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…

Full interview for The Skinny

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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…

Full feature for Little White Lies

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

Captain America: Civil War (Anthony Russo/Joe Russo, 2016)

One of the most frequent complaints to be thrown at Marvel Studios’ franchise (released under Disney) concerns their entries’ tendency towards homogeneity. Another is their too-frequent focus on the ongoing ‘cinematic universe’ brand, rather than making cohesive, satisfying individual films in their own right. Well, Captain America: Civil War feels like something of a turning point, for several reasons. It manages to be a sprawling clash of the titans that incorporates key superhero players from other movies (with their own individual personal conflicts and quirks) while also debuting entertaining new ones (Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther and Tom Holland as some kid called Peter Parker); it largely keeps its teases for future entries concerned with emotional fallout instead of plot McGuffins; and it tells a cohesive, compelling story with genuinely interesting ramifications…

Full review for The Skinny

Hardcore Henry (Ilya Naishuller, 2015)

Comparing films to video games doesn’t necessarily carry the stigma it once did, mainly due to the steady infiltration of game textures and language into genre cinema – Tom Cruise vehicle Edge of Tomorrow, for one, fully embraced the game logic of resets and trial-and-error puzzles.

In the case of Hardcore Henry, an action movie told entirely through first-person visuals, the intent seems to be to mimic the video game aesthetic more than any film before, specifically the first-person shooter genre. In form and content, it’s all there: a mute protagonist that’s effectively the viewer, racing to various checkpoints, constant instructions from supporting characters, shaky-cam spasms as Henry gets hit, and numerous weapons to collect along a killing rampage to save a damsel in distress…

Full review for Little White Lies

Hirokazu Kore-eda on ‘Our Little Sister’

When we meet at the London Film Festival, Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda expresses an admiration for The Skinny’s iPhone case, which has a design based on the No-Face character from Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. After this, though, he admits via an interpreter that he hasn’t actually seen that hugely successful animation, which is something of a surprise – not just because Spirited Away was such a massive hit in Japan, as well as around the world, but also because Kore-eda has in his own way been just as significant a force in Japanese film over the last few decades as Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, albeit in the realm of live-action and in a much quieter fashion…

Full review for The Skinny

Ratter (Branden Kramer, 2015)

With Levan Gabriadze’s Unfriended and Nacho Vigalondo’s Open Windows, tech-bound terror has become an increasingly popular source of inspiration for directors looking to thrill, while also keeping an eye firmly on the more problematic elements of society’s ever-developing relationship with the Internet. Joining this small but growing genre is writer-director Branden Kramer’s feature debut, Ratter

Full review for VODzilla.co

Writing by Josh Slater-Williams