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Posts tagged “Film Festival

London Film Festival 2016 – Phase II

This year, as you may have noticed, I have been pacing myself when it comes to the LFF. I would term my engagement with this years festival as more a rearguard defence than full frontal assault, such are the pressures of balancing the movie material with other commitments which must and indeed have taken priority. An increasing acceleration of day job activities and other social entertainments have caused me to sacrifice viewings of potential treasures – The Handmaiden and Manchester By The Sea have already been dismissed – my reasoning being that both of these well acclaimed features are bound to receive domestic distribution in 2017, so I’m not feeling that guilty. However, I can’t lie that I wish I was seeing more material given the echo chamber of social media chatter, but when I do get to a screening my choices seem to be solid as I haven’t been bored, offended, or listlessly wondered at what I could be better doing with my time, as thankfully there have been no duds as yet. Geling various elements of my professional and amateur realms I am in full appreciation of this new feature of this years festival, a pop-up cinema which recently sprouted up on the banks of the Thames;

As someone involved very recently with the complexities of project managing a so called ‘pop-up’ event/structure this new cinema on the Embankment yields double Menagerie fascination, as I acknowledge the backroom complexities of even considering such an entity (planning applications, technical requirements, licences, finances, construction & FM complexities, managing agents, safety, etc. etc.) let alone it’s programming linkages to a wider cultural event – behind the scenes I’m sure this new proposal was a risk, and it seems to have triumphed. Thus far I’ve seen most of my screenings in this venue, and it enjoys fantastic sight lines, an excellent, expansive screen, a contained sound environment and well organised staffing – the seats are a little uncomfortable but you can’t have everything I guess. OK, I’m being unreasonable at wanting everything, as I’m slightly miffed at missing this SFX attuned event which I’d really liked to have witnessed;

As it stands I have a couple of reviews in development from some Menagerie directorial favourites whom have turned in solid if passable work, but as I mentioned before the anticipated highlights of LFF 2016 were always going to be the Q&A opportunities for this year, given my reduced capacity in joining the rest of the press corp hunkering down for three or four, sunlight shunning sessions. Looking forward all ‘Laura’ eyes remain on the Carpenter and his Halloween ho-down, but until then please enjoy Mr. Verhoeven waxing lyrical in truncated fashion from his rather brilliant South Bank Q&A;

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BFI London Film Festival 2015 – Final Days

jobsUngodly, that’s what it is – ungodly. To awaken at the hexing hour of 7:00am on a Sunday, to sacrifice a well deserved lie in after a hectic week scoping Guildford’s recently costed £1.2 billion first phase of  the future, in order to make one final push on this years festival as it draws to its conclusion. I’m still faintly furious that I missed Carol, The Witch and Room, not to mention I didn’t really manage to pull off a elite acquisition – as in seeing something totally unknown and unheard of which turns out to be one of the quiet gems of the year, but so it goes and all three of those will pick regular distribution so it’s just a matter of time. So while I didn’t see nearly enough of what I wanted the good news is there were no misfires, everything was a three star or better movie, and I had a particularly strong final push over the last weekend. There was also something of a lesson learnt which has fallen away over the past few years, and that is to mix it up a little and see films with regular punters rather than just the continual dreary early start of the press screenings, sure it is a gamble with the potential of some nearby jerkward fucking about with his phone & talking and/or breathing inappropriately, but you do get more audience engagement and more importantly the talent Q&A’s following the screenings. Still, next year I vow to book the entire fortnight off come hell or high water, so none of this pesky career nonsense can continue to violate the truly important things in life. First things first my last tranche of reviews have dropped here and here, now on with our final weekend schedule;

