The Death Cure (Wes Ball, 2018)

The Death Cure, the final adaptation of James Dashner’s dystopian Maze Runner novels, starts with a combination train robbery/prison break sequence that recalls not one, but two set-pieces from the first act of Fast & Furious 5 – or Fast Five as it’s known outside the UK. The success of that formula-shifting entry in the Fast series is credited with rejuvenating a franchise that had gone stale, bringing aboard lots of new fans who were entertained by the change-up in execution.

Fittingly, considering the possible homage in the opening action scene, The Death Cure is akin to Fast Five in that it’s a noticeable upgrade when compared to prior series instalments…

Full review for SciFiNow

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Why I love Nicolas Cage’s performance in ‘Bringing Out the Dead’

Released in 1999 to generally positive reviews but a poor box office, Bringing Out the Dead remains one of Martin Scorsese’s most overlooked films. His fourth collaboration with screenwriter Paul Schrader (here adapting a novel by Joe Connelly) acts as a fusion of the pair’s earlier efforts Taxi Driver and The Last Temptation of Christ. It is a frequently horrific odyssey through nocturnal New York, tinged with a desperate grasp at grace from a man teetering on the line between life and whatever lies beyond.

Instead of Christ, though, Bringing Out the Dead’s hero is Frank Pierce, a graveyard shift paramedic played by Nicolas Cage, an actor who probably qualifies as a deity to certain subsets of online fandom. The film follows Frank over three consecutive nights, at a point where he’s not managed to save any dying patients for months. During these hectic nights, he befriends the daughter (Patricia Arquette) of a heart attack victim he’s brought in and works in a two-man ambulance team with a slew of different partners, each as unhinged as him but in their own ways…

Full feature for Little White Lies

Jupiter’s Moon (Kornél Mundruczó, 2017)

Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó made a bold breakthrough on the arthouse circuit with 2014’s White God, which concerned a mistreated dog leading a canine uprising. With Jupiter’s Moon, he’s back with another high-concept story and back in social allegory mode…

Full review for SciFiNow

Brigsby Bear (Dave McCary, 2017)

This is the story of an emotionally stunted thirtysomething who can only conceptualise the world around him through cultural iconography, which might make it sound like it’s a serious work about a film critic. Instead, it’s an off-kilter, open-hearted comedy…

Full review for Little White Lies

‘Lu Over the Wall’ director Masaaki Yuasa on mermaids, vampires, Netflix, ‘Adventure Time’

Masaaki Yuasa’s background in animation goes back decades, but he’s probably best known to international audiences for his debut feature as a director, 2004’s Mind Game: a psychedelic trip of a movie that incorporates life, death, sex and yakuza feuds into one mind-bending package. Yuasa has mostly directed TV series, shorts or contributions to anthology movies since then, but 2017 has seen the long-awaited release of two new feature films from the man: comedy The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl and fantasy Lu Over The Wall.

Yuasa’s film and TV output is characterised by deceptively simple animation that’s prone to expressive outbursts of manic energy. Lu Over The Wall is no exception, though here it’s filtered into material that’s a little more family-friendly than some of his prior work. The story focuses on Kai, a gloomy middle school student in a small seaside town where interests outside of a future in the local businesses are largely discouraged. He reluctantly joins a band with two fellow classmates and they practice in secret. Halfway through the first practice, Kai finds they already have a fan: a music-loving mermaid named Lu who wants to sing and dance with them…

Full interview for SciFiNow

Lu Over the Wall (Masaaki Yuasa, 2017)

Lu Over The Wall, the latest film from Japanese director Masaaki Yuasa, is an ace new entry in the small but strong pool of animation centred around mermaid or fish-people, alongside Disney’s The Little Mermaid and Studio Ghibli’s Ponyo

Full review for SciFiNow

Takashi Miike on his 100th film ‘Blade of the Immortal’

“I’m a very lazy person by nature,” director Takashi Miike tells us.

Were one to assess laziness on a spectrum, the act of having completed a film of any kind would, we feel, denote a distinct lack of lethargy. So it seems especially strange to hear this character assessment from an individual who’s due to release his 100th film, called Blade of the Immortal

Full interview for The Skinny

Writing by Josh Slater-Williams