Tuesday 25 January 2022

Parallel Mothers


The story and setting for Parallel Mothers all feel familiar territory for Pedro Almodovar who has garnered a career on his melodramas focusing on women, mothers, lovers and usually involving a devastating secret. The colours red and black are heavily featured throughout, as well as the use kitchens and food, all staples of his films in this genre. After his very personal film, Pain and Glory, this film is a step back to what the director does best.  

Full review HERE

Monday 24 January 2022


There are so many cliché sayings about home and what it means for all of us. For Marvin, his return home is not of the triumphant hero or the weary traveller, he is simply returning home because he has nowhere else to go. This is a mix of the prodigal son and a journey of redemption and forgiveness, but mostly a story about someone who knows nothing more than where home is. 

Released from prison after many years for murder, Marvin (Jake McLaughlin) returns to his home town and his sick mother, Bernadette (Kathy Bates). While trying to adjust to life on the outside, he continues to wrestle with his demons, believing he hasn’t atoned enough for his crime. When the family of the elderly woman he murdered find out about his return, they too want further justice. Despite all this, he strikes up a tentative friendship with Delta (Aisling Francoisi), a young single mother, just trying to survive by selling drugs. 

Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.

Friday 21 January 2022

What is the great MCU plan?


What is the great MCU plan? What do they have set out for us all? 

 Having just seen Eternals recently on Disney+ because I missed it at the cinemas, my thought about the film were not what they should be. Firstly, and personally, I felt the film was too wide, it felt as if it was stepping outside the last MCU phase and was observing from afar. I know this is what the Eternals were meant to be doing but it felt that there was yet another layer being added to the heavily padded out universe. Dare I say it that Marvel Studios had bitten off far more than they can chew and spit out. Secondly, I thought the film was, on the whole quite good, Chloe Zhao has a keen eye for visuals and I very much appreciated the variety of characters. But I also felt that the Eternals never should have been included in the MCU. 

Their purpose and involvement was too vast. Having them fight Deviants (lame name but you can’t win them all) just felt and turned out to be time wasting. Adding even more characters to the already over-crowded mix is mind bending. Not to mention with the arrival of the multiverse it’s going to become a hell of a lot more confusing. Before Phase Two began, the execs were worried that Guardians of the Galaxy was going to be too weird. But as that is literally a space story with aliens, guns and an 80s soundtrack, it was going to be a sure thing. BUT Eternals isn’t. Its set on Earth with a group of humanoid beings with powers. It could either be seen as more of the same or just too beyond the scope, especially with the celestials. 

The days of having the Defenders on Netflix, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and the MCU films feels so long ago. The Agent Carter series that had such promise then buckled under in season two also, seems so long ago. We also don’t talk about Inhumans. Now that Disney has literally SO many TV shows in the works makes me wonder whether when will this all end or will it be never ending considering the amount of comic book characters out there. Personally, I didn’t watch all the shows, I haven’t even caught up with the films yet (No Way Home, also missed at the cinema). I only watch what interests me and if it has Oscar Issac in it. 

Having gone back and rewatched AOS seasons 1-5, I remembered why I stopped. It wasn’t just that I wasn’t able to find the last two seasons to watch (the UK was a year behind on TV) but I felt that something had shifted to the point I wasn’t sure if I liked how the series was going. I will finish the whole thing as I really need to know exactly what happened not just the final few minutes. Season 6 marked the point where the series wasn’t acknowledging the films, made sense but also didn’t. One of the biggest mistakes was the films not acknowledging the series. Especially as it has the greatest love story in the MCU. 

There is a part of me that wished everything had ended with Endgame just for the sake of neatness and a story coming full circle. But there’s more, there’s always more. Of course, I want Guardians of the Galaxy Vol3 and to an extent Thor: Love and Thunder, but otherwise, I’ve stopped getting excited for the next release. Shang-chi was exciting as I loved the cast and on the whole, really enjoyed the film. But every film, set on Earth, seems to just be about the be all and end all. The smaller stories are no different. With Wandavision, Wanda threatened to tear reality apart, in Loki, the Time Variance Authority and a massive clue towards the multiverse and the new ‘big bad’. Honestly didn’t bother with Hawkeye and the other show, they really didn’t interest me. Despite the backlash that the series on Netflix got, I very much enjoyed some of the shows involving the Defenders. That intimacy is what’s missing but it looks like Moon Knight might capture this again. But knowing Marvel, it will be connected to a bigger picture, maybe, Secret Invasion involving MI-13 (the British S.H.I.E.L.D). 

Unlike before, there were Avengers films to collect everyone together but for Phase 4 there is no film that will have everyone together as there is no more Iron Man or Captain America to bring everyone together. But it still feels like everyone is being pulled in together. So far characters from Phase 2 & 3 are appearing in each other’s films and TV shows. There is no, sorry to use this, endgame. God knows what Phase 5 will be or if we’ll get there. I’ll be ok with that not happening. 