I started the weary road with Crimson Peak but that wasn’t in the festival line-up and deserves its own separate review, so let’s snuggle up with Yorgos Lanthimo’s warmly received The Lobster instead. If you’ve seen Dogtooth then you know what to expect, a scenario revolving around a bizarre, surreal concept – recently heartbroken individuals check into a hotel with 45 days to establish new relationships before they are transformed into an animal of their choosing – as a metaphorical framework to reveal deeper truths about human relations, the social construction of the family unit, the emphasis on the primacy of sexual and legally enshrined relationships in contemporary society. Alienating Brechtian and satirical Bunuelian techniques aside this was absolutely hilarious, in the same brutal, very nasty and dark way that Dogtooth was. I and the audience was bent double at certain points and gasping at others, as when the concept is absaorbed and accepted it pump-primes a potent land of absurdity to explore. I’m not sure all the queries that Lanthimo raised were fully appreciated or exploited, as in the second phase of the film when the core character (a playing against type subdued Colin Farrell) links in with some anti-couple liberation fighters in the wilderness the plot and level of interest started to wane alongside Rachael Weitz’s sharply efficient voiceover. Nevertheless this was probably the funniest and at times most painful film I’ve seen this year, physically as well as mentally, and its nice to wheels back in cinema after being lost in Kill List and A Field In England.

Did we save the best for last? Well, kind of, at least in terms of events if perhaps not material. The closing night gala film of this years festival was the star-studded Steve Jobs biopic called, remarkably, Steve Jobs. Directed by Danny Boyle and  armed with a machine gun script from everyone’s favourite walker and talker Aaron Sorkin this has been eagerly awaited in some quarters, while Job’s widow has added a frission of controversy by publicly opposing the project. To begin I have read the ‘official’ Jobs biography purely due to a charity shop acquisition and my relatively lengthy commute to Colchester earlier in the year, so I was already well versed with the algorithms of Jobs personal and professional career. I’m not a particular Macolyte – well, so says the man whom has moved through all 6 generations of his telecommunication device, whom owns a Mac-Mini, a 2009 iMac, two iPod’s, an iPad and has recently invested in an Intel Core i5 1.6Ghz Processor, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD MacBook Air. Nevertheless I find him interesting as a modern-day Thomas Edison, a man whose influence as a synthesiser of the competing areas of marketing, design and technology have forged our modern world in an undeniable way – all I had to was scan the audience during the conference and see how many iPhones and iPads were in attendance recording the event just to anecdotally scope the companies pernicious penetration into our world. In a spectacularly contrived fashion the film is programmed around   Jobs life in the hours and minutes run up to three critical product launches – the Apple II in 1984, the strategically (and some speculate intentional) disastrous NeXTcube in 1988, and his phoenix like return to the fold in 1998 with the launch of the iMac. Like some sort of Dickensian visitation the film oscillates between the personal interactions and infractions with the key people in his life, starting with the mother of his initially disputed child played by Katherine Waterston, followed by Seth Rogan as fellow Apple garage-hobbyist pioneer Steve Wozniak. Then we have Jeff Daniels taking on the mantle of Apple CEO and chief architect of his 1986 ousting John Sculley, while Winslet rounds out the cast as his long-suffering confidante & senior marketing guru Joanna Hoffman.

Despite the absurd call sheet I thoroughly enjoyed this once I’d adapted to the rhythms of the film, at the start I admit I was a little irritated at the structure and the exceptionally clumsy crowbarring in of exposition and history into characters mouths – ‘But Steve, ever since you took the company public three years and earned yourself a personal fortune of $414 million a gamble like this is crazy’ – but to be fair not everyone has read the biography and some of the broad strokes are quite cleverly crafted. It has some big laughs, some armour-piercing Sorkinesque exchanges if you like that sort of thing, and it seemed to do a reasonable job (heh) of showing some of the different sides to the man, including just what an utter twat he could be in the way he treated people (not least his daughter and her poverty-stricken mother), the influence that his adoption may have had on his psyche, and the unrelenting fanatical pursuit of perfection which ensured why he is in the history books and not just the corporate executive lexicon as one of the most influential human beings of the past fifty years. Danny Boyle largely restrains his signature style, covering with long takes and steadicam stuttering around the backstage of the launches, the only real directorial flourish being film stock selection for each historical phase – 16mm in 1984, 35mm in 1988 and of course digital for 1998. The conference was rather odd, one of those contrived industry situations which I’ve still not quite got used to, and I must confess to being a little star struck of being within 10 feet proximity to that bird from Titanic, Ace Rothstein from Boardwalk Empire, one of Dumb & Dumber, Mr. West Wing, that upcoming actress from Inherent Vice and the oirish chap who keeps getting his wanger out whom is something of a hit with the ladies. It was quite a frisky affair as you can see above with a few more laughs than the Suffragette conference, Winslet swears like a docker, Daniels falls asleep and as a heterosexual male I will say that Fassbender does have that elusive quality when he enters a room, so that roguish charisma on-screen is also emitted in real life. I also espied Bill Nighy in the lobby of the Mayfair hotel on what seemed to be completely unrelated business, and in a bizarre coincidence when I connected back through Canary Wharf they were shooting a movie at the foot of the main escalators – weird. Now, as I understand it the full trailer for a certain anticipated December release is dropping at 8:30pm Eastern seaboard time with some European souls even staying up until 1:30am GMT to see it, I will not joining them but will naturally have some comments when I arise from my meditation chamber tomorrow morning….


