More American nightmare than American Dream, Jesse Moss' Sundance award-winning documentary The Overnighters (2013) looks at the crisis at the centre of the economic collapse within the post-Empire confines of contemporary America. Coming at this point through the prism of Lutheran Pastor Jay Reinke, Moss is free to portray many positives within a tirade of negatives. Williston, North Dakota is America's 21st century equivalent of gold rush-era San Francisco. The average rent in the town has spiralled to post-New York and Los Angeles levels, but work in the fracking industry is apparently easy to find and six-figure salaries are the norm amongst employees.
- Mike Leigh finds the ideal balance between the intimate and the epic in his J.M.W. biopic Mr. Turner
- A considerate, weird, lingering psychological horror, The Babadook is a must-watch this Halloween
- David Ayer's epic World War II action drama is a bravura depiction of the harsh brutalities of war
- Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Alan Turing in Morten Tyldum's respectful The Imitation Game
- Notions of childhood innocence and guilt through complicity play against one another in Wakolda
We see a long shot of two maids - rapt in their whispers - walking down the length of an embankment. The first flickers of dawn are in the air; the promise of a new day. The camera pans to the left and we see our artist at work, magnificently silhouetted against the horizon in a quietly euphoric panorama. This glorious opening is the perfect summation of Mike Leigh's excellent J.M.W. Turner biopic Mr. Turner (2014), his first period piece since 1999's Topsy-Turvy. This perfectly controlled shot prefaces the unusually rough beauty of the picture. We're naturally stunned by its evocative depictions of the bucolic glory around us, but we're equally touched by the small detail of life's currents beating in its midst.
Daniel Radcliffe takes another unexpected step in his capricious metamorphosis, transforming from iconic boy-wizard Harry Potter, to a man-turned-devil in Alexandre Aja's uneven adaptation of Joe Hill's fantasy novel Horns (2013). Falsely accused of raping and murdering his childhood sweetheart Merrin (Juno Temple), Ig (Radcliffe) is outlawed by his friends and family, sinking into a hazy slumber. After a night of particularly heavy drinking, Ig awakens to discover two horns protruding from his temples. This monstrous development throws Ig off course at first, as these peculiar appendages unwillingly expose him to the unspoken thoughts of others - from his doctor's drug addiction to his parents' hatred of him.
IMDb), Sigourney Weaver and Dan Aykroyd - will always be enjoyable viewing. Rereleased in cinemas across the country this Halloween weekend, countless kids of the 80s will be able to relive their childhood and enjoy Peter, Ray, Egon and Winston don their proton packs and do battle with a gaggle of ghouls across New York City. For those unfamiliar with the story (there must be someone, somewhere), three unemployed parapsychology professors decide to set up a company that offers the unique service of removing ghosts for a price.
There's a great deal to admire about Seijun Suzuki’s idiosyncratic, jazz-infused gangster thriller Youth of the Beast (1963). Released shortly after the return of the director’s hallucinatory Branded to Kill (1967) to UK screens, this sui generis Yakuza caper arrives courtesy of Eureka’s excellent Masters of Cinema Collection. Even in charge of what is ostensibly straightforward genre fare Suzuki wears his disdain for the formulaic firmly on his sleeve. With Youth of the Beast he lands somewhere between Yojimbo (1961) and its alleged source, Red Harvest, yet sets the narrative alight with his distinct brand of frantic energy.
"Clown acts have to be short and make people laugh in ten minutes - give it some rhythm!" These are the words of wisdom bestowed during the first interview Federico Fellini conducts in his made-for-television pseudo-documentary, I Clowns (1970). This advice is taken to heart throughout much of the film's mischievous structure as (with the exception of the film's opening and closing set pieces), the hijinks is restricted to short bursts of colourful frivolity. It's fitting, if not inevitable, that such a subject should provide an inspiration for a director whose work was perennially imbued with a carnivalesque spirit. Whilst something of a minor work for the Italian Master, I Clowns arrived at the peek of Fellini's influence.
Narrative is the base from which elemental passages are forced upon our gaze. In recent years the very idea of watching narratives unfold over 8-12 hours had been the preserve of formalist cinema and its adherents, whether that be the likes of Béla Tarr (Sátántangó (1994), 7h12m) or Lav Diaz (Evolution of a Filipino Family (2004), 10h47m). Now the norm within Television is using narrative akin to the great Victorian novels and allowing characters to grow and breath, existing outside the prism of the forced hegemony of a Western narrative that is breathing its last breath and is forced to rehash tropes of action and romantic cinema for the masses.
