Blow the Man Down opens with an attention-grabbing group rendition of the eponymous sea shanty, which originated in the 19th century, with alternate lyrics referencing the New England port town of the film’s setting. Thanks to a montage of misty skies, icy-looking water and squelchy sea creatures, as well as the region and shared taste for anachronistic music, viewers may initially be reminded of Robert Eggers’ recent The Lighthouse.
Instead, writer/director pair Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy present a multi-layered contemporary mystery that’s less stylistically outlandish than Eggers’ film, though certainly full of its own memorable idiosyncrasies. To name just one, those singing fishermen reappear as a Greek chorus of sorts, popping up throughout the film with a song and the odd fourth wall-breaking glance to camera…
Full review for Little White Lies
A few years on from his mystery comedy Cold Weather, affectionately dubbed ‘mumblenoir’ by some, writer-director Aaron Katz returns to the narrative territory of a non-detective investigating a crime. And this one’s set in Los Angeles, the home of film noir.
Led by Lola Kirke and Zoë Kravitz, Gemini concerns the complex relationship between a personal assistant and her Hollywood starlet boss. After maybe 30 minutes of getting to know the pair, the film switches gears and sees the PA, Jill (Kirke), go sleuth, after she is connected to a major crime, with a suspicious detective (John Cho) on her trail. Michelle Forbes, James Ransone, Nelson Franklin, Reeve Carney and Ricki Lake are among the supporting cast.
With Gemini now available to rent or buy on UK streaming platforms, here’s our conversation with Katz about Hollywood films, noir, and him not being the biggest David Lynch fan…
Full interview for VODzilla.co
When it comes to productivity, there aren’t many high-profile directors who come close to Japan’s Takashi Miike (who has made approximately five features since you started reading this sentence), but there are a select few who can be relied upon to give us at least one feature film a year, sometimes even two. Michael Winterbottom is good for this, while Steven Soderbergh was very good for it before his self-imposed (and now broken) retirement from film directing.
With three films in the last two years, Chilean director Pablo Larraín is making a case to join that select group. It’s also worked out that his two most recent films serve to complement each other very well (the odd duck is Catholic Church drama The Club). Larraín has just been through the awards season madness with his English-language debut, Jackie Kennedy biopic Jackie (which picked up three Oscar nominations), and his third film of the trio, Neruda (which hit festivals before Jackie), is a similarly slippery portrait of a political figure, in this case revolutionary Chilean poet-diplomat and politician Pablo Neruda…
Full interview for The Skinny