BFI London Film Festival 2015 – Day Eight

LFF9A pox sir on this accursed day job, as it is causing a most unruly interference with my entreating of all things cinematical at this years London Film Festival. If it wasn’t enough that I was forced to miss Carol yesterday which incidentally has just stormed the New York Festival awards, then it will no doubt prompt a shriek of terrors that I also missed my screening of The Witch, due to matters beyond my control. I can take only a small shred of reassurance that Carol goes on general release in a month so I see it before the year is out, and I’m reasonably sure that The Witch will get some distribution given its demonic critical pedigree. Next year I vow to book the entire fortnight off come hell or high water, so none of this pesky career nonsense can continue to violate the important things in life.

I did however manage to make it to the Todd Haynes Q&A at the Southbank this evening which was some small consolation, for an overview and discussions of this career with the esteemed  festival director Claire Stewart. As we all know Safe is one of the best American films of the 1990’s so I was keen to see him talk about his career, and in a rather dry but occasionally fascinating discussion that’s what occurred. His films always revolve around identity and isolation, in both a social and occasional sexual sense, and he’s one of the great emotional cartographers of our time. He talked through the very careful colour palettes of his films and the attention that is lavished upon temperatures and their relationship to character within his visuals, as a natural heir to Fassbinder and of course Douglas Sirk whose influence is blisteringly apparent. So at least we got one more event under our belt, here’s some more glitz and ceremony if that floats your bejeweled boat;

I did want to see that but I’ve heard conflicting reports, mostly around Depp being OK – as in a slight return to form before his terrible slip into pantomime a decade or so ago – yet the surrounding film is nevertheless mediocre. Maybe one for the Blu-Ray then. So in the final stretch we have our work cut out for us as I try to make some amends,  The Lobster should finally fall prey to my claws, then there’s the small matter of Del Toro’s eagerly awaited gothic epic and the LFF’s Closing Gala program – still no rest for the wicked eh??….


BFI London Film Festival 2015 – High Rise (2016)

HR1It’s a curious thing being a film critic, especially when you are specifically forbidden from writing coverage of certain films as to not dilute the existing material squatting on a website. This is my sober situation with Ben Wheatley’s eagerly awaited High-Rise which has already been screened at the Toronto, New York and Locarno film festivals, before arriving home at the LFF for a local gala last week. No matter, as our North American comrades loss is the Menagerie’s reward, as despite my muddled and slightly frustrated thoughts on the picture I want to make one thing absolutely clear. High Rise is essential viewing for anyone remotely interested in UK cinema, in SF film or cult attuned material, and as a somewhat rare adaption of the great J.G. Ballard it is clearly one of the ‘important’ films of the year, if such a phrase makes sense. I’ve been aware of and my suspicions confirmed by the learned souls at Sight & Sound identifying a shivering shoal of what might be termed a UK film ‘wave’ over the five or six years, a loose affiliation of filmmakers whom make indigenously attuned fare, which you could faintly cluster around the names of Ben Wheatley, Andrea Arnold, Richard Ayoade, Carol Morley and Peter Strickland. Wiser souls that I can probably identify some linking strands of DNA through these diverse voices – the fact that Strickland specialises in continental sub-genre pastiches is enough to divorce him from the particularly British setting and symbiosis of the others work – and there are probably other names out there which have slipped my net. Wheatley however has garnered the most attention from the cult and genre attuned periodicals, mostly due to the dark vein of humour and horror that runs like a severed aorta through A Field In England, Kill List and Sightseers, and his new film shifts up a gear in terms of viability of cast, quality of source material and prestige production partners.

