Showing posts with label film festivals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label film festivals. Show all posts

29 April 2015

Dead by Dawn 2015 Review - Tusk

No comments: Links to this post

Genre:
Horror,Comedy
Distributor:
Sony Pictures HE
Rating: 15
DVD Release Date:
8th June 2015 (UK)
Screened:
Dead By Dawn 2015
Director:
Kevin Smith
Cast:
Michael Parks, Justin Long, Genesis Rodriguez, Haley Joel Osment, Harley Morenstein
Buy:Tusk [DVD]


Kevin Smith is one brazen son of a gun. His first foray into horror, Tusk is a tricky sell, too silly to be scary, to nihilistic to be widely enjoyed. But screw it, this isn’t about making flavour of the month, Smith’s latest is bold as far as genre mash-ups go. Tusk mashes rural craziness with body horror, ultra-nihilism, and laugh-out-loud silliness to create a truly unique feature. It’s a searing shot of monstrous black comedy that’s made for the thicker skinned viewer.

Wallace (Justin Long) is a successful podcaster and a bit of an asshole, travelling to Canada for a tasteless interview. After the interview is cancelled, Wallace contacts Howard Howe (Michael Parks), an old recluse living in an ancient house who just wants to share the stories of his seafaring adventures. Soon, Wallace is at the whim of a madman with an unfortunate obsession with Walrus.
Michael Parks is the heart and soul of the film, committing 100% to one of modern horror’s best nutters. A close thematic relation to Dieter Laser’s terrifying Dr Heiter in The Human Centipede, Howe proves a far deeper, more gripping, and worryingly likable character. Long is actually superb as a prime caricature of American success, but as a viewer it’s impossible to deny Parks’ gravitas in the pair’s shared screen time. The preposterous narrative benefits hugely from Park’s careful and charismatic performance along with Smith’s dialogue, which is in turns barmy and touching. Without Parks’ long stretches of storytelling, Tusk could have proved a one-trick pony, and even though the story will seem increasingly tenuous, Smith’s characters prove worthy anchors for the plot.
               
There’s plenty of stuff that’s relatively off: the attempt to build a mysterious love triangle falls flat and a certain celebrity cameo pushes the Inspector Clouseau thing so far it threatens to snap the film’s integrity. There are dumb-sized plot holes that could piss you off, but it’s more bother than it’s worth to get stuck in them. Sure, legs get severed with outrageous ease, Walrus fights are daft, and the resolution may leave some exasperated, but I guess its tough shit. This is an experiment in contemporary gothic informed by a brisk and cynical look at paparazzi culture and the animosity between America and Canada. Its bombastic, shameless, stupid, and oddly beautiful. It’s a story about a crazy old man who wants to turn folk into animals via horrific mutilation, and it’s hilarious.

Tusk is unapologetically nuts, sometimes stupid, but always enjoyable. Michael Parks is utterly superb, Smith’s dialogue deserves to be quoted for years to come, and bonus points to Justin Long, whose guttural screams will haunt my dreams forever.

★★★★
Scott Clark


28 January 2015

Sundance 2015 Review - Finders Keeper's (2015)

No comments: Links to this post

Sundance 2015 Review - Christmas, Again (2014)

No comments: Links to this post


Genre:
Drama, Romance, Indie
Venue:
Sundance 2015
Rating: 15
Director:
Charles Poekel
Cast:
Kentucker Audley, Craig Butta, Hannah Gross,Andrea Suarez Paz

Ever been dumped at Christmas? If so, Charles Poekel’s yuletide misery tale Christmas, Again will prove unfortunately familiar for you. Give it time though, and it might just teach you a thing or two about the grieving process.

Kentucker Audley delivers a tender portrayal of festive alienation as Noel, a young man working the streets of New York selling Christmas trees. Amidst stupid customers and lazy co-workers, Noel is simply trying to survive without breaking down, but after bringing an unconscious young woman home one night, his December starts to take a different direction than previously anticipated.

Commendable for realistically dealing with flirtations and passing friendships, writer/director/producer Poekel has a tight hold on this tender character piece.Audley is superb, but his consistently miserable performance can be a bit much until you start to share his headspace. The few moments of staunch emotion are apt and perfectly placed to articulate Noel’s pain and the point of the film as a whole. Poekel wants us to think about encounters we try to cling to, putting a hand on the viewer’s shoulder to assure us that its ok, friendships are sometimes doomed to end just as abruptly as they began.

