Thursday, 15 August 2019

'Once Upon A Time In... Hollywood' Review

The "9th" film from distinctive director Quentin Tarantino, a crop of A-list talent and one of the most notorious murders of all time, 'Once Upon A Time In... Hollywood', of course, garnered much early interest within its infancy. With Tarantino, you have a rough idea of what to expect, with his signature tropes that he has showcased over the twenty-seven years as a full feature director being instantly recognisable across the board. However, 'Hollywood' seems to showcase in many ways a more mature and methodical entry from Tarantino with him toning down on some of his "Tarantino-isms" in a way that isn't quite as effective.

Following two days in the lives of TV Western star Rick Dalton (Leonardo Di Caprio) and his best friend and troubled stunt-man Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) and then another day six months ahead, 'Hollywood' does not follow a traditional route of storytelling. It's easily more of a time capsule, an homage to a time the director clearly loves as we slowly drive around 1960's LA, going through bars, TV studios, cinemas etc. There are moments that do eventually connect to one another but nothing of sort to create a coherent, traditional storyline. This meandering through Los Angeles can become tiresome, although credit must be given for the detail put into the setting. The use of Rick Dalton's TV shows helps show the lows and vulnerability of an ageing actors life, with the set designs and going through what the shooting style back then was like is a genuine pleasure to view, as is following Booth throughout the rougher areas. However, this is a large chunk of the films runtime and without a true story and a lack of tension for the most part, it starts to drag and isn't the most satisfying for a film that is over two and a half hours long. The problem with 'Hollywood' is that it doesn't really command your attention, with the film drifting into many different parts with not an abundance of detail to the events themselves. Tarantino's desire to recapture the magic of this time period is entertaining in parts but a lack of cohesion makes this seem like nothing more than paying respect to a past time he clearly loves.

Di Caprio and Pitt's performances of course aid the films cause, with interesting characters who you enjoy being around and who's charisma carry the film through. These are two splendid performances that do their best to hold your attention at the best of times, even if there isn't much happening along the way. Despite the story - or lack thereof - the two do develop as the film goes on, gaining their just in the end in a way that reflects their characters careers perfectly. As for Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate, not much can really be said other than she's in perhaps the most Quentin Tarantino frame of all time. It's surprising how little focus is on her, considering the marketing which made her seem like one of the films biggest parts which she isn't really except to do with the obvious third act.

Although the first two acts don't exactly deliver on the chaos, Tarantino comes out all guns blazing in the final act and delivers what audiences will be expecting. The excessive violence and the rewrite of history - similarly to his work on 'Inglorious Bastards' - comes through in exciting and exhilarating fury. It's Tarantino at his best even if only for a short period of time but in the end does deliver a satisfying experience, much more so than the previous two acts.

'Once Upon A Time In... Hollywood' is in no means a bad film but coming from such an auteur as Tarantino and comparing it to the famed director's filmography, it feels a little off. It intentionally is not as wild as some of his other films but doesn't necessarily fill that void with enough content to fully satisfy. It feels more like its directed by 'a' guy rather than 'thee' guy in comparison to his much higher body of work. Nonetheless, with two fantastic lead performances, clever dialogue as usual and beautiful look at the time period, the film does provide a fairly enjoyable viewing, just not to the same extent as Tarantino's previous ventures.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

My 10 Best Movies of 2018!

As mentioned in my 'Worst of the Year' list, I don't feel that 2018 has been that strong compared to other years in recent memory. However, there still has been plenty to enjoy with some cracking films across all genres. This was a tough list to decide as few films really stood head and shoulders above the rest, meaning that there are a lot of honourable mentions. I'm not going to list every single one but here is a handful that just missed out:

A Quiet Place
I, Tonya
Leave No Trace
Ready Player One
and Widows

These are based on U.K. release dates so keep that in mind whilst reading the top 10 list as well. These are the films that impacted me or that I just enjoyed generally the most in 2018. Without further ado, here are my top 10 movies of 2018!


