Friday 30 June 2017

Alone In Berlin By Vincent Perez

 Reviewed by Linda Marric

Adapted from Hans Fallada’s highly acclaimed 1947 novel, Alone In Berlin is a story based on real life events which took place in Berlin at the heights of Nazi rule. Staring Emma Thompson and Brendan Gleeson, the film delves into one of Europe’s darkest hours and addresses the everyday acts of quiet resistances by ordinary German citizens during that time. Alone In Berlin not only tells an important story about stoic resistance to a hateful destructive ideology, but it also allows these acts of rebellion to be shared with a wider audience around the world. Directed by actor turned director Vincent Perez, Alone In Berlin is expertly crafted visually and has more heart and urgency that you could ever wish for, even if it is ultimately let down by a less than perfect screenplay.

Tuesday 27 June 2017

Why Haven't You Seen...? Jess + Moss (2011)

Posted by Sam Inglis

What's it all about?

Over the course of one summer, 18 year old Jess (Sarah Hagan) and 12 year old Moss (Austin Vickers) spend their time in an abandoned, derelict house. They hang out, play, talk, argue and grow up.

Why haven't you seen it? 

I may have missed this film on the festival circuit, but the first I even heard of it was when I stumbled on the DVD while looking through a sale on titles from the label it was released on in the UK. It's a fair bet that this just flew under your radar.

Why should you see it?

Mainstream coming of age cinema has been pretty uninteresting of late, dominated by YA adaptations, but in the background, in the indie scene, there has been a quiet renaissance going on in the genre. Jess + Moss ought to be seen at the very centre of that renaissance.

Tuesday 20 June 2017

Hampstead By Joel Hopkins


                                      Reviewed By Linda Marric

 It's no secret that Londoners have alway met any big Hollywood or British production based on a local landmark with a huge amount of suspicion, and sometimes even derision. Who could forget the locals' reaction to Roger Michell’s Notting Hill in 1999, and how the lack of representation of the area’s rich and diverse community was met with anger and disappointment by many. Granted, Hampstead doesn't exactly present the most subtle or even the most believable narrative, but if you are willing to ignore the blatant “touristic” aesthetics attached to it, you might find yourself rooting for this hugely completing, yet slightly flawed rom-com. Staring Diane Keating and Brendan Gleeson and directed by Joel Hopkins, the film centres around themes of gentrification and triumph over corporate greed in one of the capital’s most affluent areas.

Thursday 15 June 2017

The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger

                                      Reviewed by Gabriella Apicella

To the devotee and the uninitiated, “The Seasons in Quincy” inspires the urgent passion of the curious.

As art critic, novelist, painter and poet John Berger will be referenced as a great intellect for generations to come. His use of language in such seminal essays as “Ways of Seeing” demonstrates a mind of great compassion and precious insight that can transform perception. So a film that can bring its audience to an intimate sense of knowing the man behind the work requires skill, and a radical style. As epic a task as Todd Haynes’ unravelling of the facets of Bob Dylan with “I’m Not There”, a conventional approach to capturing the man’s essence would be at risk of missing the point. In Berger’s own words: “To separate fact and ­imagination, event and feeling, protagonist and narrator, is to stay on dry land and never put to sea.”

Tuesday 13 June 2017

Mandy by Alexander Mackendrick

                                             Reviewed by Linda Marric

To celebrate the 65th anniversary of the release of Mandy, Studiocanal have brought out a brand new restoration of this well loved Ealing Studios Classic on Blu-Ray and DVD. Considered by many to be one of the best productions to come out of the legendary studios, Mandy gained a huge success and notoriety when it was first released in 1952, and went on to earn a special place in the hearts of all those who've come across it since.

Monday 12 June 2017

Destination Unknown by Claire Ferguson

Reviewed by Andy Zach

Destination Unknown, directed and edited by Claire Ferguson, navigates the Holocaust through the memories of twelve people who lived through it in different ways. To name a few, there’s Helen Sternlicht who was saved by Oskar Schindler. Stanley Glogover survived Auschwitz. Mietek Pemper was Oskar Schindler’s closest assistant. Frank Blaichman left his family to be a partisan fighter. Eli Zborowski tells the story of how he survived by hiding behind a wall in a cellar. All twelve of the stories told have a specificity to them that widens the scope of the Holocaust to a human level and allows us a gateway into understanding it in in a personal way.

Friday 9 June 2017

The Mummy by Alex Kurtzman

Reviewed by Linda Marric

Literally nothing about the new The Mummy reboot inspires any kind of excitement or even the slightest bit of interest resembling the one afforded to its late 90s predecessor. With its barely intelligible messy and overly wordy screenplay and a below par performance from its principle star, I think it’s safe to say that this new reincarnation of a well loved classic, will go down as one of the worst blockbuster of the summer, even if it manages to perform well at the box office. Staring Tom Cruise and Directed by Alex Kurtzman, The Mummy pretty much fails on all accounts, but is almost saved by an incredible performance by the brilliant Safia Boutella, who could single-handedly be credited for breaking the curse of this utterly shambolic production.

Thursday 8 June 2017

Wilson by Craig Johnson

Reviewed by Linda Marric 

Adapted from Daniel Clowes’ graphic novel of the same name, Wilson has none of the charm or sleek narrative as Clowes earlier work. Try as you may, you will find it very hard to get excited about this adaptation the same way most of us were when we came across Clowes' other highly popular graphic novel Ghost World, which was adapted to the screen by Terry Zwigoff, Staring Woody Harrelson and directed by Craig Johnson, Wilson is not so much a character study into middle-age, but more of a cautionary tale revolving around an antisocial neurotic curmudgeon who hates everyone and everything.

Monday 5 June 2017

Dying Laughing by Lloyd Stanton & Paul Toogood

Dying Laughing is documentary that tries to find out just what makes a stand up comedian do what they do. Stand-up comedy, as presented here, is sheer hell. A gut-wrenching, life-ruining experience that chews up the weak and leaves even the strongest broken and alone.

Or maybe it is life-affirming and invigorating? An endorphin and serotonin speedball that gives just as much as it takes from the hapless junkies who crave it so much they will soak up abuse from a crowd of drunks just to get a fix. Dying Laughing remains neutral, allowing its interviewees to tell it their way.

Friday 2 June 2017

After The Storm by Kore-Eda Hirozaku

Internationally acclaimed Japanese Director Kore-Eda Hirokazu’s gentle depiction of soul-searching Ryota’s (Abe Hiroshi) attempts to connect with his life, whether work, friendship, family, lacks a complexity of character development to lift his protagonist from a maudlin self-pity.

While his mother, sister, ex-wife, son and young colleague manage the challenges of bereavement, low income, divorce and dashed hopes with pragmatism, Ryota merely mopes. Dejected after not fulfilling his ambitions as a novelist (or perhaps because this didn’t bring him the fame and wealth that are apparently his uppermost concerns) he works as a cheap private detective. Swindling and double-crossing his sleazy clients earns passing amusements as the film comments on the falsity of having the “perfect life”. However, they do little to gather momentum or engagement with the Ryota’s half-hearted attempts to reconcile and ameliorate the consequences of his neglectful behaviour. Rather, all of his actions feel that they come rather too late to be meaningful, and even veer into quite soulless manipulations as he begins to employ the strategies of the deceased alcoholic father he hopes to avoid becoming.