I went into this film optimistic. Yes, the trailer looks terrible, and the script is weak and the plot is cheesier and holey-er than a slice of Emmental, but, Kate McKinnon. Aside from being the biggest, best and funniest in her regular slots on SNL, her big screen debut in the all female reboot of Ghostbusters (2016) firmly cemented her reputation for being a sparkling comedic presence. Sadly, even McKinnon couldn’t save this bland, unfunny, girls-gone-wild caper, delivering poorly-scripted lines by yelling and sticking out her tongue.
The comedy, or lack there of, isn’t the only problem with The Spy Who Dumped, a title that may have duped many an unsuspecting cinema-goer by being smarter than the film itself. The problem with this movie is that it strives to be so many things and doesn’t do any of them right. The violence is extreme and goofy, the kind you might see in an Edgar Wright movie except this isn’t an Edgar Wright movie and the gore just seems out of sync when set against the attempts of spoofy comedy. The film also takes tentative steps into rom-com territory that leads onto a number of bizarrely unfunny series of vagina gags. Director Susanna Fogel clearly had big ideas for this girl-power spy spoof romp, but ultimately fails to see them through. Continue reading
In the late 70s, the heady buzz surrounding anime that had been ushered into the West by titles such as the 1963 TV series Astro Boy and the 1965 Kimba the White Lion had started to fade. Video store shelves had begun to bulge with violent, gun-toting Lolita’s and cult followings of the hyper-sexual tentacle porn (hentai) had soured the reputation of the genre.
Then came Akira (1988) and with it a swath of landmark films that would guide the genre into a Western renaissance. The release of Perfect Blue by director Satoshi Kon in 1997 showcased a brash, gaudy, visually haunting feature that, in true Kon style, provided us with an uncomfortably accurate prophesier to the erosion of private life in the internet age. Continue reading
Hereditary, the title of Ari Aster’s eagerly anticipated new film, has got horror fans sitting up and paying attention. Rumours of psychologically broken actors suffering from PTSD and promises of a film set to be this generation’s The Exorcist, Hereditary is already guaranteed to secure a place on the IMDB Top 100 list. Motherhood is as prevalent a theme in horror as death, sex and mental illness; indeed, the most monstrous incarnations manage to assimilate them all into one.
If you take a sweeping glance across the horror genre over the last decade, you’ll notice that mothers have had a pretty bad rap. Angry, over-bearing, sexually repressed, possessive; the devouring mothers depicted on-screen are Freudian nightmares. In the flesh, in spirit, male, metaphorical or metaphysical – the devouring mother archetype manifests in a wildly vast number of ways. Continue reading
The nauseating anxiety triggered by this film has only just receded from my psyche. It’s rare, nowadays, for a film to imbue such writhing terror onto a usually desensitised and skeptical audience.
The jump scares are scarce as the film titters towards a creeping-dread approach to horror; horror that emerges from our inevitable capacity to inflict pain on ourselves and those we love. Comparisons with The Exorcist and The Shining do this film little justice however, as Ari Aster’s directorial debut has much more in common with subdued tension-builders like It Comes At Night and The Witch (both films are also distributed by indie-powerhouse A24). Continue reading
The pebble beaches, brooding grey skies and that familiar reserved English melancholy of Ian McEwan’s novella On Chesil Beach have been meticulously translated into film, adapted by the author himself and directed by Dominic Cooke, this being his debut feature film. Starring Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle as the polite yet passionately in love pair, it’s a tender ode to what it’s like to fall in love in your early twenties.
On Chesil Beach is the story of Florence and Edward, two young graduates who are about to be married in the summer of 1962. Florence is a fiercely talented and ambitious violinist from a upper-middle class family, daughter to a factory owner (Samuel West) and a philosophy professor (Emily Watson). Edward is just as wickedly smart but from far humbler beginnings. Continue reading