Tag Archives: Little White Lies

The Forgiven (John Michael McDonagh, 2021)

A logical point of comparison for John Michael McDonagh’s The Forgiven is Babel, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s sweeping 2006 narrative of interwoven stories. While this sticks to one country, and is less ambitious in its scope, the dramatic catalysts in both films concern tragic accidents involving white tourists and local young men colliding in the deserts Moroccan.

Babel is a film which focuses on concepts of miscommunication and globalisation, while The Forgiven’s thematic meat is instead the recklessness of the condescending rich, alongside Western influence on the Arab world. All with writer-director McDonagh’s trademark provocative and caustic humour – previously seen in The GuardCalvary and War on Everyone – bolted on to inconsistent effect…

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Eiffel (Martin Bourboulon, 2021)

Eiffel isn’t so much a biopic of French engineer Gustave Eiffel (played here by Romain Duris), but rather a work of fiction inspired by certain historical facts. It posits why exactly Eiffel had a sudden change of heart in becoming involved with the metal tower project that would adopt his name after initially abstaining…

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a-ha: The Movie (Thomas Robsahm/Aslaug Holm, 2021)

American YouTube reviewer Todd in the Shadows has a regular series called One Hit Wonderland in which he takes a look “at bands and artists known for only one song”; exploring their history before and after the big hit. His first video in this series was on Norwegian synth-pop group a-ha’s ‘Take On Me’, in which he fully acknowledges that a-ha’s members are absolutely not true one hit wonders just because ‘Take On Me’ was their only enduring hit in the United States.

The band has reportedly sold over 55 million records worldwide. They’re among the best-selling Scandinavian acts ever. A 1991 gig at the Rock in Rio festival earned them a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for drawing the largest paying rock concert attendance (198,000). They still fill stadiums. They did a James Bond theme.

But Todd’s criteria for inclusion isn’t entirely inaccurate. It’s not controversial to call ‘Take On Me’ one of the best pop songs of the 1980s, while the accompanying music video by director Steve Barron justifiably remains a titan of the form. No matter the sales figures of subsequent singles and albums, ‘Take On Me’ inarguably defines a-ha’s legacy…

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The Outfit (Graham Moore, 2022)

Seven years after winning a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for The Imitation Game, writer Graham Moore follows up that biopic with an original, largely effective thriller. Co-written with Johnathan McClain, The Outfit is also Moore’s feature-directing debut…

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Lucie Zhang: ‘The nudity was like wearing a costume’

With Paris, 13th District, director Jacques Audiard adapts three short stories by American cartoonist Adrian Tomine, merging them into a sharp, sweet portrait of sex, love and endurance in a Parisian high-rise neighbourhood. The ensemble includes Noémie Merlant, Makita Samba and Jehnny Beth, alongside Lucie Zhang in a star-making turn with her debut feature film role. She plays Émilie, a French-Taiwanese twentysomething with a flair for chaos…

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Munich: The Edge of War (Christian Schwochow, 2021)

A tricky aspect of films based on real-life historical events with globally-impactful consequences is maintaining any tension when the viewer already knows the outcome. In some cases, the protagonists we’re following are those thwarted, such as in Valkyrie, a dramatisation of the failed 20 July 1944 plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

Adapted by playwright Ben Power from a Robert Harris novel, Munich: The Edge of War faces a similar challenge with tension. Similarly to Valkyrie, it depicts an attempted termination of Hitler’s power, though here before World War Two started. In 1938, British PM Neville Chamberlain (Jeremy Irons) is eager to find a peaceful resolution to Hitler’s proposed invasion of Czechoslovakia…

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The Great Yokai War: Guardians (Takashi Miike, 2021)

Sixteen years and over 30 feature credits ago, Takashi Miike directed The Great Yokai War, one of the prolific Japanese filmmaker’s earliest forays into family-oriented fantasy. The film’s narrative incorporated various creatures from Japanese mythology, known as yōkai, whereby a modern boy is chosen to team up with them to destroy evil forces.

Now, Miike has directed a belated follow-up, The Great Yokai War: Guardians – although the standalone story by Yûsuke Watanabe (a veteran of Dragon Ball Z and Attack on Titan films) is really more a spiritual sequel, requiring no real understanding of its predecessor. This wildly entertaining fantasy adventure gets by on exuberant direction, game performances from a large ensemble, and lavish production design and makeup work. For a sense of the aesthetic, imagine a mix of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy films and Clive Barker’s Nightbreed

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Five of the best films from the 74th Locarno Film Festival

Under the lead of new festival director Giona A Nazzaro, this year’s Locarno Film Festival seems to have had a generally mixed reception from those on the ground in Switzerland. Some long-time attendees have been particularly critical of the 74th edition’s heavier incorporation of genre filmmaking in the programme, in the context of a festival generally lauded for premiering some of the hardest-to-classify films around. That said, Locarno has hardly turned into Fantastic Fest, and many of those genre films were far from formulaic filler. Here are five feature highlights from this year’s edition…

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Tallulah Greive: ‘Working-class women aren’t homogeneous’

Having been delayed for almost two years by the pandemic, Michael Caton-Jones’ Our Ladies, adapted from Alan Warner’s 1998 novel ‘The Sopranos’, finally arrives in UK cinemas this month. Set in 1996, the film follows six 17-year-old Catholic schoolgirls from the Highlands who head to Edinburgh for a choir competition, only to get caught up in debauchery.

At the story’s centre are five working-class friends, alongside derided posh girl Kay (Eve Austin): there’s closeted group leader Fionnula (Abigail Lawrie), her childhood bestie Manda (Sally Messham), punk singer Kylah (Marli Siu), islander Chell (Rona Morison), and Orla, who is in recovery from leukemia and hoping the Lord’s Prayer will now help her lose her virginity. Orla, also the film’s narrator, is played by Australian-born, Edinburgh-raised actor Tallulah Greive in her first feature film credit…

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Our Ladies (Michael Caton-Jones, 2019)

Let’s call Our Ladies one of the new great British teen movies. Its journey to the screen is even older than its riotous protagonists: director and co-writer Michael Caton-Jones first optioned the rights to Alan Warner’s 1998 novel The Sopranos over 20 years ago…

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