Oddly this film feels like its for anyone who’s worked in retail or the service industry during the festive season too, proving itself a sharp satirical work whenever Noel is forced into awkward encounters with awful, pernickety, and downright infuriating customers. Keeping the script light means that the focus is elsewhere, on the performances and the camera work. Sean Price Williams keeps the project sedate and lacking in a flashiness that might have proved overbearing on the tight character work. Shooting on film gives the feature a depth and substance that might otherwise have been lost in the polished veneer of digital.

Christmas, Again is a muted affair, balanced precariously on the line between intriguing vignette and wide-scoped essay on capitalism, Christmas, and love. The film’s finest flourish comes in the form of the fantastic Kentucker Audley who channels an ocean of pain in an honest portrayal of heartache in the festive season.

★★★★
Scott Clark

Sundance 2015 Review - Best Of Enemies (2015)

No comments: Links to this post

Genre:
Documentary, History
Venue:
Sundance 2015
Director:
Robert Gordon, Morgan Neville
Cast:
Gore Vidal, Kelsey Grammer, John Lithgow

Two of American political history’s most arresting conservationists, will forever be heavy weight republican William F. Buckley and lizard-tongued liberal Gore Vidal. Now, whatever your political beliefs, one can neither deny the magnetism of either men, nor the balanced way in which they are dealt with in Best of Enemies. Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville strive to keep the field tight at both ends, focusing on what the outspoken gents’ televised 1968 debates meant for American politics (not to mention the development of news broadcasting as a whole) instead of simply digging up the past to settle an old score.

Buckley and Vidal’s debate came as the result of a kind of trifecta of issues; first, failing broadcaster ABC needed ratings, second, the Republican and Democratic party conferences were kicking off, and finally two desperately opposing writers were looking to cement their philosophies in the new age via TV. Unfortunately, the debates- there are 10 of them- don’t quite seem to ever deal with the issues at hand.

It’s about a clash of characters and ideals but its skimpy on the ideals. Vidal is an incredible wordsmith, but so is Buckley, the two spend so much time sparring (read; dick-waving) that the issues are left to the filmmakers to structure. And that’s where some problems can arise; too much context and arguably not enough info on what the two were actually supposed to be discussing leaves the viewer a little hungry for closure. As a whole the documentary is riveting, undeniably enjoyable, but one must eventually wonder whether it’s overly reliant on the fascinating intellectual deviants at its core.

Like Frost/Nixon without the political intrigue, Best of Enemies is a gripping piece of historical entertainment. It does however sport a line of such shattering incredulity, that it might just put Nixon’s now infamous ‘not illegal’ spurt to shame. John Lithgow and Kelsey Grammer narrate the diaries of Vidal and Buckley respectively, which is a fantastic idea given the two actors’ outspoken and parallel political views. There’s a host of charismatic and fascinating interviews, none least with Buckley’s own often hilarious brother, an excellent array of clips, and some really sparky editing. However the film never seems to quite articulate itself in the best way. The effects of the titanic duo’s verbal sparring on contemporary media is unfortunately ditched to a short credits sequence which is a shame as its one of the most striking parts.

As an introduction to the works of Gore Vidal and the processes of political commentary Best of Enemies is a blast, but it never quite manages to resonate or strike as hard as Vidal’s vocabulary. If you want to watch two very smart men be snide and snippy at an explosive point of zeitgeist, this is probably the best place to see it.

★★★
Scott Clark

21 January 2015

Glasgow Film Festival Unveil Their 2015 Line Up With Noah Baumbach's While We're Young

No comments: Links to this post


The programme for the eleventh edition of Glasgow Film Festival was announced today, with an exciting, innovative, audience-focused festival packed with UK, European and World premieres, and the festival’s trademark pop-up cinema events making new use of some of the city’s most unusual venues. GFF15, which is supported by Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, EventScotland, Creative Scotland and BFI, will open with the European Premiere of Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young, and close with the UK Premiere of Ruben Östlund’s Force Majeure. This year’s programme also offers an exciting new platform for early-career feature film directors, pays tribute to Ingrid Bergman as an early feminist icon and celebrates Glasgow as a city hooked on the silver screen.

In a major step forward, GFF has introduced a feature film award for the first time. The brand new Audience Award, which asks the ticket-buying public to vote on a selection of ten films by first and second-time directors, has been designed to showcase some exceptional early career talents creating pioneering and brilliant work, often on shoestring budgets without the backing and marketing power of major studios. The winner of the Audience Award will be announced at the Closing Gala. All film critics accredited for the festival are also offered the chance to vote on their favourite films from across the programme, and a Glasgow Film Festival Critics’ Choice list will be published after the festival.