HR2Super UK Producer Jeremy Thomas has been trying to make this film for twenty years, so its to his credit that he’s taken a small gamble with such an locally established, but internationally untested helmsman. It’s probably best to start with the positives of the film, with the ferocious elements which are worthy of Ballard’s great premonition and savagely curious mind which have managed to hack and slash their way on-screen. The cruel sense of humour and decay of civilisation to barbarism among the modernist architecture are modes and satirical arenas I’m just naturally amused by, particularly with my recent career turn into professional government spheres such as planning, economic development and regeneration which has been my specialism over the past few years. In keeping with Ballard’s obsidian black humour the comedy is extremely dark and frequently violent, so if you’re a sick twisted fuck then you’ll have much to enjoy. The cast are all admirable, including Luke Evans as an odious predator, Sienna Miller as a gauche but exceptionally friendly housewife and there’s a particularly terrific British accent from Elizabeth Moss, while Tom Hiddleston provides the supporting struts as the isolated psychiatrist Dr. Laing, a voice of wavering empathy and reason as the structures of polite society increasingly shudder and wane. On a conceptual level I’ll award full marks for keeping the 1970’s novel setting, if they’d updated it with a gated community feel and everyone locked into their smartphone & social media accounts I think it would have been a chore, while some of the period detail will just have viewers of a certain age wallowing in a sepia toned nostalgia like Shane Meadows recent efforts. I keep going on about soundtracks at the moment don’t I? Well, again I can’t resist when the work is so striking, but Clint Mansell again does the project proud, while in the films strongest linking scene a montage is set to Portishead’s powerful cover version of Abba’s S.O.S of all things which plays just brilliantly. If I had to offer some pithy pitch of the film I’d probably go for the vibe of a paedophile era BBC sit-com crossed with a ketamine crazed expansion of that bit in Event Horizon, in a stark social severing of a severe Seventies psychosis.

HR4Inevitably the pendulum must now swing to the negatives, which you can assess as to whether they eclipse or overwhelm  the positives. It seems that balanced pacing and a robust structure is still beyond Wheatley’s grasp, as although the individual ingredients are rich and ripe they simply don’t blend into a completely satisfying whole. In High Rise we seem to plunge into some scenes at a point somewhere around 30 or 45 seconds too late, as if the characters have already struck a rapport or are developing a relationship on some sort of arc. Similarly we cut away to another slightly disorienting sequence before the point has been made, before any sort of narrative milestone has been transmitted, logically enabling the plot to move along and linkages made across events and personages, locations and geography.

highriseNow I realise that such a critique will no doubt sound spectacularly pompous or pretentious and maybe I am, and while overall I enjoyed the film I also harboured a growing sense of gnawing frustration, as High Rise grasped for true greatness which just slipped through its trembling fingers. You’re introduced to what feels like major characters such as Jeremy Irons chief architect of the entire symbolic living space but his appearance feels perfunctory from a narrative perspective, so the relationships and linkages through the web of denizens remains vague and insubstantial, to the point of distraction. Throughout the second act the architecture relies on another montage, then another, then yet another to suggest the sense of time passing, of the degradation and disintegration intensifying, but this fails to develop the relationship between the characters of personify their psychic states. This lapse doesn’t compute with the effort that Hiddlestone and his companions supposedly brought to breathe life, purpose and  motivation into their characters, rather than them falling into satirical cyphers which is the overall, final impression. Cinematically there is also a frankly BBC adaption ‘feel’ to the veneer and finish of the film which when blown up to widescreen doesn’t match the dimensions, whilst I don’t know what film stock or more likely what digital capture units are being employed but some sort of colour correction or emulsifying agent is required. To be fair I’m sure Wheatley wasn’t exactly wrestling with an enormous budget and you sense that every penny has been splattered on-screen, but it just feels a little less……prestigious and therefore less potent that it could have been.