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I went into Overlord fairly blind, only having seen the poster but no trailers. It had been described to me as a Nazi zombie film so I was curious to see it but didn't have high expectations due to many telling me of its B movie nature. But it is a film that deserves so much more respect than that and has so much quality on offer that it truly won me over. This is a superb film that crosses three genres, without going overly silly. It has dramatic tension, decent characters who you grow to care for, stakes and great action set pieces. I feel that many would have skipped on this film due to its premise but it is absolutely well worth giving a chance. One of the years big surprises.


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In all honesty, Phantom Thread didn't really fill me up with much interest, I can't say the film's plot initially intrigued me in the slightest. But then there was so much praise and of course, the lure of Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis that I just had to see it. And it was truly magnificent from start to finish, deservedly being a mainstay during 2018's award season. This is an excellently crafted film, with some of the best characters in recent years and fantastic performances - Vicky Krieps deserved better. A great addition to the fine repertoire of Anderson as he knocked it out of the park with this unbelievably charming and touching film.


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Ari Aster's directorial debut had me excited months before its release with the buzz surrounding Hereditary. I have to admit that I am certainly a bit of an A24 fanboy and a polarising horror movie will always get me excited so I was unbelievably relieved that this film delivered. Creepy from start to finish with amazing performances from Collette and Wolff, this is a film that constantly got under my skin with a story that shocked me at every turn. I was captivated by this film which I feel is one of the best directorial debuts in recent years and one I know I'll return to many times again.


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I'm a big fan of coming of age films which made me extremely excited to see Lady Bird, despite it seeming to be the last of the award contenders to be released in the U.K. This film was a pure joy to watch, with a great lead performance from Saoirse Ronan in the titular role. A complete blast with life lessons and emotional moments, none more so than the car journeys with Laurie Metcalf's character. Perfectly paced, this is a film that will be rewatched constantly with ease, bringing a great viewing each time with great drama and humour.


As a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Infinity War was my most anticipated film for 2018 as it was the amalgamation of all these characters and stories into one like never before. This was a true spectacle unlike any other I've experienced, with it keeping me guessing at every turn and demanding my attention the whole way through. I'm not judging this film by what is seemingly going to happen in the next film, just by what the Russo's did in this part. With a task that seemed impossible, they nailed it by managing to give each character a great moment and a purpose. This is the film on this list I'll rewatch the most and with good reason. All those years paid off with something truly spectacular and I can't wait to see what is in store next.


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The biggest shock of the year by far for me, I didn't expect to love Crazy Rich Asians nearly as much as I did. There was a lot of buzz around this film but I was never really itching to see it but this wonderful film surprised the hell out of me. I wouldn't say that this is an overly flashy movie but it is superbly written with great interesting, funny and unique characters who make you care about every situation and scenario. To explore a different culture at the same time helped add a feeling of freshness I had been desiring during the summer. I cannot recommend this film enough, it caught me so off guard and I can't wait to be able to rewatch it again.


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A truly bizarre mixture of horror and dance, Climax is unlike any film I have ever seen in my life. This French language film may come off as pretentious - you should know what you're getting from Gaspar Noe - but it had me hooked from the very first minute. With a weird interview process starting the film off with some truly mesmerizing dance numbers, the film grabs your attention as it builds and builds before it explodes about halfway through. From that moment on, it feels as if anything can happen and it isn't far off. This is an extremely effective horror film as realistically this could easily happen and that got under my skin so much. This film left a massive impression on me as a fan of horror, as it provided something I had not quite experienced before. The ending of this film is harrowing and excellently crafted as it draws this nightmare to an end in the most effective way possible.


Pixar absolutely nailed it once again with Coco, a tremendous musical/animated film that fully deserved its Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song Oscars early in 2018. Like CRA early on, it was great to be immersed in a different culture which provided an excellent backdrop for a touching story about personal desire and family. Pixar manages to channel those emotional beats whilst being able to create a thoroughly enjoyable experience for both children and adults. A visual joy with some great catchy tunes, Coco is very deserving of being a part of the Pixar library and is one that will constantly bring joy on rewatches.


