Friday 31 December 2021

Here's to 2021

Last year I wrote this heading into a new year when I usually write this last thing in December. Going back to tradition here it is to whoever is actually reading these posts. 

Once again, this has been a difficult year, with further lockdowns, ‘freedom day’ whatever that was meant to mean, more worries and changes that might not have been wanted or needed. But I am thankful that my friends and family are safe and well on the most part. 

Although I don’t have all the new events that happened last year I did celebrate two milestones, my 10 years of writing and a more personal one I share with someone special. I’m still in my flat, a room of my own and actually started a new job last month which I’m enjoying. I didn’t go on a long holiday but I did escape the city for the coast a few times which was very welcome and I hope to do so again. I even got to see friends in person who I hadn’t seen for over a year. I’m thankful for the little things too which is why my resolution won’t be a long list again. 

Of course I’m hoping to write more, watch more films, go to more festivals in person, go on a longer holiday (I’m talking a week by the way), more adventures and I would of course like to get in shape. But like last year I’m also going to keep positive. 

Happy New everyone!

Friday 24 December 2021

Dial Code Santa Claus

3615 code Père Noël, aka Deadly Games, aka Dial Code Santa Claus, aka Hide and Freak, aka Game Over. The many named horror thriller about a boy genius vs a psychotic Santa Claus who play cat and mouse in a mansion gained cult status after its brief 1990 release in France. Having only seen the light of day once again with a Blu-ray release, now 4K, from American label Vinegar Syndrome, now more people can enjoy this bizarre Christmas film and add it to the pile to watch each year. 

Full article at Filmhounds HERE.

Tuesday 7 December 2021

Le Samouraï


The elusive hitman story is one that we have seen many times portrayed on the big screen over the years from around the world but Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Samouraï is a story that has influenced other filmmakers and films across the crime, neo-noir genres. It’s the silhouette we know so well, the coat and hat we usually associate with a detective that now is synonymous with the hitman too.

Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.

Monday 6 December 2021

How The Fellowship of the Ring changed the blockbuster epic


Most articles about films that changed the scene start with ‘back in whatever year the film was released, things were different’, which would be absolutely true about Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Not only was this the return of epic cinema, but everything about the film was new, the CGI, practical effects were ground breaking. But this was a fantasy genre film, the kind of story that would be saved for a small release or in worse cases straight to video. The fantasy genre had not been looked upon favourably by Hollywood but here was the planned trilogy of films, shot back-to-back over a year and half, several years in the making, The Fellowship of the Ring changed cinema. 

The full article is available HERE.

Wednesday 1 December 2021

Slumber Party Massacre


As with all remakes of any genre, there will always the original that overshadows the new imagining, new adaptation or interpretation, whether the remake out shines the predecessor or not. Some classic horror slasher films are better left untouched with the grime, the red paint and the video aesthetics. However, if a film just so happens to be a feminist slasher of its age, then bringing it into the present day could actually be a twist on the stereotypical genre traits it comes with. In the case of Slumber Party Massacre, it’s a mixed bag of energy, legacy and dare I say, a superficial glance of what could be, the female gaze. 

 Nearly 30 years after escaping the crazed murderer Russ Thorn as the sole survivor, Trish worries about her daughter Dana going on a trip with her friends. On the way to the car breaks down and the girls are forced to stay in the exact same house that Trish stayed in all those years ago. Not wanting to waste the night the girls decide to have their slumber party in the house, but an uninvited visitor soon shows up. 

Making the tagline ‘You know the drill’ could not be more apt for this film. Not only is the drill, weapon of choice for the killer as it was in the original, but history repeats itself within the film as well. As a slasher, you know what beats it will hit and you know what to expect. You can already guess who will make it to the end and when it comes the final showdown, you know who the killer is. The film tries to show us what to expect but throws a few curve balls in the form of an unexpected escape, the timings of the (SPOILER) second killer and the fact that the girls planned the whole damn trip on purpose. 

The reasons for the girls being at the house are convoluted; Dana wanting to get revenge on behalf of her mother who has moved on from the previous events. If the girls were there just so they could kill Russ Thorn, this might have been simpler and cleaner. But having her friends all play roles as well as imitate everything that happened previously, slightly over kill. They come across as obsessed fans even though that’s meant to be the boys across the lake’s roles. Not the mention the very messy, not gory, end scenes when Trish randomly shows up yelling at her daughter for not calling. There could have been a better way to end the story and some of the characters. 