HR3So there we are, maybe I’m being overly critical and unfair but what can I say – that’s my reaction and regretfully I cannot lie. In any case I still strongly recommend the film when it opens in a few months, the crowd loved it, it’s certainly funny and has some striking moments so you could do a lot worse considering what our sceptred isle produces from time to time. As I said Wheatley was amusing during the Q&A and unsurprisingly revealed that he grew up reading 2000AD, finding his way to Ballard as an impressionable teenager alongside those seminal rites of passage Fear & Loathing, The Naked Lunch and American Psycho. This puts him firmly in the same generation and ideology as me and my mates in another part of the country, and our paths probably crossed over the same visits to Forbidden Planet, thoroughly scanning the third generation VHS classified ads of the NME or Melody Maker and sharing the same late Sunday night excitement of Moviedrome.  As well as throwing that great The Fall song on the closing credits another several million kudos points for having one of the children in the film reading Action Comics in one brief blink and you’ll miss it cameo, it’s just little touches like that make the whole enterprise a little more worthwhile. It’s also interesting to muse over the fact that the project has passed through the hands of Nicholas Roeg, Vincenzo Natali and Richard Stanley over the years, all of whom would have probably had a good crack at the material, with perhaps superior or diminishing returns. He remains a fascinating filmmaker whom I’m sure may have a UK masterpiece in him at some point in the future, he does seem to be evolving and growing as a talent which means we will continue to keep a close twitching eye on him,


BFI London Film Festival 2015 – Day Three, Four & Five

Well that was quite a weekend, mohitos in a skybar over St. Pauls, a friends birthday celebration pub-crawl through Soho, and three solid movies. I’ll try to find some time next week to expand on my comments but suffice to say we had good appreciative crowds, a few special guests, so there is plenty to keep me occupied next week. First of all back to Friday and the (for me) eagerly awaited Son Of Saul;

Suffice to say this was incredible, an exceptionally harrowing and tough watch, and one of those films that while admired I don’t think I ever want to see again. I mean that in a praiseworthy way, the technique was befitting the grim subject matter, and I think we have a major new talent on our hands. Next up we moved into documentary waters;

Far too short at 80 minutes as I could have easily watched another hour, especially with the likes of David Fincher, Wes Anderson, Oliver Assayas, James Gray, Paul Schrader and of course Marty educating on us why Hitch still matters. They lavished attention on Psycho and Vertigo in particular, in probably the best film theory related documentary of the year. Then we scuttled back to British waters;

One of the most eagerly anticipated films of the festival, and I was fortunate enough to get a ticket for the second public screening. Wheatley did a Q&A which was quite funny, and while I still think Kill List is his best film to date this is essential viewing. A special guest arrived in the form of Loki himself who got a massive roar from the crowd, and he read a brilliantly prescient quote from a 1978 interview with Ballard which predicted reality TV, selfies, and pretty much the entire modern narcissistic & interconnected world. Several million kudos points for Wheatley selecting this as the final track as the credits rolled;

And finally the best horror Western of recent years – they warned us this was going to be exceptionally violent and they were not wrong. Alas no sign of Kurt as a special guest (seeing Macready in the flesh would probably put me in hospital anyway) but the producers were on hand for an insight into the films long gestation. Some of my reviews have dropped here, here here and here, more to come next week…..


BFI London Film Fest 2015 – Day One

lff3It never fails to amuse me, arriving bleary eyed at the Odeon Leicester Square when it is spookily devoid of tourists or late night revellers, a bucket of coffee in tow in order to hot-wire a start to the day with our first press screening of the season. Suffragette seems to hit all the buttons for the initial film of this years festival, indigenously funded and crewed with predominately UK thespians and technicians, and a strong message of female empowerment which is a theme that is being championed throughout the entire festival. I also managed to scuttle over to the press conference at the Lanesborough Hotel on Hyde Park Corner, mostly to grasp the opportunity of seeing Meryl Streep in the flesh. Now I don’t wish to derail this with my general antipathy to Streep’s pantomime performances over the past decade or so, other than to say that just like Daniel Day-Lewis she is one of those performers that always seems to scream ‘I AM ACTING’ in whatever she or he are appearing in, even as they can turn in an outstanding performance maybe one time out of three which reminds us why they have secured the iconic levels of respect which they richly deserves – see also Robert De Niro. Still, we need to remember she was in The Deer Hunter, Silkwood  and Sophie’s Choice which are immortal and important films, and she must be a hugely inspirational role model for upcoming film interested  ingénues. Here’s the press conference;