The best action movie since Mad Max, Mission: Impossible Fallout is everything you could want from a mainstream blockbuster. Great, fun, charismatic, diverse characters facing memorable villains in superbly shot action scenes packed into 2 and a half hours that fly by with ease. There are so many moments in this film that spring to mind when it's brought up, whether it's Henry Cavill's reloading of his arms, Tom Cruise flying his own helicopter, Vanessa Kirby kicking ass in that scene, Rebecca Ferguson being excellent as usual, I could go on and on. This is an exhilarating movie that if it had some more emotional edge, would really have challenged closer for the number 1 spot. Nonetheless, as a fan of the genre, it was great to see such a well-crafted film by so many talented and dedicated filmmakers. How many other franchises can say at the sixth installment that they are still getting better and better?


From the moment I saw it, I knew The Shape of Water would be my number 1 movie of this year and nothing came close to challenging it for the top spot. On basic plot synopsis, yes this film seems like a strange one. But behind that is a marvelously crafted, beautiful film that explores many different themes whilst creating an unusual romance. A visual masterpiece with my favourite performance from an actress from some time by Sally Hawkins, this film amazed me at every moment. The soundtrack, setting, characters and story all blew me away, I can't really think of a weak point in this film that I rave about constantly whenever people ask what the best film I've seen recently is. This was head and shoulders above everything else in 2018 for me, bringing so much joy and emotion out of me in the three times I saw it in a theatre. Check this film out, it may seem bizarre but it is absolutely wonderful, 2018's masterpiece.

So that rounds out my top 10 films of 2018! There were some great films that are well worth catching up on and I hope you found some on this list that you didn't expect to make it or have intrigued you enough to check out. I hope everybody had a great time over the new year period and are looking forward to more great movies in 2019! Once again, thanks for taking the time to read my post, it is very much appreciated!

Sunday, 30 December 2018

My 10 Worst Films of 2018!

2018, in my opinion, was perhaps the weakest year in terms of all-round quality in recent memory, meaning there were a lot of contenders to make up this list. However, I can only fit 10 into this list so that makes for some lucky films that have missed out on being labeled as the worst of the worst. As always, here are some honourable mentions:

The First Purge
The Darkest Minds
Slaughterhouse Rulez
The Grinch
The Crimes of Grindelwald
The Festival
and Downsizing

As usual, there are films that I have not seen or just didn't think were quite bad enough to make this list which is based on U.K release dates. These films are ones you should certainly avoid at all costs for a number of different reasons. Despite not thinking 2018 was the best year for films, these 10 made me appreciate the good a whole lot more when they came. Without further ado, enjoy my list of the 10 worst films of 2018!


The Nutcracker was an extremely unsatisfying and disappointing movie that failed to create any form of joy in its 100-minute runtime. I actually had hopes for this film and genuinely looked forward to seeing it, but that was soon dismissed. Terrible characters, a dull story and some wacky - and not in a good way - performances made this film a total slog that isn't worth your time in the slightest. A massive misfire from Disney, a real shame.


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Melissa McCarthy films usually have me either in stitches or counting the seconds down until they end. Unfortunately, The Happytime Murders was the latter and was an extremely hard watch. Taking a format and putting a new spin on it can work, but the decision to make an explicit puppet movie turned out to be one of the laziest attempts at comedy all year. This is a shoddy piece of work with little creativity behind its jokes, leaving only young teenagers being able to find it remotely funny. It could've been a fun comedy but ultimately, it's just a gimmick that doesn't work to much avail.


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I'm a big fan of The Conjuring movies and a horror expanded universe around the series excited me, with Annabelle: Creation filling me with hope for the future. The Nun looked like a promising next step, with creepy images and trailers doing well to build some excitement from fans. The final product couldn't have been more of a letdown, with a lack of a coherent story and a terribly used lead character leading to this film being incredibly dull. The film looks great but has little scares or creativity that makes it a waste of time. Again it's another film that with even a bit of thought could've done a lot of good. Instead, we got one of the most boring commercial horrors of recent years.


