The Daughter (Simon Stone, 2015)

A brief glimpse of the credits and promotional material for Simon Stone’s The Daughter might cause red flags to pop up in the mind of certain viewers. But fear not, as any negative preconceptions you might harbour about theatre directors making the leap from stage to screen are dispelled pretty swiftly…

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The Firm (Alan Clarke, 1989)

Since his untimely death in 1990 at the age of 54, Alan Clarke has been something of a perennially underrated figure in the landscape of British cinema history, perhaps partially because the majority of his work was made for television. Thanks to the efforts of a massive restoration project, the BFI has made the complete collection of Clarke’s BBC output available via Blu-ray box-set, with 1989’s The Firm, perhaps the most famous of this lot outside of Scum, also getting a separate release of its own…

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The Nice Guys (Shane Black, 2016)

Setting aside the genre and tone flip-flopping of Adam McKay’s The Big Short, it’s been five years since Ryan Gosling last flirted with an overtly comedic role by way of Crazy, Stupid, Love. (Your mileage may vary as to whether his hissy-fit scream at a partner about halfway through Only God Forgives counts as intentional humour.) Russell Crowe, meanwhile, hasn’t really ventured down the intentionally comedic path since Ridley Scott’s poorly received A Good Year back in 2006. After a scattering of commercial and critical misfires during those respective intervening periods, both men come across as especially rejuvenated in their team-up feature The Nice Guys, a film where the greatest assets are ultimately their chemistry and commitment to a lack of vanity…

Full review for Vague Visages

X-Men: Apocalypse (Bryan Singer, 2016)

Director Bryan Singer’s 2014 return to the X-Men franchise, X-Men: Days of Future Past, was a superhero movie about rebooting superhero movies – the notion of pop eating itself epitomised on the big screen. For Singer’s fourth turn at the mutant bat, X-Men: Apocalypse, the concern seems to be with running with the free rein afforded by the prior movie’s timeline fuckery, giving us new origins for younger incarnations of famous characters from the early 2000s films (Cyclops, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Storm) that don’t quite match up with their backgrounds as previously presented. This approach extends to taking the winged character of Angel from the 2000s-set final film of the original trilogy and placing him in the new entry’s 1983 setting at roughly the same age, while also turning him into an (ineffectual) antagonist…

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Jeremy Saulnier on punks v nazis movie ‘Green Room’

The Skinny is chatting with American director Jeremy Saulnier in a crowded dining area of London’s Mayfair Hotel. His newest film, Green Room, is having its UK premiere later that night as part of the London Film Festival. It’s his follow-up to 2013’s critically acclaimed thriller Blue Ruin and the comparatively underseen Murder Party, from 2007. The three films share actor Macon Blair (Blue Ruin’s hangdog protagonist) and acts of violence instigating considerable turmoil, but Green Room sees some more recognisable stars join Saulnier’s talisman on the cast list…

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The five best films from IndieLisboa 2016

Now in its 13th year, the IndieLisboa International Independent Film Festival offers the people of Portugal’s capital a chance to see a wide array of new films from around the globe, as well as attend a bunch of awesome accompanying parties and concerts. We had a swell time at this year’s instalment over its final weekend, encountering enthusiastic audiences, cool venues spread out across the city, and a cinephile culture keen to take things well into the night – seriously, some of the screenings start super late. Here’s five highlights from our stop-over…

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A brilliant film about pregnancy plays at IndieLisboa

When it comes to browsing a festival programme, it’s usually wise to take any blurb comparisons to other filmmakers or famous films with a pinch of salt – just how many times have you seen anything with dark, violent comedy get explicitly compared to the Coen brothers?

The catalogue for this year’s IndieLisboa International Film Festival, based in the Portuguese capital, offered a particularly curious comparison point, describing Petra Costa and Lea Glob’s Olmo and the Seagull as, ‘the most powerful film about maternity since Rosemary’s Baby.’ Considering that the film is a fiction/non-fiction hybrid and not an out-and-out genre piece, the reference to Roman Polanski’s classic chiller certainly creates some intrigue. While it never veers into the realm of the fantastical, the link does feel appropriate, particularly in how Glob and Costa create a fragmented, hallucinatory portrait of the toll of pregnancy which comes with an element of the claustrophobic – a documentary by way of psychological thriller…

Full feature for Little White Lies