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22 May 2015

Film Review - The New Girlfriend (2014)


Genre:
Drama, World Cinema
Distributor:
Metrodome
Release Date:
22nd May 2015 (UK) 
Rating:15
Director:
François Ozon
Cast:
Romain Duris, Anaïs Demoustier, Raphaël Personnaz


Francois Ozon's latest film, The New Girlfriend, follows the slightly shaky In the House and serves as a striking return to form for the French filmmaker. Loosely based on Ruth Rendell's 1985 short-story, The New Girlfriend is packed with psychosexual melodrama, Hitchcockian twists, and Ozon's wicked sense of humour.

After her best friend Laura dies, Claire (Anaïs Demoustier) attempts to comfort David, her widowed husband (Romain Duris). Claire discovers that David is a transvestite - something which was reignited by the death of his wife. The pair's relationship takes an unexpected turn as David (aka Virginia) begins to take Laura's place in Claire's life - affecting each of them in unthinkable ways.

Ozon has crafted a watch stowed with complex narrative themes exploring gender identity, human sexuality, and the blurred lines between these two areas. Claire and David's relationship begins as an unlikely friendship as the young woman helps the widow come to terms with his female identity, however, Ozon revels in exploring the tense repercussions of this new bond. This relationship is presented in a similar manner to a traditional affair (which it isn't), with Claire keeping David's new identity from her partner Gilles (Raphaël Personnaz). However, Ozon finds much dramatic tension and melodrama within this dynamic - from Claire and Virginia's secret getaways to shopping trips, this is a relationship that feels unsafe. With added themes of grief intertwined with those of sexuality, friendship and gender identity, The New Girlfriend becomes an emotional melting pot filled with shifting relationship dynamics and psychological game-play.

There are very few examples of 'fixed gender identity' throughout The New Girlfriend: Claire and Laura's relationship is ambiguous (hints of a lesbian romance are prevalent), Claire has suspicions regarding husband Gilles and David's relationship - culminating in a steamy shower fantasy sequence between the two. Also, Claire develops more masculine traits (the stereotypical finishing first during sex being one), as Gilles becomes more traditionally maternal in his care for David's child. Ozon has packed The New Girlfriend with a true sexual ambiguity and provides a firm challenge to the norms of traditional gender-performativity - Judith Butler would delighted. It all makes for a fascinating and consistently entertaining study on identity, freedom of expression, and relationship dynamics.

Themes of blurred gender identity are channelled into Ozon's aesthetic choices, soundtrack, and narrative direction. David and Claire's delight during a drag performance featuring a lip-synced rendition of Nicole Croisille's 'Une Femme Avec Toi' taps into the flexible notion of gender, whilst giving the film a welcome Ozonian camp. Androgynous disco icon Amanda Lear's Follow Me soundtracks a disco sequence, whilst scenes of Claire and Virginia's shopping trips are basked in bubblegum teen-pop glory thanks to Katy Perry's Hot 'n Cold. Whilst these moments provide cheeky breaks from the melodrama and suspense, it's impressive to see how Ozon uses each cinematic facet to emphasise the rich thematical framework of The New Girlfriend.

The New Girlfriend is a complex and compelling tale packed with simmering suspense, dark humour, and brooding, emotionally-charged melodrama that showcases Ozon as a filmmaker at the top of his game.

★★★★★
Andrew McArthur


This review is a repost of our Glasgow film festival review

22 May 2015

Film Review - Tokyo Tribe (2014)


Genre:
Musical, Action, Sci-fi, World Cinema
Distributor:
Ereak! Entertainment
Release Date:
22nd May 2015 (UK)
Rating: 18
Director:
Sion Sono
Cast:
Akihiro Kitamura, Shôta Sometani, Ryôhei Suzuki,


You will see nothing like Tokyo Tribe this year. But that’s not surprising considering it’s the long-awaited adaptation of Santa Inoue’s hugely popular manga Tokyo Tribe2, and the latest feature from gifted Japanese director Sion Sono (Love Exposure, Cold Fish).

