Thursday 20 August 2020

Gamera and Stockhom Syndrome

To review the latest limited edition boxset  I had immerse myself into the world of Gamera. All I knew was that Gamera was a gigantic turtle and was created in rivalry to Godzilla, basically a 'rip off' of the king of monsters. Little did I know once I was in too deep with this weird kaiju monster, I would soon turn from sceptic to actual fan of the monster films. 

Despite balancing between the ridiculous and pure action, I started to see a pattern in the films, not just the fights scenes between people in costumes, which I started to appreciate more and more as the films progressed, but there were patterns in Gamera's behaviour and its evolution. There was more to this franchise that I initally thought. But this might because I spent a whole week and one very intense day watching all the Gamera films, I may have just convinced myself that Gamera and all its weird ticks are amazing. For anyone wanting to explore the franchise, I would suggest the first film, Gamera, the Giant Monster, then possibly skip the 'vs' films as they are very similiar, and go straight to the 90s trilogy as these are hidden gems in the action film world.

For my full review of the boxset, you can read it over at Vulturehound HERE.

Saturday 15 August 2020

What to Expect From 'The Boys' season two

Ending the last season on cliffhangers all round for the characters, there's quite a bit to expect to unfold in the upcoming season. After the teasers, clips and full trailer, plus the panal from Comic Con @ Home, I've out together what we can expect from season two.

My full article can be read over at Zavvi HERE

For all those looking forward to the new season the count down begins until September 4th!


Monday 10 August 2020

Yes God Yes


Coming of age can be through many things, not always but usually related to sex. A teenager, or younger or someone in their early twenties, goes through a change, experience or trauma and they come out the other side with a new perspective, a different person, enlightened. But sometimes, the change at first is so small in comparison to everything else going on around the character, but in fact it’s simply a realisation but by no means insignificant. One of the most joyous things about this film is the title, literally nailing this pure feeling of ecstasy and incorporating the oppressed religious aspect of the narrative. And the title is just the tip of the delightful iceberg. 



After being accused of ‘tossing a boy’s salad’ at a party, Alice is left bewildered at what that even means as well as an outsider when even her best friend doesn’t believe her. It also doesn’t help that Alice is starting to have sexual urges, even going so far as to go into online chatrooms and finding relief for her desires by masturbating to the sex scene in Titanic. Being part of a very strict Catholic school and brought up in a very Christian home including going to church every week with her Dad, Alice is conflicted by her shame and desire. She decides to attend a religious retreat to try and suppress her urges but after discovering some contradictions in the teachings forced upon her when she finds out what the retreat leaders are doing when no one is watching, Alice starts to see things beyond the rose-tinted rules she’s been told to live by. 


Rarely seen in film, let alone teen comedies or dramas, the moment when a teenage girl discovers masturbation, her sexual appetite and the yearning for more exploration. Some films have got this completely on point like in ‘Turn Me on Goddammit’ but ‘Yes God Yes’ portrays this lesser seen moment in film rather well. It’s a strange thing to note that teen films are usually all about the boys wanting sex and the girls are just there as props sometimes willing to join in the fun but having this moment on screen for other teenage girls to see that they are completely normal gives me hope that this is accepted and will be normalised in future films. Including the religious element to the character and her surroundings adds a whole other level to explore. 



The flawed teachings of abstinence and how it breeds ignorance and shame is explored but as this isn’t what the whole story is about, it only scratches the surface and focuses more on the hypocrisy of those teaching these rules. Religion is used as blanket reason for everyone’s actions and doesn’t overtly say that everything is wrong but merely shows that you can think differently and in the end you can believe what you want, know your own truths and most importantly, it is completely normal to be a teenager and be sexual active.



On a personal note, having been brought up Catholic (in a non-strict religious home), I am always fascinated by the stories that come from a place I knew so well. School for me was very different but there was always this judgement around sexual health and biology. I remember countless classes about birth and conception but barely a class on safe sex. I think there was one or two classes and that was it. Everything I learnt on this subject was outside of school. Not to mention, no classes whatsoever on sexual desires and health. This was all ignored, seems odd, especially for a girl’s school. But maybe the Catholic part deemed this unimportant.

Sunday 9 August 2020

It's In the Photograph

A photograph can be a powerful thing. It can stand for something. It can bring hope and meaning. It can also preserve the past. This is what the photograph is in 'Queen & Slim'.

