Alexander Skarsgård: “Even in a sex scene, you can’t show a butt or a nipple”

Breaking through into public consciousness with the one-two HBO series punch of Generation Kill and True Blood, Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgård’s star has been on the rise ever since. Alternating between independent fare (The East), wannabe blockbusters (Battleship), arthouse darling projects (Lars von Trier’s Melancholia), and, of course, Lady Gaga music videos, the 38-year-old is now very much a cinematic force to be reckoned with, far removed from the shadow of his father, beloved character actor Stellan Skarsgård, or the days of his first English-language role in Ben Stiller’s Zoolander (he played one of male model Derek Zoolander’s idiot friends who dies in “a freak gasoline fight accident”). Next year sees him lead a summer tentpole release with a new live-action Tarzan from director David Yates (director of the last four Harry Potter films), but his most interesting film role to date arrives this year on a much smaller scale…

Full interview for The Skinny

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The Salt of the Earth (Wim Wenders/Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, 2014)

With The Salt of the Earth, Wim Wenders has helmed yet another strong documentary about a fellow artist (see Pina), though this time he’s on co-directing duties with Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, the son of his documentary’s subject. The film profiles Sebastião Salgado, an acclaimed Brazilian photojournalist whose life has mostly been spent chronicling the misfortunes of victims of man’s cruelty and selfishness; massacred Tutsi in Rwanda and famine victims in the Sahel region of central Africa are just two of the striking subjects of his camera’s lens…

Full review for VODzilla.co

Pet Sights and Sounds: Brian Wilson biopic ‘Love & Mercy’

“I honestly grew up more as a Beatles guy than a Beach Boys guy, but I’ve admitted that to Brian, so he’s aware,” says Bill Pohlad with a little smile.

We’re speaking to Pohlad ahead of the UK premiere of his gorgeous and tragic Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and he begins by explaining how his musical alliances started to change. “As I got older, I think I started to appreciate The Beach Boys much more, and then, just spontaneously, about ten years ago, I got into Pet Sounds in a much deeper way. I mean, it’s something I always appreciated, but I didn’t really plumb the depths of it until more recently. And so when this project came along, I was kind of perfectly keyed up for it, I think…

Full interview for The Skinny

Scottish Mussel (Talulah Riley, 2015)

Sometimes the worst kind of bad film isn’t the one that’s outright offensive and hateful, it’s the one that is full of good intentions but lacks any grasp of tone or gripping storytelling; made with a message in mind, but completely vacuous in execution. Scottish Mussel is sadly one of those misfires, with the sort of scattershot script where most of the film’s cameo stars also get a romantic interest at the end…

Full review for The Skinny

She’s Funny That Way (Peter Bogdanovich, 2014)

His first directorial effort not for television or the documentary format in over a decade, She’s Funny That Way sees legendary American filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich return to one of his recurring interests: resurrecting an old mode of Hollywood cinema for the contemporary film climate…

Full review for VODzilla.co

Eden (Mia Hansen-Løve, 2014)

When calling Eden one of the more directionless portraits of a life and movement, one must clarify that this is not meant as a bad thing and that the lack of direction refers only to traditional expectations of narrative for what’s essentially a biopic of sorts. On its surface, Eden seems to be simply telling the rise and fall of one particular man in one particular music scene, in this case the French house or “French touch” scene that took off in the early 1990s. Director Mia Hansen-Løve is concerned less with a narrative of modest success followed by years of toiling away, and instead with the yearning for youth, to recapture something that seemed like it was only just there…

Full review for Vague Visages

The Tribe (Miroslav Slaboshpitsky, 2014)

The Tribe, the first full-length feature from Miroslav Slaboshpitsky, is presented in Ukrainian sign language, minus any subtitles or spoken dialogue, and contains instances of horrific violence (and quite graphic fornication) during gruellingly long takes that invoke many questions as to how certain scenes were even achieved without any genuine physical harm to the young men and women involved. The film is nothing if not an audacious directorial debut; a grand, horrifying cinematic mission statement that might particularly appeal to the likes of Michael Haneke and, especially, Gaspar Noé. The trouble is that shock value only gets you so far, and what’s in the breaks between the blows (both confrontational blows and sexual ones) doesn’t necessarily suggest there’s much beyond blunt shock value here…

Full review for The Skinny

Writing by Josh Slater-Williams