Colin Farrell – 4 Great Performances… & 1 Naff One

Right, let’s be real here: You saw Colin Farrell’s one naff performance and snorted going “oh yeah but which one?” Because he has had some really shaky choices that were not indicative of who he is as a performer.

In fact, I totally think that Farrell would do the same. But nowadays, the Irish actor has pulled himself up by the britches and now is an asset to a film. His work has consistently propelled upwards, with intensity and skill. A large part of this is to do with the projects he has been given as well as the directors he has worked with. With this combination and his natural talent, Farrell has brilliant

But yes, we had to pick one naff performance still…

One Naff

Daredevil (2003)

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…And naturally, we’ve gone for Bullseye in Daredevil. Sure, we could have gone for Fright Night, Total RecallA New York Winter’s Tale, and more. But there is something very gleefully bad about this villainous role. Daredevil, particularly the original cut of the film, is pretty bad as a whole with choppy editing and a bewildering plot. Colin Farrell’s bald-headed dart player who is really, really good with his aim was farcical, non-menacing, and ultimately completely missed its target. Which is ironic, come to think about it.

Four Great

In Bruges (2008)

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I could happily watch Colin Farrell in Martin McDonagh’s film every day for the rest of my life. That would be a good life, wouldn’t It? The film revolves around two hitman who are sent to Belgium for what one assume is temporary exile after royally fucking up. His partner, however, has other orders. Starring opposite Brendon Gleeson, this wickedly smart and deeply dark film gives Farrell the material to be in his element. Witty, hilarious, and very fucking smartly done, Farrell is genius in this role and it even earned him a Golden Globe!

Horrible Bosses  (2011)

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Much like Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunder, Farrell did something great – he made himself ugly. Transforming into the sleazy and mean, but ultimately unforgettable Bobby Pelitt, Farrell hammed up this brilliantly bad boss who fired people for being fat or tried to hit on the “hot” women in the office. While Horrible Bosses may have its faults, Colin Farrell isn’t one of them and his work here should be celebrated more.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

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BRING COLIN FARRELL BACK!

Ahem. Apologies, but this is exactly what I am screaming ever since, SPOILER, Grindelwald’s façade as Percival Graves revealed him to be a bleached blonde Johnny Depp. Yeah. No. We’d spent the whole film absolutely adoring the Irish actor’s villainous role as Graves as he manipulated his way through wizarding New York in pursuit of Newt (alternative title?) His glower was menacing and seductive at the same time – it was brilliant. When he was forced to reveal himself, I’d happily accept Colin Farrell as Grindelwald. But alas, that wasn’t to be.

The Lobster  (2015)

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That being said, his work in Yorgos Lonthimos’ is by far the most unusual and most compelling work he has ever done. The surreal dystopian film revolves around a world where you have to be married. If you aren’t, you’ll get turned into an animal. Presenting love in its cruellest of forms, The Lobster is a deeply disturbing but fantastic work. As the leading man , his wide-eyed, hopeless portrayal, carries an undercurrent of sorrow throughout. There are truly horrible moments that Farrell handles with depth and intricacy and an incomparable earnestness.

Honourable Mentions: The Beguiled and Seven Psychopaths 


The Killing of a Sacred Deer is out now! 

Dissecting Hannibal

if you have only briefly hovered around me, you’ll see me talk about many things; FilthVideodrome and Repo! The Genetic Opera are just the few names that have caused such a guttural moan in you as you’ve seen them again that it’s echoed right through your computer and into my sad heart. Sigh. Anyway, whilst the antics of Bruce Robertson may have heavily knocked Silence of the Lambs off the top spot (a top spot, if you mind, that has been kept for ten years,) it’s safe to say that the name I have held on my lips ever since I was fourteen was Hannibal Lecter.

With The Silence of the Lambs returning to the big screen, what better chance to take

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Hannibal Lecter has been ferociously commanding my cinematic and literature obsessed heart ever since his burning blue eyes (maroon in the book) stared into Clarice’s and subsequently mine. Created by the mad genius Thomas Harris in a trilogy of books, Hannibal Lecter is a well-known murdering psychiatrist who nibbled on his victims thanks to his acquired taste of cannibalism. There have been four people to tackle the Lecter villain, spanning over further from Harris’ stories and into six films and now a critically acclaimed television series.

First appearing in the guise of Brian Cox in Michael Mann’s (better) Manhunter, Lecter savagely and intellectually commands your attention only to use it to pick you apart until your core is quaking. Playing opposite William Petersen, Manhunter is perhaps the lesser known of Hannibal’s cinematic appearances but (arguably) is one of the best. Cox’s translation of the text is verbatim, he gets the mannerism down to a terrifying effect that practically roars through you. The taunts and the clever way he tears down Graham are tantalising here, it speaks with the venom that Harris had first injected into our Doctor. There is no denying here that Cox’s performance is phenomenal and yet, it was cast away into the cult only to be exhumed recently because Mann’s thriller is, indeed, excellent.

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Onto the more famed and Academy Award Winning Anthony Hopkins. Now, Hannibal Lecter scholars (who, I assume don’t exist but if they do, where can I sign up?) will often argue that Brian Cox is better than the campy Hopkins and in some respects, they are right. After all, Cox plus Mann and Petterson equals an unforgettable film. Yet it is Anthony Hopkins who delivers such a resounding and mesmerising performance that it is wrong to go back and accuse it of being the lesser of the two. In comparison, Cox and Hopkins have a similar core yet trundled off in different directions. Whilst my brain will debate that Manhunter is the better film, my heart will always belong to Jonathan Demme’s timeless piece. And the heart is always right. Looking back, Silence of the Lambs will always interject that sliver of fear that Manhunter simply couldn’t encourage from the wimpiest of cinema goers. With Demme leading the charge in an atmospheric and intense thriller and Jodie Foster pulling an unstoppable Starling out the bag, Hopkin’s thrives on being that spark of madness that alludes the entire film. What Hopkins captures, in merely sixteen minutes, is this utterly haunting villain who is inexcusable, inescapable and so intriguing that as he sinks into your skin, you’ll be aghast and thrilled at the same time. Those burning eyes and that intense viciousness is un-paralleled. He quips immortal lines to tear Starling down yet offers help mere moments later just to hold the upper intellectual hand. Hopkins is breath-taking and it still sends chills for his award winning role as Lecter.

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Which is a shame that it underdeveloped and in lesser form in both Hannibal and the Red Dragon. Vastly different films to Silence of the Lambs, both suffer from style over substance and throwing Hopkins back into the role many years after his first outing. True, Hannibal actually relies on this as the book was set years after, but Ridley Scott’s transformation feels much more about the beautiful and archaic Florence that Hannibal now resides in rather than the character development. Rearranging key scenes in the book, for better or for worse, Hannibal’s villainous character that plagued us for years succumbs to a soppy and uncharacteristic ending, miles away from the malicious book ending (for the book lovers out there, it angered me so,) and plonked Hannibal in this middling nice guy act that just felt wrong. Though not her fault, Julianne Moore can never play off the character as well as Foster did and in the end, whilst stunning to see, it ends up being well done instead of a rare treat.

Now, as much as this kills me to say, Brett Ratner’s Red Dragon is actually quite a good affair. It is flawed, particularly from its pacing, its timing and the fact that it had to contend with Manhunter. What worked for Ratner was not only getting Hopkins on board to resume that missing role in the once trilogy but also following the text that Harris had created so it accurately followed Graham’s hunt for the tooth fairy. The biggest shame here, though his appearance was levitated the film up with the help of Edward Norton, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Ralph Fiennes, as that Hopkins return to the role left him bereft of the aggressiveness that we admired in Silence of the Lambs. Instead, he leaned more to the pantomime villain and without that resurgence of calm, collected manners and murderous doings, Red Dragon is a good effort and it could be great, if only it hadn’t the previous outings beforehand.

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Onwards to yet another prequel in the Hannibal Lecter series. Look, I feel as much dismay about this as you do because the integral film critic, before embarking on an article to dissect all the Lecters, would do as much research as they can. Unfortunately, for me, this is the one area I cannot complete. I cannot accurately criticise Gaspard Ulliel’s performance as Lecter in Hannibal Rising because I have not seen it nor have I read it. The reason that Hannibal Lecter is so terrifying is that there is no just cause for his murders. He isn’t a psychopath or a sociopath and those who squeeze him in a box were wrong to do so. He simply enjoyed the killings and whilst many don’t want to face that, isn’t a normal person so willing to kill his fellow man scarier? Though touched upon in the Hannibal book, adding a backstory that explains this, to me (very important that part) unravelled everything that made Hannibal so sinister. So, while I’ve heard Ulliel is great in the role, I simply could not and will not watch the film.