One of the theories my friend and I had was that multiverse was an opportunity to bring in mutants and the X-Men, now that that film franchise is dead. But with the way things were going in Wandavision, I thought House of M might make an appearance. Bu then again, the latter mostly affected mutants. Maybe all of the above will happen but as there has been no word, Disney might try and let that superhero chain cover over in dust. 

Its strange to think that this all started in 2007 with Iron Man, I never would have guessed this growth.

Friday 14 January 2022

Titane - The F Word


Julia Ducournau’s latest film is hybrid of a story, meshed together with blood, sweat and oil. Dragging you into the depths of a truly disturbed mind and making you watch as everything descends into chaos around her. And what an experience it is. Shrouded in mystery before being revealed at Cannes, the entire plot has been a well-kept secret and for good reason. It’s very rare to not know and be able to find out exactly what happens in a film these days so when the opportunity to disguise the actual plot, even in the trailers, that is sign that this film needs to be seen how it was meant to, on the big screen.

Full review over at The F Word HERE.

Wednesday 12 January 2022

London Short Film Festival interview with Philip Ilson


Before the Christmas and New Year festivities began last year, I got to ask Philip Ilson from LSFF (London Short Film Festival) about the festival's programme for 2022 which will be taking place in person after two years of virtual events across the film landscape.

Full interview can be read HERE over at Run Riot.

LSFF 14 - 23 January 2022, across various venues in London

Monday 3 January 2022

Watch List 2021


It’s been yet another strange year, in general and for film too. Having stopped posting my monthly watch lists, which I thought weren’t needed anymore, I didn’t want to miss out on the year round up or rather what I feel are my top films from the year. Unlike like every other year, I haven’t been able to get to the cinema as much as I usually do. Even during 2020 I managed to see the ‘big’ and festival films. This year however, with a mix of virtual and in person events, I haven’t seen all I wanted. Including not making it to all the festival films I wanted. This list comprises of those that were released this year. There are a few omitted because they are released in cinemas/online next year and will most likely appear on my list in December 2022. 

Having forced to be more select, due to availability and the films being on at the cinemas near me, I saw all these films online rather than a cinema. This also meant I missed out on more of the big blockbuster films which is why they don’t appear on my list. I absolutely loved The Suicide Squad but I felt that it wasn’t as good as the other titles on the list.

This was always going to end up on my best films of the year list, although I saw this in 2020, the film was officially released in 2021. The sheer brilliance and captivating character of Cassandra and her request for revenge is poured out HERE if you care to relive this film with me. 

Another early in the year favourite that had stuck with me throughout. A horror story with a thriller twist and fascinating character at the centre of it all. I got to talk to the director Jill Gevargizian which gave me more insight into the filmmaking and creation, which is maybe why I love this film more than other female fronted films this year. Interview in full HERE as well as the review HERE

As a very avid fan of Tove Jansson and her Moomin books, I was of course very excited to see a film about her life. A very specific part of her life is explored in the biopic and love hate relationship with her own creations as well as her broken heart over her first love affair. The review in full can be read HERE

I have been meaning to write a full post dedicated to this great film but I could never quite capture the glee and joy I had watching this film about female friendships as well as teenage rebellion that didn’t feel cliché. Plus, the use of zines and riot grrrl camaraderie was always going to be a win my eyes, personally. Directed by a favourite of mine, Amy Poehler so I knew this would have an edge to the other teen dramas before and this definitely stands out in the sea of lesser than films. 

Story aside, because who can resist a film set entirely at a wake where a young woman is trying to hide several lies, she’s told to several people, plus avoiding certain people and try to find out more about the older guy they’ve been sleeping with, all in a closed environment, its brilliantly executed but truly, it’s the soundtrack that gives this film the perfect horror like atmosphere. If you want to read more, full post is HERE

Based on a true story recounted on Twitter, enough said. This was either going to be a hard sell or the best film adapted from said Twitter story. There’s nothing quite like it. Read more about the film HERE
With the video nasties of the 80s as a backdrop to this sinister story about a censor who believes her long lost sister is in of these horror films, reality is blurred with hallucinations and dreams. It was great to be back in the cinema for a special event after such long time. The entire post can be read HERE

Having no clue what this film was about except that I had been very excited to watch it, this slow twist thriller was one that exceeding my expectations. My spoiler free as possible post is HERE

Like most films this was pushed back and there was a worry we wouldn’t even get this in the cinemas. A science fiction saga spectacle deserves space, especially such a story as this. Although the books by Frank Herbert have been adapted before, they hadn’t had the Denis Villeneuve treatment and going by his previous sci-fi films this was the right director to bring this story of spice, warmongering houses and chosen ones to the life. It was exciting to see such an epic back on the big screen again, perfectly timed it turned out to celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Fellowship of the Ring, the film that brought back the epic and changed the landscape of cinema. Dune feels like its going to be the start of something spectacular. 
I feel like I’ve been writing about this film for months (I actually have). The film that shook Cannes, the film that will shock you and all that PR jazz, this film is fantastic, do believe the hype. Read more about it HERE.

If anyone is interested, I have zines for PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN, THE BETA TEST and TITANE - message me on Twitter or Instagram (@shelikesmovies_)