I think Streep makes a very good point about the balance of gender in film criticism and those Rotten Tomato and New York Times circle statistics are shocking.  This is an anecdotal point I know, but as far as I can see the split is 60 / 40 in the female favour when it comes to the press activity I’ve conducted in London, but riddle me this – how many female film critics can you name? Yeah, thought so. I’m also not the only person to read about the protests here and think to myself that the paragraph opening sentence ‘New mother Cary Mulligan…’ and think to myself – what the fuck has that got to do with anything? That this human being is being a good little child-rearer? And that is in the fucking Guardian? Jesus Christ. Anyway, here’s some more nonsense from the opening gala;

Hopefully my first tranche of reviews should be going up soon. Now, the burning question is when exactly am I supposed to find the time to craft my review of Sicario which I’ve just seen, and which I’m still reeling from…. ;


Bone Tomahawk (2015) Trailer

A new addition to my LFF schedule finally gets a trailer, and early word from North American screenings is deliciously good. Always fun to see Kurt back in the saddle eh?


BFI Film Festival 2015 Programme Launch

Well that was a personal best, I somehow managed to get my press credentials turned around within 48 hours this year – full programme overview here

In addition to my previously identified priorities I’d also add Sion Sono’s Love & Peace and Jeremy Blue Ruin Saulnier’s Green Room into the mix, although some of my colleagues have piqued my interest with other material – this six hour marathon is, apparently, fantastic.


Menagerie’s Cannes 2015 Programme

cannes2015Movies? Oh they’re dead, nothing but American franchise fodder strangling the multiplexes ain’t they? Well no, not if you look beyond the latest spandex and chrome clad spectacle they’re not, as the international film community gets into its 2015 swing with the worlds oldest and most prestigious festival – Cannes. I did toy with the notion of attending this year but I couldn’t commit before the application deadline, I’ve committed to make more of an effort next year although I do have plans for a watery foreign film jaunt this year – watch this space. With my finger on the pulse as always a mere three weeks after the final programme announcement here is my personal pick of the pack, I eagerly await the further word on Fury Road although rest assured early rumors are incandescently positive, but like I said I’m boycotting that last trailer for fear of decelerating my  delirium. So while I focus my attention on a few fairly ambitious weekends of UK movie watching which alongside my pre-booked events must also include a visit to this which opens tomorrow after 35 years of neglect, come hither and let’s take an amble through the croisette’s coming attractions now that I’ve had the chance to fully review the programme;

Yakuza Apocalypse, Takaski Miike 2015 – We’ll start with the obvious, with our old friend the timid Japanese slow-coach Miike Takashi who churns out yet another Yakuzi drenched bloodbath which gets a ‘special’ screening – whatever that means.  Have I mentioned this thought before? Have I transmitted my contention that I probably have Japanese cinephile kindred who are as exasperated of the frequent emphasis of their indigenous cinema on the brothels and pachkino organized crime dens of Shinjuku and Shibya and loath those ‘cool’ post Reservoir Dogs medium shots of the criminal marching toward the camera as that continual weeping sore of mockney East End crime films that my country suffers with birds and shooters and fackin’ kants made by slumming upper middle-class hacks like Guy Ritchie and Matthew ‘Yes I have directed party political broadcasts for the Tory party’ Vaughan? That sentence could probably use a full stop somewhere, but the Coalition sold them all. A-ha. Satire. Vote on Thursday kids.

Macbeth, Justin Kurzel, 2015 – After Snowtown turned stomachs back in 2010 I wondered what happened to Kurzel, it seems like he’s following in the non-intimidating footsteps of Polanski and Welles with his take on the Scottish play. I’m not the worlds biggest fan of Shaky but I do like this play, its pretty nasty with lashings of  sword scrapping, histrionic harpies and mystical crones which is a little more up the Menagerie alley than privileged royals exchanging witty fripperies. Plus I got a B+ on a GCSE essay on this book {beams proudly} so I’m looking forward to this. A dense cast with Fassbinder and Cotillard making a menacing pair of power mad murderers, no trailer yet so Polanski’s gory take on the tale is linked above. They showed 15 year olds this movie at my school which explains a lot doesn’t it?

