Green Room (Jeremy Saulnier, 2015)

Green Room, Jeremy Saulnier’s follow-up to Blue Ruin, trades the latter’s revenge thriller territory for the mode of siege movie – albeit one with a twist along the lines of Blue Ruin’s architect of revenge being an inept, hangdog vagrant. Here the besieged party is a young punk band trapped in the green room of a backwoods club they’ve begrudgingly agreed to play. The party keeping them from leaving? The club’s very far-right staff, including proprietor Darcy (Stewart, in a wonderful piece of stunt casting), after the band witnesses a crime the neo-Nazi group’s extremely keen to cover up…

Full review for The Skinny

Advertisements

High-Rise (Ben Wheatley, 2015)

It’s the near future, though it (deliberately) seems to be the near future as imagined in the 1970s. Dr Robert Laing (Hiddleston) has set up home in a lavish high-rise designed by a grand architect (Irons). Presiding on the 25th floor, he develops trysts with the higher classes and friendships with those relegated below, including a documentarian (Evans) keen to provoke the dangerous social situation between levels. Violence and disarray are but a ticking time bomb away…

Full review for The Skinny

Six of the best films featuring all-female rock bands

With the live-action adaptation of ’80s cartoon Jem and the Holograms finally out in UK cinemas (arriving a truly, truly outrageous time after its US run), now seems as good a time as any to throw a spotlight on some other strong films about fictional all-female rock groups, including fellow adaptations of popular animations, music genre-inspiring cult hits and one of the sweetest coming-of-age tales in recent memory…

Full feature for Little White Lies

Ben Wheatley on ‘High-Rise’

The Skinny’s chatting to director Ben Wheatley on the phone on the evening of the Glasgow Film Festival programme launch, with the Scottish premiere of his new film being among the screenings publicly announced as we speak. High-Rise, his fifth feature, is an adaptation of JG Ballard’s beloved 1975 novel. It’s a dystopic tale of alienation, corruption and societal breakdown within the confines of a lavish apartment complex that starts off sleek and appealing, only to gradually transform into the kind of tower block that wouldn’t seem out of place in the world of Judge Dredd. Tom Hiddleston and Jeremy Irons, as grand architect Royal, topline an impressive cast for the British director’s first foray into bigger budget filmmaking.

“What it gives you as a filmmaker is much more control,” Wheatley says of the scale change. “You can have much more control on very basic stuff like the colours of the rooms, how costumes relate to spaces, and how spaces relate to the overall design of the whole film. I think it’s a big difference…

Full interview for The Skinny

Straight Outta Compton (F. Gary Gray, 2015)

The problem with most biographical dramas, particularly those concerning musicians, is that they can often play like greatest hits samplers rather than a cohesive, insightful character study. Some of the best music biopics are those that take a formally interesting approach that feels akin to the spirit of the artist/s in question, rather than trying to box their persona into a rigid formula; Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There is one example, as is the recent Love & Mercy, which offers a dual performance to depict two decades in the life of subject Brian Wilson, but also sonically innovative soundscapes to convey the troubled genius’ artistic process.

This is not to say that the traditional music biopic formula is of inherently dubious quality. As with any genre, execution is key. Straight Outta Compton, a portrait of N.W.A (though mainly members Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Eazy-E) from director F. Gary Gray, is one such example of the formula done very well. Or, at least, up to a point…

Full review for VODzilla.co

Swung (Colin Kennedy, 2015)

Director Colin Kennedy’s debut feature tackles a novel subject: people in Glasgow having sex without the aid of Scarlett Johansson turning up in a van.

Unlike Under the Skin, this adaptation of Ewan Morrison’s 2007 novel follows thirtysomething couple David (Owen McDonnell) and Alice (Elena Anaya), whose floundering love life (the film opens with an erectile dysfunction joke) provokes excursions into unfamiliar sexual territory, namely the world of swinging…

Full review for Little White Lies

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (Guy Ritchie, 2015)

It’s been nearly 20 years since 60s TV spy show Mission: Impossible made the leap to the big screen, largely abandoning the source material’s Cold War trappings for more contemporary concerns. As the fifth M:I film hit cinemas this year, another 60s spy property finally gets a modern adaptation, albeit in period-piece pastiche mode with era contexts firmly intact…

Full review for The Skinny

Writing by Josh Slater-Williams