Monday 31 May 2021

Dinner in America


A mixed bag of drugs, arson and awkward family dinners, all wrapped up in punk attitude and music, its one hell of a slice of Americana. Though it doesn’t feel guaranteed from the beginning, there is an unusually sweet romance that blossoms through the screams and punches, as well as fantastic song that you’ll have in your end long after the credits roll. 


Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.

Saturday 29 May 2021

There Is No Guilt If It Comforts You

During the multiple lockdowns we've all experienced, there has been a lot said about the comfort films and TV shows, as well as stories that will uplift, entertain, bring joy while we're all stuck at home. Now that cinemas are open in the UK we can once again indulge ourselves and enjoy films on the big screen. Having missed the cinemas for month, like a lot of film fans, I can now sit in the dark with a few strangers sitting far away from me. It’s been noted that audiences are getting fed up with streaming things, I am for sure tired of wanting to watch a film, only to find that I have to pay as much as the cinema. I'd rather wait. But I know not everyone is ready to venture out to cinemas yet. I also understand that. especially those who work in the film industry that there is film fatigue and the want and need to just watch something light or basic instead of the latest blockbusters and art house offerings. 

This made me think of the films that I reached for during the lockdowns. I wanted new films of course, I still like to keep up to date but I also started watching favourite shows on a loop. Once I finished one, I'd start another, then loop back to that first show again. I also revisited old favourites that I don't tend to repeat watch. This is what kept me going, in one way. We all find comfort in certain things, some call them guilty pleasures, but one person's guilty pleasure is another's favourite film of all time. One person's top ten films are another's worst films they've ever seen. When it comes to what comforts us, I revert back to something I know will stimulate me and help me relax, murder mysteries and crime shows. I was feeling very on edge recently, riding the high anxiety train and I automatically put on Miss Marple. Immediately calmed down and absorbed myself into the world of Agatha Christie. While many places were dishing out listicles of the best 'comfort shows/films' these will not translate to everyone. We all have our different vices and its best to lean into them. No calling them guilty pleasures, no need to feel guilty at all, we all like what we like. 

There is a strange acceptance for those who like film that they must consume all film all the time. As much as I love films, I don't always feel the need to explore every single corner of the filmscape all the time. Some days I just want to watch a murder mystery show and be left to enjoy it with coffee and biscuits. Other days I'm craving something new I've never seen before. Then there are days where I will watch something a friend has suggested. The pressure is high, especially, I feel if you write and work in film. There is no need to be on the ball every single hour of the day. Taking a break to recharge from the medium you subscribe to the most is a much-needed thing.

Wednesday 19 May 2021

The Banishing


Haunting occultist period dramas have a way of grabbing you by the throat and not letting go until the heart stopping end. I’m thinking of such British horror from more recent years such as Apostle and His House. The British are known for their Hammer horrors and low-grade indie horror films, when it comes to this very specific genre. Although over the years, British horror films are creeping out of the woodwork and the genre is becoming a staple on streaming services. Successes like Saint Maud, getting a cinema release and recognition is a stand out, but the smaller films are getting a chance too, thanks to Shudder and Netflix.


A short time after a gruesome death and suspicious activity at Morely Rectory, a new vicar, his wife and their adopted daughter move into the village. Almost immediately Marianne, the young wife feels a presence in the house, as does their daughter Adelaide who was Marianne’s deceased sister’s daughter. Linus, placed in the village by the Bishop instead of being sent to a missionary abroad, is beholden to the Bishop and tries to appease him, especially as he does not approve of Marianne. Further hauntings continue, making the mother and daughter seem like they are going mad. But when Marianne meets the mysterious Harry Reed, he informs her of all the missing pieces of the house’s history and what the intentions of the Bishops really are.