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Every year, a horror film that is so bad, it's genuinely entertaining makes the list. Last year had the infamous Bye Bye Man and Wish Upon make up the list with some terrible horror and unintentional comedy. This years entry is Truth or Dare, yes a film based off of the game truth or dare but with "spooky" ongoings. This is probably the only film on this list that you could get some enjoyment for but for the absolute wrong reasons. Filled with horrible characters and an incredibly cheesy smiling face, grab your friends and enjoy the lunacy that this film provides.


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If anybody knows me, they know I'm a massive admirer of Alicia Vikander, which makes this entry hurt that much more. This was the first film that I saw at the 2018 Glasgow Film Festival and it couldn't have got off to a worse start - well maybe if they showed one of the next five films. The film felt like it was trying to be ambitious with its story but it backfires catastrophically, bringing a narrative mess and ultimately an extremely dull and boring movie. There are very little positives to this film which with its cast had me extremely excited. Avoid this one at all costs, a huge misfire from its two lead actors.


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Thank god it's over. We're free. Boring story, awful characters, terrible chemistry and it's not remotely "exciting". I do have to say though, this is perhaps the strongest entry in the series if that's a compliment. I'm glad that we never have to return to this story and especially that these two actors can move on too. Johnson is already doing some great work, go check out Bad Times at the El Royale. It does surprise me that this film is only number 5 on my list but I did see my number 1 entry the week before which may have softened the blow from this, which is still a truly dreadful film.


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Who thought it would be a good idea to have every character in Mile 22 be a total uncharismatic asshole whilst shaking the camera in every shot making it borderline unwatchable? This film is a pain to watch as it will genuinely make your eyes hurt due to its unbearable camera work. And if that's not enough, everybody's favourite Mark Wahlberg portrays a complete jerk with no redeemable qualities and a lot of irritating irks. I don't even know who I was supposed to root for in this film, it's a complete mess. Such a hate filled movie that brings nothing but an infuriating experience, Berg and Wahlberg should stick to their real-life depictions and stay away from monstrosities like this one. 


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The Open House is exactly the type of film you fear of when someone says a Netflix film as it is one that is clear to see no studio wanted to be attached to. An incredibly boring piece with very little to it in terms of character, atmosphere, scares, basically anything that makes a good horror. So little happens in this film that I had to rejog my memory by reading the play by play plot synopsis and even that bored me. Unexciting and unengaging, Netflix's worst of the year.


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A Slender Man movie would've been a pretty good idea if it came out when it was popular and there was any sort of effort put into the story. Instead, it was made after the hype around the character had disappeared and the film tried to gain success solely from said name exploitation. The lack of a real story, characters, scares and just anything interesting make this one of the most unusual films I've ever seen. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that nothing happens in this film. It has the most baffling final act I've ever seen in a film, especially in its moments where there is supposed to be a fight back against the creature. The film also sets up a sequel but I don't think anybody wants to see that based on this shoddy attempt to kickstart a new horror franchise. Its lack of effort is insulting and is everything that is wrong when Hollywood tries to capitalise on a popular trend.


LOOK AT THE POSTER. LOOK AT IT. This film is best summed up by its poster as it too is absolutely terrible. Who let that get made? Anyway, Status Update is easily, 2018's worst film as I think I may have broken the record for 'Most times cringed in 105 minutes'. This is clearly a film conjured up by people who think they are in the know with what kids like, but it misses the mark on all levels. It's an absolute tonal mess as it swaps over the top cheesiness and dead seriousness between scenes, whilst its music routines are unbearable. It's a film that shouldn't have even been made for straight to Disney channel it is that bad. Here's hoping it doesn't impact any of the young stars careers which I doubt it will as many will probably not have heard of this film. Those people are extremely lucky as this may be, not only the worst film of 2018 but the worst film I have ever seen in a cinema period. Once again LOOK AT THE POSTER.