It’s a mind-blowing project: a cast of hundreds, selected from open auditions on YouTube (along with leading names in Japanese hip hop), takes part in an epic action battle film set in the gang landscape of alternate Tokyo, with most of the dialogue performed in rap. Tall order, but it totally works. Sono pushes the idea to its extreme, revelling in every opportunity to flaunt the innate self-expression of different types of music.

Tokyo Tribe boasts outstandingly impressive art direction from Yuji Hiyashida, the man who brought us the “death village” in Takashi Miike’s 13 Assassins. Each part of the city boasts its own distinct colour palate, rap-style, costuming, set design, everything. The peace loving members of the Musashino Saru hang out in a faux 50’s diner whilst the sadistic Buppa and Merra (superb turns from Ryohei Suzuki and Richi Takeuchi) take up residence in a nightmarish farce of roman opulence. Pop culture referencing and bold, ballsy cultural caricatures make the film so vibrant it really seems crammed into the screen.  It’s a stunning spectacle and a frankly gobsmacking dedication to the source material and Sono’s vision.

Tokyo Tribe is a street film, a kind of mockumentary set in a dystopian Tokyo that’s gone the way of The Warriors. Sono successfully captures the energy of a demented music video; multi-artist dialogue-rap performed through Sono’s trademark longshots. Bottle beating and face-slapping make hypnotic baselines for combat sequences, whilst explosions and earthquakes punctuate with a nice sense of motion. Overall there’s some great action in Tokyo Tribe; the product of the wire work is so enjoyable, and the film so fantastical, that any lazy choreography can be dismissed. A dodgy CGI tank, disco samurai, the strongest man in the world, and a massive death fan are wonderful details in a truly unique film. But those details are frivolous enjoyment, really. Through the story and sound Sono (and Inoue) highlight the separate cultures of violence and music, whilst speaking about the people who try to mix them. It’s a really sincere and studied celebration of something often side-lined and scapegoated.

An unbelievably gleeful piece of cinema from one of Japan’s finest filmmakers, Tokyo Tribe is a joyous celebration of Yakuza action films and rap extravagance. You won’t see anything like this anywhere else.

★★★★
Scott Clark

22 May 2015

Film Review - A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014)


Genre:
Horror, Romance, World Cinema
Distributor:
StudioCanal UK
Release Date:
22nd May 2015 (UK)
Rating: 18
Director:
Ana Lily Amirpour
Cast:
Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Marshall Manesh

Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is receiving a lot of hype and deservedly so. Vampire films have been, for want of a better word, milked of late, so it takes something really special to garner the kind of love Amirpour’s debut (apparently the world’s first Iranian vampire spaghetti western) has.

Like Tomas Alfredson’s Let the Right One In, Amirpour’s vision is one distinctly truncated from typical vampire iconography, more focused on the character dynamics effected by vampirism. Though, there is a cool kind of postmodern reflection at work here. The Girl (the superb Sheila Vand) glides down the streets of Bad City on a skateboard, her black veil rippling in the night breeze, calling to mind every cinematic rendition of Dracula ever. The discourse is highlighted when Arash (Arash Marandi) dresses up as the count for a club night, only to have his first late-night encounter with The Girl, both symbolising the past and future of vampire cinema. This kind of keen eyed visio-ideological conception is easy to love. It makes for refreshing viewing.

It’s an odd world Amirpour wants to show us, Bad City is a kind of ghost town full of peculiar characters and party-hard youth, a place where people walk past a gargantuan pit of cattle corpses every day without batting an eyelid. Vampirism is the least troublesome problem here, since Amirpour voices a furious dismay for patriarchal customs and the treatment of women in contemporary culture. The daydream of escape by a young man is universal shorthand for changing times, and brings an odd but intriguing tang of Americana to this vampire noir. One scene sees Marandi’s James Dean-type eating hamburgers by the bonnet of his convertible with The Girl, the pair illuminated by the floodlights of a nearby power plant. Its beautifully lyrical imagery.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night also happens to be one of the most concise technical feats I’ve seen this year. The monochrome visuals are crisp and moody, perhaps reflecting Film Noir sensibilities more than the touted western vibes. Either way, its impossible to deny how gorgeous a film this is, how impressive the framing and lighting are, how easily the film throws up memorable images. Not least, the basic idea of the veiled girl’s silhouette, moving shadow to shadow, is an automatic contemporary horror icon.