Major UK premieres this year include Wim Wenders’ Oscar®-nominated documentary Salt of the
Earth and Still Alice, for which Julianne Moore is tipped to win the Best Actress Oscar®.It would'nt be a film festival without a Juliet Binoche film and Oliver Assayas' Clouds Of Sils Maria which also stars Chloe Grace Moretz and Kirsten Stewart an uncomfortable reflection of an actress agrees to take part in a play that launched her career.Dustin Hoffman is a choirmaster  who adopts an young boy to help develop his creative talents in Boychoir. Roy Andersson’s masterful reflection on the human condition unfolds in thirty nine meticulously composed tableaux vivants with A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence.Marshland,is a richly-textured Spanish murder mystery, like True Detective set in the Andaluz swamps.The Dark Horse a richly textured biopic of chess champion Gen Potini, featuring the performance of a lifetime by Once Were Warriors’ and soon to be lead in The Walking Dead Spin-off Cliff Curtis.

The magic of Film festivals is bringing the best of films from around the world to a screen near you and Glasgow Film Festival deliver that promise for those hoping to attend. In the 16 strands the festival has the Window On The World & Cinemasters strands delivering most distinctive films from around the globe with a big focus on China and Japan.Some of the fantastic highlights include a Danny Boyle's homage to Californian/Japan noir with Man From Reno, Berlin Golden Bear winner Black Coal, Thin Ice a broody atmospheric murder mystery set in 1999 Northern China. Zhang Zimou's look at national impact of the cultural revolution with Coming Home.Daihachi Yoshida's award winning Pale Moon and Uzumasa Limelight an utterly charming salute to the art of the background actor, by Ken Ochiai makes its European Premiere.

If you adore old classic films 'Here's Looking At You Kid' will celebrate the career of Golden age icon Ingrid Bergman with great selection of her films. From Casablanca, Notorious, Murder On The Orient Express to Spellbound are some of the classics on show all for £5 a ticket. Remember its not all about the films, Glasgow Film Festival has gained a great reputations for its film related events, The Glasgow Youth Film Festival  which will open with sci-fi thriller The Signal starring Laurence Fisburne , If horror is your thing Film Frighfest will be in attendance for it's 10th Anniversary selection of the best horror from around the world.

Head over to the website www.glasgowfilm.org/festival for full line up


OPENING GALA: While We’re Young **EUROPEAN PREMIERE**
,
As acute and timely as they come... an almost perfect 90-minute hit of confident and inspired comedic commentary.” ★★★★★ Catherine Shoard, The Guardian
Growing older but feeling younger has rarely seemed as bittersweet as it does in the latest cautionary comedy from Frances Ha director Noah Baumbach. There are moments here to make everyone squirm with recognition and rock with laughter as Baumbach mines wry comic gold from an unexpected meeting of the generations. Filmmaker Josh (Ben Stiller) and his wife Cornelia (Naomi Watts) are settled in marriage and cosily stalled careers, while the rest of their forty-something pals are buried under babies and domesticity. Into their lives blast the twenty-something, fedora-wearing, aggressively urban hipsters Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried), and the older couple are flattered and attracted by their attention and idealism. Offered a second chance at youth, who wouldn’t grab it? However, as their new best friends turn out to have a hidden agenda, the breezy comic tone deepens and darkens into something more profound. While We’re Young was a huge hit at Toronto International Film Festival, and we’re delighted to be able to introduce European audiences to the film.

Wednesday 18 February (19.00) | repeated Thursday 19 February (13.00, 15.30) | GFT

CLOSING GALA: Force Majeure **UK PREMIERE**

Winner: Best Foreign Language Film, Critics Choice Movie Awards

One single moment can change everything in a relationship, and that’s exactly what happens in Force Majeure, a brilliant, Cannes Jury Prize-winner destined to leave you debating long after the final credits. A happy family are on a skiing vacation in the French Alps when an avalanche heads inexorably towards their mountaintop restaurant. Tomas (Johannes Bah Kuhnke) grabs his mobile and runs, leaving his wife Ebba (Lisa Loven Kongsli) and their children to fend for themselves. His instinct for self-preservation is the spark for a scalpel-sharp examination of love, guilt and devotion that may be even more destructive than the avalanche. By creating the circumstances in which everything we take for granted is torn away, writer/director Ruben Östlund has found an ingenious way to explore the flaws and cracks in a marriage. Is there just an unbridgeable gap between the way men and women view the world? Prepare to battle for the moral high ground at the UK premiere of one of the year’s most audacious and gripping films.

Sunday 1 March (20.00) | GFT

Tickets for the main festival programme are on sale from 10am on Monday 26 January. Passes for FrightFest, GFF’s horror festival-within-the-festival, go on sale at 10am Thursday 22 January. The brochure will be available online from 19.15 on Wednesday 21 January at www.glasgowfilm.org/festival