of 80s popcorn spectacles. Indiana Jones was the child of blockbuster wunderkinds Spielberg/Lucas and brought black and white morality. In 1982 an alien befriended a fatherless young boy and in doing so restored the balance of a nuclear family. In 1985 a teenage boy went back in time to 1955 to repair his parents marriage and restored order to the 1980s. The decade of Reagan era cinema is loaded with tales of returning to a "simpler" time, but there is one film that crystallized that 1950 American spirit and hero better than any other. In 1983 Philip Kaufman's The Right Stuff, based on Tom Wolfe's novel, merged spectacle with decades of American discovery. It was as if the soul of American ingenuity had finally been given the proper scale.