There’s a lot of iconic seeming moments in Amirpour’s debut because it is a deeply evocative honest piece of work, and it translates so much so perfectly. A poignant coming of age film and a distinct, arresting example of horror cinema.

★★★★
Scott Clark



18 May 2015

DVD Review - A Most Violent Year (2015)


Genre:
Crime, Drama
Distributor:
Icon Film Distribution
Release Date:
18th May 2015 (UK)
Rating: 15
Director: J.C Chandor
Cast:
Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, Albert Brooks, David Oyelowo
Buy: [Blu-ray]


From the cover, it's clear that A Most Violent Year is aping classic mob movies, especially with the convenient quote comparing it to The Godfather. So, why the hell am I talking about the DVD/ Blu-ray cover? Well, I think it sums up most of my problems with the film.

A Most Violent Year tells the story of '80s mobster Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac), a “legitimate businessman” trying to remove the quotation marks around that description. He's trying to keep his heating oil business afloat in tough economic times. He is days away from closing a deal on some land that will enable him to expand his empire. At the same time as all this, the Feds are tightening the noose around him and his past shady dealings. To add to everything else, Abel's oil trucks are being targeted by unknown hijackers, leaving his drivers beaten and the truck emptied of their valuable fuel. It's a solid plot, with the film splaying the plot threads out at the beginning and slowly bringing them together and tying them off. It creates intrigue and I was drawn in.

A Most Violent Year is very much a performance movie. Oscar Isaac is seriously effective as Abel. As his surname would suggest, Abel is a very moral man, despite having presumably stepped on his fair share of necks to get to where we join him. I like the fact that Abel seems to lack the conviction that so many of his contemporaries have in abundance. Abel's wife, Anna (a superb Jessica Chastain) has more of a killer instinct than he does and you understand why they work as a couple. There's one scene in particular that outlines this sharply. Whilst driving at night, the Moralesmobile hits a deer. They pull over and get out to attempt to put the injured creature out of its misery. Abel just kind of mills around for a bit before begrudgingly getting a tire iron from the boot of the car. He raises it and Anna calmly shoots the animal multiple times, clearly frustrated by his inaction. It's a fantastic scene and it expresses their relationship dynamic smartly and effectively.

So, onto the bad. The film is clearly influenced by The Godfather, right down to the coloured filters used. Abel and Michael Corleone do have a lot in common, motivation-wise. The trouble is that I felt the film never quite got one of the elements that makes The Godfather films so special. The Godfather films, at least the first two, were about escalation in one form or another. A Most Violent Year sets up all these snares and never pulls the cord. I understand that not every mobster movie has to be the same, but from a storytelling point of view, it's a bit lame. The pacing is at a dull plod throughout. I can respect the film for taking time to let the characters breathe, but Jesus. I was finding parts to be a real slog and the only reason I was sticking around (apart from my complete professionalism) was the thought of more time with Jessica Chastain's awesome, but wonkily-accented Anna.

The one sidestory I liked was that of driver Julian (Elyes Gabel). He's a young man eager to work his way up the corporate ladder like Abel did and there are lots of parallels between them. Nothing is done about this, however and the end of it felt unsatisfying, due in part to this very thing. There's no deep drama vein hit, it's all very superficial.

A Most Violent Year is decent. If you like slow, meandering and ponderous films that look great (and it really does) then A Most Violent Year might be for you. For me, it needed a tighter grip on its themes and motivations as well as a better focus on pacing. Recommended, but not essential viewing or anything.