So that wraps up my list of the worst films in 2018, there were certainly many worthy of being on this list as well as ones I haven't seen - looking at you 'Gotti'. In the next few days, I should have the reverse of this list, my best of the yeat which will be much more enjoyable to reminisce about. Once again, thanks for taking the time to read my post, it is much appreciated!

Monday, 19 November 2018

'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald' Review

The evil Grindelwald (Jonny Depp) has escaped prison and is on the loose once again, causing havoc to all who oppose him. As Grindelwald looks to gain followers and the trust of Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), it's up to Newt (Eddie Redmayne) and co to stop him before he causes more destruction.

Following in the footsteps of money making machines Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, J.K Rowling's 'Potterverse' continues to expand in prequel form with Fantastic Beasts. The film, of course, was a huge hit at the box office meaning that plenty of Fantastic Beasts have been scheduled for the near future. With decent reviews but not leaving much of an impact, Rowling's second film as a screenwriter still had a lot to do in order to fully convince audiences. Unfortunately, the only thing fantastic about this prequel sequel is the word in the aforementioned title.

Franchises are often accused of biting off more than they can chew and for being too interested in setting up future films rather than telling a solid outright story. Crimes of Grindelwald had plenty of promise with the continued exploration of this fascinating world and characters old and new. Shamefully though, the film isn't so much interested in really exploring any of these things in great detail, instead opts to cover all sorts very quickly. Due to this fast skimming over things, most of the time the audience is confused as to what is happening or feeling like there is nothing to these actions. Crimes of Grindelwald isn't a fitting title as it barely features the villain, never mind the atrocities that he has caused. Motivations from characters are unclear which makes every action meaningless and quite boring in most cases. This is a massive problem for the series as it packs as many twists and turns into its 2 hours and 13 minutes runtime but at the end, you feel unmoved, a little confused and also aggravated by this disappointing mess.

One of the many problems that plague this series is surprisingly its characters. Rowling did an incredible job with the Potter films and creating likeable, interesting and complex characters who you genuinely cared about or loathed. Something doesn't seem to be transcending in Rowling's ability from novels to film as she fails to improve on this aspect yet again. The lack of personality in these characters was a problem in the first film and its an even bigger problem this time around as we are introduced to many other new characters. There really aren't many who stand out - except a few pesky creatures - as having anything about them, none more so than leading character Newt. As far as main characters of franchises go, Newt is as bland as you'll see, with nothing more than a sort of stuttering shyness to the character. Eddie Redmayne is fairly charming but does not portray the right sort of charisma in this role which makes the character forgettable, uninteresting and not one you would actively root for. You could swap this character out with ease and still have the same result due to the little detail that is given to him. In fact, that goes for pretty much everybody in this series so far.

There is a glimmer of hope in this film and it surrounds Zoe Kravitz and her character Leta Lestrange. The character provides interest due to her relationship with Newt and his brother in what proves to be some of the films finest moments. The "love triangle" of sorts looked to be an interesting concept due to the relations they have with each other but unfortunately, it is bogged down, lost in the shuffle and ultimately dismissed in the end. These brief interactions were genuinely compelling whilst looking to set up an interesting dynamic early on in the film. Bizarrely though, this potential is completely squandered as it is barely touched upon later in the film, despite being vastly more enthralling than the nonsense Newt and co get up to.

Crimes of Grindelwald is the prime example of a property looking to get by on name recognition alone. This is an incredibly sloppy sequel that despite looking pretty, has failed to resonate with audiences and a fair share of fans too. A careless film with little thrills or memorable moments, the Fantastic Beasts series is in desperate need of salvation as this is easily the lowest point in this franchises tenure.

Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars 

Thursday, 11 October 2018

'A Star Is Born' Review

Seasoned musician Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) stumbles upon a remarkable talent named Ally (Lady Gaga) one night as he searches for a drink. That moment starts a new journey for both, with Ally discovering success and newfound fame as Jack fights his own demons whilst the two try to maintain a relationship.