 Despite the questionable character motives and the overly long shots of the boys taking a shower and the exaggerated pillow fight they have; the film has merit in its moments of self-awareness and poking fun itself. They don’t quite balance out the more serious and terrorising scenes but it does homage the original in the tongue and cheek tone and even in some of the kills. The extended story twist that its not over yet is tiresome but at least it gave the killers something more to do and show that even the toughest characters are never prepared in horror films. Although the original still is very entertaining and first of its kind, the remake has merits, along with some memorable scenes, even if they aren’t kills.

Slumber Party Massacre will be available on Digital Download from 13th December

Tuesday 30 November 2021

Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn


Apart from the very explicit beginning which is surprising for a second until you realise it is there for context, Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, doesn’t set out to shock the audience. This is writer and director Radu Jude’s interpretation of how society on the whole behaves and thinks. Although set in Romania, it feels as if this could have been anywhere. 

Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.

Tuesday 23 November 2021



The Goddness Kali has been seen as that of a destructor, a master of death but she is also the mother of all beings who protects and nurturers her children. Once described as dark and terrible mother and worshiped by questionable people in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. But this story is no gimmicky action blockbuster, this is a strange and at times soulful look at a what happens when irrational beliefs take over and destroy a family.

Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.

Friday 19 November 2021

Petite Maman


Following on from her powerhouse romantic epic, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Celine Sciamma returns with a very different story, an intimately framed portrait about a mother and daughter who meet each other at important times in their lives in Petite Maman. We sat down with the director-writer before the film was to screen at BFI London Film Festival to discuss her latest masterpiece, filmmaking, collaborating with actors and her thoughts on disparity between stories centred around girls and boys.

Full interview is over at Filmhounds HERE.

Wednesday 17 November 2021

Red Notice

As we’ve all come to know and either love/hate Hallmark films, so have we grown accustom to a Netflix film. There are those originals that leave the same taste in your mouth after watching, then there are those that Netflix have acquired. The latest to hit our small screen is Red Notice, about an art thief and FBI agent who team up to try and capture another art thief while trekking across the globe to various exciting places. But there is something that feels incredibly off about this blockbuster. It feels as if it was made several years ago and the no one, including Netflix got the memo that this type of action film was, old news. 

Apparently, the critics have been bashing the film but applauding the cast. But I think the cast are also part of the reason why this film isn’t good. On the surface, the film, the story, is very basic. FBI Agent tries to track down the ‘most wanted art thief in the world’ and succeeds but then is framed by an even better art thief, The Bishop. The code name I think is a Chess reference for some reason those who don’t play Chess won’t know. Then an unlikely buddy action comedy emerges as the real core plot. Then The Bishop swings in at every location to just to cause problems and snatch everything away from them at the last moment. As I’ve said, we’ve seen this sort of this before, many times and depending on how interesting the characters are its worth the ride. However, casting problematic Gal Gadot in the lead as the suave elegant pretty female might not have been the best casting. With Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds as the odd couple, there was a possibility that this could have been saved BUT over the years Reynolds has progressed far beyond the snarky slick sidekick-eques lead and this role feels like a major step backwards to the mid 2010s. As for Johnson, he just seems bored. Even when it comes to the twist that everyone saw a mile off. The story about the McGuffin’s that aren’t McGuffins, Cleopatra’s eggs feel oddly fake and of course these eggs are fictious. The fact that these Egyptian eggs could have been inspired by the famed Fabergé eggs of the Russian Tsars, really does make you wonder why they chose Cleopatra and her possible treasure. I’d rather see that film. 

 Globe trotting stories about thieves chasing a fake treasure overall seems old hat but there are several moments throughout the film that recycled or not executed well. Such as the one-dimensional Interpol agent, Das who is not developed, she is just there to chase everyone else which is a missed opportunity. The twist we all saw coming, Johnson and Gadot are actually working together which is what the film leads up to and is crashes and burns like the Nazi car they gang drives through mine shafts. The fact that Nazis are somehow involved, even if its just all the art and treasure they stole, they made an appearance. Even the way plans are made with the heists planned out using overly exaggerated technology that doesn’t screw up. The weird billionaire who has a theatrical voice and likes to make a point how he murdered his father in every interaction. The list goes on, sadly. 

