Overboard – Brand New Trailer!

The original 80s  film is often met with this reaction:

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Although it did unite Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, the idea of a woman manipulated after a head injury seems kinda sketchy and awful, often deriding as being sexist and 100% OK.

So how is it going to be better with the gender reversal? Not a lot.

The film revolves around a wealthy playboy who falls of his yacht. Suffering from amnesia, he meets a working class mom who convinces him that they are married.

With Anna Farris, and Eugenio Derbez this looks all kinds of terrible. What do you think?


Overboard is out April! 

The Defiant Ones – Brand New Trailer!

Not many artists can say they changed,  shaped, and moulded entire generations of culture but Dr. Dre can. In this latest documentary from Netflix, many celebrate his tour de force in music.

 The Defiant Ones revolves around Jimmy Lovine and Dr,. Dre, whose impropably partnership help shape different and transformative events in contemporary culture.

Starring interviews with Bono, David Geffen, Eminem, Nas, Stevie Nicks, Ice Cube, Gwen Stefani, Jon Landau, Tom Petty, Trent Reznor, Snoop Dogg, Bruce Springsteen, Diddy and will.i.am, this is an interesting look at hip-hop and modern pop. What do you think?

The Defiant Ones is out on Netflix 23rd March! 

I Feel Pretty – Brand New Trailer

The first trailer has arrived for the new Amy Schumer comedy I Feel Pretty. The film follows Schumer’s cosmetics employee Renee Barrett. An ordinary women plagued every day by feelings of inadequacies and insecurities. In a world where women are constantly judged for their appearance, Renee is bored of not being enough. One day she hits her head and wakes up seeing herself as beautiful. Despite no physical change taking place, she exudes confidence and begins to live the life she should, free of self doubt.

The film is written and directed by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein. The duo are responsible for romantic comedies such as Never Been Kissed and He’s Just Not That Into You.

The film has a great concept about how physical insecurities hold you back. Looking at this from a comedy angle, with Schumer at its centre, the trailer is a riot. Schumer has become an increasingly in demand talent, both in film and for her stand ups. The trailer shows Renee with her new confidence wearing what she wants, approaching men and excelling in her career, all while others act bemused by her behaviour.

Despite the fact the film is a comedy there is something very timely, and frankly liberating, about a woman saying sod it to conforming to societies standard on appearance. The snippets of Renee entering a bikini competition and baring all to a new flame will defiantly solidify your interest in this film.

As well as Schumer, the film shows support from Michelle Williams, Busy Phillips, Rory Scovel as well as Naomi Campbell and Emily Ratajkowski playing themselves.

The film is released this summer
 Are you excited?

The Ritual – Review

The Ritual, adapted by Joe Barton from Adam Nevill’s 2011 bestseller, is now a feature film directed by David Bruckner (who aficionados may remember contributed ‘Amateur Night’ to the anthology horror film V/H/S).

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The story concerns a group of old college friends, Luke (Rafe Spall), Hutch (Rob James-Collier) Phil (Arsher Ali), Dom (Sam Troughton) and Robert (Paul Reid) who are planning their annual holiday together. Luke and Robert enter a late-night convenience store when a brutal robbery occurs, leaving Robert dying in a pool of blood on the floor, while Luke cringingly watches from a hiding place.

Although out of their usual comfort zone, the rest of the group decide, as a tribute to their dead friend Robert, to take up his suggestion of a hiking weekend in the hills of Sweden. The trip has a glum, penitential atmosphere, where everyone is on edge, coping with their grief over the loss of good-guy Robert, while trying to avoid thinking about Luke’s part in his death.

Despite their best intentions to pay tribute to their friend’s wishes, some of these guys are in poor shape to undertake a demanding cross-country hike and inevitably an accident occurs, in this case a twisted knee, and they are required to find a more direct route to the next town.

This would entail a detour through a thick and ancient forest. Now, if there’s one thing that horror movies have taught us, it’s that no good will come of cutting through the dark, spooky woods – it’s a horror trope, dammit!

So, of course, these lads head off-trail and stumble across some pretty gruesome indications that perhaps their so-called short-cut might not have been the best option. Things only get worse when they are forced to seek night-time refuge from the elements in an abandoned cabin, festooned with runic signs and tokens. Inevitably, sinister things begin to happen. The cabin contains some kind of shrine which causes hallucinations, night-terrors and lucid dreams.