A remake of a remake that's already been remade would usually draw groans from filmgoers and critics alike but it's not a studio blockbuster so nobody really cares. This time around, it's an early award season contender as well as an exciting debut from director Bradley Cooper, in which he also is starring in. After spending many years in development hell, 'A Star Is Born' is back on the big screen with a pairing you wouldn't have expected. Nonetheless, Cooper has delivered a solid modern retelling of this story, despite not maximising its full potential.

Focussing on the rise of a star, the demise of another and their relationship amongst it all, Cooper's directorial debut depicts an interesting dysfunctional celebrity couple. Backed by a pair of strong performances from both Gaga and Cooper, the story showcases those short-lived celebrity romances very well, with brief moments of genuine care and a lot of disputes between the two. Within this portion, the relationship is never really shown to be that great, with Cooper's characters struggles leading to most of the troubles the two face with most interactions ending up negative. This does create an interesting dynamic and does provide a decent insight into a troubled relationship between two in the same business but going in completely different directions.

However, with this aspect being so heavily featured in the film, it takes an effect on the emotional moments that the film so heavily relies on. With the relationship between the two never appearing to be that great, the emotional moments don't quite hit the mark they could have had the film shown a bit more of the good times between the two. There are a few moments but it's mainly career based, there isn't much personality or character in their relationship meaning that would have made the sadder moments that more effective. That's not to say that there aren't moments in the film that are well done, it is just that these set pieces never get more than just fairly sad when they could be devastating and much more memorable. With more character, depth and development to this relationship, 'A Star Is Born' would undisputedly be one of the years best and most emotional in recent times. However, it squanders its potential and doesn't get much further than being a well made, musical drama.

With a talent like Lady Gaga being in a musical film, the expectation is for there to be some quality musical numbers in which the film delivers. 'Shallow' is the clear standout - put your house on it winning Best Original Song - and although the rest of the tracks don't quite reach the same levels, there is a high standard throughout. Cooper impresses alongside but Gaga showcases her incredible capabilities tremendously which does help elevate her performance along the way. Perhaps not enough for award contention, but this was certainly an impressive showing from a unique talent. Despite some instances of the classic Southern mumble and some obvious signposting, Cooper manages to balance directing and acting fairly well in his first outing.

'A Star is Born' looks to be a crowd pleaser that has delighted moviegoers, pleasing myself included. It is certainly a well made, enjoyable film but is also one that could've been a lot more impactful and reached that next level. With strong performances and good music, its emotional hold on the audience really lets this one down in what is by far the films biggest downfall. Nonetheless, there is plenty of enjoyment to be had with this award season contender.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Friday, 28 September 2018

'Climax' Review

On a cold winters night, a group of young dancers throw a party after finishing their practice. A simple party turns into chaos after the punch is spiked with LSD, leading to utter chaos and a descent into madness for those affected. 

With the summer blockbuster season coming to an end, Gaspar Noe's 'Climax' couldn't provide a bigger contrast to the big studio action films that have dominated these past few months. A mad hybrid of horror and musical, Noe has created something unlike anything else you will see this year, an artistic nightmare that will either repulse you or have you raving about it.

'Climax' certainly doesn't follow a natural form of storytelling, half the feature consists of stylish interviews and simple discussions, with the other half showcasing total anarchy as the 'incident' takes place. There is an abundance of time taken up just by characters speaking to one another in groups of two for around 10 minutes which can feel a little overdone but these short segments do play dividends further on into the film. These conversations provide some character and motivations as well as an insight into the mentalities and psyches of the dance troupe in an unconventional but effective way. For many viewers, this slow buildup before the mayhem may turn some people off the film but it is all worthwhile in the long run.

What comes next is nothing short of a psychedelic nightmare, with the effects of an LSD laced punch taking its toll on the dancers. From here on, the film doesn't give you any chance to catch your breath, as it throws one horrifying moment after another continuously until the film ends. Noe captures this wonderfully with long takes and perfect choreography, with many little details in the backgrounds of shots adding to the horror of what some of these characters are experiencing. Noe's constantly moving camerawork and use of screen space really helps create some unnerving and claustrophobic scenes, with some wicked performances along the way adding to the brutality of the actions going on. Noe has a real eye for detail, letting no shot go to waste and utilizing his long takes masterfully in creating something truly horrifying.