 However, amidst this stale film, some of the jokes Reynolds comes out with is actually funny, but that’s it. If I were to critique this film in depth, I would go on to say that Reynold’s character, Booth is actually the greatest art thief as he does all the stealing and planning. The Bishops just wonder in at the end and steal it, without really doing any work. The director, Rawson Marshall Thurber knows how to follow a formula, going by his filmography. It’s a shame that left-field choices for these generic films are given a chance as they could really create something, interesting. Thurber is as basic as his films and that’s all we’re treated to. I wonder what Netflix will bring out next.

Thursday 4 November 2021

Titane - BFI London Film Festival


One the films that is guaranteed to shock you at more than one moment, this is the film that dares to go the whole nine yards without breaking a sweat. Made up of several parts, horror, thriller even fantasy if you can call sex with a car fantastical, the film and its creator Julia Ducournau knows no bounds. 


Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.

Monday 25 October 2021

The French Dispatch


As Wes Anderson is a director with one of the most distinctive style of filmmaking, there is always that possibility that he may just end up imitating himself. But instead, with The French Dispatch, its as if he’s taken a step back and decided to go in a very different direction. Granted the framing is still the same, the use of cross section is still very in use and the deadpan acting is all there. But instead of one linear story, the film is split into sections, like the title itself, like a magazine. Each story is indeed rife with Wes Anderson-isms but there is something quite different about the entire film. It feels like a last hurrah.


Following the death of the editor-in-chief of The French Dispatch, of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun, Arthur Howitzer Jr expressed in his will that the newpaper seize publication. Along with an obituary and a column from the cycling journalist, three articles are included about the arts and artists, politics and culinary arts, tastes and smells.


The film plays out as a visual companion to the final issue of the newspaper/magazine complete with intro and obituary. As a homage to the printed word its wonderful. But the main three stories written feel as if they should have been given more time. This might have worked as a mini-series but I suppose the quick cuts and deadpan acting might not have sustained over 3-4 hours.

Focusing on the three main articles, all the writers are able to bask in the limelight in various ways, no medium left unexplored, whether it is through a talk with slides or through an interview on a talk show, the image of each writer is portrayed differently. A story about a disturbed artist being discovered in prison is joyfully bizarre with the best cast and would probably be a favourite among fans. A story about the student protests as seen through the students and their different encampments as well as the older journalist is thought provoking as well as full of nostalgia for the 60s but is the final story, about a chef who poisons kidnappers that is surprisingly heart-breaking. Jeffery Wright as the journalist Roebuck Wright brings all the emotion in a matter of minutes to the front. All three stories have greater depth to them than you see in trailers and marketing for the film, but this final story has the edge and the more dramatic scenes, complete with animated parts. All these stories are beautifully written coupled with the most amazing production design, as usual. It is a very different experience than Anderson’s other films but one that can be cherished.


Anderson has said that this film is a love letter to journalists with many of the characters inspired by real people. The passion comes across in waves from the intimate close-up moments that have to stop and reflect to the use fantastic use of miniatures and the crosscut scenery and the grand large scale set pieces that really are magnificent. This is the ultimate stand out over the top film that includes 4 stories not 1, as if he wanted to makes sure that everyone had a chance to shine. At times the film does feel overstuffed with ‘names’ but no less enjoyable. The amount of detail that is included is staggering. But this is one of the reasons why Anderson’s films stand out among the rest of Hollywood and the Indie slates. He has a distinct style and casts A list international actors but his writing is NOT what Hollywood wants which is why he keeps his work interesting a fresh, through his writing. It would be great to see Anderson return to his roots of writing, after such a great streak with his last two films, something on a smaller scale would be exciting and of course would be feel less of a farewell.


Friday 22 October 2021

The Lost Daughter - BFI London Film Festival

Stories centred around motherhood tend follow a pattern and always have characters that take a strong stance whether it is about believing that having children is the thing that women should do and on the other side believing that children is not a vocation that every woman can adhere to. The Lost Daughter is that painfully honest opinion that is rarely explored, whether motherhood is for everyone and how admitting that you regret having children is one of the biggest taboo subjects. So much so that it is never once said out loud. 


Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.

Thursday 21 October 2021

7 Days - BFI London Film Festival


Romantic comedies have an unfortunate stigma and are all too easily overlooked as being ‘chick flock’ fodder or written off for being too sentimental. Sometimes the romantic comedy genre is given a darker, sadder approach and misses the mark completely. 7 Days managers to hit somewhere in between with its charm, predictable beats and all too familiar setting. But it does have two quirky hearts in the form of Karan Soni and Geraldine Viswanathan.


Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.

Saturday 16 October 2021

True Things - BFI London Film Festival


True things is a beast that most of us will recognise, whether we have been the unreliable person or the one who feels as if their world is caving in. Toxic relationships seem to be more a matter of perception but the film takes a look from the inside out, offering not exactly a fresh view but one that lingers on in your mind. 

Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.

Friday 15 October 2021

Passing - BFI London Film Festival


There is beautiful imagery throughout with some innovative framing, looking and feeling elegant throughout with a story that is, unfortunately timeless, Passing is a solid debut from Rebecca Hall. 


Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.

Thursday 14 October 2021

Queen of Glory - BFI London Film Festival


On the cusp of starting a new life in Ohio with her boyfriend, as soon as he leaves his wife, scientist Sarah is left shocked when her mother suddenly dies. Hit with a wave of responsibilities and an inheritance of a Christian bookshop to take care of, Sarah becomes overwhelmed, especially when her father returns from Ghana, causing more issues. On top of all this, she can’t even find a way to grieve her loss.


Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.

Money Has Four Legs - BFI London Film Festival


In this story of a filmmaker who is literally at breaking point in every aspect of his life, there is still humour to be found in this rather deadpan comedy from writer- director Maung Sun.


Full review is over at Filmhounds HERE.

Wednesday 13 October 2021



A surreal at times, when switching from reality to fantasy and with a somewhat obvious overarching ‘lesson’ to be learnt, but Mayday does have some beautiful imagery, cinematic setting and a great cast. 


Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.

Tuesday 12 October 2021

The Souvenir Part II - BFI London Film Festival


When Joanna Hogg’s very personal and semi-autobiographical The Souvenir was released in 2019 the critics were split. Not quite as dramatic as some of the blockbuster films that were released around the same time but there was a definite split of opinion. Where the first part explored a toxic and strangely passionate relationship as well as glimpses into film school, The Souvenir Part II has a very different vibe and energy, a sense of anguish and despair with bursts of creativity that are far more captivating than the first part of this story. 


Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.

Tuesday 5 October 2021

BFI London Film Festival Preview


LFF is back! The wait is over, the BFI London Film Festival is back and once again the festival will be a mix of virtual and in-person events and screenings.

For the full article, read over at Run Riot HERE.

Monday 4 October 2021

Ride the Eagle


Grief is staying in the cabin your mum left you while you complete tasks to open up to yourself and accept your situation.


Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.

Tuesday 28 September 2021

Fatal Femme: Park Circus Guest Picks


Loved writing this - got to pick my favourite 'Fatale Femmes' for Park Circus in the lead up to Halloween.

There are so many characters to choose from but I think these women needed a special mention.

You can read the full list HERE.

Wednesday 22 September 2021

Cruella, feminist


There has been a multitude of controversies surrounding Disney films for years but in the light of the House of Mouse releasing (yet another) live action story, this time about notorious villain and Queen of murderous fashion Cruella DeVil, a few new controversies need to come to light. As we all know, Cruella isn’t the nicest person you’ll meet, she does like killing animals for their skin and fur but it could also be argued that she is a feminist and has been the whole time.

In the live action Disney adaptation of ‘One Hundred and One Dalmatians’ released back in 1996, Cruella is introduced, dressed head to toe in fur but with a distinct style that feels lifted from the screen of a classic Hollywood film. She saunters to her office but stops at Anita’s workstation, mesmerised by the drawing but also, her talent. This first conversation between the characters is eye opening. Cruella asks Anita what she wants from her career, where she sees herself in the future, she wants to offer her opportunities, she wants to lift her fellow woman up. But Anita, when replies she wants to quit her job once she’s married as that is her goal in life, Cruella says, “More good women have been lost to marriage than to war, famine, disease and disaster. You have talent darling, don’t squander it.” Hearing those words at 7 years old meant nothing, hear those words at 31 years old, you immediately recognise who Cruella is. She is a feminist but she’s also a villain, a Disney villain. This is a message that Disney continuously sends out in their films.

The idea that a single woman in power is someone not be trusted and therefore vilified isn’t a new concept for Disney. Obviously, many of the studios’ films are adapted from fairy tales and folktales where women don’t come off as the heroine often at all. The women are witches, wicked step mothers, spinsters, shapeshifters, independent thinkers, they are the alternative to the normality. Through adaptations, these poisonous messages can be amended but Disney have chosen to go down a different path.

Back in 2018 it came out in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Keira Knightly said that she doesn’t allow her daughter to watch certain Disney films. Not adhering to the ‘damsel in distress’ story that makes it seem that girl’s lives are only complete when a man comes along to save them. Knightly did say that although she loves ‘The Little Mermaid’ she though it sent the wrong message to young girls. Ariel literally gives up her voice to be with a man who may or may not feel the same way about her. The response to Knightly’s decision was split between those who watched Disney when they were younger but can still differentiate between a fairy tale and how to act in real life and those who believe that some Disney films and the values they portray are outdated. Newer films such as Tangled, Frozen and Moana have been mentioned as progressive and moving beyond the simple Princess needs a Prince story trope. But really only Moana has gone further, with a story about a young woman on a self-discovery journey as one to save her community and family. She doesn’t have a love interest and nor does she need saving herself, but while watching the film, these story elements are not even missed. But before there was Moana, Ana, Elsa and to an extent, Judy Hopps, the Princesses and heroines of Disney faced off against the ‘other’ women. Disney making the main character a feminist, or as feminist as they are willing to go, has only been a recent development, before it was the villains who embodied these ideals but cloaked in evil deeds and wicked characteristics.

In the latest Disney efforts, the idea that Cruella is a feminist is continued. This story is about how Cruella came into being, having always had a ‘wild side’, she embarks first in a life thievery then breaks into the world of fashion. Her career is the most important thing, that is until she is consumed by revenge. The antagonist of the story is the Baroness, a wealthy and iconic fashion designer who rules her company with an iron fist. It is revealed she is responsible for the death of Cruella’s mother as well as other deep dark secrets (SPOILER) that is in fact Cruella’s birth mother and had actually ordered a servant to kill her as a baby would interfere with her own career. Of course, we know Cruella evolves into the dog hating, animal killing villain we love and adore but this new development that Disney dives deeper into the ‘feminist=villain’ trait with the Baroness. Not to say that the Baroness is actually a feminist but she shows signs she could be if she wasn’t so cold hearted. But the dig about her wanting to kill her own child just so she can have a career is, absolutely, ridiculous. This new story avenue paints Cruella in a different light yet she is still a villain at the end of the day even of she does want to elevate Anita’s career and she’s chose not have a conventional family. If Disney had chosen to mine these personality traits and given her a different background, her feminist ideals might have had a positive beginning, but no, villains must stay on a certain path and mustn’t deter from the formula.


Saturday 18 September 2021

When the Screaming Starts


Mockumentary styled comedies, when done right, can use the fourth wall to great effect but other films use this handheld camera motion as just a way to dive deeper into what a character is thinking, sharing emotions and thoughts that wouldn’t be shared normally. As a dark comedy, When the Screaming Starts, excels with comedy found in looks and matter of fact-ness dialogue. But the mockumentary style muddies the blood-soaked waters and even becomes difficult to track in the final third of the film.


When the Screaming Starts follows Louis Theroux wannabe Norman Graysmith who has been invited to document the journey of aspiring serial killer Aidan Mendle as he sets out on his ‘career’. Going from bad to worse, Aidan decides to start a Charles Manson like ‘family’ cult of killers. But on the night of the family’s first kill, things don’t quite go according to plan for Aiden or Norman, who thinks he’s found the story that make his career.