The filmmaking debut of Stuart Murdoch, frontman of indie pop band Belle and Sebastian, God Help the Girl (2014) is a wistful modern-day musical structured around tracks from the band’s album of the same name. Starring rising Australian actress Emily Browning, Murdoch’s film is an interesting passion project infused by the musician’s own brand of upbeat and lyrical amiability. Browning plays Eve, an aspiring singer-songwriter trapped in a psychiatric hospital where she's being treated for anorexia nervosa. After escaping the hospital, Eve absconds to Glasgow in the hope of making her dreams of becoming a musician real.
The Blaxploitation movement was renowned for bringing its own unique cultural spin to many well-trodden genres, and the world of classic horror proved to be no exception. Now Eureka Classics have brought their considerable restorative skills to a couple of arguably lesser-known films from the era, Blacula (1972) and its sequel Scream Blacula, Scream (1973). While the film's pun-leaden titles may immediately suggest an out-and-out horror parody, what we're actually presented with are largely straight-faced reinterpretations of the myth. The first film in particular remains surprisingly thematically faithful to Stoker's original story amongst the more oblivious contemporary appendages.
Celebrating its sixtieth anniversary, the classic animated interpretation of Animal Farm (1954) by British studio Halas and Batchelor, captures perfectly the timeless message of George Orwell's bestselling political satire. Voiced by Maurice Denham, with a sparse, minimalistic style of hand drawn animation, the film is as magical today as when it was first released. Having endured a lifetime of mistreatment at the hands of the tyrannical landowner Mr Jones, the animals of Manor Farm stage a revolution, taking the ownership and running of the farm into their own hands. It's not long however before the pigs, led by the authoritative Napoleon, begin to take over, heading a regime even harsher than before.
Shawn Levy, director of Night at the Museum (2006) and Date Night (2010), takes a break from his usual comedy-heavy fare to direct the sparse family drama This Is Where I Leave You (2014). After catching his wife in bed with his boss, radio producer Judd Atlman (Jason Bateman) sinks into a hazy depression, only for it to be exacerbated by the unexpected news of his father's death. Upon venturing back to his childhood home for the funeral, Judd is forced to reconnect with his mother Hillary (Jane Fonda), and each of his three siblings - Wendy (Tina Fey), Paul (Corey Stoll) and Phillip (Adam Driver) - who are all experiencing some form of disruption in their own lives.
★★☆☆☆Opening with an blurry-eyed, ethereal exposition that treats the audience to a brief taste of the film's tragic climax, Fredrik Bond's The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman (2013) is a contemporary fairytale that imbues its tripped-out, quasi-romantic thriller with a hefty touch of the supernatural. In the immediate aftermath of the tragic death of his mother, Charlie (Shia LaBeouf) has a vivid hallucination in which she tells him to pack his bags and go to Bucharest. Unfortunately, she actually meant to say Budapest (no, really), and if she had corrected herself her son Charlie would almost certainly have avoided the violent and taxing holiday he's about to embark upon.
Etching another notch on the bedpost of the already crowded will they/won't they? vein of romantic comedy, Love, Rosie (2014) boasts a fresh-faced cast whose star power will inevitably be bolstered by appearing in this heinious exercise in ignoble triviality. Directed by Christian Ditter and adapted from Cecelia Ahern's 2004 novel Where Rainbows End, Love, Rosie is ostensibly the iPhone generation's When Harry Met Sally (1989) - a saccharin-drenched drama that rarely merits the chemistry its central cast ably displays. The film sees Lily Collins plays the titular Rosie opposite Sam Claflin's Alex, two best friends who've grown up together side by side.
John Ridley's Hendrix biopic Jimi: All Is By My Side (2013) is an intriguing shambles of a film. Denied rights by the Hendrix estate, the film looked doomed from the get go. This legal imposition turns out to be by the by, and the fact Jimi doesn't bang out tune after tune from Hendrix's greatest hits collection is the least of Ridley's worries. Nonetheless, there is some enjoyment to be harvested in the notable performances of a cast that includes former Outcast member André Benjamin in the title role. Ridley decides to focus on Hendrix in his pre-fame years between 1966-7. Hendrix is 23, and making a living playing in New York's numerous back-alley bars and music halls as a backing guitarist.
Sabotage (2014), Fury (2014) is an epic Second World War action drama that - like each of his previous works - looks to examine the inner workings of violent men in violent circumstances on an even grander historical scale. Executive produced by leading star Brad Pitt and written by Ayer himself, the film is a bravura depiction of the harsh brutalities of war that, though monotonous, is an entirely rousing entry in the annals of great WWII cinema. Set in the spring of 1945 during the last month of the European Theatre of war, Pitt plays sergeant Don "Wardaddy" Collier.
★★☆☆☆Experienced animator Jorge R. Gutierrez teams up with fan-favourite producer Guillermo Del Toro for his directorial debut The Book of Life (2014), a visually dazzling but regrettably stale spin on the colourful Mexican holiday, Day of the Dead. Manola (Diego Luna), the sensitive son of a prized bullfighter, and Joaquin (Channing Tatum), an adventurous risk-taker, are childhood best friends with one thing in common: their love for Maria (Zoe Saldana). As the boys grow older, they vie for Maria’s affection in different ways - one with soft songs of undying love, and the other with the point of a sword - hoping to emerge the victor.