★★★
Ben Browne



18 May 2015

DVD Review - Foxcatcher




Genre:
Drama, Sports |
Distributor:
Entertainment One |
DVD Release Date:
18th May 2015 (UK) |
Rating: 15 |
Director:
Bennett Miller |
Cast:
Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller
| Buy: [DVD]


I'm aware that it's just the timing of the new home media releases, but I've had a run of true story Oscar bait titles recently. The two I've previously reviewed, Unbroken and The Theory of Everything, both shared the problem of feeling like they were more interested in being Academy catered affairs than being stand alone proper takes on what actually happened. I've always found the approach to making Academy pandering prestige pics to be just as shallow and calculated as the way something like Transformers is tailor-made to appeal to young teenage boys. I explain this to qualify my trepidation in reviewing Foxcatcher, which even without the reviewing streak I've been on, seemed like it belonged with the other two in being a true story with tons of awards buzz about it. I'm happy to say I was wrong. Foxcatcher is easily my favourite of the three films and definitely deserved better, if only to recognise the great performances held within.

Foxcatcher is based on a real story of obsession and murder, directed by Bennett Miller. Channing Tatum plays Mark Schultz, an Olympic wrestling gold medal winner. He, along with his fellow gold medallist brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo) are in training for the next big global competition. Mark is soon recruited by eccentric millionaire John Du Pont (Steve Carell) to have access to Du Pont's state-of-the-art gym and equipment in return for joining Du Pont's Team Foxcatcher. If you don't know the actual story, I won't spoil it for you, but suffice to say this is one bleak film. It's a dark and twisted little story that leaves you with more questions than when you started. The film certainly holds up its end of the bargain by making itself just as vague as to the actual motives behind what eventually transpired, but it certainly offers up some compelling theories.

Channing Tatum is really impressive as Mark. His character is not one to verbally express how he's feeling, so Tatum cranks up the physical storytelling. For one, Mark has a bit of a Neanderthal thing about him, with a furrowed brow and a stuck out chin. It's even down to the way he walks, kind of round-shouldered, like a Silverback gorilla. It's an intense performance and Tatum does really well. With this and Magic Mike can we stop calling the guy a bad actor now? He definitely isn't. Steve Carell's performance beneath a ridiculous prosthetic nose is a great one. Carell's roles normally require massively broad strokes and lots of yelling, but Du Pont is like an alien wearing a human suit. Everything from the way he shuffles around to the way he unconvincingly gives motivational speeches is straight from the uncanny. The performance does go comedic occasionally and it adds great depth to the character. At one point, Du Pont tells Mark that now they're friends, Mark doesn't have to call him “sir” any more. He then goes on to tell Mark, straight-faced and unironically, that his friends call him “Eagle” or “Golden Eagle”. Written down it looks like a joke from Step Brothers, but in practice, it's clear that Du Pont's got himself a bad case of arrested development, stuck in childish ways because he never had a proper childhood to grow out of .Overall, it's a great performance by Carell, I just wish the prosthetics had been toned down slightly. He looks more like a character in a comedy sketch than the real guy. Mark Ruffalo gives an incredibly naturalistic performance as Schultz Snr. Both Tatum and Carell are quite theatrical in their roles whearas Ruffalo plays an everyman dad and plays it straight down the line. He's a foil to the bigger acting and it works perfectly.

I didn't really enjoy Foxcatcher, but that's the point. It was never going to be a pizza and beer Friday night Netflix choice. It's a cold and bleak film that intentionally doesn't offer any easy answers when it comes to explaining what went down and why. It kept me glued to my seat. I was really taken in by the main three and no matter how uncomfortable I felt as things built up, I knew I had to finish it. Highly recommended, but not for date night.