This reason alone made me hesitant about NBC’s Hannibal. Knowing that the possibility of the one villain I’d placed on the highest pedestal could crumble into an average murderer made me wary of Bryan Fueller’s creation for some time. That is until I watched it and learnt one great thing about the series, Fueller is a Hannibal Lecter fan too. Much more so in series one than anything, he had. accurately adapted the books into his own vision whilst still harkening back to the Harris canon. Beautiful creating the most picturesque murders as well as characters so thick of promise, Fueller has given life back into Lecter with help from Mads Mikklesen. The Danish actor through accents, mannerisms and the perfect script has given that chilling charisma back to the cannibal. That one who could manipulate a setting and watch people dance into his flame like deranged moths. Though season two has wobbled with interpretation, Fueller and his team has brought Lecter into a new generation, with an expansive fandom and a terrific cast that tackle the storylines and gore with enough skill for us to be drooling over the slab for season three.

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But ask yourself, when you are alone at night and the moon encourages your pulse to beat a little louder, which eyes pierce yours? Which Lecter would you dine with? And through all this, do you wake up to the whispering, the whispering of Hannibal the Cannibal?


The Silence of the Lambs is out in cinemas now! 

British Independent Film Awards – 2017 Film Nominations

If anyone tells you that 2017 has been awful for movies, I want you to shove their faces in some brilliant independent movie goodness. Because we’ve been blessed with some gorgeous, divine, visceral, and epic films. The British Independent Film Awards proof of exactly that.

Leading the way in nominations is Lady Macbeth with 15, including Best Actress for Florence Plugh, Best Supporting Actress for Naomi Ackie, and Supporting Actor for Cosmo Jarvis. William Oldroyd is nominated for his Direction and both he and Ackie have Debut award nominations.

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God’s Own Country is high on the list. The Yorkshire romantic drama has scooped up Best Actor nominations for lead actors Josh O’Connor and Alex Secareneau and we’re seriously vying for them to  Francis Lee is nominated for directing, writing, and his debut feature.

Three Billboards just Outside Ebbing, Missouri sees lead Frances McDormand,  Woody Harrleson, and Sam Rockwell all nominated for Acting awards. The Death of Stalin has cast members Andrea Riseborough, Simon Russell Beale, and Steve Buscemi also punting it out for actor awards.

Jamie Bell and Julie Walters are nominated for Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool which is a lovely pairing since Billy Elliot in 2000!

I Am Not A Witch, Get Out, Dark River, and The Party all have nominations too.

We should stay partial but we want God’s Own Country to win all with Sam Rockwell scooping up Best Supporting Actor.

What do you think?

Here’s the full list:

Best British Independent Film
THE DEATH OF STALIN
GOD’S OWN COUNTRY
I AM NOT A WITCH
LADY MACBETH
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

Best International Independent Film
THE FLORIDA PROJECT
GET OUT
I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO
LOVELESS
THE SQUARE

Best Director
ARMANDO IANNUCCI, The Death of Stalin
FRANCIS LEE, God’s Own Country
MARTIN McDONAGH, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
RUNGANO NYONI, I Am Not a Witch
WILLIAM OLDROYD, Lady Macbeth

Best Screenplay
ALICE BIRCH Lady Macbeth
ARMANDO IANNUCCI, DAVID SCHNEIDER, IAN MARTIN The Death of Stalin
FRANCIS LEE God’s Own Country
MARTIN McDONAGH Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
RUNGANO NYONI I Am Not a Witch

Best Actress
EMILY BEECHAM Daphne
FRANCES McDORMAND Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
MARGARET MULUBWA I Am Not a Witch
FLORENCE PUGH Lady Macbeth
RUTH WILSON Dark River

Best Actor
JAMIE BELL Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
PADDY CONSIDINE Journeyman
JOHNNY HARRIS Jawbone
JOSH O’CONNOR God’s Own Country
ALEC SECAREANU God’s Own Country

Best Supporting Actress
NAOMI ACKIE Lady Macbeth
PATRICIA CLARKSON The Party
KELLY MACDONALD Goodbye Christopher Robin
ANDREA RISEBOROUGH The Death of Stalin
JULIE WALTERS Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

Best Supporting Actor
SIMON RUSSELL BEALE The Death of Stalin
STEVE BUSCEMI The Death of Stalin
WOODY HARRELSON Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
IAN HART God’s Own Country
SAM ROCKWELL Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Most Promising Newcomer
NAOMI ACKIE Lady Macbeth
HARRY GILBY Just Charlie
COSMO JARVIS Lady Macbeth
HARRY MICHELL Chubby Funny
LILY NEWMARK Pin Cushion