The men awake from their vivid nightmares in unexplained, disturbing positions, and Luke in particular, finds he has been marked with an odd wound, after experiencing surreal hallucinations relating to the violence he witnessed in the convenience-store. Night-terrors occur whenever the guys go to sleep, and they are hounded (and worse) by an unseen supernatural menace.

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There are obvious hints of The Blair Witch Project and Deliverance. There are jump scares aplenty, uncanny images, strange noises and movements in the trees, throw in a cult who worship an ancient Nordic ‘god’ with brutal rituals, and we have a perfectly fine horror-genre romp.

From the brutal opening robbery to the final nightmarish chase scenes, The Ritual offers some effective scenes and set pieces, with excellent cinematography from Andrew Shulkind, who creates a feeling of grim woodland claustrophobia. The gore is impactful without being nauseating. Ben Lovett’s score serves to increase the tension. The only problem may be that director Brucker throws so much into the pot, that his homage to horror tropes never quite develops its own identity.

The Ritual was certainly chilling at times, but the further we delve into the basic story the more disconnected one becomes. What might be seen to save the film is a deeper layer dealing with the themes of guilt, grief, redemption, friendship, and the crisis of masculinity.

The Ritual implies that the primitive woods may be releasing repressed psychological manifestations of guilt and regret, but also might offer a mysterious form of atonement (Nevill’s book highlighted this aspect). In this sense Rafe Spall delivers a strong performance, conveying interior grief and trauma, the psychological horror of his nightmarish flashbacks, and in the violent denouement, grasping at a tenuous opportunity for redemption.

The Ritual is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now. 

Loving Vincent – Review

by Ren Zelen 

Loving Vincent is a crazy labour of love, exemplifying the idea that there is a little madness in all works of art. The film is a Polish-U.K. collaboration, which has resulted in an ambitious animated biopic celebrating the art of Vincent van Gogh.

One must bow to the dedication of Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman, the team behind this project. The production required the work of 125 painting animators to create 65,000 oil-painted frames incorporating 120 of van Gogh’s most famous paintings – a process that took ten years to complete. Striking, lush and the most tactile looking piece of cinema I have ever seen – the viewer is almost tempted to reach out and touch the onscreen brush strokes, to feel the texture and oiliness of the paint.

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Even those who do not profess to be art lovers are familiar with van Gogh, the tormented 19th-century Dutch painter. A social misfit prone to bouts of depression, he would dedicate the last decade of his 37 years to painting, disregarding the material and emotional cost. The result was over 800 oil paintings that engaged the emotions and captured the visual imagination in a way that continues to resonate with people today.

Van Gogh absorbed the essence of Impressionism and re-worked it into his own trademark vision of glowing colour and passionate, kinetic brushstrokes. His technique gave a hitherto unseen vibrancy to depictions of the French countryside and his portraits of people, which are reproduced during the film.

Loving Vincent is being touted as the first-ever fully-painted feature film. If you ever imagined van Gogh’s paintings coming to life – this is how it might look. It is indeed mesmerizing to witness van Gogh’s familiar starry, starry sky radiating in night scenes – stunning to see waters undulate with shimmering waves, wheat fields ripple in yellow and orange, and rainstorms descend like a deluge of grey, rectangular confetti. Although beautiful to look at, the effect can be overwhelming. The flashback sequences rendered in black and white do offer some relief from an otherwise intensely colour-soaked visual rush.

However, the moving image is a different medium, one not solely dependent on beautiful pictures – Loving Vincent also attempts to offer a story – a murder mystery which probes whether van Gogh committed suicide (in 1890) or was protecting someone else who was the actual shooter. The storyline integrates van Gogh’s portraits and landscapes with hand-painted live-action footage of actors.

Assuming the role of narrator is Armand Roulin (Douglas Booth), a young man in a vibrant, yellow jacket who, a year after the artist’s death, is reluctantly tasked by his postmaster father (Chris O’Dowd) with the job of delivering the last letter Vincent (Polish theatre actor, Robert Gulaczyk) wrote to his beloved brother Theo (Cezary Lukaszewicz).

Unable to deliver the letter to Theo, who he discovers has also died, Armand begins to interrogate those who knew Vincent during his last six weeks, trying to judge who might be the best person to receive Vincent’s last written communication. He speaks to a wide cast of characters that include van Gogh’s paint supplier, his doctor, his landlord, but each witness offers a divergent opinion of the artist before he died.