★★★★
Ben Browne

17 May 2015

Dead by Dawn 2015 Review - Ava's Possessions (2015)




Genre:
Horror, Sci-fi, Thriller
Distributor: TBC
Screened:
2015 Dead By Dawn (UK)
Release Date: TBC
Rating: 15
Director:
Jordan Galland
Cast:
Carol Kane, Dan Fogler, Jemima Kirke, Lou Taylor Pucci


The exorcism sub-genre has successfully stood its ground time and time again in every mode of the horror genre, so it’s a tough place to make your voice heard. Even then, Jordan Galland’s Ava’s Possessions is an absolute treat, not least because there seems to be a lack of post-exorcism films. Ava (Louisa Krause) is a young and beautiful girl who’s just been exorcised after a month of demon-fuelled mayhem. Agreeing to sign on with a support group for other people like her, Ava sets about atoning for her digressions, coming to terms with her benign other half, and unravelling the mystery of what happened to her.

Once the film starts, Galland quickly gets us on board, mixing his demonic PTS with staunch referencing, vibrant colouring, and a wicked sense of humour. The result is a Day-Glo package of horror goodies that might be camp as Christmas, but still has the balls to bite. Krause makes a splendid lead keeping a tight rein on Ava’s fluctuating personality and dark dark turns. Imagine Linda Blair going full-Cage for a demonic Bad Lieutenant and you’re getting closer to Ava’s Possessions. It’s a truly remarkable experiment in horror.

As with any experiment in horror, there might not be enough spooks and shade to keep genre-racists at bay, Ava’s Possessions is its own beast and doesn’t take kindly to shoehorning. Galland is an obvious fan of horror films, but he has no interest in recreating the gloomy nihilism of classic possession stories. Instead he exploits every facet of his script visually to ensure it’s a magnificent spectacle for any audience: a piece of possession pop art dripping with colour and an awareness of what its audience has seen and wants to see.

Like any great story, the film starts with the pieces scattered and shattered, confusingly, ominously out of reach. Like 13 Sins last year, Dead by Dawn 2015 has its twisting adventure: a moral sink-hole where characters and audience swirl until liberated by the crushing tide of familial secrets and spiritual danger. But the facts of the plot aren’t the only nostalgic endeavours. A fantastic, varied, and magnetic cast of genre regulars, and outright watchables, (William Saddler and Deborah Rush) pins Ava to the board of credibility in a rabid attempt at ensuring our engagement.

Whether or not Galland is a horror fan is totally irrelevant since the genre will only survive in the hands of people who have the audacity to change it, rather than releasing films that, though void of originals, are still really just remakes. Ava’s Possessions is a fresh-faced triumph and one of the most vibrant genre experiences you’ll have this year.

★★★★
Scott Clark


Ava's Possessions (2015) Official Teaser Trailer from Jordan Galland on Vimeo.

15 May 2015

Film Review - Clouds Of Sils Maria (2014)



Genre:
Drama
Distributor:
Curzon Film World
Release Date:
15th May 2015 (UK)
Rating: 15
Director:
Olivier Assayas
Cast:
Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, Chloë Grace Moretz, Jo-Ann Ellis

Olivier Assayas writes and directs Clouds of Sils Maria, an ambitious character study examining the lines between fiction and reality, and the effects this plays on all involved. As well as an intricate narrative filled with compelling themes, Clouds of Sils Maria features career best performances from stars Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart.

Internationally acclaimed actress Maria Enders (Binoche) has been asked to star in a revival of Maloja Snake, the play (and later film) that made her a household name. However, Enders is not wanted to reprise her role of Sigrid (the young and suggestive woman who toys with her employer), but for the role of her vulnerable, manipulated employer that is ultimately driven to suicide, Helena. After reluctance Enders accepts the part and ventures to Switzerland with her assistant, Valentine (Stewart), where they rehearse the play - unaware that they both falling into the respective roles.

Assayas has crafted a complex piece that examines the blurring lines between prose and reality. Whilst Maria and Valentine rehearse they do not mirror the exact characteristics of Helena and Sigrid, but the relationship dynamic between the pair begins to imitate that from Maloja Snake. Lines of dialogue read between the pair fuse seamlessly with their real life conversation - with viewers having to adapt, questioning whether the pair are rehearsing or conversing. This becomes more relevant as the tension between the actress and assistant builds - and both adopt further traits of their fictional counterparts.

