It’s Only the End of the World (Xavier Dolan, 2016)

The sixth film in just eight years from 27-year-old Xavier Dolan, It’s Only the End of the World sees the Quebecois director work with his most impressive array of performers yet – an assortment of some of France’s most beloved established and rising stars.

That’s not to say that previous collaborators such as Melvil Poupaud (Laurence Anyways) are lacking in international star power, but packing Marion Cotillard, Vincent Cassel, Nathalie Baye, Léa Seydoux and Gaspard Ulliel all in the same film has a certain allure. It’s interesting, and disappointing, then, that this collaboration between wunderkind and acting royalty should end up resulting in the filmmaker’s least satisfying film to date…

Full review for VODzilla.co

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Lost in France (Niall McCann, 2016)

In the late 1990s, a group of musicians involved with Chemikal Underground, the Glasgow-based independent record label, hired a bus and went on a road trip to a town in rural France to play a one-off concert. Two decades on, a reprisal of the trip for some of those originally involved is the backbone for Lost in France, director Niall McCann’s affectionate, intimate documentary on the label – exploring what’s made Chemikal Underground and its acts endure for 20-odd years…

Full review for VODzilla.co

Illegitimate (Adrian Sitaru, 2016)

The predominate theme of Illegitimate, from Romanian director Adrian Sitaru, is that of love in extreme scenarios. One of these is delivered immediately in the film’s opening 15-minute-reunion sequence, which very quickly turns into an extended verbal sparring between a patriarch doctor (Titieni) and his adult offspring. The brood have discovered that under the Ceausescu regime, the father reported women attempting to get abortions to the authorities, with the man seeing nothing immoral about his actions…

Full review for The Skinny

In praise of the visionary Gore Verbinski

For the best part of a decade now, Hollywood marketers has shown a penchant for promoting the ‘visionary’ – you’ll be familiar with trailers claiming the latest film hitting your multiplex as being from ‘visionary director [INSERT NAME HERE]’. Our research suggests the trend started around the time of Watchmen’s first trailer in 2008, which featured the line ‘From the visionary director of 300.’ This credit provoked some questioning; that comic book adaptation’s director, Zack Snyder, only had two prior feature credits to his name before being awarded this lofty title: fellow faithful comic adaptation 300, and a remake of Dawn of the Dead. Was it premature to label this figure a visionary based on little evidence of his own originality?

Further ‘visionaries’ have been cited in trailers since, some of which have made more sense, but the latest example to get some pundits a-tweeting was the initial trailer for asylum horror A Cure for Wellness, which attributed the status to director Gore Verbinski. The Verbinski who helmed much of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise that went so stale? The man whose last film, The Lone Ranger, was a notable box office bomb?

Is Gore Verbinski a visionary director? Our verdict: a resounding yes, actually…

Full feature for The Skinny

Sharlto Copley and Ben Wheatley on ‘Free Fire’

“WAS IT LOUD?! If the volume’s up it can be a little intense.” South African actor Sharlto Copley is responding to the news that The Skinny has come to interview him pretty much straight from a press screening of his new film Free Fire, a 1970s Boston-set action movie from British director Ben Wheatley, the other interviewee present. “After one screening,” Copley continues, “I was, like, OK, I lived through it once. I could have sat a little further away from the speaker…

Full interview for The Skinny

Free Fire (Ben Wheatley, 2016)

Jean-Luc Godard once said that all you need to make a movie is a gun and a girl. What he may have meant is that all you need to make a movie are several guns, a girl, and nine largely incompetent guys. And that, for all intents and purposes, is Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire

Full review for The Skinny

Fresh Blood: 5 mind-blowing vampire movies

The Transfiguration, receiving its UK premiere at this year’s Glasgow Film Festival, is a bold calling card debut from writer-director Michael O’Shea. Its central conceit sees an African-American teen, Milo, drenching himself in vampire lore, much of it gleaned from movies, and attempting to become a blood-sucker himself.

It’s something of a ‘realist’ spin on the vampire movie, a horror subgenre that’s proved just as prone to re-examination and re-appropriation over the years as the ever-adaptable zombie movie. The number of unique cinematic spins on vampire mythology far outweighs the constraints of a top five (there are five Twilight movies alone), but here’s a selection of some of the diverse, compelling options out there for creatures of the night…

Full feature for The Skinny