Cert: 18 Runtime: 134 mins Director: David Lynch Cast: Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette, Robert Blake, Balthazar Getty, Robert Loggia and Gary Busey
Dick Laurent is dead…
David Lynch is an artist I admire and recently I have had a massive Lynch-binge! Truly a film-maker that speaks to me in many ways. One film that has eluded me for sometime is Lost Highway. Finally I have watched it and that’s why its my blast from the past this week. So then what is it about? When Fred Madison (Bill Pullman) finds a video tape on his doorstep that shows the interior of his house, he’s convinced that someone has broken in and calls the police. Things get really complicated when he finds another videotape showing him killing his wife, and the police arrest him because his wife really was murdered! Then he disappears from the prison and we start watching the life of a young man who works in a garage…
The movie begins in a slow paced way and works a lot with its dark, weird and haunting atmosphere. Weird music, the filming of dark floors without an end or empty rooms, the lack of dialogues in the beginning may irritate the viewer but every detail has a certain role and a certain reason to be shown in this movie. Everything seems so slow and when the film really starts, you’re all of a sudden in it and it all comes too quick, too strange and you might not be able to concentrate on the essential things.Anyway, what is the essential thing about this movie? What does David Lynch want to show us or make us learn? Or is the sense of it all that there is absolutely nothing to learn? The movie plays with our feelings, our thoughts, our expectations and always presents something unexpected. And everyone may interpret the unexpected in a different way or maybe not at all.
Now wait, this may be the key to this movie: Expect the unexpected!The dark and strange atmosphere. The strange music, containing dark classical arrangements, heavy modern jazz music, pop music and even industrial metal – the music always fits to the certain situation. The three mysterious video cassetts and their strange and terrible content. The mysterious break and change of the main character in the movie. The allusions and antithesis between the first and the second part of the movie. The thin path between reality and illusion, the question of dreaming or being awake. The femme fatale and the mystery man. The murderer who doesn’t want to be a murderer. The connection between the beginning and the end of the movie. There is more than a lot to discover! This movie is somehow a psycho or mystery thriller with some action and pornographic elements. There are even three movies in one: a dark and atmospheric thriller, a strange romantic road movie story and a little short movie which connects the other two elements throughout the film. This movie is certainly different from everything you have ever seen before.
Cert: 15 Runtime: 118 mins Director: Todd Haynes Cast: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Pulson, Jake Lacy and Kyle Chandler
Some people change your life forever
Todd Haynes is one of the gems in film making community. Carol is his latest venture and it has been ringing in the film communities ear for a while. It has been on my radar for some months now and it was worth the wait. This was a film that was labelled as the lesbian film of 2015. You can clearly see this is a film about love. I do hope that it does get a good audience and the stigma disappears. Based on Patricia Highsmith’s book of the same title Carol is the story of Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) spots the beautiful, elegant Carol (Cate Blanchett) perusing the doll displays in a 1950s Manhattan department store. The two women develop a fast bond that becomes a love with complicated consequences.
This is a cinematic master-class from Todd Haynes I haven’t seen such a perfectly made film in a very long time. The framing, score, lens, cinematography, editing, sound mixing and acting are phenomenal. This is a film about love not being gay. You go through Carol connecting with the character, we have all experienced love and all it’s toils in our life. It really hits the heart at some moments and Haynes does not emphasise the hardship of being gay in the 1950’s. It’s the journey of a young woman finding her feet in life and Carol finding happiness that she deserves. Haynes never highlights the build up of the friendship of the girls, you have to observe it yourself. There is a lot going on in each shot and a keen eye is needed. Carol is mainly conveyed through looks and innuendo this is what makes it interesting. We are continuously wondering what are they thinking? do they know they like each other? It’s utterly gripping.
Cate Blanchett’s performance as Carol is nothing but stellar, honestly I couldn’t think of a better casting. She is so strong, free spirited but she can convey her tender side well too. She has gone through a lot in her life to get to the stage she is at when she meets Therese. Clearly she just wants to be happy, but her marital issues are holding her back. Rooney Mara had a lot more work in her character she’s fragile, naive and sweet. But she is a very sheltered character so we have a lot more facially expressive performance from Rooney. Mara is very selective of her films and I am utterly delighted she went for Carol. The chemistry between them is electrifying and I think we all can agree award nominations are coming. Kyle Chandler and Sarah Pulson give great supporting roles too, it’s not the two dimensional characters we normally see in a drama. Carol is by far one of the best films of the year and I would encourage anyone with a love of cinema to watch it. It’s not for everyone but it’s worth a risk.
Cert: 15 Runtime: 125 mins Director: Judd Apatow Cast: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, John Cena, Brie Larson, LeBron James, Colin Quinn, Ezra Miller and Tilda Swinton
Have you fucked before? Where is she buried?