Assayas fascinatingly examines how the actor (or those involved with the acting process e.g. Valentine) is influenced by the process of the roles they play. We see Maria confront the concept of ageing head-on, by taking the role of the 'unloved' older woman, a role which she fictionally scorned herself in a prior adaptation. Maria now has a previously unseen sympathy for the role of Helena, since she has become the older actress working alongside current box office star Jo-Ann Ellis (taking on the role of Sigrid). There is also a playful satire on the concept of the star - particularly the young tabloid celebrity, with some of the film's most darkly amusing moments coming when Maria is swept up the media frenzy surrounding Jo-Ann. A particular highlight sees Maria googling the young star, horrified of the trashy tabloid smarm that she finds.

Clouds of Sils Maria is spearheaded by dramatically sound and subtly complex performances from the divine Juliette Binoche and the outstanding Kristen Stewart. Binoche is outstanding in her reflection of a woman concerned by regret and fear, one that is essentially longing for and resenting her lost youth. Stewart excels in her representation of an unheard youth, bringing a magnetism and charm to the fold as the headstrong assistant. Both actresses shine on screen together with the bond between the pair surpassing that of star and assistant, feeling authentic and dramatically well-pitched.

Praise should also go to the astounding visuals - with cinematographer Yorick Le Saux capturing the beauty and isolation of the enigmatic Swiss Alps setting.

Clouds of Sils Maria is ambitious, thoughtful, and performed with a heartfelt authenticity. Binoche and Stewart are simply magnificent here, whilst Assayas has crafted a compelling and gorgeously-pitched character piece.

★★★★★
Andrew McArthur


This review was originally posted on our main site at The Peoples Movies

14 May 2015

Top Ten Wartime Romances


The backdrop of war has often provided an epic setting for some of the greatest romances in cinematic history, as audiences’ appetite for tragic love stories shows no sign of abating. To celebrate the release of Testament of Youth, out now on digital platform and on Blu-ray and DVD from 25th May 2015, courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment, we take a look at some of the greatest wartime romances to hit the screen... tissues at the ready!

Testament of Youth (2014)


Vera Brittain (Alicia Vikander), irrepressible, intelligent and free-minded, overcomes the prejudices of her family and hometown to win a scholarship to Oxford. With everything to live for, she falls in love with her brother’s close friend Roland Leighton (Kit Harington) as they go to University to pursue their literary dreams. But the First World War is looming and as the boys leave for the front Vera realises she cannot sit idly by as her peers fight for their country, so volunteers as a nurse. Both Vikander and Harington bring a wonderful playfulness to their initial courtship (with brilliant comedic support from Joanna Scanlan as their chaperone), and as the war separates them evolve this chemistry into something utterly moving.

Cold Mountain (2003)


This critically acclaimed wartime epic tells the story of Confederate soldier Inman (Jude Law) who undertakes a perilous journey back home to Cold Mountain, North Carolina, in order to reunite with his sweetheart, Ada (Nicole Kidman), the woman he left behind to fight in the Civil War. Along the way, he meets a long line of interesting characters, all the while avoiding the soldiers tasked with hunting deserters. Parallel to his story is Ada’s, as she struggles to learn the ropes of managing her deceased father's farm with help from the scatty, no-nonsense Ruby (an Oscar-winning turn from Renée Zellweger), all the while fantasising about the return of her lost love. Kidman and Law spend hardly any screen time together, yet their brilliant, yearning performances more than make up for this to illustrate their desperation and longing to reunite.

Birdsong (2012)


This BBC mini-series based on Sebastian Faulk’s novel recounts the life and times of Stephen Wraysford (Eddie Redmayne). An English soldier fighting in the trenches of Northern France during WWI, he is continually haunted by the memories of the French Isabelle (Clémence Poésy), a married woman he had an affair with 6 years previously. Redmayne and Poésy are perfectly cast as the impetuous lovers, while the backdrop of a balmy summer in provincial France perfectly captures the claustrophobia and repression of their predicament.

