Split – Review

M. Night Shyamalan was once a hallowed name within the film industry. Following the raucous successes of Sixth Sense, Signs, and Unbreakable, the director kinda lost his way – shoving sloppy twist after sloppy twist into boring and uninteresting films. After a warm reception to last year’s The Visit, could it be that Shyamalan is back in business?

It certainly feels that way with his latest – Split.

Split revolves around a group of girls who are kidnapped by an unknown man and locked away in his basement. However, they soon discover that their kidnapper is host to 23 different personalities, and one of them is surely sinister.

Image result for split shyamalan quad
There has already been a lot of controversy surrounding Split and its portrayal of Dissociative identity disorder (DID.) There is always a degree of exploitation when horror films latch on to a sensitive topic. Rape, abuse, gender identity, and mental illness have been used to excavate villains and torture victims for many years that the characters help audiences attach stigma to every day sufferers. Split does carry on this rhetoric somewhat, especially attaching a monstrous personality to Kevin in order for him to reach full horror potential. For some, this interpretation is offensive and I am not going to minimise how folk with DID or others are interpreting it.

That being said (and will be elaborated on in a further article) I truly believe that if there was any actor who can take on that weight with an unwavering and unquestionable understanding it is James McAvoy. The actor is no stranger for tackling the depth of a broken soul or mind. The Ruling Class production saw him as a paranoid schizophrenic with delusional thoughts, Macbeth allowed McAvoy to enter the depths of a tortured King, and Filth  saw his vicious police office dwindling with pressure and bipolar. Each of these performances McAvoy embodied whole-heartedly with an astute empathy that is unwavering always. This is a talent he takes forth with rapturous skill. In initial interviews, it was clear that McAvoy had researched as much as he could and developed the characters with an  of each and every persona. Transcending from role to role, McAvoy possesses the screen with a dexterity still unchallenged by his peers. Through each personality, McAvoy lucidly transforms so that a slight facial change or flicker of an eye clues you into the character of that moment. He changes from the bemusing child Hedwig to the stoic and obsessive Denise in simple motions that, once again, prove he is one of the best actors of our generation. A complete tour-de-force.

Anya Taylor-Joy is a young actress who is drive to darker roles and here, with little dialogue, she accomplishes a lot. Showcasing a sorrow and sadness to her character Casey from the beginning, Taylor-Joy unravels her hunter instincts and clear mind within captivity that she becomes much more than the victim here. Strong and fervent whilst being scared and frightened, Taylor-Joy is an outstanding addition here that

Image result for split shyamalan quad

Going back to the mental illness aspect of the movie: This is a theme that has resonated in my mind since the screening. Perhaps because of the controversy that was always going to be featured but there is something more about the overall arc of the story that M. Night Shyamalan that deepens from the surface exploits. The element of empathy, as previous mentioned, is a visceral and core-shaking mantra that leaves an indelible impression for those suffering from a disorder. Again, I understand that some may not see it this way, but Split is a meditative exercise on how to, not only psychologically pull out the thrills, but also how to deepen the plot with an affecting backstory and profound  It’s the cleverness of Shyamalan’s work – both directing and writing – that transforms this horror piece into a survival piece with clear resonance to classic thriller pieces such as Psycho, Silence of the Lambs, or Carrie where the mind and horror overlap in glorious and ardent ways.

Split is by no means a perfect film: There is a bit of silliness that often downplays the horror and the length of the film could’ve been easily been shaved down to add more tension to the proceedings. Yet Shyamalan has struck an almighty chord with this film that draws out it’s frights and devours your thoughts long after the credits role.

Split is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now! 

The Weekend Binge: Gilmore Girls

If you’re a TV addict, you know that most of the best shows are often gritty; they’re dark, violent, sexy, mature, serious, gripping, and while that’s all well and good…Don’t you ever fancy a break? You know, just getting away from the doom and gloom of Game of Thrones, or the political intrigue of House of Cards, just a show that’s nice. Positive vibes that can bring the drama when it’s needed, but thrives on being an easy and addictive watch. I think we all need it sometimes, and Gilmore Girls is the perfect solution.

Starting all the way back in 2000, Gilmore Girls is the story of inseparable mother and daughter Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel); Lorelai is a fiercely independent single mother who’s done things her own way for a very long time, and runs a friendly inn in her home of Stars Hollow, with best friend Sookie (Melissa McCarthy) and sassy concierge Michel (Yanic Truesdale); Rory is a golden child, excelling in just about everything she does, with a keen passion for academics and a fast paced wit she shares with her mother. The pair navigate life as it comes, side by side, with the help of local diner owner Luke (Scott Patterson) and Lorelai’s overbearing parents Emily and Richard (Kelly Bishop and Edward Herrmann), along with a whole cast of colourful characters.

Gilmore Girls is a comedy-drama that delivers on all accounts; it’s absolutely hilarious, with a consistently brilliant humour that manages to stay fresh for seven whole seasons. Lorelai herself is a constant joke machine, frequently riffing on everything going on around her, and Graham’s chemistry with just about everyone is phenomenal. Of course, quirky characters like Kirk (Sean Gunn) and Paris (Liza Weil) are always on hand to offer supporting laughs, and always at the best times. It’s this fast paced nature that makes the show feel so fluid; it’s far too easy to accidentally watch six episodes at a time just because you sink right into it, and become too comfortable. The entire show has a very warm and welcoming approach that it becomes instantly loveable. The thought of watching seven 22 episode seasons is daunting, but trust me, it goes in no time. But while it’s frequently a pleasant show, never underestimate the dramatic elements of it. A byproduct of becoming so invested and sunken into this world is feeling every bit of drama hit you as it comes; sometimes it’s heartbreaking, sometimes it’s intense, and it all feels so natural. When characters are angry, you can feel that anger through the screen, and when they’re upset, you’ll want to cry along with them. It stems from all sorts of places, be it Lorelai’s fractured relationship with her parents, the many loves of Rory’s life, Luke’s ups and downs over the course of the show, and the fact that this is a show of completely imperfect characters (The best example being Jess, who is easily the best character in the show).

Gilmore Girls has got it all; good laughs, gripping drama, wonderful characters, even better performances, and seven whole seasons that are worth investing your time in. Above all, it’s a welcome and balanced change from what we’re used to.

Wonder Woman – Interview Clips!

Wonder Woman revolves around an ancient island of Amazons who have been kept away from the general world. Created by Zeus to defeat his son Ares, the inhabitants train daily in case the God of War returns. Diana, Princess to Queen Hippolyta, saves pilot Captain Steve Trevor who crashes into their island. After discovering he is in the middle of a World War, Diana follows him to the outside world to bring an end to the bloodshed. However, the war may prove deadlier than expected, and as someone without knowledge of the outside world, Diana must save it.

Here is a series of filmed interviews with the cast to celebrate the release of the film today!

Wonder Woman is out now! 
Read our review 

Feed – Brand New Trailer!

There are many actors out there who have suffered a harrowing fate: They have been type cast as the same character repeatedly. This mainly plagues younger actors who struggle to shed their chubby faced roles as they descend into adult Hollywood. Therefore, they try to slide away from their childhood, heading into more dangerous and savage roles. Welp!

Here Tom Felton detracts from his Draco Malfoy role for Feed. 

He stars alongside Pretty Little Liars actress as twins who are born into a world of privilege. However, tragedy splits them apart leaving one having to live without the other.

Tackling sensitive subjects such as the anorexia and grief, this could be a powerful film, what do you think?

Feed  is out later this year! 

It Comes At Night – Brand New Trailer!

I’m going to give you a second whilst you’re immature brain mulls over the title It Comes at Night...

There we go.

I know I needed it.

But once you’re done with all the sex jokes and actually watch the trailer, you’ll never be thinking of doing the nasty ever again.

It Comes at Night is a horror film where a desolate home and the man who lives in it becomes terrorised by demonic and supernatural forces. Welp!

This chilling new grim story sees a stellar cast such as Joel Egerton, Riley Keough, and Christopher Abbott fend off some grisly ghouls. And the trailers will make you pee a little.

What do you think?

It Comes at Night is out June! 

El Pastor (The Shephard) – Review

Winner of Best Film and Director at the 2016 Raindance Festival, Jonathan Cenzual Burley’s El Pastor (The Shepherd) starring Miguel Martin is released by Matchbox Films on Friday 2nd June.

Martin plays the titular Anselmo, a middle-aged shepherd, who lives a poor but happy life in a small, run down house in the middle of Spanish plains, but his community is slowly growing. For company, he only has his loyal dog Pillo and his abundance of sheep. This life suits him with no television, and the books from his library to read, yet a construction company wants to buy his land for a new complex.

Image result for the shepherd 2016

Anselmo refuses the approaches from the company as is his prerogative, in contrast are neighbours Julian (Alfonso Mendiguchia) and Paco (Maribel Iglesias); two men who both want to sell for opposing reasons and attempt to convince the shepherd to do likewise.

The film tells this morality tale of greed and honour, with stunning consequences set against a magical landscape frozen in time.  The opening scene showing Anselmo going about his daily routine is beautifully shot and realised evoking early Terence Malick coupled with an elegant soundtrack that is both melancholic and inspiring by Tim Walters.

Burley has crafted not only a complex narrative of psychological cul-de-sacs questioning the moral shifts in the three main protagonists; each character is given an arc that is effectively rendered by the plot and the convincing performances. Anselmo goes from lonely man to fighting underdog, Paco goes from short fuse to coward and it is Julian who grows or changes the most within the story as his reasons for selling his land come to the forefront.

Image result for Jonathan Cenzual Burley The Shepherd

Harking back to B-movie Westerns with the lone farmer attempting to save his homestead, however, this film has no hero riding off into the sunset; it could be considered Burley has crafted a critique of the socio-political ramifications facing Spanish homeowners who face an uncertain future in regards to the poisonous financial climate.

El Pastor would be a pleasing pairing with The Olive Tree in a double bill, both are set in modern day Spain but dream of a simpler time in that countries past explaining how money and greed has ruined the industrious past making the present day a darker place.

This is a brilliantly constructed production with superb acting performances across the board warranting your attention.

The Shephard (El Pastor) is in cinemas 2 June.