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Branden Kramer talks ‘Ratter’, hackers and the FBI

After last year’s Unfriended offered a vision of tech terror told entirely through Skype on a laptop screen, Ratter, the feature debut of writer-director Branden Kramer, ups the unsettling factor by placing viewers in the shoes of a stalker capturing someone’s life via elaborate hacking; a tale entirely visualised through the recording equipment within laptops, smartphones, and other web-connected devices.

Ashley Benson (Spring Breakers, Pretty Little Liars) is excellent as the unseen stalker’s target, whom we witness, to an uncomfortably intimate degree, going about her everyday life, none the wiser that she is perpetually being watched, until events escalate to a point where the threat is very much pronounced.

With the film now available on VOD in the UK, we sit down with Branden Kramer to discuss the creation of this unique thriller, as well as his own run-ins with hackers and, amusingly, the FBI…

Full interview for VODzilla.co

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Straight Outta Compton (F. Gary Gray, 2015)

The problem with most biographical dramas, particularly those concerning musicians, is that they can often play like greatest hits samplers rather than a cohesive, insightful character study. Some of the best music biopics are those that take a formally interesting approach that feels akin to the spirit of the artist/s in question, rather than trying to box their persona into a rigid formula; Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There is one example, as is the recent Love & Mercy, which offers a dual performance to depict two decades in the life of subject Brian Wilson, but also sonically innovative soundscapes to convey the troubled genius’ artistic process.

This is not to say that the traditional music biopic formula is of inherently dubious quality. As with any genre, execution is key. Straight Outta Compton, a portrait of N.W.A (though mainly members Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Eazy-E) from director F. Gary Gray, is one such example of the formula done very well. Or, at least, up to a point…

Full review for VODzilla.co

Love (Gaspar Noé, 2015)

For a good while, Love plays exactly like what most would imagine an unsimulated sex-featuring odyssey from enfant terrible Gaspar Noé to be. (No prizes for predicting that the very first shot involves a hand job.) His lead, Murphy (Glusman), is on an extended bad trip, muttering profanity-laden soliloquies in monotone voiceover, as recollections of his relationships with two specific women play in his mind – mainly the parts where they had sex…

Full review for VODzilla.co

Fidelio: Alice’s Journey (Lucie Borleteau, 2014)

Undoubtedly the sexiest film set on a freighter since Captain Phillips, Fidelio: Alice’s Journey, the French feature debut of actress-turned-writer-director Lucie Borleteau, is a riveting exploration of sexual relationships, everyday sexism, and seafaring struggles (with a touch of sex)…

Full review for VODzilla.co

The Salt of the Earth (Wim Wenders/Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, 2014)

With The Salt of the Earth, Wim Wenders has helmed yet another strong documentary about a fellow artist (see Pina), though this time he’s on co-directing duties with Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, the son of his documentary’s subject. The film profiles Sebastião Salgado, an acclaimed Brazilian photojournalist whose life has mostly been spent chronicling the misfortunes of victims of man’s cruelty and selfishness; massacred Tutsi in Rwanda and famine victims in the Sahel region of central Africa are just two of the striking subjects of his camera’s lens…

Full review for VODzilla.co

She’s Funny That Way (Peter Bogdanovich, 2014)

His first directorial effort not for television or the documentary format in over a decade, She’s Funny That Way sees legendary American filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich return to one of his recurring interests: resurrecting an old mode of Hollywood cinema for the contemporary film climate…

Full review for VODzilla.co