Best Debut Director
DEBORAH HAYWOOD Pin Cushion
FRANCIS LEE God’s Own Country
THOMAS NAPPER Jawbone
RUNGANO NYONI I Am Not a Witch
WILLIAM OLDROYD Lady Macbeth

Debut Screenwriter
ALICE BIRCH Lady Macbeth
GABY CHIAPPE Their Finest
JOHNNY HARRIS Jawbone
FRANCIS LEE God’s Own Country
RUNGANO NYONI I Am Not a Witch

Breakthrough Producer
GAVIN HUMPHRIES Pin Cushion
EMILY MORGAN I Am Not a Witch
BRENDAN MULLIN, KATY JACKSON Bad Day for the Cut
FODHLA CRONIN O’REILLY Lady Macbeth
JACK TARLING, MANON ARDISSON God’s Own Country

The Discovery Award
EVEN WHEN I FALL Sky Neal, Kate McLarnon, Elhum Shakerifar
HALFWAY Ben Caird, Jonny Paterson
IN ANOTHER LIFE Jason Wingard, Hannah Stevenson, Rebecca Clare Evans
ISOLANI R Paul Wilson, Lisa Hague
MY PURE LAND Sarmad Masud, Bill Kenwright

Best Documentary
ALMOST HEAVEN Carol Salter
HALF WAY Daisy-May Hudson
KINGDOM OF US Lucy Cohen, Julia Nottingham, Lucas Ochoa, Thomas Benski, Bill Rudgard
UNCLE HOWARD Aaron Brookner, Paula Vaccaro
WILLIAMS Morgan Matthews, Hayley Reynolds, Sarah Hamilton

Best British Short Film
1745 Gordon Napier, Morayo Akandé, John McKay
FISH STORY Charlie Lyne, Catherine Bray, Anthony Ing
THE ENTERTAINER Jonathan Schey, Jodie Brown, Jun Bung Lee
WORK Aneil Karia, Scott O’Donnell
WREN BOYS Harry Lighton, John Fitzpatrick, Sorcha Bacon

Best Cinematography
BEN DAVIS Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
DAVID GALLEGO I Am Not a Witch
TAT RADCLIFFE Jawbone
THOMAS RIEDELSHEIMER Leaning Into the Wind
ARI WEGNER Lady Macbeth

Best Casting
SHAHEEN BAIG Lady Macbeth
SHAHEEN BAIG, LAYLA MERRICK-WOLF God’s Own Country
SARAH CROWE The Death of Stalin
SARAH HALLEY FINN Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
DEBBIE McWILLIAMS Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

Best Costume Design
DINAH COLLIN My Cousin Rachel
SUZIE HARMAN The Death of Stalin
SANDY POWELL How to Talk to Girls at Parties
HOLLY REBECCA I Am Not a Witch
HOLLY WADDINGTON Lady Macbeth

Best Editing
JOHNNY BURKE Williams
DAVID CHARAP Jawbone
JON GREGORY Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
PETER LAMBERT The Death of Stalin
JOE MARTIN Us and Them

Best Effects
NICK ALLDER, BEN WHITE The Ritual
LUKE DODD Journeyman
EFFECTS TEAM The Death of Stalin
DAN MARTIN Double Date
CHRIS REYNOLDS Their Finest

Best Make Up & Hair Design
JULENE PATON I Am Not a Witch
JAN SEWELL Breathe
NADIA STACEY Journeyman
NICOLE STAFFORD The Death of Stalin
SIAN WILSON Lady Macbeth

Best Music
CARTER BURWELL Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
FRED FRITH Leaning into the Wind
MATT KELLY I Am Not a Witch
PAUL WELLER Jawbone
CHRISTOPHER WILLIS The Death of Stalin

Best Production Design
JACQUELINE ABRAHAMS Lady Macbeth
CRISTINA CASALI The Death of Stalin
JAMES MERIFIELD Final Portrait
NATHAN PARKER I Am Not a Witch
EVE STEWART Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

Best Sound
ANNA BERTMARK God’s Own Country
MAIKEN HANSEN I Am Not a Witch
ANDY SHELLEY, STEVE GRIFFITHS Jawbone
JOAKIM SUNDSTRÖM Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
SOUND TEAM Breathe


BIFA Winners are announced December 10th! 

