Godzilla (Gareth Edwards, 2014)

Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla revival is a beautifully directed, perfectly paced blockbuster that effortlessly veers between enormity and quieter, almost transcendental, moments. It inherits more than a trick or two from prime Spielberg and fully earns favourable comparisons to the likes of Jurassic Park and Close Encounters of the Third Kind in its balancing of awe-inspiring spectacle and the accompanying terror induced by its world-altering premise…

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The Raid 2 (Gareth Evans, 2014)

Gareth Evans’ The Raid took place over one day in a single locale; its narrative had an economy akin to old-school John Carpenter. For the sequel, written, edited and directed by Evans, the filmmaker’s vision expands to the infiltration of a criminal network over several years. It is a sprawling, convoluted 150-minute saga built on a story framework that’s simultaneously simple and impenetrable, wherein most of its kinetic choreography is transformed into arduous onslaughts that numb rather than thrill…

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Muppets Most Wanted (James Bobin, 2014)

A musical nod to diminishing returns for sequels opens Muppets Most Wanted, and while this is an overall inferior product compared to its immediate forerunner, as well as other earlier films starring the felt motley crew, there’s enough entertainment here to separate it from nadirs like Muppets from Space and that Wizard of Oz TV movie with Quentin Tarantino.

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Scotland Loves Anime 2013: The Fourth Impact

The Scotland Loves Anime festival returns to Glasgow and Edinburgh in October for a fourth year of screenings and talks, and that rare opportunity to watch Japanese animation on the big screen – the place where so much of it begs to be seen. Over two consecutive weekends, Glasgow Film Theatre (11-13 Oct) and Edinburgh Filmhouse (18-20 Oct) will showcase some of the best of contemporary and classic anime for both the well-versed and those completely new to the medium…

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One. On. One: Filmmaker Mania Akbari in conversation

The last few years have seen a noticeable rise in Iranian cinema’s international profile, both through relatively mainstream breakthrough success for films like the Oscar-winning A Separation and thanks to publicised restrictions on the country’s filmmakers, most notably the house arrest of director Jafar Panahi, as documented in 2011’s This Is Not a Film. With artistic expression so heavily monitored, many of the country’s best have chosen to depart and make films elsewhere, Abbas Kiarostami (Close-UpTaste of Cherry) among them, whose most recent films – Certified Copy and Like Someone in Love – have been part financed in France and shot in Italy and Japan.

Mania Akbari is another filmmaker who has chosen to leave her homeland to continue her work, in her case spurred by concerns that her cast and crew on her film, which would end up being named From Tehran to London due to the circumstances of its completion, would face arrest on the basis of what has happened to Panahi and others. Now a resident in the UK, she is perhaps still best known to audiences here as the star of Kiarostami’s acclaimed 2002 film Ten, but various sources – the BFI, writer-director Mark Cousins and the Edinburgh International Film Festival among them – are serving to raise the profile of this most exciting filmmaker…

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Pacific Rim (Guillermo del Toro, 2013)

Fantasy man Guillermo del Toro’s latest, Pacific Rim, is a large-scale love letter to Japanese sci-fi, but also an accessible blockbuster imbued with delightful eccentricities amid its broad elements…

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We Are the Freaks (Justin Edgar, 2013)

Following three teenage friends on a night out in 1990, after Thatcher has just stepped down, We Are the Freaks opens with self-reflexive narration that posits that “this is not a teen movie”; this follows an opening tirade that includes the lead expressing contempt for films where people talk to camera, right after doing so himself. It’s a film that, through meta stylistic tics (“Got any music that won’t be in wanky nostalgic films in 20 years time?”), constantly draws attention to itself; the problem is that it never provides anything to warrant the viewer’s attention…

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Writing by Josh Slater-Williams