Son Of Saul, Laslo Nemes, 2015 – Well now here’s a guaranteed laugh-riot, Eastern European miserablist Bela Tarr’s protégé with his debut film about – wait for it – two days seen through the eyes of an Auschwitz inmate in 1944. Apparently this fictitious character works in one of the crematorium. I can’t think of much else to say so I think I’ll just go for a little cry.

Lobster, Yorgos Lanthimos, 2015 – If you’ve seen the darkly hilarious Dogtooth then you know what to expect, and if you haven’ then you must rectify the situation immediately. Any twisted mind which can produce such blackly satirical comedy that would make Bunuel proud is always worth watching. I’ve heard it’s about ‘forced breeding and animal human hybrids warped through the genre eyes of a rom-com’ – huh. Again no bloody trailer which is getting quite exasperating, thus above is a reminder of his break through film.

Carol, Todd Haynes, 2015 – He’s been absent from the screen for a long eight years, although I can strongly recommend his acclaimed HBO series Mildred Pierce from a few years back. Haynes seems to be heading back to Sirk and Fassbinder territory with this adaption of a Patricia Highsmith novel, this should be more of a glitzier period piece affair with Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchet in tow.

Journey To The Shore, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2015 – Although he has moved away from his J-Horror roots Kurosawa (no relation) continues to produce the odd piece here and there despite some setbacks and funding failures. What is quite irritating is that I’m fairly sure that his last two films (the last one trailed above) have received no distribution outside Japan, so a festival is the only shot of seeing his movies on the big screen. I have no idea what this new film is about but his name is enough to garner my interest.

Louder Than Bombs, Joachim Trier, 2015 – Y’see this is what film festivals are all about. I’d never heard of Trier when I saw his film Oslo August 31st at the LFF a few years ago, and I immediately seized on his evident, slightly melancholic talent as someone to watch. This is his first English language film starring Jesse Eisenberg, Gabriel Byrne and Isabelle Huppert –  this could be a breakthrough.

Green Room, Jeremy Saulnier, 2015 – Ah, excellent, Saulnier hasn’t wasted any time following up his critical darling Blue Ruin and with the Coens as jury presidents he might be in with some fellow support given the darkly comic flavor of his debut. Crikey, I forgot how much work these lists posts can be, this must the first I’ve constructed in ages. The new films from Jacques Audiard (A Prophet, Rust & Bone),  Hirokazu Kore-eda (After Life, Like Father Like Son) and Hou Hsiao-hsien (Millenium Mambo, Café Lumière) are also essential.

Love, Gaspar Noe, 2015 – Another enfant terrible whom has been quiet, knocking one out in the world cinema corner. Well, after the brain bruising excess of Enter The Void maybe you wondered where the pint-sized terrorist would go next? Well why not make a three-hour, 3D hardcore porn film by the sounds of things? I’m calling this now and mark my words, this will be cited ad-nauseum as his take on Terry Southern’s sexual satire Blue Movie which Southern was inspired to write after discussions with Kubrick on the Dr. Strangelove set, to the point where he actually dedicated the novel to ‘the great Stanley K’. No trailer yet, so a quick look back to the excess of his previous phantasm of excessive style and severity.


Mad Dog 1:85.1

Something of a placeholder this evening as I’m frankly exhausted after an irritating indoctrination on a new assignment, this one has a phalanx of precious obstacles but I think we have a growling strategy. I did manage a new movie this week however, so my review of Hyena is this weekend’s priority. At some point. Until then, this;

What Is Composition from Press Play Video Blog on Vimeo.

If you are interested then I have managed to craft some coverage on the London Human Rights Festival which commences next week – summary details here. You can maul my specific mutterings here, here and here. Regardless of my material please give the festival some support if you have the time and geographical ability,  as this brilliant festival shines a crucial light on some neglected corners of recent history, celebrating a global movement for justice and reconciliation…….