Wednesday 26 July 2017

The Big Sick By Michael Showalter


Reviewed By Linda Marric 

Directed by Michael Showalter (Wet Hot American Summer) and written by real life couple Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley, Portlandia), the highly anticipated The Big Sick  finally makes its way to a cinema near you this week. Staring Nanjiani himself, the film centres around real life events in the life the Pakistani born comedian during his courtship with his now wife Emily (played in the film by Zoe Kazan). After all the praise heaped on it at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, one would have been forgiven to approach the hype with a certain amount of trepidation. But fear not, because this gem of a romantic comedy is everything you might have heard and hoped it would be. It is edgy without being kookie and touching without ever resorting to schmaltz.

Tuesday 25 July 2017

Dunkirk by Christopher Nolan

Posted by Andy Zachariason

"You can practically see it." 



This line spoken from Kenneth Branagh's Commander Bolton in Christopher Nolan's new avant-garde war epic, Dunkirk, would fit perfectly in the dream levels of Inception, or the metaphysical maze of Interstellar, or the streets of Gotham in The Dark Knight trilogy, or the magical labyrinth of The Prestige, or in the fading memories of Memento. Nolan's films, for all of their spectacle, rigorous mazes, and epic vistas, are anchored by a profound yearning to return home. In Dunkirk, it's 400,000 men stuck on a beach in France with the enemy surrounding them. German soldiers loom behind the city, their planes drop bombs on trapped soldiers, and their submarines lurk beneath waiting to sink Britain's destroyer ships. Home is just 26 miles away but paradoxically there's no way of getting there. Hope fades as they wait for a miracle.

Why Haven't You Seen...? Darling (2015)

Posted by Sam Inglis

What's it all about?
A young woman known only as Darling (Lauren Ashley Carter) is hired to housesit a large New York home for a rich woman (Sean Young). She is told that the previous caretaker jumped from the balcony, killing herself. After discovering a locked door, which she is told she must never open, Darling slowly goes insane. 

Why haven't you seen it?
Like a lot of independent films these days, Darling did pretty well at genre festivals, picking up its share of admirers. Unfortunately its release, especially in the UK, has been low key enough that unless you were specifically checking for it week after week you could miss the fact that it came out at all.

Tuesday 18 July 2017

Why Haven't You Seen...? Closet Land (1991)

Posted by Sam Inglis

What's it all about? 

In an unnamed country under a totalitarian government a children's writer (Madeline Stowe) is questioned, eventually under torture, by an interrogator (Alan Rickman) who believes her as yet unpublished book Closet Land is intended as propaganda against the government.

Why haven't you seen it? 

Because even if you've heard of it, it's not easy to find. I first saw it on TV in the late 90s. I never saw a VHS copy, which leads me to believe they were at best relatively rare and there has been no English language DVD release. The subject matter may also be a sticking point for some, this isn't an early entry in the 'torture porn' sub genre of horror, but it is a film about torture, about cruelty. That probably goes some way to explaining why this film has never gained a mass audience.

Monday 17 July 2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming by Jon Watts

Review by Andy Zachariason

The double entendre title of the new Spider-Man film, Spider-Man: Homecoming, speaks to the film taking Peter back to his teenage roots as well as Spider-Man returning to Disney/Marvel (previously owned by Sony). The newest web-slinger is Tom Holland (seen in Civil War). His interpretation of Peter has a naive, but earnest enthusiasm and youthful energy that immediately makes him among the most likable and dimensional characters in the MCU.

Scribe By Thomas Kruithof

Reviewed By Linda Marric 

Despite lacking the compelling narrative arc of Tell No One (Guillaume Canet, 2006) or the playful familiarity of Little White Lies (Guillaume Canet, 2010), the new Francois Cluzet vehicle is every bit as exhilarating as any Hollywood thriller worth its salt. Directed by Thomas Kruithof from a script by Yann Gozlan, Scribe manages to surpass all expectations by offering its audience a genuinely gripping story of political intrigue and state secrets which will keep them guessing till the very end, all the while throwing in the odd red herring along the way.

Tuesday 11 July 2017

Why Haven't You Seen...? Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966)

Posted by Sam Inglis

What's it all about? 