Since Australian director Jennifer Kent’s debut feature, The Babadook (2014) premièred at this year's Sundance Film Festival there has been a tremendous hubbub of excitement from both critical and horror circles . Much like Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980) before it The Babadook, appropriates the trappings of the horror genre and employs them in a terrifying exploration of the psychological scarring a fractured parental bond can cause. Widow Amelia (Essie Davis) is struggling to cope with the demands of her young unhinged son Samuel (Noah Wiseman) who, like many young boys his age, possesses an unhealthy obsession with monsters, magic and making weapons out of household utensils.
With It Follows (2014), David Robert Mitchell has delivered one of the best horror films of the decade. A beautifully rendered vision of the teenage psyche in the 21st century, it's a stylish, intelligent and densely textured masterpiece. While there are traditional scares and a familiar antagonistic force, the fear at the heart of the picture is terrifyingly human. We not only see the fragility of our younger selves reflected in its myriad horrors, we are confronted with the realisation that the nightmare of our teenage years is not ephemeral - it will haunt us throughout our lives. It Follows is the very essence of horror; sex, death and the bruising shackles of youth.
For much of the past decade, creatures of the night have had to stand by and watch as their charisma was leeched by toothless tween angst franchises. Fortunately, attempts are now being made to give succubi their credibility back. First came the droll literary ennui of Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) and now, in what has been billed as Iran's first vampire film, we has A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) the striking and achingly cool feature debut of America-based Iranian director Ana Lily Amirpour. Sprinkled with notes from genres both gothic and western, Amipour's expansion of her eponymous 2011 short film is a fantastic undead rebuke to Middle-Eastern patriarchy.
Writing about Justin Simien's barnstorming debut feature Dear White People (2014), critic Armond White drew a line between the film and the Hollywood gatekeepers' usually self-congratulatory cinematic response to race in America: "Simien's humorous sensibility must deal with the fact that the racial...attitudes of American film culture are controlled by a social class that demands its own recognition first." It's a searingly prescient jab that gets to the heart of race in American film in the 21st century. Dear White People cuts straight through prejudice, identity hang-ups and guilt complexes, laying out its thesis with such raw intelligence that nobody, regardless of background, will come away unruffled.
Welcome to New York (2014), inspired by the scandal that ended Dominique Strauss-Kahn's career. The former IMF chief - and presumptive French presidential candidate - denied all charges and has now taken steps to sue the film's producers for defamation. Regardless of Ferrara's adherence to true life, it's a startling and compelling account not just of a sex addict, but a character whose wealth and standing in his field has allowed himself to be far removed from contemporary morality. Within five minutes, we've seen Depardieu's Georges Devereux shack up with four escorts at an orgy in New York's Carlton Hotel.
Cold in July (2014), a violent crime thriller adapted from Joe R. Lansdale's novel of the same name. In his first major role since TV's Dexter plunged his knife for the final time, Michael C. Hall makes a welcome return to the big screen, demonstrating how his collected and effortlessly engaging manner can lift even the most average material. Set in East Texas in 1989, Hall plays Richard Done, a mulleted, mild-mannered everyman and devoted husband and father, whose moderate life takes a dramatic turn when, after being awoken one night, he fatally shoots a burglar in his home.
facebook.com/CineVueUK or follow us @CineVue before answering the question below.
Godzilla (2014) on Blu-ray 3D™, Blu-ray™ and DVD on 27 October, we're giving you the chance to win a copy on DVD. In this gritty, realistic sci-fi action epic, Godzilla returns to its roots as one of the world's most recognized monsters. Directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters) and featuring an all-star international cast, this spectacular adventure pits Godzilla against malevolent creatures that, bolstered by humanity's scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.This is an exclusive competition for our Facebook and Twitter fans, so if you haven't already, 'Like' us at facebook.com/CineVueUK or follow us @CineVue before answering the question below.
Adapted from James Franco's novel of the same name - a reflection of the hometown ennui he managed to transcend, Palo Alto (2013) is another creative misfire from the talented multi-hyphenate. Franco's novel is a series of loosely connected vignettes that focuses on a group of teenage high schoolers and their inter personal relationships. The film is directed by 25-year-old Gia Coppola and suffers from the internal problems of a wannabe creative unsure of what outlet to use. Coppola has admitted that she was drifting through life: "I wasn't sure what my passion was. I never paid attention to movies until fairly recently." How lucky she is to be the granddaughter of Francis Ford Coppola and niece of Sofia Coppola.
CineVue © 2014. All rights reserved. Powered by Blogger.