In basically the first scene of A Simple Favour Anna Kendrick’s character explains that the sequence of events leading up to her best friend’s disappearance happened on their kids’ school’s World Food Day. We then cut to a flashback, the banner in the classroom reads Ethnic Food Day. And so it becomes clear that, even when tasked with directing what on the outset appears to be a serious and sexy mystery thriller, his primary tendency is always going to lean towards comedy.
Say what you will about Michael Caine, at eighty five he’s still plugging away. Even if nowadays people are giving him less to do, he’s still turning up when called. Steady hand on the tiller, and if the audience can overcome the accent then they follow that man anywhere. Or maybe that’s just the British.
Climax just came out in the UK and uh, yeah. It’s a lot. A whole lot. Supposedly based on a true story from the nineties when a rehearsing group of dancers found the punch bowl in their wrap party spiked with something much stronger than the alcohol they were expecting. As you would expect it makes things better for a while. Then worse. Much worse.
There is nothing more powerful in this world than a determined Michelle Yeoh. In the prologue to this film, arriving rain drenched to some fancy London hotel whose staff refuse to acknowledge her reservation, you wonder how these men are not rendered dead under her gaze. She has a better way to exact revenge though, and one phone call to her husband finds the hotel brought out from under them. She owns it now.
I didn’t cry at all watching The Miseducation of Cameron Post, which seems to suggest that there’s something wrong with the film. Given my background I was sure that I would be a wreck the entire way through. But Desiree Akhavan is not interested in mining the story of young queer folks in enrolled in full time conversion therapy for the bleak, helpless, tragedy that many of those who suffered through such experiences describe it as. Instead we spend much of the time here looking at the moments that would help one survive it.
Bart Layton, writer and director of American Animals released his first feature in 2012 to critical acclaim. The Imposter was a true crime documentary that no doubt would have been huge if it came out a couple of years later, after the true crime documentary craze exploded. The film accounts through interview and reconstruction the tale of a young man who conned a family into believing that he was their long missing son. It’s a compelling story, made more so by the fact that the main interviewee taking us through events is the fraudster himself.
The Nun is trash and I love it.
Cold War opens on a sequence of two musicians travelling around Poland in a beat up van, recoding the folk music of those who had just survived the horrors of World War Two. They sit under on porches and in bars and around breakfast tables, inviting those who have recently lost so much to perform. Pass on the music of times torn from them.
The problem you encounter casting Stanley Tucci in literally any role is that he’s too preternaturally charming. You have to work against the unstoppable force of nature that he represents for us to do anything but love him. The Children Act unfortunately, is nothing but blandly directed and has to struggle against Ian McEwan’s second script this year imperfectly adapted from his own novel.
Searching has got me thinking about how we interface with contemporary technology in the aesthetic properties of storytelling. Earlier this year we saw Soderbergh’s Unsane which used the burnt out visual quality of mobile phone footage to great effect in building up its unsettling and uncanny sense of place. This summer came Stephen Susco’s horror sequel Unfriended: Dark Web which built on the first-person, laptop-screen chills of the original by turning its eye upon how the monitor complicates the relationship between audience and participant.