Director: Liam Gavin.
Starring. Steve Oram. Catherine Walker. UK/Ireland/Wales. 1h 39m.
For a directorial debut things can’t get much better than this enlightened and powerful independent movie about grief, revenge and the harsh deeper side of the occult.
An obviously distraught and confused mother, Sophia (Walker) rents an isolated house in rural Wales to try and convince an angry and unhinged occultist Joseph Solomon (Oram) to lead her through months of grueling rites in order to summer her Guardian Angel to grant her a special favor after her son was abducted and murdered, all she wants is to talk with him again.
Sophia follows the rules to the letter, collecting large amounts of supplies and spending thousands just to entice Joseph to the house and after some rugged persuasion he begrudgingly agrees but has reservations about Sophia’s motives but she is persistent and pretty durable, and she grinds through the punishing exercises, changing her diet, and begin soaked with chilled water, denied sleep and spends hours learning complex sigils and rituals. All the while in the dim secluded house that’s alien to them both and is constantly creaking and being generally creepy, Joseph remains a moody occult guide and rude rule maker, reading from the Book of Abramelin, and making some things up to help him keep his mind in the game, usually involving Sophia’s naked body.. Meanwhile Sophia doesn’t see enough results for her hard work, but ever so slowly the magic starts to work, or is it all a result of the demanding time locked away in the house with a volitlie and pushy occultist? Continue reading A Dark Song (2016)
Director : Andrea Arnold
Starring: Kate Dickie, Tony Curran, Martin Compston, Natalie Press . Scotland/UK/Denmark. 1h 53m.
There is a dynamic between a voyeur and the object of his or her desire, I’m in this chilling Scottish drama it’s quite easy to forget who is voyeur and who is the object. the film opens with Jackie (Dickie) who is a closed circuit television operator in Glasgow, she sits in front of a wall of screens watching some of the most impoverished areas of the city emphasising with the more quirky characters as they go about their daily lives, a cleaner silently dancing and then office blocks was she works, a shop owner taking his aged bulldog for a walk every evening come to a smile out of Jackie at her job at city icontrol division E. but all too often she catch his suspicious activities and has to report criminals to the proper authorities while scanning the worst neighbourhoods for signs of trouble and aiding victims. Continue reading Red Road (2007)
Director: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Max Hubacher, Frederick Lau, Bernd Hölscher, Waldemar Kobus, Alexander Fehling, Samuel Finzi. Germany. 1h 50m
Here is another chilling nightmare from the German home front, as the end of the war begins to loom into reality and defeat is imminent, a lone German runs deep into the woods while being chased by some overprivileged soldiers blowing horns and taking pot luck shots at him. The man manages to evade death and recapture and eventually stumbles on an abandoned car and uniform of a high ranking officer.
This crystalline black and white brutal masterpiece, possible shot in this style inspired by Spielberg’s Schindler’s List (1993) shows that the talented director Schwentke has gone back to basic and delivered something beautifully stark and somewhat monstrous. Continue reading Der Hauptmann / The Captain (2017)
Director: Ian Bonhote.
Writer: Peter Ettedgui UK. 1h 41m
Having lived through the mastery and magic of McQueens stunning artistry until his untimely tragic death, I felt as robbed as anyone who was inspired by the brilliance that McQueen brought into the world. After reading several books and watching numerous documentaries about him and his beguiling muse Isabella Blow (another character I hold close to my heart), I thought I really knew it all, but this thought provoking film brings so much more raw emotion and in depth background to the surface, including very personal testimonies from those who lived and worked so very closely to the legend. Continue reading McQueen (2018)
Director: Christopher Smith
Starring: Melissa George, Michael Dorman, Rachael Carpani, Henry Nixon, Emma Lung,Liam Hemsworth. UK. 1h 39m
At first glance it would seem that the title seems to refer to the Bermuda Triangle, where puzzling things seem to happen at sea, but really if this film deserved an apt title it would be Loop but that would sound stupid.. so triangle it is.
The film is quite smart and even with rounds of repetition it’s still interestingly constructed, sly and a fairly deep piece from British Director Christopher Smith who gave us deeply disturbing projects such as Creep (2004).
