Writer-Director Johnny Herbin tackles a subject better suited to a full length feature but manages to make it click into a tight 7 minute run time. While there’s a slight feeling of being left wanting more, beautiful cinematography and a story that takes us on a journey at a natural pace help this short film become a success.
From the opening upside down cinematography, you sense American Animals is going to be something wildly unique. Following the contradicting accounts of the four real life members of one the strangest heists to ever occur, this crime drama weaves in and out of being a semi documentary and deliver one of the best edge of your seat rides to grace cinema screens all year.
Starting in Jamaica 1973 and taking us all the way to Hackney 10 years later, Idris Elba’s directorial debut follows D (played by the insanely impressive Aml Ameen) who grows up in the midst of a gang war in Kingston. After suffering first hand through this war, he soon becomes involved with King Fox (Sheldon Shepard), a music producer and don of Kingston. D is sent to London to finalise a drug deal, but things begin spiralling out of control and with the reappearance of his childhood love, D must choose which path he wants to walk down.
Winner of Best Director at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Pawel Pawlikowski’s latest is a glorious love story that follows Zula (Joanna Kulig) and Wiktor (Thomasz Kot), who begin a passionate relationship during the 1950’s Cold War in Poland. Due to politics, mistakes and unforseen circumstances, they are separated and reunited many times. It’s an impossible love story set during an impossible time that takes us all over Europe with a score and cinematography to die for.
Any other MCU fans out there still not over …Infinity War? Me neither, but thankfully we’ve got the latest in the ever expanding universe to hold us over. Ant-Man was something of a surprise hit back in 2015, but I was never as sold on it as everyone else. I thought it was a fun but pretty forgettable film and definitely not up to the standard of the rest of the MCU. The sequel sees Hope (Evangeline Lilly) suit up as the titular Wasp (also becoming the first female superhero to be in the title of an MCU film – finally) this time around and, with the help of her Dad (Michael Douglas) and Scott (Paul Rudd), attempt to save her Mother (Michelle Pheiffer) from the Quantum Relm (something set up in the original film). Without a change of director half way through and the need to set up future instalments, AM&TW (as no one is calling it) is an improvment over it’s predeccessor. However, it still feels a lot less audacious than other MCU films.
Set on a family farm in France during 1915, Xavier Beauvois’ films sees the men of the family leave to go and fight whilst the women are left behind to care for the farm. When the workload gets too tough, Hortense Sandrail (Nathalie Baye) decides to hire a farmhand named Francine Riant (Iris Bry) to help during the harvest season. Once Hortense’s son returns from the war, he begins to fall in love with Francine. The Guardians is proof that there’s still life in the overused “love story during the war” trope and also tackles the impact returning from the fight has as well as articulating the strength and resolve of the women left to tend the farm perfectly.
Visiting hours may be never, but you really should try and check yourself into a showing of Hotel Artemis.
Two banker robbers, a deadly assassin and an arms dealer walk into a seedy hotel run by a nameless nurse. It may sound like the start to a bad B-Movie, but Hotel Artemis is a lot more than cliches and violence. For starters, it has a strong ensemble and manages to fully utilise each and every actor to their strengths. Jodie Foster (in her first staring role since Elysium in 2013!) shows that even without a hard hitting dramatic script, she is still an absolutely phenomenal actor. She brings laughs naturally but also adds an surprisingly large emotional weight to the film. Continue reading
Daniel Kokotajlo’s striking debut is a harrowing insight into the way Jehovah’s Witnesses have their lives controlled by the religion’s rules. To many people, the rules that are well known seem absolutely bizarre and cruel. Apostasy highlights many of the more unknown requirement of being a Jehovah’s Witness, only causing the film to become more and more shocking as it goes on. It’s a bold debut by Kokotajlo, with some stunning central performances.
Deborah Haywood’s debut is a remarkable look at the effects bullying can have at school and all the way through to adulthood. The phycological harm inflicted on its victims is never shyed away from and the film is unrelentingly upsetting but, more importantly, Pin Cushion feels raw, visceral and unlike anything I’ve seen for a long time.
Iona (Lily Newmark) and her mother Lyn (Joanna Scanlan) move to a new house which in turn means Iona has to start a new school. Both of them have a super close relationship to one another and because of Lyn’s hunchback, it means Iona has lived a very sheltered life, meaning she’s an easy target. Pin Cushion presents them exactly as most other films would, only it manages to not poke fun at their eccentrics and instead makes you see the best in them. One of the key elements to do with Pin Cushion’s success is down to the fact you are not only believing in the characters, but also feeling every single moment of their pain.
We’ve been having a bit of a spell recently of sequels coming out YEARS after the original. Some have been well worth the wait (‘Blade Runner 2049’). Others haven’t (‘Independence Day: Resurgence’). ‘The Incredibles’ was a film my generation grew up with so I had a lot of faith riding on this to not let me down. 14 years later and this 21 year old can happily say it was well, well worth the wait.