The climax of this unusual picture cements it as one of the years best, with the actions of each character gradually escalating in unpredictable fashion. There are plenty of memorable, harrowing moments that easily surpasses the mainstream horror pictures with its brutal realistic depiction of this anarchy created. Combined with manic and sleazy performances led by the wonderful Sofia  Boutella, 'Climax' is a film that goes all out to leave a lasting impression on its viewer. It doesn't look to tell a story in traditional ways, it rather wants you to feel everything that's going on, whether that is pleasant or not.

A bizarre concoction of a film, 'Climax' is one of the years highlights that deserves more recognition. Stylish, sleazy, horrifying yet utterly captivating, 'Climax' is unlike another other feature released this year and is one that will certainly leave a lasting impression.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Sunday, 22 July 2018

'The Secret of Marrowbone' Review

Plagued by a mysterious presence from their past, Jack (George MacKay) looks to protect his family after the passing of his mother.

With an impressive young cast and mysterious, well-made trailers, 'The Secret of Marrowbone' looked incredibly promising. Eery whilst not giving much away about the story, the film was set up to look like a tense and interesting affair by its marketing. Unfortunately, this was not transferred into the final product at all, with the film being extremely disappointed and very messy.

It must be said that despite this film failing to hit the mark, it isn't at all to do with a lack of effort or laziness. 'Marrowbone' is the directorial debut from successful screenwriter Sergio G. Sanchez and is a fairly ambitious effort from the Spanish filmmaker. However, Sanchez' inexperience as a director shows as he looks to cram in more than the film can handle as the film has major pacing issues. The first half often forgets at times that it's a horror film but does very little to build character or use the time to create interesting scenarios to keep you engaged. There's a weirdly large chunk of time dedicated to playing on the beach and decorating as if the film was a BBC special about children in the countryside which doesn't mix well with the tone the film tries to set later on. During this time there is no attempt at all to try and build any sort of interesting or likable characters. To sum up, the first half of the film is very poor, with it being dull, lifeless and sadly, downright boring. The second half tries to make up for this a bit too much as the pacing goes from 0 to 100 very quickly. Soon enough lots of information and events are rapidly being thrown in with little breathing period. In amongst the ending is a twist that the film heavily relies on but its effect gets lost in amongst all of the ongoing chaos. The film is very unbalanced with far too little of interest happening early on and then far too much ensuing nearer the end and by that time, you've already checked out.

As previously mentioned, the cast for this film made 'Marrowbone' a lot more appealing with an impressive crop of young talent but even this aspect failed to deliver. Anya Taylor-Joy is completely wasted as a love interest with very little character other than her endearment for Jack, played by George MacKay. MacKay is undoubtedly a talented actor, but the script sees quite an emotionless performance with the occasional overly shouty dialogue that doesn't allow him to showcase his abilities. As for the likes of Charlie Heaton and Mia Goth, they are only there to make up the numbers as again they are wasted. There isn't much character in this film at all and with the dull story, it doesn't make for an entertaining viewing. 

What is unquestionably disappointing is the horror elements, as the film resorts to predictable jump scares and loud noises as its main source of 'horror'. There was a potentially interesting element regarding mirrors but it falls completely flat combined with the final twist. This is perhaps the most disappointing part of this film as the scares don't seem to have much thought within them. Although the rest of the film does miss the mark, there is a clear intention to try something ambitious and slightly out of the box. Unfortunately, with its execution of horror, the same cannot be said.

'The Secret of Marrowbone' does take risks with its storytelling but the craftsmanship isn't quite there. The pacing is all off which really harms the effectiveness of the chaos that ensues later on in the film with there being very little of interest happening early on. Despite an attempt to create a film that really makes you think, 'Marrowbone' is certainly an unfortunate misfire.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars