Walking Out (Alex Smith/Andrew J. Smith, 2017)

Walking Out is a two-hander between a father and son pair, but the real star is the Montana landscape. Co-writers and directors (and real-life brothers) Alex and Andrew Smith capture the breathtaking beauty of the mountains in winter in a fashion that would surely satisfy the Montana tourism board, were it not for the fact this is also a harrowing tale of survival, after a run-in with a bear leads to a string of disasters for its protagonists. This is less The Revenant, though, and more The Reverence, as a deep respect for both nature and nurture proves vital to making it out alive…

Full review for VODzilla.co

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120 BPM (Robin Campillo, 2017)

Robin Campillo’s novelistic 120 BPM (or 120 Beats per Minute) is a vibrant, sprawling portrait of life, death, love and politics that frequently bends narrative and form without compromising any of its emotional power.

Set in the early 1990s, the film follows various figures of the Parisian branch of activist group ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power). It largely hones in on new member Nathan (Arnaud Valois), who is HIV-negative, and his burgeoning romance with Sean (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart), an HIV-positive member of the organisation and one of the mouthier, more radically inclined individuals…

Full review for The Skinny

Glasgow Film Festival 2018: 10 films to look out for

Running between 21 February and 4 March, the 14th annual Glasgow Film Festival opens with the UK premiere of Wes Anderson’s animation Isle of Dogs. It later closes with the world premiere of Nae Pasaran, Felipe Bustos Sierra’s documentary about Scottish factory workers’ act of solidarity with the oppressed people of Chile under the Pinochet dictatorship. In between, there are hundreds of events and screenings to choose from.

It can all be a bit overwhelming, so here are some highlights from the programme that still have tickets left…

Full feature for the BFI

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

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