Category Archives: The Skinny

Ghost Stories (Jeremy Dyson/Andy Nyman, 2017)

Horror anthologies are tricky beasts. For every terrifying tale in a trilogy of terror, there’s often a dud or two to spoil the cumulative experience. Less in the vein of V/H/S and more in the spirit(s) of Dead of Night, Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman’s Ghost Stories bucks the usual curse in maintaining solid scares throughout…

Full review for The Skinny

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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

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…

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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…

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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…

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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