Wednesday 31 July 2019

Cinema Rediscovered 2019 Round Up

Now in its fourth year, Cinema Rediscovered in Bristol has become a staple in the film calendar, especially has it not only focuses on older films and bringing them into focus but it also pushes film criticism to the forefront. With talks and panels and the workshop for up and coming critics, the discussion about the state of criticism and what the future holds isn’t something you’d find at any other film festival. 

Screening films more well known such as ‘Kind Hearts and Coronets’ celebrating its 70th anniversary and Hitchcock’s ‘Notorious’ ahead of its re-release back into cinemas, alongside these are new documentary, ‘Filmfarsi’ delving into the near forgotten world of Iranian cinema and forgotten gems such as ‘Une Femme Douce’. They also weaved a theme within the festival exploring gluttony, decadence and resistance, screening British classic, ‘The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover’ and French Italian classic ‘La Grande Bouffe’. 

With the Cotswold gin flowing and the film discussions abundant, the Watershed, home for the festival and as Bristol’s shining beacon for film, the festival was a great place to catch up with fellow film fans and critics alike as well as discover something new/old that you hadn’t seen before. Looking forward to next year and what the Cinema Rediscovered team create. 

Having seen ‘Notorious’ for the first time, I wrote a separate post about it which can be read HERE.

I will also being writing about ‘Eyes of Laura Mars’ which was also a first time watch for me, presented by a favourite collective of mine, The Final Girls. Post to come soon!

Tuesday 30 July 2019

Blind Spot Series: Notorious

“There’s nothing like a love song.... to give you a good laugh”

A film’s reputation proceeds it, especially if it’s title is ‘Notorious’. Hitchcock’s thriller, spy romance starring two of the biggest stars at the time of its release, Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Screened at Cinema Rediscovered before the film is re-released back on the big screens and as part of the BFI Cary Grant season, so if you've not seen it, now you get the chance to see the film how it was meant to be seen.

As the daughter of a convicted German war criminal, Alicia, is recruited by US government agent, Devlin, to infiltrate a group of her father’s comrades, particularly Alexander Sebastian, who used to have more than a crush on her. But as with most best laid plans, Alicia and Devlin fall in love, putting a strain on her mission and leaving him jealous. This is Hitchcock though so don’t expect the usual beats to this sort of film. Hitchcock knows how to build suspense as well where to put the camera and how to break the rules.

The film is famous for breaking the Hayes Code as it includes kissing, open mouthed for more than 3 seconds. I always remember this film as the ones where Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant’s faces are stuck together for long periods of time, but luckily this film is more than what makes it, notorious.

Alicia is an unconventional leading lady, as she does what she wants, even drunk driving in the early hours. Her reputation proceeds her and doesn’t back down from a challenge. It insinuated on more than one occasion in the film that she’s been around, slept with a few men and for this reason she is right for her mission. But her keen eye and composure, even when drunk is not seen as an asset, except by Devlin. It’s refreshing to see a character like her drink and not care for the judgement put upon her and sacrifices none of her charm and elegance. Next to Grant’s Devlin, the epitomy of suave, they create a very beautiful couple which is remarked on in the film. But they also make an excellent spy couple but this might be us being blinded by their pairing. 

As well as the romance and thrills, there is the very welcome comedic element sliced in. Any time Sebastian’s mother hears that Alicia is in pain, her happy smirk is hard not to laugh at as the hatred is so obvious. Quips and witty comments are thrown out to also create a humorous atmosphere balancing the serious tone which is the main part of the film. With the film released back into cinemas, hopefully this will give a wider audience to experience this Hitchcock classic. 



Sunday 28 July 2019

Around the World: Russia

As promised from a while ago, a post just for the Russian superhero film, ‘Guardians’ as it was needed. When you see the typical superhero stance on a poster and they are dressed in ‘special’ suits, plus there’s a guy who is half bear, you can guess what sort of film you’re going to get.

