Friday, 3 April 2020

Rocks - BFI Film Festival


Firstly, it’s beyond a shame that 'Rocks' won't get to have its moment in cinemas this April. A story about a London teenager who left by her mum to take care of her young brother and fend for herself. But this isn't just about harsh realities or the tragedy that some young people suddenly find themselves left in, 'Rocks' is also about friendship and how we try to do the best for our friends even if it means making difficult decisions.

Sarah Gavron’s latest film may seem like other films of a certain genre but really, it’s been a long time, where a film, not a TV series, centres around a group of friends who happen to be girls. With 'Our Ladies' meant to be released later this month too, cinema is really be robbed of fantastic stories that you don't normally see on the big screen. But unlike 'Our Ladies', which was based on a novel, 'Rocks' was brought to life very differently. Working with the cast who mostly have not had any acting experience, Sarah Gavron worked on the script and dialogue for their characters. This refreshing way of telling the story really does shine through throughout, its realistic and very believable that these girls are friends and do deal with these problems at school and home at time doesn't feel like it’s a drama but a documentary and this is no bad thing.

Delving straight in Rock's world and the very dire situation she finds herself in. Too young to have to know exactly what to do, she's too young to have this responsibility but here we find her, asking for friends to let her stay the night, stealing stolen money from a new questionable friend, starting fights with those she's closest to. Her story doesn't have an end but rather a new start and new challenges. The last few scenes where her and the best friends take an impromptu trip to the coast is both full of joy and mischief but a sobering tone and a realisation that things will change, hopefully for the best.

A fantastic cast and a refreshing take on the over used 'coming of age' genre, Gavron makes this about friendship and growing up instead, which is a far better view of this story. I just really wish this British gem could be enjoyed in the cinema. Soon, I hope. But I feel I'll be saying that quite a bit in the weeks to come.



Monday, 30 March 2020

Jack & Yaya - BFI Flare


Seeing as BFI Flare along with lots of other films festivals have been cancelled and postponed due to the pandemic that has gripped the world, there will be a severe lack of festival posts this year, which in turn will mean there will be a lack of posts this year from me and the outlets I would write for. This will have a knock on effect into next year as well.

BUT BFI Flare did still have some features available to watch on the online library which press still had access to. I was late to this, however I was able to see one of the films I had been looking forward to, a documentary about two best friends who have supported each other through everything, including when they both came out as trans. Its a truely beautiful film and I was please I got to review it. My full review will be available on Vulturehound HERE very soon.

@BFIFlare
#BFIFlare

 

Friday, 27 March 2020

Ema - BFI London Film Festival


Slightly different this time as instead of a review, this is for an interview I had with Mariana Di Girolamo who plays Ema. A hell of a character with a style (which we mention quite a bit) that stands out from the crowd and a personality to match.

A vibrant, sexual rampage with dance sequences to match the energy but with a tragic and heartbreaking story at the core and Ema herself as the conductor for this performance. I was lucky to speack to Di Girolamo about the film, Pablo and Ema, which you can read over at Vulturehound HERE.



"What kind of bird are you?"


Finally. I've finished my Moonrise Kingdom zine.

Maybe its because I'm finally getting my groove back or that I have time on my hands, but I've finally completed the zine I started in November. In fact, I'll be saying 'finally' quite a bit over the next few weeks. Although this zine isn't quite what I had in mind, I was determined to complete it sooner rather than later.

My aim is to have the zines I've made available to view as a PDF and eventually become available to purchase BUT that last part is quite a way off as I would need a printer and scanner in order to complete my real zine dreams. Until then, please enjoy this sneak peak at the finished PDF. Hoping to print a few copies so I can see what it looks like, as I'm thinking of future Wes Anderson projects and how they'll all need to be in landscape to fully take in his visual style.


I have other zine ideas in the works, maybe with luck and lockdown I'll get them donw soon too.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Nine Years

This is the strangest post to write right now. Amidst the cinemas closing around us, the virus frenzy continuing to grow, this doesn’t seem like the time for me to look back at my 9 years of writing on this blog.

Although I’m thankful that my 10-year anniversary isn’t this year in light of everything going on out there, I had hoped this year was going to be THE year. Off to a fantastic start (personally) and film wise too. The triumphant Oscar wins for Parasite. A crop of fantastic female led films for the summer, all now on hold or postponed. I work in event cinema as well write about and cover film, its hitting me harder than I expected or sooner than I expected.