Set in the US, with a totally Aussie/New Zealand crew, there are a few accent faux pas but they are totally acceptable in the time loop chiller, that seems to be a cross between Ghost Ship (2002) and Donnie Darko (2001), that sees a group of youngsters take a jaunt on a fancy yacht and run into curious difficulties. Continue reading Triangle (2009)
Director: John Curran
Starring: Jason Clarke, Kate Mara,Bruce Dern. USA.
Jason Clarke impresses as the last Kennedy whose reputation sank along with the demise of a young supporter in murky mystery.
The history of the Kennedys and their prominence in the hearts of the American public as they rose to new heights of the country’s political area. But after the demise of Bobby and and Joe Jr, everything landed on the shoulders of Ted. This is all mapped out in Chappaquiddick, attentively directed byChappaquiddick (2018). The writing was all down to Allen and Logan, a screenplay not adapted from any specific research as no one knows what actually happened. But this becomes part of the point. But Chappaquiddick isn’t all about the facts from this fateful night, it’s microscopic lense is pointed at the Kennedy’s behaviour during the turmoil, and eventually turns it’s analytical finger at the audience and makes you question what you would do with such a powerful network at your disposal and a presidency at risk. Continue reading Chappaquiddick (2017)
Director: John Krasinski
Starring: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Javier Botet. USA. 1h 30m
John Krasinski’s pensive thriller is designed to make you feel like an active participant of a family who is faced with unreal fears. The camera often swings around the characters making you feel that that your part of the conservation, tagging along as a silent witness.
Much is already been given away in the numerous trailers and it’s very clear to see that this family a living on the edge of a post apocalyptic future where deadly creatures are attracted to the noises we make every day. The origin of these deadly critters isn’t a factor in the movie, it doesn’t matter why they are here or what happened, the families journey now is all that the film concentrates on and for plot reasons only, but if you read clippings that are saved in the families basement you can work out that in 2020 within only 3 months most of the world’s population have been destroyed by large creatures that are attracted to sound and protected by armored skin. Continue reading A Quiet Place (2018)
Director: Panos Cosmatos
Starring: Nicholas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache, Ned Dennehy Olwen Fouere, Richard Brake, Bill Duke. USA. 2h 1m
Cosmastos seems obsessed with 1983, where his previous movie was also set, is there a parallel here? Same year with possible answers to Professor Arboria’s mystic drug… but nothing is laid out in a straightforward way, he keeps the viewer guessing about what is real and what might just be fantasy, eventually your not sure what you believe in anymore, questions are raised especially about the drugs involved and at times this film really pushes the envelope. Continue reading Mandy (2018)
Director: Giorgos Lanthimos.
Starring. Aggeliki Papoulia, Aris Servetalis, Johnny Verkis, Ariane Labed, Maria Kirozi. Greece. 1h 33m.
After the amazing Dogtooth (2009) project, Lanthimos was a closely watched director, but his next project seemed like an amazing idea on paper but even with his surreal approach to film, personally I felt as if he missed his own target by being too realistic and not fantastical enough, or maybe the hype train mutated my anticipations to a level that not even a great director could reach.
ALPS is part is about a group of therapists who set up a business to allow families to get through the grieving process by supplying them with “trained” actors to play the roles of their loved ones, so they can have those precious last moments with them, say goodbye or to just have the feeling that they are still around for a few days. The drawbacks are that the actors don’t look like the people they are impersonating and they have to improvise on details the families give to them, hand written scripts and a few left over clothes but they make do, as method actors are especially adapted to do. Continue reading Alps (2012)
Director: Paul Schrader.
Starring. Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, Cedric the Entertainer, Michael Gaston, Victoria Hill, Philip Ettinger. USA. 1h 48m.
It hasn’t been that long since we saw Ethan Hawke play a slightly different priest in the terrifying horror Regression (2015), alongside the talented Emma Watson. In First Reformed he returns, not as the same character, but a totally different priest, a broken man who’s suffering from stress, loss of his son and the drastic effects of alcoholism while facing the void he experiences a spiritual and psychological crisis, one that he can only deal with slowly and in his own stunning and slightly confusing way.
The film opens with Reverend Toller (Hawke) writing down his thoughts in a journal, declaring that he’s going to keep the journal for 1 year then destroy it. He’s the head of First Reformed, a 250 year old Dutch Reformed Church in Snowbridge New York. Like many churches in the area it faces dwindling attendances but receives support from a nearby “megachurch” who own and care for the historical landmark which has a special place in history as it was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Continue reading First Reformed (2017)