Thoroughbreds (Cory Finley, 2017)

A muscular debut from writer-director Cory Finley, Thoroughbreds is a sharp social satire that blends dark comedy with quasi-horror flourishes, while also serving a portrait of female friendship that’s strangely touching. It’s like if American Psycho and Heavenly Creatures had a beautiful sociopath child…

Full review for The Skinny

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Meet Daniela Vega, the trans star of ‘A Fantastic Woman’

A recurring issue when it comes to representation in cinema is allowing characters from certain minority groups to actually be played by actors from those groups. When it comes to stories concerning trans women, it’s still often the case that cis men will be cast – think Eddie Redmayne being called upon to play the historically major trans figure Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl. In the case of Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club, an additional insult came from the star’s obliviousness in discussing his role as a trans woman that, disappointingly, got him an Oscar.

When Hollywood power players do comment on the lack of appropriate casting for particular groups, one common excuse is that there aren’t any or enough prominent performers from those groups with whom they can get films financed. This ignores the point that you can’t make movie stars out of, say, trans women unless you give them that chance. Over in Chile, that’s just what director Sebastián Lelio (2013’s Gloria) has gone and done with A Fantastic Woman, which features newcomer Daniela Vega, a 28-year-old Chilean actor and singer, in the lead role as a trans woman character…

Full interview for The Skinny

Eight films to watch before you see ‘The Shape of Water’

Combining fantastical romance with Cold War intrigue, Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water is both a loving tribute to all manner of movies and a swipe at societal woes – more so bigotry and the tyranny of toxic white male heteronormativity than disapproval of romancing an amphibian.

Here’s our guide to some films worth seeking out before – or after – seeing The Shape of Water: ones del Toro has cited as influences, a few explicitly referenced in the film, and the odd one that shares something of the same spirit…

Full feature for Little White Lies

The Cloverfield Paradox (Julius Onah, 2018)

Nothing dates reviews quite like discussing the marketing surrounding a film, but when it comes to the Cloverfield franchise, the pre-release hoopla inevitably becomes part of the conversation regarding the final product.

During Super Bowl 2018, an ad revealing the title and first footage of The Cloverfield Paradox ran, announcing that the film would be available on Netflix once the game ended. This reveal followed rumours that the long-delayed movie, previously titled God Particle, would be skipping a cinema run from the franchise’s usual distributor, Paramount.

It’s quite the mic drop when it comes to movie marketing. Unfortunately, and excluding the encouraging choice to have a woman of colour (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) lead an effects-heavy sci-fi, that stunt may be the only positive part of this film’s legacy…

Full review for SciFiNow

Guillermo del Toro on fantasy love story ‘The Shape of Water’

“I said it’s R-rated, it’s Sally Hawkins, she masturbates, and they fuck. If that’s alright, we’ll make the movie.”

Mexican director Guillermo del Toro is giving us an idea of the pitching process for his latest feature, The Shape of Water. Following 2015’s Crimson Peak, this new film is another romance with fantastical elements and plentiful gore, albeit one with a more hopeful streak than that gothic tale…

Full interview for The Skinny

The Death Cure (Wes Ball, 2018)

The Death Cure, the final adaptation of James Dashner’s dystopian Maze Runner novels, starts with a combination train robbery/prison break sequence that recalls not one, but two set-pieces from the first act of Fast & Furious 5 – or Fast Five as it’s known outside the UK. The success of that formula-shifting entry in the Fast series is credited with rejuvenating a franchise that had gone stale, bringing aboard lots of new fans who were entertained by the change-up in execution.

Fittingly, considering the possible homage in the opening action scene, The Death Cure is akin to Fast Five in that it’s a noticeable upgrade when compared to prior series instalments…

Full review for SciFiNow