The last few weeks have felt like a film we’ve all seen before it gets to the panic and possible zombie apocalypse or world war or dare I say it, virus outbreak. But in theory, this is not like the movies, we’re all just living it.

My office where I work has said we can work from home and as I recently moved into my new place, it's going to be a long and hopefully not as lonely as I fear road. At least I’ll be writing more as we all move further online. I’ve been rather absent from my blog last week and the week before last mostly due to my own personal thing going on but I’m bouncing back. With many films in my collection to be watched and many films online to enjoy, there’s no end of material.

Everyone be safe and healthy out there and hopefully we’ll be back in cinemas soon.


Thursday, 5 March 2020

Birth of a New Genre


There seems to be a new breed of film out there, or maybe its always been there, we just haven’t tapped into its potential yet, that’s a bridge between grindhouse, dark matter science fiction and old school horror, but somewhere in between it all, there Nicolas Cage.

Adapted from and based loosely on the story by H.P Lovecraft, the colour or color that is from out of space is something that lands on earth in the shape or appearance of a meteorite, landing smack bang in the middle of a forest which also happens to be the front garden of the Gardener family. Not long after this, colour appears, strange things begin to happen, which soon turn to grotesque and as its Cage here, highly amusing. In the midst of all the hell the family are experiencing, a hydrologist is in the local area surveying the land for a reservoir that has been planned by the local politicians. He serves as the narrator, book ending this very odd story and film. Never providing clarity but even more mystery. 

There is no doubt that the audience who saw ‘Mandy’ will be flocking to this offering from Richard Stanley. Especially the two films not only share style and genres, in some ways, but they also share Cage. He isn’t quite the glue that holds the film together, that burden is given to Madeleine Arthur who plays his daughter, Lavinia. But Cage has a presence that not many actors have. He is both fantastic and abysmal at the same time. You can’t help but hang on his every line as they are be weird, profound and incredibly funny. This may be the writing but as it feels like a role made for Cage, its mostly him and his charisma. Cage really does go all the way, complete with several moments of insanity and screaming while hitting things. But the extra special zest in his performance is his random Trump impression that serves in the story as an impression of his character’s father. 

Moving away from Cage, the film itself is gory and disgusting in all the right places. For an alien horror film it serves up the right amount of each genre to keep you entranced, literally as the colours, are beautiful. Having the main antagonist as a colour is difficult in itself but you really do feel the pain, terror an dread and that even before the body horror elements kick in. There is sense of ‘why’ but ultimately it doesn’t matter. The story, as it unfolds, is a slow burn which you appreciate over the films that feel the need to rush to climax. Hopefully we’ll see more of this obscure genre hybrid in other films, and hopefully more Cage too for good measure. 

Tilda & Wes


Tilda Swinton is being honoured at BFI this month, receiving a fellowship for work in cinema over the decades. She is a staple in cinema, as both a British icon and international success. She is known for her indie and blockbuster roles, she is a literal chameleon. Last night she was joined on stage by one of her collaborators, a writer and director known for his distinct style in both production design, characters and stories. Wes Anderson is a filmmaker that you can instantly recognise and having him on stage with Tilda is a dream made in heaven.
 
They first met, unofficially, at Cannes when Orlando was being screened and Anderson was there for one of his short films. Years later, Swinton saw The Darjeeling Limited and wrote a fan letter to the director, prompting the two to meet and collaborate on three films and counting.
 
Together they had selected some films that had inspired and entranced them to take us on a magical tour through their cinema.
 
As both shared a passion for Powell & Pressburger, they started with ‘A Matter of Life & Death’ choosing a clip from the start of the film, moving on to reference ‘The Red Shoes’, ‘Peeping Tom’ and Tilda’s favourite film ‘I know Where I’m going’ which she talked about with such sweet delight, telling us all to take a trip on the sleeper train to Scotland so we could experience just a fraction of what she did when she saw the film. Wes had picked a Satyajit Ray film ‘Days and Nights in the Forest’ and showed us a 7 minutes clip, which the audience seemed to enjoy immensely despite only 1 or 2 people having seen the film. Tilda shared her admiration for Alec Guiness in Kind Hearts and Coronets who plays the entire family in the film, saying that it reminded her of her own family and how they all looked the same too. Wes made a point that he was planning on stealing some of the scenes we’d seen and asked that no one else do that. Ending on a quick clip of James Cagney dancing, the two legends slipped out the door.
 
It was just an hour talk but it was utterly delightful and it was really was a treat to have both Tilda and Wes on stage.