Atonement (2007)


This heartbreaking wartime drama based on Ian McEwan’s bestselling novel boasts a stellar cast, including Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, Saiorse Ronan, Benedict Cumberbatch and Vanessa Redgrave. When the budding romance between Cecilia Tallis (Knightley) and Robbie Turner (McAvoy) is cut brutally short following a lie told by Bryony Tallis (Ronan), the repercussions span several decades. After choosing the army over prison, Robbie is stationed at Dunkirk, while Cecilia takes a role as a nurse in London. Knightley provides a masterfully reserved turn as the stoic Cecilia, while McAvoy’s take on the morally upstanding, innocent and fundamentally kind Robbie is completely heartbreaking – and special mention must be given to Wright’s masterful tackling of the novel’s twist ending.

Casablanca (1942)


This classic WWII drama, starring Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart as former lovers Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund, takes place in unoccupied Casablanca and is responsible for one of the most mis-quoted movie lines of all time. When the Nazi Major Strasser (Conrad Veidt) arrives in Casablanca, the sycophantic police Captain Renault (Claude Rains) goes above and beyond to appease him- including detaining Czechoslovak underground leader Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid). Lazslo’s partner is Ilsa, who ran out on Blaine in Paris and left him completely embittered. But when it transpires that her reasons were honourable, the pair hatch a plan to run off together again, and pick up where they left off...

The English Patient (1996)


Anthony Minghella wrote and directed this multi-award winning epic based on Michael Ondaatje's novel about a doomed romance set against the backdrop of WWII. In a field hospital in Italy, nurse Hana (Juliette Binoche) is caring for a pilot who was horribly burned in a plane wreck. Hana determines mid evacuation that the patient shouldn't be moved far due to his fragile condition, so the two are left in a monastery to be picked up later. Slowly, she begins to piece together the patient's story told in flashbacks. She discovers that her charge is in fact the Hungarian Count Laszlo Almásy (Ralph Fiennes) –who while mapping unchartered territory in North Africa, was thrown together with English couple Geoffrey (Colin Firth) and Katherine Clifton (Kristin Scott-Thomas) resulting in an affair which lead him to betray not only his friend, but his country.

The End of the Affair (1955)


Adapted by Lenore Coffee from Graham Greene’s novel, this classic stars Van Johnson as Maurice Bendrix, the clandestine lover of married Sarah Miles (Deborah Kerr). When Maurice disappears during the London blitz, Sarah is overwhelmed with guilt, feeling that her unfaithfulness has led to Maurice to be placed in danger. In a fit of desperation she prays for his safe return, promising to end the affair if only his life is spared... and the rest is in the title. Featuring wonderfully emotionally complex performances from all the leads, the film is also notable for a standout performance from John Mills, as the private detective hired by Sarah’s husband Henry (Peter Cushing) to keep tabs on her whereabouts. 

Gone with the Wind (1939)


One of the most beloved movies of all time, and winner of ten Academy Awards, including for Hattie McDaniel’s and Vivien Leigh’s performances, Gone with the Wind follows the life of spoiled, pampered Southern belle Scarlett O'Hara (Leigh). After discovering a former beau is engaged, Scarlett’s behaviour leads her straight into the arms of the wayward Rhett Butler (Clark Gable), the black sheep of a wealthy Charleston family, who is instantly fascinated by the spirited, self-absorbed Scarlett. The movie’s action continues, through the American Civil War, the burning of Atlanta, Scarlett’s journey from riches to poverty, and three marriages, all the way to the now-classic closing line, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

Life is Beautiful (1997)


This stunning tragicomedy was directed by Roberto Benigni and also garnered him a best leading actor Academy Award. Set in 1939, Benigni plays Jewish-Italian Guido Orefice working as a waiter to fund his plans to open a bookshop. When he meets a school teacher named Dora (Nicoletta Braschi), his effervescent humour ultimately sweeps her off her feet. On the fifth birthday of their son Giosué (Giorgio Cantarini), World War II is in full force, and since they are Jewish, the Germans take away Guido and Giosué to a labour camp. Wanting to be with her family, Dora insists she goes too, but is taken to the women's side of the camp. In an attempt to protect Giosué from the horror of their situation and ensure they are not separated, Guido tells him that they are playing a game, in which he can win points by staying out of sight of the guards. The first to win 1000 points wins a real tank. Guido's primary goal is to keep Giosué safe at all cost, while he desperately tries to find out a way to get his family out of the camp and keep the Germans at bay before they discover Giosué.