Unfortunately I couldn't make it to the Birds Eye View screening of the film BUT I managed to see it at another cinema. Even so, this film was a perfect example of brilliant filmmaking that needed to be celebrated. Although I am only familiar with a few of her music vidoes, I was very excited to see who the team was behind and in front of the camera. As a feature film debut, Melina Matsoukas, has a calling card that is on topic, at the forfront of the what is happening in the world and a driven character piece that is both understated and visceral at certain moments. With a simple and devastating premise, this story belongs to Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith. They are the catalyst for all the actions in the film, they are the fuel in the fire and most importantly, they are real. 


After a not so successful online date one evening, Slim drives Queen home but on they way they stopped by a cop who unjustifiably questions Slim, demanding his licence and wanting to see what's in the boot of his car. This altercation becomes worse, after the cop points his gun on them. It ends with Queen being shot in the leg and Slim shooting the cop in defence. Knowing the outcome of two black people shooting a white cop in self defence, the two go on the run.

Twisting the lovers on the run trope, as these two people are virutally strangers, and are on the run because they had no choice, we not only get to see their story play out through desparate moments to more tender ones where they actually get to know each other on a deeper and at times bittersweet level; I'm thinking of the scene in the bar where they have a drink and dance together. There are moments in the film when you hope that things will be different this time and just maybe they'll get away. Usually with this genre, the guilty people never get away but in this case the innocent don't either. As the story progresses, the characters are forced to step out of their comfort zones, changing the way they look and dress. They are forced to be the sterotypes that the media plays them out to be rather than the lawyer Queen is and the supermarket clerk Slim is. They're just two normal people forced into an extraordinary situation.

The film is also a mirror of what African-Americans go through every day. What happens at the start of the film is more than the beginning, this what Queen and Slim experience all the time. What's different with their story is that it becomes national interest, a manhunt for them takes place, they are sensationalised and eventually seen as heroes. Of course, now, this is not something out of the ordinary with the recent Black Lives Matter movement which gained momentum in the last few months. Now Queen and Slim's story has become more relevant than ever. This film wasn't given the recognition it deserved, despite being sign posted as many places as possible, but hopefully new audiences will discover it. 

Thursday 6 August 2020

Apartment 1BR

One of the most stressful things you can ever do is moving house. It doesn’t matter if your new place is rented, furnished, bought, needs work done to it, it will always be stressful. Even when you’re moved in, everything is in its place, there’s the neighbours to meet, the neighbourhood to explore, everything is new and takes getting used to. ‘Apartment 1BR’ takes this feeling to a whole new level.


Having just moved to a new city to start afresh, take a course and work on her costume designs, Sarah moves into her new apartment with a tight knit, yet welcoming community of neighbours. At first, everything is going well for Sarah but she just can’t get a decent night’s sleep. This impacts her work, her attitude, she distances herself from her family and even turns down a dinner party with her new neighbours. But there is something even more sinister going on behind closed doors, something that she is about to be a part of, whether she likes or not.




From the outset there is something off putting about the neighbours and the apartment. Its literally too good to be true but the catch doesn’t come until later. Setting itself up to be story about a haunting or possession of some kind, particularly with the weird noises that only seem to affect Sarah’s apartment, the film twists this expectation on its head to something unusual, despite the obvious signs when you think back or go in for a second viewing.


The story slips back into the horror thriller genre very comfortably between the torture ‘treatment’ scenes and the realisation that this is what everyone went through when they moved into the building. The initiation process is the most gruelling, with every step she takes deeper into the group’s beliefs. But the truly horrific moments are when she watches and lets her old friend go through everything she did, all seen on monitors which are placed around the entire building. Of course, the spine-chilling moments are taken up a notch when a set of cameras are seen in the CCTV room and the question of who is watching them watch everyone else doesn’t pay off until the very end. It’s a very clever and subtle moment of realisation for Sarah and it’s just an image that speaks volumes.


Sarah is a prime target for a radical delusional group, complete with a book written by a ‘great man’ years before, is reminiscent of other films abouts cults and even real ones, why is there always a book involved with cults? ‘Apartment 1BR’ bears a strong resemblance to ‘The Invitation’, another film about a cult, both are subtle and restrained, creating an uneasy sense of dread. Although, ‘Apartment 1BR’ has the advantage of tricking the viewer they are about to watch a completely different film.


As a production plagued by disasters, the film comes out unscathed. Resisting the trend of other films of the same genre, the story and characters really explore the fact that real horror is other people no matter where you find yourself.