A family: Dad (Harold P. Warren), Mom (Diane Mahree) and their young daughter (Jackey-Raye Neyman) get lost while driving to their holiday destination and end up in a mysterious house maintained by weird caretaker Torgo (John Reynolds) and inhabited by a cult led by The Master (Tom Neyman).

Why haven't you seen it? 

You've probably heard it's awful, had that confirmed by seeing the classic Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode, and therefore decided to give the original version a miss.

Friday 7 July 2017

War For Planet Of The Apes By Matt Reeves

Reviewed By Linda Marric

Returning for a third Instalment and what is largely understood to be the final film in the franchise, the new Planet Of The Apes movie or to give it its full name War For The Planet Of The Apes, is set to be the best reviewed film of the summer, surpassing even Wonder Woman in the hearts and minds of some critics. Directed and co-written by Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Let Me In, Cloverfield), the film does a great job in tying the narratives of its predecessors together all the while paying homage to a number of classic favourites. With shades of Apocalypse Now, Stagecoach, The Searchers (and I can't be the only one who saw even a bit of Schindler’s List in it), the film is a rather touching tale of triumph of good over evil, and features some of the best performances of the summer, with the return of the always brilliant Andy Serkis as the legendary Caesar.

Wednesday 5 July 2017

The Midwife By Martin Provost

                                         Reviewed By Linda Marric

Martin Provost’s The Midwife’s original title “Sage Femme” , while meaning midwife, also literally translates as Wise Woman. This play on words goes a long way into conveying the story at the heart of this thoroughly enjoyable and deeply moving, if not entirely convincing story. Staring Catherine Frot and the legendary Catherine Deneuve, the film manages to have an indie French cinema sensibility all the while dealing with universal themes relating to love, loss and redemption.

Tuesday 4 July 2017

Why Haven't You Seen...? Nice Girls Don't Explode (1987)

Posted by Sam Inglis 

What's it all about? 

April (Michelle Meyrink) is 18 and she wants to start dating, like a normal girl. Unfortunately she's not a normal girl; when she gets excited, especially around boys, fires break out around her. This becomes a serious issue when her childhood sweetheart Andy (William O'Leary) comes back into the picture and begins to suspect that April's condition may have more to do with her mother (Barbara Harris) than any actual problem.

Why haven't you seen it? 

You could spend years trying to see as many 80s teen movies as possible (trust me, I have) and still only scratch the surface. This seems to have attracted only minimal notice at the time, and it's just fallen through the cracks rather than building a cult following in the years since it was released.

Monday 3 July 2017

The Death of Louis XIV By Albert Serra

Reviewed By Stuart Houghton

One the first day of September, 1715, Louis XIV died of gangrene, ending his record 72 years on the throne. This film by Albert Serra (The Story Of My Death, Birdsong) gives the audience an intimate, meticulous view of the Sun King's final days, as courtiers and physicians fuss over his frail body and the ailing monarch attempts to maintain both dignity and regality.

A Change In The Weather by Jon Sanders

                                Reviewed by Linda Marric 

Set in the heart of the French Cathar region, and directed by Jon Sanders (Back to the Garden, Painted Angels), A Change in The Weather is a rather curious little production which mixes improvised as well as rehearsed material to depict the complicated relationships between its deeply flawed protagonists. Featuring Sanders’ longtime collaborators Anna Mottram and Bob Goody as well as German actress and singer Meret Becker, the film makes a decent enough attempt at philosophising the intricacies of a failed relationship between two people who still care deeply about each other. With a realistic dialogue and fairly organic performances, A Change In The Weather manages to convey the devastation felt by the loss of love and intimacy, but is ultimately let down by a an overly wordy screenplay and theatrical style.

Sunday 2 July 2017

FrightFest 2017 To Open With Cult Of Chucky

By Linda Marric

Now in its 18th year, Horror Channel FrightFest will be back at the end of the summer with yet another exhilarating and gore-heavy programme which is set to thrill the festival’s diehard fans who keep on coming back for more year after year. After a short stint at Shepherd’s Bush in 2016, the festival is thankfully back to its rightful place at the heart of London’s West-End and will take place at the Cineworld Leicester Square and The Prince Charles Cinema between Aug 24 and Aug 28.