Shining Through (1992)


David Seltzer's adaptation of Susan Issacs' novel is set during WWII, and stars Melanie Griffith and Michael Douglas as work colleagues who ultimately become lovers. When Linda Voss (Griffith) applies for a job with international lawyer Ed Leland (Douglas), he hires her immediately upon discovering she is fluent in German. He’s an undercover OSS officer in need of a German translator, but when America enters the war, he abandons his practice to become a full-time spy. Meanwhile Linda travels to Berlin to infiltrate the Nazis and find out more about "a bomb that can fly by itself" ... as well as desperately searching for the whereabouts of her Jewish relatives.

Testament of Youth is available now  on digital platforms  and on Blu-ray and DVD from 25th May 2015, courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

12 May 2015

Adam Driver Unravels The 'Dark Side' To Protect A Child In Hungry Hearts


Before he heads to a Galaxy far far away Adam Driver has a small matter of an indie Psychological Thriller Hungry Hearts where he'll explore a different 'dark side'. The film is set for a limited release next month IFC Films have released the official trailer reveals a father love to protect his child from his wife's paranoia.


Hungry Hearts tales the story of New York City newlyweds Jude (Adam Driver) and Mina (I Am Love's Alba Rohrwacher) have a seemingly perfect relationship. But things take an unsettling turn with the birth of their son. Convinced that the baby must be kept free of all contaminants, Mina develops fanatical obsessions with veganism, cleanliness, and purity that may kill the child unless Jude can stop her. With stunning performances from Driver and Rohrwacher, this intense psychological drama suggests that sometimes a parent’s love can be the scariest thing of all.

Since it's world premiere at Toronto Film Festival last year the film has been getting some good reviews that good luck followed it to London too. Whilst some are promoting this as a romantic drama however it's more a thriller with dark and sinister undertones, them been the mental health of Rohrwacher's character. It's good to see a film underline the awareness of first time mums and how sometimes under the joy of been a mother for first times we forget the question "how are you mum?".

Hungry Hearts gets an US 5th June limited/VOD release, co-starring Jake Weber, Roberta Maxwell, and David Aaron Baker.

12 May 2015

The Bullied Rise In International Trailer For Young Adult FilmFaeryville


This Autumn the king(or Queen) of the Young Adult films The Hunger Games will be ending so we'll then see many wannabes fighting for that crown. YA films are not just Hollywood based Singapore have Dystopian Young Adult film Faeryville is on the verge of a release in it's native Singapore and we have a look at the film's official trailer.

It was 8 years in the making but the long road for filmmaker Tzang Merwyn Tong the end is nearly in sight for his indie produced film is weeks away from it's official cinematic release. A film that inspires the bullied to stand up what they stand for whilst they might be afraid of what they fight for...


Poe and his friends are pranksters in Faeryville College, often bullied by the oppressive fraternity. To protect themselves, they form a clique calling themselves The Nobodies. Enter Laer, a new transfer student who joins The Nobodies, inspiring them to move from stink bombs to homemade explosives. Youthful idealism soon becomes an excuse for all-out anarchy.

Faeryville doesn't have a UK release however back in January the film made it's international premiere in USA leaving with some fantastic reviews. The above trailer is the films 'international version' so they are expecting for the film to be released globally. Faeryville will be released cinematically in Singapore 26th May.

The film stars Lyon Sim, Aaron Samuel Yong, Tanya Graham, Jae Leung, Farid Assalam, Kris Moller.

source:Twitch

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