Best of 2016, directors, Movies, Reviews

Creatures of the night – Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals

As almost every review has commented, its been seven years since fashionista Tom Ford tried his hand at movies with his debut film 2009’s A Single Man. That movie seemed like a perfect distillation of Ford’s style, a measured, elegant character piece adapted from Christopher Isherwood’s 1964 novel. A Single Man followed a suicidal college professor George Falconer (played by Colin Firth) bereft following the death of his partner Jim over a single day. The film addressed issues of sexuality, and the repression and uncertainty of early sixties American culture. It was not anything if not elegant, meticulous in its period detail and fashions (especially the distinctive glasses worn by Firth). The film met significant acclaim, but there was the suspicion that it was a definitive filmic statement by Ford, a one-off dip in an artistic pool made by a man who could afford to dabble.  Continue reading

Best of 2016, british film, directors, Movies, Reviews

I, Daniel Blake is a film of devastating emotional impact

You very much know what you are going to get from Ken Loach. He rarely works in genre, unless you consider the Loach picture a genre in itself (the case can be made). Since making Kathy Come Home for the BBC’s Wednesday Play strand in 1966 Loach has spent the ensuing 50 years making socially conscious, usually contemporary dramas with socialist themes. His films take place in working class milieus, and he finds warmth and humour even in the grimmest of subjects. Continue reading

directors, horror, Movies, Reviews, SAVAGE CINEMA!

Steak tartar for horror fans – Baskin appeals to refined palates

Turkish horror film Baskin would make an interesting double bill with Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon. In a Venn diagram of influences both share common ground especially in Italian horror (Fulci, Bava, Argento) but the resulting films could not be more different in style. Continue reading

comment, crime, directors, Favourite films, horror, Movies, Uncategorized, Verite film magazine

“John Doe has the upper hand!” In the frame – Se7en

This article was first published in the January 2015 issue of Verite Film Magazine. Before you proceed this was for a running feature called ‘In the frame in which Verite writers wrote about their favorite scenes in movies. This was my one entry in the strand and looks at a scene from near the very end of director David Fincher’s 1995 masterpiece of neo-noir horror, Se7en. If you haven’t seen the movie and you read this, I will personally visit you in the night and force feed you Spam till you burst. Spoilers okay! You have been warned. Continue reading

directors, Movies, Reviews, science fiction

Review – Mad Max: Fury Road

What an extraordinary career In filmmaking George Miller has had. After breaking onto the international film scene with the rough but poetic exploitation film Mad Max in 1979 (one of the few science fiction films admired by J G Ballard), Miller followed up with one of the greatest sequels ever made Mad Max 2 in 1981 (the film was retitled The Road Warrior in the US as the first film had been a flop, largely due to an atrocious American dub that wiped out the Australian accents and made the then 23 year old Mel Gibson sound he was a 50 year old with emphysema). These two films – along with the slightly too slick third instalment Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in 1985 – should have set Miller up as one of the premier action directors of his generation. Instead he turned his hand to big-budget satire with The Witches of Eastwick, adult drama with Lorenzo’s Oil, and children’s animation Happy Feet (for which he won an Oscar). He also produced a string of Australian features and TV, and wrote the screenplay for Babe. Eclectic ought to be his middle name. Continue reading

directors, horror, Interviews, Movies

If you go down to the woods today… an interview with Drew Goddard

Back in 2012 when I interviewed writer/director Drew Goddard for the Frightfest e-zine, his was not a name that was overly familiar even among genre fans. Despite being director and co-writer of The Cabin in the Woods, his debut feature, the focus of attention was on the film’s co-writer and producer, one Joss Whedon. Even today, some years later, Goddard is yet to ascend to the ranks of brandname writer/directors despite racking up further screenwriting credits on the likes of World War Z and Ridley Scott’s upcoming science fiction film The Martian. This may be about to change as Goddard has taken a creative role in Netflix’s upcoming Daredevil series, and is rumored to be in line to take over the re-rebooting of Spider-man. Continue reading

comment, directors, Movies, science fiction

Interstellar, sentimentality and spoiler paranoia

You’ve all seen Interstellar now right? If you haven’t, best to stop reading here. While I’m not planning to write one of those 100 bullet point articles analysing every fucking plot point in the movie, I will undoubtedly wander into spoiler territory. As with every Christopher Nolan movie, anticipation of Interstellar’s arrival was high, stoked by the first teaser trailer appearing a full year out (Whoa! Corn fields! Exciting).

In this heightened high oxygen environment the slightest suggestion of a spoiler could spark the flames of cineaste ire. For example reviews mentioning that Jessica Chastain played the adult daughter of hero cooper (Matthew McConaughey’s character) were pilloried for giving away too much by people who clearly hadn’t seen the movie yet.

This level of spoiler paranoia is somewhat understandable, but it does also beg the question ‘why are you reading reviews in the first place?’ The identity of Chastain’s character is plainly obvious from the first full trailer. It is also immediately obvious in the film’s opening scenes when Cooper’s daughter is introduced as a 10 year old (an excellent performance from young actress McKenzie Foy) and she has the same distinctive hail colour. Finally anyone how has ever read a hard SF novel and has noticed the film is called INTERSTELLAR, ought to realise the basic implications of the physics involved in space travel (if you don’t, I recommend the novel The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, it will blow your mind).

So, this isn’t a review as much as a rambling appreciation, and as such there will be spoilers (it is tedious to me that I now have to put SPOILER WARNING in front of every other thing, but hey ho). Oh, there will also be Dark Knight spoilers too.

Continue reading