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His search includes an innkeeper’s amiable daughter, Adeline Ravoux, (delightfully played by Eleanor Tomlinson), who has cordial memories about Vincent’s time as a resident, and the less-charitable Louise Chevalier (Helen McCrory), religious bigot and housekeeper to Dr. Gachet (Jerome Flynn), Vincent’s physician and friend.

Armand is led to the boatman (Aidan Turner) who indicates Vincent’s friendship with Gachet’s daughter, Marguerite (Saoirse Ronan), and hints at a possible romantic connection, but Marguerite is evasive regarding his questions.

Aspects of Vincent’s supposed suicide do not add up – the fact that the bullet came from an odd angle and that the gun was never found. Ultimately, viewers are left to form their own conclusions about what might have happened.

The pacing is rather uneven, reflecting an awkward back-and-forth between murder investigation and biopic conventions. However, the primary achievement of Loving Vincent isn’t the story but the art – this film is all about style and less about substance. The result is often breath-taking, and takes the phrase “every frame a painting” literally. Underpinning the melancholy mood is a sweetly fluid score by Clint Mansell, using strings and piano.

The title Loving Vincent is ostensibly a reference to how van Gogh ended his letters with the phrase: “Your Loving Vincent.” However, it also refers to the fact that this is a film about the people who loved Vincent van Gogh in life, and grieved his death, as well as the artists who still love and respect his achievements today.

Loving Vincent is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now!
Read our interview with the directors! 

Basmati Blues – Review

Basmati Blues is the directorial debut of Danny Baron and stars Brie Larson as a young scientist responsible for producing a genetically modified rice with her father (Scott Bakula). When a company representative fails to sell this new product to the rice farmers of India, their slimy boss (Donald Sutherland) sends her to the country to convince the locals to agree with it. However, she doesn’t realise the negative implications of this scheme, and her eyes are opened by local farmer and love interest Rajit (Utkarsh Ambudar), an intelligent young man who was unable to achieve his dreams at college.

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Basmati Blues is a bizarre but ambitious watch; it floored me in it’s opening scenes, to the point where I couldn’t believe what I was watching. But looking into it a little further, the filmmakers have stated that this film is inspired by Bollywood cinema, and that’s where it all made sense. The over the top drama, fast paced nature, ridiculous musical numbers – It’s jarring at first, but once you appreciate the culture behind it, it becomes a much easier watch. That being said, it’s not necessarily an entertaining watch; it’s easy to appreciate where it’s coming from and it is by all accounts a well-intended and ultimately harmless film, but the pacing is horrendous and it’s application of typical Bollywood tropes feel a little lifeless. The events of the film move way too fast, and whether it comes down to bad writing or bad editing is one thing, but it simply makes the film drag. The musical number struggle to land as well, failing to be catchy or add anything to the film.

I spent a fair while wondering when this film was actually made; released in 2017, sure, but there was no way this film was made too recently. Turns out it was initially supposed to come out in 2015, and Brie Larson signed on in 2013, so that really put things into perspective. Just from the way it’s made, it kind of screams “DVD movie from the early 2000s”, which I knew wasn’t possible given Larson’s starring role but I was still surprised to see it was made much later than that. The trailer was released last year and came under heavy fire for it’s portrayal of Indian stereotypes and furthering the “White saviour” trope. Looking at the trailer, it was completely reasonable to come to these conclusions as it is not a good trailer at all, but the film itself doesn’t quite go that way. It would be ignorant to say there are no stereotypes present, and it does at times poke fun at the culture of India, but ultimately it’s done in a way that isn’t particularly lazy or cheap, and does go a long way to show off the hard working and respectable trade of rice farmer in India, not to mention avoiding some easy hits and making great use of the beautiful landscape. As for the white saviour thing, I think there’s definitely an argument to be made for it, but I also don’t think that it was intentional, especially given the blatant attempt to paint the villainous Donald Sutherland character as a cartoonishly evil corporate figure who doesn’t care for the culture. Sutherland, by the way, is actually hilarious, and surprisingly doesn’t phone it in despite every opportunity.

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It’s not for lack of trying,  but Basmati Blues sadly doesn’t quite achieve what it’s going for. Good performances all around, some beautiful scenery and a respectful approach to the culture at hand, but suffers from terrible pacing and inability to capture the essence of the style of film it’s attempt to homage.

Basmati Blues is available on DVD now.