Saturday 30 March 2019

Sunburn - BFI Flare

Hot Summer day, weekend break from city life, in the middle of nowhere. Four close friends drink, act merry until a mysterious person from their pasts sends word that he is on his way. Secrets will be revealed, whether they like it or not

Full review over at VultureHound which can be read HERE.

Wednesday 27 March 2019

Giant Little Ones - BFI Flare

Franky and Ballas have been best friends forever. They both have girlfriends, they're on the swimming team together and they seem inseparable. But after Franky's birthday party, the two friends share an encounter after which Ballas abruptly leaves. From this moment on Franky’s world is shattered.

Exploring the damage and ignorance of homophobia as well as the heartbreak of betrayal and the yearning of for a connection and placing no labels on love. This isn't just an coming-of-age film hitting the same beats.

Full review can be read over at VultureHound HERE.

Tuesday 26 March 2019

Carmen & Lola - BFI Flare

Set in the close gypsy community where everyone knows each other's business, Lola wants to escape the strict rules and way of thinking. Carmen, newly engaged to Lola's cousin, is at first happy to go down the path that other women have done before. But when these two girls meet, there's no denying their chemistry or passion.

Full review can be read over at VultureHound HERE.

Monday 25 March 2019

Tell It To The Bees - BFI Flare

First film of BFI Flare and its a delicate romance in 1950s Scotland where two very different women find more than comfort with each other.

Full review can be read over at VultureHound HERE.

Thursday 21 March 2019

Thursday Movie Picks: Private Eye

So. I originally wanted to have three films with a private detectice being female but I couldn't find one film. There are shows where women are detectives but no private eyes. Just sexy CIA agents, or sexy spys or sexy police officers. Ugh. If I'm wrong about this, please send me titles of FILMS where the private eye is a woman and isn't one of the previously named cliches.

These are all California set, two of them set in the 70s and two are directed by Shane Black.

Inherent Vice
As a huge fan of Joaquin Phoenix, I of course loved this long hauled story about a private eye who is high, drunk or neither and gets called a 'damn hippy' all the time. The mystery involves his ex-girlfriend going missing as well as a whole other heap of trouble and weirdness. In fact, his ex-girlfriend, who shows up for one of the most uncomfortable and irriting reunions scenes becomes a redherring and an anti-climatic moment. Its all about Larry "Doc" Sportello and his being, as well as three cases that all linked. Not loved by all, but I do love a detective story.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Fantastic opening credits that rival 'Catch Me If You Can' and follows through with one of the best Robert Downey Jr roles ever. A thief escapes the police after a robbery gone wrong by busting into an audition. Giving such a 'real' performance, he is offered a role to star in a Hollywood film but has to have 'private investigator' lessons first. Val Kilmer is Gay Perry, a gay P.I (and that's literally his name) who takes RDJr out on a job BUT it all goes wrong and they end up involved with a high profile murder case. Making up the team is Michelle Monaghan as RDJr's childhood crush who works with Perry while aspiring to be an actress. Broken down into chapter, each one is pleasingly named after a classic film noir/detective novel, all which are relevent to the main case. Such a great film, at times I wish that had been a sequel, but I know it would have been bad if made.

The Nice Guys
Another day, another dollar, another duo with a blend of comedy gold and murder mystery. At first glance, the pairing of Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling is odd but as soon as the action begins, everything falls into place. Things are made far better with Gosling being the ridiculous one with responsibility (a sassy tween daughter) and Crowe is calm, cool loner. Its not what you'd expect BUT the plot that thickens is, involving, in true 70s style, a porn actress' death, a high ranking official of the Justice department's wayward daughter and something about car and the environment. It looks amazing, the story is fun and threatening in equal measures and I loked it far more than I thought I would.

Don't forget to check out where it all started over at
Wandering Through the Shelves

Thursday 14 March 2019

Thursday Movie Picks: Movies You Thought You'd Hate But Ended Up Enjoying

Grease 2
I love Grease but never understood why they made a sequel. It was not needed. But then, after hearing a couple of friends go on and on about it, even going to the special screenings of it and knowing all the words to the songs, I saw it. Now I am obsessed with 'Cool Rider' sung by Michelle Pfeiffer. Every now and then I catch myself singing 're-pro-duction! REPRODUCTION!' I'm hooked now. If you're unsure what this probably cult classic is about, its basically the first Grease except the other way around but with a weird twist not twist near the end and with Liza Minnelli's half sister. Sandy's cousin Michael (a young hot Rex Manning, well Maxwell Caulfield) from England arrives at Rydell High and falls for Pink Lady Stephanie but she wants a hot guy on a motorcycle. Throw in music, cheesy music and some 50s-ish stuff you got a hit!

