The Beguiled (Sofia Coppola, 2017)

Thomas P. Cullinan’s 1966 Southern Gothic novel A Painted Devil was previously brought to the screen, under the title of The Beguiled, by director Don Siegel in 1971. An American Civil War-set tale of an injured union soldier taking refuge in a Virginian girls’ school, Siegel’s version was led by regular collaborator Clint Eastwood. For Sofia Coppola’s stab at the material, although Colin Farrell is top-billed as the stranger sowing seeds of mistrust, things are determinedly more female-focused…

Full review for VODzilla.co

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Ruben Östlund on ‘The Square’, media & ‘The Emoji Movie’

“It feels great. I would love to have another one!” Swedish writer-director Ruben Östlund is cheerfully telling The Skinny his answer to the one question he’s probably been asked by everyone about his award-winning new movie, The Square: how does it feel having a Palme d’Or?

“I’m super happy about their decision,” he continues, “because I think it’s highlighting a new kind of European cinema that I feel I’m connected to – Maren Ade with Toni Erdmann, Yorgos Lanthimos who made Dogtooth… I think there’s a certain kind of European movement now that is a very interesting cinema, but not being in this old way of looking at cinema as an art form: more conceptual, more raising questions about contemporary times, but doing it in an entertaining way. And I’m really happy that they highlighted it, that they gave us a prize, because I think I’m part of that movement…

Full interview for The Skinny

Brian Taylor on ‘Mom and Dad’, Nic Cage and ‘Crank 3’

“My relationship with my parents was great. I never felt like they wanted to kill me. They disguised that very well.”

Although the above may sound like we’re acting as a therapist to American filmmaker Brian Taylor, who’s speaking to us by phone from Los Angeles, the question of his relationship with his parents is a fitting one. It’s central to the premise of his new horror comedy Mom and Dad starring Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair, which is concerned with a mysterious mass hysteria that breaks out across the USA, causing parents to turn homicidal towards their children. Not all children, but specifically their own kids…

Full interview for The Skinny

Best from the West: new Scottish features at Glasgow Film Festival 2018

This year’s Glasgow Film Festival was hit by an unprecedented series of setbacks, largely thanks to the combined efforts of Storm Emma and the cold wave dubbed the ‘Beast from the East’. Across three days in its second week, dozens of screenings and events were cancelled due to snow-related safety risks, while much of the talent scheduled to appear, as well as attendees not staying in Glasgow, were unable to reach the city…

Full feature for Sight & Sound

Junk Head (Takahide Hori, 2017)

As behind-the-scenes footage at its end shows, Junk Head is a true labour of love for Takahide Hori, who directs, writes and edits this stop motion animation, as well as voice work, composing the score and most of the other odd jobs.

A funny and both cute and creepy dystopian tale, it’s a truly unique vision, though for a taste of its style, imagine if Henry Selick or the Quay brothers made a film designed by Clive Barker, influenced by slapstick…

Full review for SciFiNow

Mom and Dad (Brian Taylor, 2017)

For fans of a certain brand of cinematic maximalism, it’s been much too long – six years, in fact – since the directing duo known as Neveldine/Taylor (the Crank series) brought to the screen a dose of their signature high concept madness. Mark Neveldine went solo with religious horror The Vatican Tapes in 2015, but Brian Taylor’s partner-free return to the directing chair, Mom and Dad, is much more in line with the duo’s earlier collaborations.

And what a high concept he has here. A mass hysteria of unknown origin breaks out across the USA, causing parents to turn violently on their children. Not all children, but specifically their own kids; unless one is actively trying to prohibit their attempts at murder, a rampaging parent will generally leave any young person who’s not their progeny well alone.

It’s George A. Romero meets the modern family, and, crucially, Taylor (also the writer) skips any gradual escalation for the chaos. Hostility is always at the heart of the family unit, it’s just usually covered up with a veneer of performative benevolence…

Full review for The Skinny