The twist in events can be seen a mile off and some of the supporting characters don’t quite hit the mark in terms of comedy, coming off as genre beats in horror comedies. Then there are even scenes that are just uncomfortable and hard to watch, such as Mickey who auditions to join the family because he was brought up in care. Moments such as these are very jarring next the scenes where the family practice their killing skills. Switching back and forth between makes the film lose focus and ultimately confuse the audience. However, the film does have some merit in the form of the bloodiest and actually quite terrifying scenes in the film; the dinner party massacre and post massacre party where the ‘family’ celebrates. These are the stand out scenes most likely as there is nearly no forced comedic moments. The final scenes of the film try and replicate this atmosphere but, again, don’t quite work.


There is a lot of potential within the story and even the characters who are quite one dimensional, whether that is on purpose or not it’s unclear. But the film feels very much feels like a debut effort with a much more polished and well-rounded film to follow. Maybe be worth watching out for what the creative team does next.

Monday 6 September 2021



While reviewing the notorious video nasties that became popular with the arrival of home video, censor Enid goes about her day to day, until one day she watches a film that resembles the location her sister disappeared from years before. Triggering ger guilt over this past event, Enid descends further into the confusing and gory world of low budget horror film production. She soon becomes convinced that an actress in a film is her missing sister and is determined to bring her home.


Grief is meant to have five stages but when someone is stuck continuously in the denial, seriously bad things can happen. Denial gives people the excuse that they can justify almost any action. Being in denial makes you dangerous. This is one the lessons learned from Censor. The focus is pulled firstly to the video nasties era and censorship and whether we can be truly influenced by the films we watch. The film cleverly subverts this topic with a few lines of dialogue towards the end which could be the key to the madness. Enid’s grief is triggered not just by what she sees, but the hope and guilt that fuels her into believing her sister who disappeared years ago is still alive. 


The video nasties were an era when home videos were booming. Filled with gore, violence and over acting coupled with low budget props and red paint. Being almost forbidden, they were sort after, being passed round under counters of video stores. As some films were banned, the demand became higher, as viewers were curious and hungry for the next horror they could watch. But this setting is background dressing for the story. It could even be taken that Censor is a character piece presented in a horror mystery package.  The film does conform to reliable horror genre elements, which is not to say is a bad thing. There is a strange comfort in that you can feel the way things will play out at certain points, but it’s when Enid is in the woods which is where the story takes its most dramatic and bizarre turns, and it utterly brilliant. Commenting on how directors take a step too far in the name of their film, how no one can really understand where reality begins and the fakery ends. The woods are a gift to any horror film but here we blur the lines amongst the mist, the terrifying cabin, the blood and the in trees. 


While Enid is working as a censor, it’s almost like a default, this is how she lives until her mind is expanded by the past and present all laid out in front of her to watch. It’s as if she has been lying dormant all these years and now, she finally shows her true self. Even though there are terrifying aspects to this story, the ending, however you view it, has that sense of finality even without a solid conclusion.


Thursday 2 September 2021

Edinburgh International Film Festival - Stop-Zemlia

Sometimes the internet is so saturated that we don’t venture outside of our own bubble. We are given a stereotypical picture of what life is like elsewhere and we don’t try to seek out stories that we can relate to. Stop-Zemlia is a film that feels partly like a documentary and part teen drama that isn’t quite coming of age and isn’t the teen drama you imagine. There are moments of peace and tranquillity followed by reckless behaviour and words of wisdom shared between friends. Its feels like a scene from a film and from your own life.

Full review is over at Filmhounds HERE.

Thursday 26 August 2021

Fantasia Film Festival - Indemnity


Intense thrillers involving the government and the military conspiracies sounds like something straight out of Hollywood blockbuster, but this time, the focus is on Africa. The one man against the world, trying to save his family is a trope that is used across all genres and we’re all very familiar with it, but this is refreshing take from South African writer/director, Travis Taute who is getting flex his feature film muscles.

Full review can be read over at Filmhounds HERE.

Wednesday 25 August 2021

Fantasia Film Festival - Shorts Selection


Often short films can capture the strange and bizarre far better than a feature can. In those few minutes we can enter a universe, a home, a being and feel completely warped by what we’ve witnessed. Fantasia Film Festival always has a selection of delightfully and sometimes downright disturbing to offer in their short programme. Highlighting a selection here that really do leave you wanting more.