Amy Schumer is becoming a behemoth within the world of comedy. I have watched a few of her stand up shows and I do like her. She has written and starred in Trainwreck directed by Judd Apatow. While I’m not the biggest fan of Apatow this seems like a fresh rom-com. I did anticipate Trainwreck to be be slightly different from your average rom-com but probably it’ll be the same as the others. So what is Trainwreck about? Ever since she was a little girl, Amy (Amy Schumer) was told by her philandering father (Colin Quinn) that monogamy isn’t realistic. Now a grown-up journalist, Amy is certainly taking after her dad – sleeping with a succession of people and barely staying around long enough to ask their names! But when Amy is sent to interview successful sports doctor Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), she soon finds herself questioning her promiscuous lifestyle…Trainwreck was interesting a skank as the the main character, she goes through men like a fat kid does with chocolate. Amy Schumer has some great comedic timing through out the film. She really is comfortable in the role. I imagine it was easier casting herself rather than anyone else since she created the character.
Bill Hader was hilarious as always a great casting choice. He did have some very dull moments but over all great job. But John Cena was fricking hilarious the scene in the cinema was amazing. There is a Mark Wahlberg joke in there that is just utter brilliance. LeBron James was ok in here but his jokes felt very forced upon the audience. I couldn’t believe Amy Schumer’s boss in the film was Tilda Swinton, she looked very different to anything I have seen her in before. This was a great high caliber cast but the dialogue in some segments was so dull and un-flattering. Like any Apatow film this is too long and this is what killed the film for me. I honestly don’t understand why he makes two hour plus films! A lot could of been cut out. The middle point of the film made Trainwreck very dull and very generic like any other rom-com. I hoped for something better and it didn’t deliver at all! If it went down to one hour thirty and a few script tweaks happened it could of been much better. The great cast chemistry carries Trainwreck to the finish line, it’s definetley a one watch kind of film. But if you like simple rom-coms go for it. Out in UK cinemas this Friday.
Cert: 18 Runtime: 99 mins Director: Eli Roth Cast: Keanu Reeves, Lorenza Izzo, Ana de Armas, Aaron Burns and Colleen Camp
I like building up the anticipation
Eli Roth is a horror hero of mine! He doesn’t direct that many films but when he does I have to see it. Since we are still waiting for Green Inferno, Knock Knock had to do. I’ve been aware of Knock Knock for some time but it only dawned on me a few weeks ago it was out in June. After John Wick I was hoping for another great film from Keanu Reeves again. So what is Knock Knock about? Evan Webber (Keanu Reeves) is happily married with two lovely kids. Everything about his life seems normal, until one day his family decide to go to the beach, though because Evan has to work, he stays at home. One rainy night, Evan finds himself alone in the house when there’s a knock at the door. He answers it and meets two young girls (Ana de Armas and Lorenza Izzo) who ask if they can come in, dry off and use his phone. But once inside, he soon comes to regret it as his life turns upside down…
What can I say about Knock Knock? Eli Roth we have missed you Knock Knock is a fun movie with a clear message to everyone. Keanu Reeves keeps up his good acting form here yet again! He was slightly over the top in some scenes but any man would in that situation. Lorenza Izzo and Ana de Armas brought out a lot of anger in this film. They worked very well together they were seductive, sweet and evil. They are the most menacing duo since Dick Dasterdley and Muttley. The premise of the film was greater than its execution in all honesty and the screenplay was rather cheesy. But the dark undertones and the over all message of Knock Knock brings it to the helm as on of my favourite horror/thriller films of the last few years. What makes Knock Knock so powerful is the ending NO SPOILERS but it really packs a punch. Go watch this film if you fancy something different!
Cert: 15 Runtime: 84 mins Director: John Maclean Cast: Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Caren Pistorious and Ben Mendelsohn
In a short time, this will seem like a long time ago
Slow West has been one of my most anticipated films of 2015, I have heard nothing but great things. What also attracts me to John Macclean’s film is that we have a western! This genre seems to be returning very slowly back and this is a front runner for it. What is Slow west about you ask? The year is 1870. Young Scottish aristocrat Jay Cavendish (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is besotted with Rose (Caren Pistorius). However, she has recently ventured overseas to America with her father. Determined to win her heart, Jay travels to America in pursuit. Arriving in Colorado, he runs into drifter Silas Selleck (Michael Fassbender), with whom Jay teams up to discover Rose’s whereabouts. However, unbeknownst to Jay, Silas is out to collect a bounty on Rose’s head.Slow West is a huge leap forward for westerns. Cinematographer Robbie Ryan, has given it a more intimate flair and a brighter canvas. The bright colours and vivid imagery made it feel like a Wes Anderson western, Maclean really made Slow West into his own bearing the Anderson trait.
Kodi Smit-McPhee, is quickly proving himself to be able to transition from his child actor years to adulthood. He also has a skill with silent comedy; most of the audience’s guffaws came at Jay’s befuddled reactions.Michael Fassbender, who I feel works best when he isn’t trying to crank up the intensity, feels very relaxed, and the American accent is improving. The bulk of the film focuses on just these two actors, although occasionally they share screen time with some colourful characters, including Ben Mendelsohn as a wily, cigar-chewing outlaw. It did feel a bit Django Unchained-esk at some points. Slow West my come over tongue and cheek but it does present the tell of the American frontier and the death of native Americans. It’s such a subtle screenplay but it’s story spreads further than you’d imagine. It’s an interesting adventure retrieving a lost love but with a darker undertone. Slow West is worth anyone’s time.
