Tag Archives: Film

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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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Though still brimming with some narrative bloat, the second Hobbit feature is overall a considerable improvement on its meandering, tonally scattered predecessor. Less shapeless, though not free of venturing down uninteresting tangents (Hi, Legolas), it feels much more confident and moves with a greater sense of urgency…

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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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Elysium (Neill Blomkamp, 2013)

South Africa-set District 9 had a clear apartheid allegory built into its hyper-violent sci-fi stylings, and writer-director Neill Blomkamp’s follow-up film is similarly concerned with social commentary, this time to do with accessible healthcare and immigration. District 9 wasn’t subtle, but the solemn Elysium is even more thinly veiled and oppressive with its socialist slant; it also proves a much weaker film overall…

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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…

Full interview for The Skinny

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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