Saturday, 16 January 2016

First Trailer for Paul Verhoeven's Elle - Translated


The announcement that Isabelle Huppert was to star in Paul Verhoeven's next film, Elle, caused ripples of excitement among cinephiles. What sounds like an unlikely pairing at first is not all that surprising, considering how brilliantly the French actress has managed her career recently. Far from being stuck in an ivory tower, she has been game enough to work with such directors as Brillante Mendoza and Hong Sang-soo. And given the subject matter, Elle is bound to cause the kind of controversy that the Dutch director is so fond of. And a trailer has unexpectedly landed this morning.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Nurse 3D: Reviewed, Reassessed


Now and then I'll come across a film quite a while after its release that I fall in love with, even when flawed. And Nurse 3D, while terribly flawed, is one of those. So I have decided to share my love for this unloved filmic object. Principal photography on Nurse 3D was completed in 2011, then the film spent 2 years in limbo before being bought by horror specialist Lionsgate, which completely botched its release, culminating with an abysmal $5,000 box office. And much has been said of Paz de la Huerta's allegedly awful acting, so much so that it piqued my interest.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Top 20 of 2015: 10 to 6


10) Mistress America by Noah Baumbach

and

 9) Listen Up Philip by Alex Ross Perry 


The former was a great discovery for me, and its director has already shown that he was no one hit wonder, with the incredible and very different Queen of Earth (bound to be on my top 20 of 2016!). The latter was a wonderful effort from a director who has been somehow inconsistent, with his cynicism not always translating as great cinema. Both show that yet again American independent cinema is where it's all about, with a richness of writing, an inspired direction (who knew screwball comedy could be so effortlessly and winningly integrated in a modern film) and some fantastic performances all around. Interestingly, both feature some moderately to completely unlikeable characters (a recurring trope in US indie cinema, mirroring a generation of self-absorbed millennials perhaps?), yet still manage to make them interesting and compelling.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Top 20 of 2015: 15 to 11



15) Enemy by Denis Villeneuve


A mind f*&k of the highest order, Enemy is one of those rare films that keeps the audience guessing, not giving much in terms of narrative clues while never feeling frustrating. This story of a man who discovers himself a doppleganger feels like we are plunged into a permanent yellow stained fog of rarified air, and has layers of meanings and themes that demand to be carefully unpacked, all the way to a terrifying final shot that had the whole audience I saw it with gasping and jumping, and that has kept me wondering about its true meaning ever since. And Jake Gyllenhaal in a dual role has rarely been better.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Top 20 of 2015: 20 to 16


First of all I must apologise to my faithful readers (all two of you, including my mum), as I have not written as much as I should have this year, mainly because of a part-time university course which has taken up my time on top of work and other things. To think I use to clock up at forty posts per month when I started! Nearly five years have passed since I have launched this blog, which I didn't expect to last, but I have valiantly carried on, even though nagging feelings of "why do I do this exactly?" have often been at the forefront of my mind. But it would be a shame to give up after all this time, so I intend to write a lot more next year. Anyhow, the time has come to reflect on the previous year and make a list of my favourite films of 2015.

As per previous years, American independent cinema dominates, proving to be in rude health and as versatile as ever.  And as usual, despite often scrapping the bottom of the horror barrel, FrightFest has a film featured, two even. It has also been a great year in Cannes, with two films of this year's edition featuring, and at least two more guaranteed to feature in next year's list. I have sticked to a ranking based on UK release dates (which includes VOD if the film had no theatrical releases) as it makes it easier to compare with other lists.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Closer To The Moon - Romanian heist with a twist


Closer to the Moon, starring Mark Strong and the excellent Vera Farmiga is the new film written and directed by Romanian, Nae Carafil. Set in in Bucharest in the late 1950's it follows the true story of a group of Jewish ex-resistance members who plan and execute a bank robbery from the National Bank of Romania, making it look like they are shooting a film.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

London Film Festival 2015: High-Rise & Bone Tomahawk



Two very different films with a cult-ish vibe, High-Rise and Bone Tomahawk also proved to be some of the festival's worst disappointments.

Bone Tomahawk was given the gala slot of the Cult section, a decision which I find baffling and ultimately proved to be working against it as I am still struggling to understand the cult elements about it. Set in the Wild West, the film charts the quest of Arthur O'Dwyer (Patrick Wilson) to find his kidnapped wife, enlisting a mötley crüe of accomplices, including the town's sheriff Franklin Hunt (Kurt Russell) to help him. They soon realise that the kidnappers are more savage and terrifying than they could ever imagine.