Cert: 15 Runtime: 101 mins Director: Ana Lily Amirpour Cast: Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Marshall Manesh, Mozhan Marno, Dominic Rains, Rome Shadanloo and Reza Sixo Safai
Till the end of your life, I’ll be watching you
The topic of vampires has been apart of my pop cultural life since I can remember. From watching Dracula, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Blade, Dark Shadows…you get my drift. When Twilight hit the screens it seemed vampires were becoming a bit of a joke. But as of late a few independent films have rectified the genre. Let The Right One In is by far the best of the 21st century, it’s on a very high pedestal for me. But What We Do in the Shadows, Only Lovers Left Alive, Thirst and now A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night! I have been disgusted with myself for not hearing about this until the last few weeks. What is it all about you ask? Residents of a worn-down Iranian city encounter a skateboarding vampire (Sheila Vand) who preys on men who disrespect women.A Girl Who Walks Home Alone at Night is one of the best films I have seen this year! We haven’t witnessed that many this year but Ana Lily Amirpour thank you. What makes this a great film is Sheila Vand, the use of her eyes and her gaze alone is just mesmeric and haunting. For me she reminds me of an older version of Eli form Let The Right One In. She looks sweet, innocent and naive but her dark side is just horrifying. The girl is one the better vampire characters in recent times. It’s also great to see a strong female presence on screen.
It’s a slow paced film, but there is never a dull moment. Every shot is significant and it’s well balanced. The horror element is a only the one aspect of it. It’s also a romantic drama between the girl and Arash they are very different people, but trapped they are both in the same vicious circle of isolation and hopelessness. The whole cast makes a wonderful work in their roles. The screenplay takes advantage of the classic tale along with giving it a fresh and trendy vibe. The soundtrack is just beautiful, every song really lives well within the film. It’s a great statement to show the liberal side of Iranian women through out. The beautiful black-and-white cinematography brings every scene to life, with precise frames which make even the most filthy alley or prosaic building look like a work of art. Personally I have no quarrels with Ana Lily’s work, I just hope there is no Americanization of this work of art. This is not a massive horror film by any means. But it’s a fantastic vampire film, this genre is gaining momentum yet again.A Girl Who Walk Home Alone at Night is at the helm with the other 21st Century greats.
Cert: 15 Runtime: 94 mins Director: Ira Sachs Cast: John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, Marisa Tomei, Darren E. Burrows, Cheyenne Jackson, Charlie Tahan and Harriet Sansom Harris
I believe the world is a better place if people aren’t lying.
John Lithgow and Alfred Molina married in a movie? That sold me from the start! Love Is Strange received some great reviews since it release. Since it’s available on demand it was worth a viewing. What is it all about? After nearly four decades together, Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) finally tie the knot in an idyllic wedding ceremony in lower Manhattan. But when George loses his job soon after, the couple must sell their apartment and – victims of the relentless New York City real estate market – temporarily live apart until they can find an affordable new home. While George moves in with two cops (Cheyenne Jackson and Manny Perez) who live down stairs, Ben lands in Brooklyn with his nephew (Darren Burrows), his wife (Marisa Tomei), and their temperamental teenage son (Charlie Tahan), with whom Ben shares a bedroom. While struggling with the pain of separation, Ben and George are further challenged by the intergenerational tensions and capricious family dynamics of their new living arrangements.The two lead performances by Lithgow and Molina feel very natural and real as does their chemistry as lovers. Even though the two share little scenes together (being separated throughout most of the film), you can tell that Ben and George are genuinely in love with each other. The scene where the two hug is quite touching.
While Marisa Tomei gives a natural well layered, good performance as a mother who feels a little bit disconnected from her family. Her best scene is when she complains to her husband about how he’s too soft on his uncle Ben. Darren Burrows is also another good standout as Joey, Tomei’s son in the film who has a bit too many problems that he’s hiding from his family.Some of the shots in Love Is Strange are nice. The opening sequence with a shot of the legs of the two main characters Ben and George sleeping together in their bed was well done. While there’s another nice quiet scene where Ben is shown painting. The short scene consists of little dialogue and just music played in the background.Love Is Strange doesn’t really tackle the gay subject matter all that much, but it doesn’t play it up either. Very few times throughout the film is the word gay actually said, and because of this, I appreciate Love Is Strange.One of the best things about the film it’s score. Although the score is very limited and small, it consists of classical music, primarily that of a piano. This helps to give certain scenes a nice feeling. Additionally, the use of classical music in the film makes sense considering that George is a music teacher himself.Love Is Strange is a very quiet and understated film. While not perfect, the film is helped by its lead performances and is overall enjoyable to watch.