There are moments of ominous terror which are always welcome in these types of stories. Not giving away everything straight away creates an intriguing mystery. But the added Nazi threats in the background, make the film feel overcrowded. Is this a conspiracy or is this occult or is this both? It just makes it very confusing and at time difficult to stay focused. The wanton woman trope is also over used and seems a bit pointless. Linus doesn’t want to have sex with his wife but also is jealous at the thought of her seeking pleasure elsewhere. This aspect of the story also doesn’t feel resolved by the end and focuses more on the disappearance of Adelaide which should have been key all along.


The Banishing, although not strong in story or character, it does create an unnerving atmosphere, with acting talent trying their best to make this film more than what was given to them to work with. This is more like a starting point to a story, rather than the main event. With fine tuning of the script and a few more ominous notes rather than hitting all the usual genre beats, The Banishing could have been one the stand out horror films of the year.


Tuesday 11 May 2021



A DEA Agent, currently undercover as a drug trafficker, tries to bring down a multi-cartel Fentanyl smuggling operation while also trying to look out for his junkie sister. An architect and single mother recovering from oxycodone addiction turns detective after her son is brutally and suddenly killed. A university professor and scientist debates what he should do when disturbing truths come to light that the pharmaceutical company he works for want to release new "non-addictive" painkiller to market despite what testing has shown. 


Full review is over at Filmhounds HERE.



Thursday 6 May 2021

Watch List: April



Full review is over at Filmhounds and can be read HERE. 3/5



Full review can be read HERE. 3/5


Willy's Wonderland 


A film where Nicholas Cage doesn’t utter a single word and fight a load of animatronic robots who have been possessed by the souls of serial killers? Well of course I am going to watch it, even if the murderous robots are terrifying. I don’t understand why children’s places like Willy Wonderland exist as I think they are far too scary for children, and me. But I’ve been told that these are all over the US, they are aren’t a ‘thing’ in the UK, thankfully. The story premise is basic and beautiful. Cage is stranger driving through town and his car breaks down and he’s offered to work of the cost to fix the car in an abandoned theme restaurant. At the same time, a group of stereotype teenagers are planning on burning down the restaurant to get rid of the evil souls within. These two stories collide while chaos rages on throughout the night as each robot attacks and Cage fights back. It’s ridiculous and I loved it. Every single horror trope is hit on the head while also offering something I haven’t seen before. I’ve also been told this is the same premise to a video game but as that isn’t my area of expertise, I’m happy to say I enjoyed the originality in parts of the film. 4/5

Effie Gray 

Full review is over at Filmhounds and can be read HERE. 2/5


Into the Labyrinth

Full review is over at Filmhounds and can be read HERE.3/5


High Heels and Low Lifes


The early 2000s, hanging off the end of the 90s were a mix bag of questionable CGI, mash ups and hybrid productions that were very hit and miss, of course with some great films too, but so does every era. British films went through a trend of including a token American to try and seem like they could sell the film to the US and that was the only way to do it. High Heels and Low Lifes was just such one of these films. Weird comedy crime caper where two friends, Minnie Driver, slightly uptight nurse and Mary McCormack, down on her luck actress, decide to outwit gangsters when they over hear a robbery taking place. The premise is ridiculous but the film was actually enjoyable. Driver and McCormack make a pretty damn good duo and if you can overlook a lot of the plot, its entertaining and not bad for when it was made. 3/5



Things Seen and Heard


First off, the title is very dull. Secondly, I wish I had read the book. The film has that feel to it as if it were adapted and there’s no escaping it, mostly due to the feeling that not everything is being explained here and how George goes from passably average guy to absolute bastard, with no hint in previous years, seems odd. Like horror thrillers before it, there is a continuous ominous feeling that things are not right from the opening scene and this neck tingling unsettlingly feeling never leaves. Some of the themes are also not explored fully which is disappointing, including spirituality, ghosts and the previous owners of the house. There just isn’t enough of the background context to flesh out the film so we’re left with uncomfortable shots of James Norton’s face looking pained, all the time. 2/5



Full review is over at Filmhounds and can be read HERE. 3/5