How to Network in Film with Social Anxiety

Imagine you are on a quest. You need a golden key for a door. Behind that door is the life you’ve always dreamed of and home, a place you know you belong. However, you have to fashion the key out of different parts. You have to collect them from people with blank, judging faces that are waiting to chew you up. Say the right words, and they give you the treasure. Say the wrong words and you’re ostracised forever.

All you have to do is talk to them.  Daunting, right?

That’s exactly what networking is like.

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With most artistic careers, networking is pretty much key to getting out, getting anywhere, getting all the way to the B – F – I.

That’s because there are hundreds and thousands of people aiming for the same gig – being paid to create movies for a living (or talk about it, but that’s another blog.) A billion faces and a billion talents, all vying for some sort of recognition in the field and all the tools they’ll need to get there. And talking to people is the only way to do it.

Problem is is that talking to people is legitimately  the last thing I’d ever want to do, ever. Especially people who I perceive as important or people I’d admire. I guess most people feel like that too. Going into a conversation is somewhat of an gruelling and exhausting task, especially when battered by constant fear that you don’t belong in the career that you are vying for. You don’t know what to say, you’re sweaty and smelly, and you are pretty sure you confused The Godfather with Penguins of Madagascar as words fumble from your mouth.

Then you meet a dick that makes you want to check out of that conversation, the whole industry, and the whole world like…

After spending five years working my way through film circles, going to press events, running them , and actually meeting new and vibrant film people, you’d have thought that my shell of anxiety would have dropped somewhat. With many new people that I get to know, I often get praised for how easy I am to talk too or how hella beautiful or wonderful I am at just, like, communicating with people because I am ace (people don’t say this but I imagine they think it in revered hush tones.)

But IT IS A LIE! A big fat stinking lie. Sure, you may see me laughing and joking but what you haven’t seen is that I am wearing my fifth pair of underwear, I’ve shoved all my insecurities into the pits of my stomach, still bubbling away, and I’ve had like five shots. I look confident

And there are people I haven’t the balls to go up and say hello too. I see Mark Kermode, a complete idol of mine, and have absolutely no power in myself to go and say “hello.” Heck, one of the biggest bosses in my company is a serious heroine of mine and only NOW have I just uttered a slightly slurred “hi” at her. I still have a day of panic before press interviews. And at screenings, I stick with someone I know, using their presence to ping-pong ball my confidence out of the pit of despair within me. It’s sometimes awful.

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There are people I know who are experts. Jo and Gloria from the site are genius at whipping up momentum and flitting through rooms with bouts of confidence and hilarious business cards. I know many people who can circle a room like a well-timed hoedown and come out with contacts. I know a guy who walks into rooms like he’s a celebrity and everyone flocks to him (he’s also the sweetest guy ever, so his natural charisma is earned.)

But let me tell you something: That too is also lies. Everyone you have ever talked to is scared or has been scared whilst entering this industry. It’s all about developing your own foundation for networking, and style.

So where am I going with this rambling article?

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There is no denying the importance of networking, you just have to meet and no people, even if you are  but there is also no denying the importance in believing in yourself. Networking is a tricky beast but if you remember some important cliches that’ll help you steer your self-esteem ship in order to acquire a healthy crew.

That metaphor really fell away from me. Still, it is good to remember that whilst there are people in higher up jobs, there is no one  higher or more important than you. If someone treats you in a condescending or rude manner, you don’t need them on your deck. You also have skills and if you don’t, you have ambition, these are tools for plundering and grabbing the gold. Each person is dancing with steps that will eventually fall into the right pattern, skipping into a massive choral number. Hopefully, with pirates.

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Most importantly, anxiety never goes away. But as a wise woman once said; “stay afraid, but do it anyway.”  And that applies to networking. Eventually, you’ll get a swing of it. Just take the first step. Turn to that person next to you and strike up a conversation about anything; the food, the room, the films, your film, your favourite films…raccoons.

Any topic can work. Start with something you are comfortable with, and work into your filmmaking agenda.  Bring business cards or a way of communication afterwards and then send follow up emails where your self-assuredness is like 2342902394723 times better.

Never let people with ghoulish faces or your own self make you afraid of making contacts or pushing forward. You’ll find this industry is full of film fanatics and artistic people just like yourself.

Not only will you make colleagues, you may even make friends.


What are your networking tips? 

Talking Movies and Making Them Too