The Lovers (Dir. Avra Fox-Learner, USA)

A woman with an over dependant roommate feels as if her relationship might hinder her new found romance. Sharing her thoughts, neither knows where this afternoon will lead them.

Whenever a tarot deck appears in a film, there is a sense that we’re not actually meant to know what the reading really means. Here, it is a teaser as one card lays unturned until the gruesome end, taunting us with what it means to the two women. The rather cute set up and sweet hand holding in the park, lulls us into a false sense of security and how we think this story will go. But the third act is so nonchalant, its perfect.

Puss (Dir. Leah Shore, USA)

Stuck in her apartment during the pandemic, Samantha, lonely and horny as hell, tries to find ways get to laid before she goes crazy.

As we are living through this pandemic and having suffered lockdown, some of us still in this situation, we all know how frustrating it is to not do the things you would do with no restrictions. Samantha’s relatable struggles will hit home to many people and find the absolute true humour in her behaviour and her avenues to try to get laid. When the story takes a turn for the very weird indeed, its almost a shock when it turns out its not all a vivid dream she’s having. Although slightly off key, this fantastical element that appears near the end is entertaining enough to pull off.

The Last Word (Dir. Lucas Warin, France)

A writer struggles to write when he discovers he has a certain power.

The classic, writer sits alone in a café trying to write something but keeps crossing out all their idea, or in short, the struggling writer keeps failing, isn’t new but if a writer is the focus, there is a million things that could be created. In this case, the writer’s ability to conjure in front of him what he writes is a fun little story. But this is very much like a certain Ruby Sparks but in a much smaller scale. Thankfully the cruel playful twist at the end makes up for this slightly unoriginal story.

Sexy Furby (Dir. Nicole Daddona, USA)

After the death of her beloved father, a reclusive girl living in the picturesque countryside decides to take her own life, only to have her life changed suddenly by an encounter with a man sized Furby.

This story is as bizarre as it sounds. In such a short time frame, so much is layered between the scenes, you want to try and take every little detail in because you want to make sure you actually saw what is happening. Told near completely through voiceover except for a few spoken lines at the end, this story about a girl who tries to kill herself but is distracted by the presence of a man sized Furby is nothing but entertaining. Played out like a melodrama complete with dramatic close ups and Vaseline on the lens, as well a conversion to Jesus and with a sinister pizza cutter ritual, Sexy Furby is a rare beast of a film, beast intended. A mixture of horror, dark comedy and the weirdest of the weird fantasy, this makes you excited to see what else director Nicole Daddona has in store next.


Tuesday 24 August 2021

Edinburgh International Film Festival - The Beta Test


These days it’s rare to come across a film without having any prior knowledge of it. With posters, trailers, stills and various degrees of social media coverage, you can find out so much about a film before you even see it in the cinema. Or at home. The Beta Test was shrouded in mystery after it was selected at Berlinale and secured distribution which is what has given this film its edge. On the surface, it seems like similar stories about the wealthy and obnoxious pawns of Hollywood who swan around acting like they own the town until one small thing makes them stumble but it’s the execution of this strange tale that makes it stand out from all those other stories and makes you wonder, what’s really going on.


Full review and coverage over at Filmhounds HERE.

Monday 23 August 2021



Despite having doubts Natalie goes ahead with her wedding to Bakkies, but after an unexpected violent incident, Natalie seeks refuge with her beloved horse only to end up accidently shooting someone. Panicked, she seeks help from her best friend Poppie, now heavily pregnant and also eager to escape their small town. Meanwhile police officer Captain Beauty Cuba who awaited the arrival of her fiancé who is being released from prison after 15 years, only to find out he’s be accused of murder again. Beauty soon pieces together what has happened and is hot the girls heals has they ride for Johannesburg and freedom.


Full review is over at Filmhounds HERE.

Sunday 22 August 2021

Fantasia Film Festival - Dear Hacker


One day director Alice Lenay notices that the camera on her computer flashes red on and off several times then suddenly stops. Wondering whether this is a hacker, a ghost, a spirit, she decides to investigate through a serious of conversations with friends and acquaintances. Sharing their ideas of what this red light could be, what does this possible hacker want and trying to communicate back and whether it is a good idea.  


Full review and coverage is over at Filmhounds HERE.