With a standard plot about four individuals who were experimented on and as a result of these experiments, that turns out only a few of them agreed to, they all have super powers. Now the leader on this programme has gone rogue after getting powers of his own, a secret task force is assembled to recruit back these gifted individuals to help defeat the evil guy. Standard. The ‘Guardians’ as they are called, are defeated at first but then through the power of montage they are given weapons and go into training mode and once again go into battle with the now crazy evil guy. He’s crazy now too as he literally tears apart a building and wants to take over all the satellites. There is also a side plot where the only woman in the group can’t remember her life before the experiments but you can guess who she was married to before a mile off

This may sound like I’m not taking this film seriously but I was actually very much looking forward to seeing this film, no matter the outcome. For a standard plot, I was still very much confused throughout. I didn’t really understand the need for the experiments in the first place or what the evil guy was really up to, all I know is that he was evil and killed people and experimented on people. The real fun parts was when the task force recruited the guardians, going to various parts of the Russian domain and seeing what they could do with their powers. And of course seeing one man go full bear, that was enjoyable and most amusing as he ruined quite a few outfits but never seemed to be without clothes. 

The film was not adapted from a comic book or novel source material although considering the wider plot, I’m surprised. The fact that this film did not do very well at the box office was not a surprise. Even the filmmakers were quite optimistic and announced a sequel would happen with Chinese characters BUT that never happened. The filmmakers said to was due to the fact that no one knew the characters. There was no ready made fan base to hype the film despite the marketing team going all out. But in a movie world filled to the brim with superhero films, TV shows, comics and books, maybe there just wasn’t space for the Guardians to thrive. Except, on a late night screening at an obscure cinema that appreciates the more ridiculous things in life. 

Next up... check out all the films HERE

Monday 22 July 2019

Getting back in the water

You know the music, imagine that as you read this before you check out the latest post by Ben Flanagan and myself which can be read on the Cineworld blog HERE.

Thanks to Park Circus, who is bringing the original Summer blockbuster back to the big screen. Check out where ‘Jaws’ is showing HERE.

See you on Amity Island film fans!

Thursday 18 July 2019

Futurama May Be Right

Does anyone remember that episode of Futurama ‘Killer App’? The Planet Express gang all go and buy the new iPhone which is literally inserted into their eyes. The screen is projected in front of their eyes and they can blink to turn it on and off. The episode is about Fry filming Leela’s singing boyle which she calls Susan (and thinly veiled dig at reality star Susan Boyle - didn’t even know that she ‘made it’ to America) which she has to stab every few weeks. The video goes viral and Fry gets millions of followers. But evil Mom is planning on using Fry for his followers to release a virus. Plot aside, the science and technology seems like a look at the future. The Simpsons had already predicted events over the years, but I think Futurama also shines a light on possible outcomes. 

I’ve said it a few times in jest that I get all my science from ‘Futurama’ but in some aspects of the show there are quite credible ideas that may become a real. The iPhone being inserted into consumers eyes is taking it to extreme BUT with the way technology is progressing I wouldn’t be surprised if a prototype was made in the next 20 years. This is of course if the world hasn’t imploded yet. Speaking of the environment, Futurama mentions that too in the episode about the floating rubbish ball out in space when the world didn’t know what to do with its mass waste. The fact that the citizens of Earth recycle everything in the year 3000 is something that us lot living in this decaying world we’ve destroyed could learn from. Now back to technology.

Technology is moving faster than anyone could have predicted apart from maybe JD Ballard and his mentions of selfies. When the robot who started to create its own language had to be shut down or destroyed, that was a wake up call and I’m sure more than a few immediately thought of Skynet and the Cyclons. Well, us who love science fiction, but with robots becoming self aware enough to create language, that’s worrying on so many levels. Obviously in Futurama there are plenty of robots, they have their own lives and are citizens like humans and aliens alike, but its not that aspect of the show that makes you think about the future. The iPhone joke has truth buried in it. As does a few other gadgets such as the virtual reality look to how the internet is used. Instead of just logging onto a computer, you can put on a suit and physically walk around, similar to the Oasis in Ready Player One. 

The technological advances that are made by the year 3000 (hopefully that that Busted song dies a slow death) include adverts that invade your dreams, blank robots you can purchase and then clone on a famous person to be your date or otherwise, there’s a theme park on the moon and its tacky(!) and spaceships. Travel around the universe, let alone the world is THAT easy. Well easier if you work at a courier service and you use the spaceship for deliveries. The possibilities are endless as well as the discoveries being endless. 