Gremlins 2: The New Batch
Truth is, I'm not a Gremlins fan. I fell asleep the first time I watched it and can't remember the second time.  BUT the sequel, my gad I love the sequel. Its ridiculous, its funny, its self deprecating and actually a tad scary at moments and better yet, it takes place in a self contained building in the city. With a host of supporting actors all having a great time or rather having a hellish day but great fun to watch. The gremlins themselves have even rebooted, creating hybrids and mutating even more as well as Greta, the female gremlin. I just love it, especailly the very well spoken gremlin in the suit.

To All the Boys I Loved Before
I'm not a rom-com kinda person BUT there are exceptions that break through my icy heart. But this is more a romantic teen drama than comedy. Teen movies are always about family, opposite gender and getting into college. This is more about the first two as our heroine is not a senior. She writes letters to crushes and never tells them, until, they letters get out and shes forced to confront her feelings and tell the truth. Its a simple set up and outcome and it won me over. Not just because I like the two leads, who are adorable together, but I like the story and how its structured, that's how my brain works. Not too sure about a sequel, but seeing as my first two picks are sequels, you never know.

Don't forget to check out where it all started over at
Wandering Through the Shelves

Wednesday 13 March 2019

O Captain My Captain

There are hundreds of reviews floating round the internetsphere so I won't take up your time with mine, instead I'll share a few thoughts and then dive into, why the media circus?


I haven't read the comics. I should start that for every Marvel film I write about, although I used to read a bit of Xmen. Back to Capatin Marvel. Serving as an origin story for Captain Marvel aka Carol Danvers as well as side flashback to when Fury wasn't the head of S.H.I.E.L.D and was inpired by his encounter with Danvers and the all the other, aliens, to start his avengers inititive. This really makes Danvers the centre of of the whole universe so its only appropriate that shes there in Endgame to save it.

Starting with her day to day solidering with the Kree where they make sure she keeps her powers in check, answers to her superiors and encourage her to ignore her memory flashbacks, she is in deep with this life. Although their enemy are the shape shifting Skrulls, the Kree have never been the 'good guys' so it's not so difficult to see what comes later, despite the opening group banter, which was funny. Danvers or 'Vers' as she is affectionately known as literally crash land back home after escaping the sinister Skrulls ships and memory contraption. This is a homecoming that sets the whole 'but who am I' journey in motion, while at the same time uncovering the true deception of the Kree and switching the Skrulls to the innocent party.

Captain Marvel is a superhero film so it will hit the same beats as the films before it, but it also goes against the grain. She is superpowered thanks to an accident or rather act of bravery; trying to destroy technology that is literally from another planet and honour her mentor. The origin stories of Danvers have apparently been different and usually involving a man, soilder giving him her powers, BUT in this story, her mentor is Mar-Vell, a Kree scientist trying to stop war and its Annette Benning. Fantastic cast choice, in fact the Captain is surrounded by great characters/cast, which can make or break a film.
There were several times where I rolled my eyes but with homages to previous superhero films and even an Indiana Jones moment, the film was what I hoped to see. A fun, comic book film with an amazing and on point 90s soundtrack, featuring a fair amount of female artists and unexpected surprise in the form of a cat that provided comedic bits galore, I was entertained. It didn't excede my expectations but I enjoyed the outcome.


There have been a great show of support between female film critics, sharing each others reviews on Twitter. I didn't read them all but the ones I did show a variety of reactions to the film. Some loved it, others didn't, some had strong feelings about different aspects surrounding the film, others championed it, and some, well, really hated it. Even amongst the positive praise and justified critiques, I was disappointed by the circus of attention that wasn't about the character and story.

The bigger picture is that, yes, there was quite a bit of the Marvel franchise riding on whether this film would be successful or not. But looking back at the previous films, there hasn't be a film thats been attacked (both positively and negatively) in this way before. I suppose there was a fair amount of speculation around the first Guardians of the Galaxy as it was purely space set and had three main characters that were CGI but that was because there hadn't be such a heavily sci-fi Marvel film, when really, if you strip it down, its a science fiction film with a great group of characters that just so happens to be within the Marvel universe. Also, its my favourite Marvel film. But apart from GOTG, the hype has been normal. I can't be the only person to have said this, but all this fuss is just because the main character, main superhero is female and to be honest, there shouldnt be this sort of hype just because of that fact. Extra pressure is mounted on this fact alone as to whether its good or not and if it isn't its because its a women front and centre and if its good, its only because theres finally a female superhero as the main character.

This is the death that practically killed Ghostbusters back in 2016. This is the death that buried Oceans 8, although granted the hype was not big for this film, which I don't understand, that film is amazing and I'm just saying that because I watched it 5 times in a row (no joke). This the possible death that Wonder Woman defeated, but because the rest of the DC films sunk (apart from Aquaman I hear) after the sequel, who knows what will happen to her. All these film were built up with everyone half hoping they'll fail. The malicious half anyway.

There has also been a cloud of disgust surrounding critics. A barrage of outraged critics who believe what they have to say is more important. Then the backlash that women only like the film because there's a woman in it! Its reached ridiculous heights. But, again, seeing the threads of female critics sharing each others work, no judgement, no arguments, just sharing and championing each other, gives me hope that we can do this for any film and not just when there a female superheo on the poster, alone.

Friday 8 March 2019

The Young Poet

 Two films are being released this weekend that will and should spark conversation. One is of course is Captain Marvel herself, Marvel's first film with a leade female superhero, the other, The Kindergarten Teacher written and directed by Sara Colangelo about the teacher of the title who discovers that one of her 5 year old students is a gifted poet. One of these films will be in cinemas for weeks, the other might not be. The latter deserves your attention.

Lisa is a kindergarten teacher who spends her days with her young students, teachers them the alphabet and playing games. She takes poerty classes but her work is usually critiqued harshly by her classmates. She has little chemistry with her husband and is disappointed in her children who don't share her ideals of them having an intellectual or creative life. One day she hears one of her 5 year old students recite a poem. Finding out from his nanny that he does this quite often and upon hearing more of his poetry, she believes that Jimmy is a gifted prodigy. She becomes determined to nuture his talent even at the disapproval of his family and lack of support from own home. Her actions turning to desparate attempts to keep Jimmy's poems alive, she spirals out of control.

Part of the 'Reclaim the Frame' project which was started by Birds' Eye View who wanted to bring greater audiences to see films by women. This year kicked off with 'The Kindergarten Teacher' and a fantastic panel of speakers; a neuro-psychologist, a poet and filmmaker and founder of the Bechdel Test Fest.

The film poses the question about whether Lisa is a bad person or not. The decisions made by Lisa are unethical, especially considering the position of trust she is in. But she could also be right in wanting to nurture Jimmy's talent because as he gets older, this guft will be crushed by what's expected of him and what his family want from him.

As someone who feels starved of creativity from her work and home life, her poetry classes act as a sanctum, even though her own poetry doesn't inspire anyone in her class, including the teacher. She is openly disappointed with her two teenage kinds who don't want to follow in her so called intellectual footsteps. Her husband doesn't have much input in her life and barely registers with her once she becomes focused on Jimmy. Her desparate need for creative output is almost shunned before it can even becomes more than a few dull sentences on a page, but she finds peace with Jimmy, living vicariously through him and his poetry. To her, she is doing the right thing by pushing him to work, practice reciting his work and writing all his work down. By the end of the film, she accepts that the lenghths she has gone to to 'protect' Jimmy and his gift is too far and she has lost control. However, her fear that no one by her cares about his gift, is proved to be very real. The fact that his father doesn't care about his poetic talent, caring only whether he can make money or not aside, just from the last few moments in the film, Jimmy says he has a poem, but he is ignored, predicting exactly what society will do with him as he ages. No one cares about your poetry when you get older.

If the film has a genre, it would be a thriller in some ways, but one that is hightened not by the actions and soundtrack but by its delicacy, small actions and expressions which director Sara Colangelo brings through her own touch and gaze to the story. Maggie Gyllenhaal gives a brilliant complexity to her character, creatineg sympathy as well as anger, she makes you want to side with her and at the same time question her actions, a fantastic performance.

If you're looking for a film that will spark debate and discussion, The Kindergarten Teacher is out now, go see it and get others to join you.

Monday 4 March 2019

January/February Watch List

Stan & Ollie
A story of legends and one of the greatest love stories ever told. 4/5 My post about the film is HERE for your reading pleasure.

Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse
This one crept up and made a huge impact on all comic book fans. Its the best comic book film I've seen, maybe even better than my beloved Guardians of the Galaxy. This Spider-Man film not only manages to side step some of the terrible films that came out, it even pokes fun at them. The fact that there are multiple universes and each one there is a Spider-Person must mean that there are multiple versions of all the Marvel characters. In this film, this is Miles' time to shine. The film introduces a new Spider-Man, passes the baton, gives him a worthy story to work with, gives him THE best mentor a would be hero could ask (Peter B. Parker perfectly cast/voiced by Jake Johnson) for AND even has time to introduce 4 other great Spider characters from multiple universes AND bring villain King Pin back to his original place, fighting Spidey as well make Dr Oct a woman voiced by the amazing Kathryn Hahn, literally all my dreams came true with this film. Story and characters aside, the film is brilliantly animated, making it look like a comic literally came to life, with the voiceover, speech bubbles, the black lines of the panels. This film is so brilliantly constructed, it shows up all the previous efforts, this film is pure comic book heart. 5/5

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden Kingdom
A satisfying and emotional close on a fantastic franchise. My review is over at VultureHound and can be read HERE 4/5

Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte
Whatever happened to Baby Jane? Well, she made this film with the bare bones similarities but then her sister left the set so Olivia De Havilland stepped in. 3/5 My review is over at VultureHound and can be read HERE

The Lady Eve
One the best screwball comedies, I laughed so much out loud. They really don't make 'em like they used to. 5/5 My review is over at VultureHound and can he read HERE.

 I missed this at LFF due to scheduling clashes BUT with the hype that grew during and after the festival, I knew I couldn't miss it again. With a pace slower than pain drying, this thriller doesn't have any scare moments, there are no 'big reveals' but instead plagues your mind as you try to put the very few clues together. Lonely would be writer Lee Jong-su bumps into old school fellow Shin Hae-mi after years. At first it seems this is going to be a not so romantic story about two lonely people who used to know each other but instead flips what you except of this mysterious story. She leaves for a trip and returns with the mysterious, handsome and wealthy Ben. Jong-su ends being the third wheel to the couple. He observes them, suspicous of Ben and his beahviour, remarking that Ben is a Gatsby. No one knows how he makes his money or where it comes from. A mystery unfolds as pieces start to fall into place, we are left to draw our own conclusions despite what happens on screen. The story unpeels itself, creating unease from the moment Ben is introduced, giving a whole new meaning to a slow burner thriller. 4/5

Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Amongst the Oscar darlings there was a hidden gem directed by Marielle Heller, based on the true story of how literally down on her luck writer Lee Israel forged thousands of letters from famous writers. It takes a while for Lee to get going in her new venture which proves to be lucrative and along with her down his luck friend Jack, they live a little, that is, until they are found out. The story isn't a huge story as in there is no over the top dramatics, except from Richard E. Grant as Jack but that's who he is. Deservingly so, both Grant and Melissa McCarthy were nominated at the Oscars. Both great roles in what I'd describe as a quiet film which reflects on how far you'd go to pay the bills and be able to sleep at night. 3/5

I love a good hitman story and even more so when its crazy and ridiculous, think Smokin' Aces but without the police side plot and undercover bit. The infamous Black Kaiser is about to retire which means the company he works for, even hitmen have a boss, will owe him 8 million, which they clearly don't want to pay so his wacky clothed boss gets his hit sqaud out to kill him. In the meantime hes settled into a cabin and even made friends with his neighbour. What follows is a spectacular bloodbath of bullets and mayhem and Mads Mikkelsen, the Kaiser himself, barely flinches. 3/5

Velvet Buzzsaw
There was little hype except for a trailer that arrived a month before it appeared on Netflix but since there was so much hate and misunderstanding about this film, it deserves a post of its own. 4/5

What the hell was that? I asked myself throughout this film even though I knew exactly what I was walking into. A man who has the desire to kill someone with an ice pick casually books a hotel room and arranges for a call girl who does S&M to come to his room where he plans to kill her. He has it all sorted and written in detail in his notebook. BUT when she shows up, she's even crazier than he is. A brilliant two hander from the very beautiful Christopher Abbott and the fascinating as ever Mia Wasikowska who dance around each other is a strange and sometimes even erotic way. Biazrre to say the least but again, expected as the film is based on a novel written by the same guy who wrote Audition, which the film was based on. There's something so desparate and immaculate about the two characters and in another time and place, they could have made each other so happy, if they weren't so deranged. 3/5

The Guilty
This is one of those, just one person on screen throughout the film while he makes lots of calls and like the others, its one hell of a suspensful thriller. 4/5 My review is over VultureHound and can be read HERE