The science of Futurama is vast and absurd and always a joy to watch, whether its about clones, evil corporations that literally make everything with an evil leader who just wants to rule the world, or finding out where the ancient Egyptians really came from (SPOILER: space) or that cats too have an evil agenda, but I think most people could guess that. 

Monday 15 July 2019

Edinburgh Film Festival: The Souvenir

Joanna Hogg's personal film about when she was first starting out as a film director and when she has a relationship with an older man. This relationship is meant to be from when it first blooms to the sad a heartbreaking end but all I could see was gloom and doom from the outset.

My full review is over at VultureHound and can be read HERE.



Tuesday 9 July 2019

Edinburgh Film Festival: Ruben Brandt, Collector

Where the heist film genre collides with mystery thriller and art horror, the world of Ruben Brandt is amazingly animated with an engagung story full of characters flawed and fabulous. Unlike any other, thats if there is anything like it.

My full review is on VultureHound and can be read HERE.

Thursday 4 July 2019

Edinburgh Film Festival: Love Type D


The ever evolving rom-com has taken many shapes and forms, using familiar plot devices and well worn characters but its not seen the likes of Sasha Collington's film about a woman, unlucky in love, discovered there's a gene that means you always get dumped in a relationship, that is something new.

My full review is over at VultureHound and can be read HERE.

Tuesday 2 July 2019

Edinburgh Film Festival: We Have Always Liked in a Castle

Based on the gothic novel by Shirley Jackson, old secrets resurface, literally in this thriller, mystery family secrets drama. All Blackwood family members are odd with their own quirks and issues, even the unexpected long lost cousin.

My review is over at VultureHound and can be read HERE.


June Watch List

Thunder Road
 Jim Cummings is a force to be reckoned with, having written, directed and acting in the lead of this story about grief, pain and fatherhood. Jim, a dedicated police officer is struggling with the death of his mother and trying to connect with his daughter after a separation from his ex. He’s a good person or at least he tries to be but misfortune just seems to follow him round. The film has one of the best eulogies in cinema that opens the film and goes through all the emotions you can think of. Grief take many forms and one of those is trying to show tribute to your dance teacher mother by performing a dance to no music. 3/5

One of the best film I’ve seen this year so far. A brilliantly scripted story about two best friends and one night where they want to prove they are fun as well as smart. I wrote a bit more about the film HERE. 5/5

Teen Spirit
Max Minghella’s directorial debut about a quiet teenager on the Isle of Wight who loves to sing and decides to enter a reality talent show. I wrote more about the film HERE. 3/5

John Wick 2
I wish I had seen this thrill ride a long time ago, I can exactly why everyone loves John Wick. Keanu Reeves is just perfect as the ultimate hitman, continuing on from the events of the last film and feeding straight into the third chapter of the Wick story. This time round he settles with the Russians, annoys the Italian mob and has his house destroyed but he still has his adorable dog. Then he takes a job to kill off the head of the Italian crime family but instead of him be able to return to his quiet life, he’s drawn into a massive manhunt by ALL the assassins who seem to be everywhere! Can’t wait for the next part.  4/5

Two best friends, one writer, one party connoisseur, live in Dublin drinking their way through life, until one starts to look at their live without the ‘fun’ filter. I wrote more about the film HERE. 4/5

Always Be My Maybe
Netflix films seem to be hit and miss but this rom-com about best friends who drift apart after a one-night stand and grief then reunite after 16 years is actually not too bad. Ali Wong and Randall Park have great chemistry and are actually funny. I love it when a funny couple get together. But the best scenes are obviously with Keanu Reeves who is the best thing in the film. He’s superb.3/5

Murder Mystery
Murder mysteries and hitman stories are usually my kryptonite and even Adam Sandler couldn’t ruin this film. While all his other films have been….. well, terrible, this is one with Jennifer Aniston was great fun. I actually wrote a whole post about the film HERE. 4/5

Monday 1 July 2019

Edinburgh Film Festival: Aleksi

This was my favourite film from the festival about a woman who really can't be bothered to 'grow up' and its superb. Really hoping this gets a release in the UK but if not, somehow it'll find its way to our shores.

My review is over at VultureHound HERE.