Review: Sea Fever

It's highly contagious. Anyone could have it. It starts with a high fever. There isn't a known cure. It threatens mankind as we know it. You may be inclined to believe that what I am describing relates to the COVID-19 outbreak, but I am actually describing the condition that takes place in Neasa Hardiman's debut feature film, "Sea Fever". The film follows the crew of a fishing trawler who succumb to a strange infection, their only hope is the apathetic and analytical-minded marine-biology student Siobhán, played by the memorizing Hermione Corfield. This timely well-crafted science-fiction thriller is definitely one to seek out for Corfield's powerhouse performance alone. It's also a riveting story which builds on tension and suspense, proving that genre storytelling is very much alive and kicking.

Animated April: The Princess and The Frog

There’s something really comforting in the traditional hand-drawn animation style that Disney introduced us to. With the difference in styles now and the obvious technological element, it’s good to reflect on a movie that utilizes and excels with that look and feel but is in the 21st century. I’m referring to the 2009 “The Princess and The Frog.”

SXSW Exclusive Review: For Madmen Only

Although many people know the names and the faces of the best comedians in the industry, there’s one that’s more impactful to comedy than any of them and yet his name has somehow flown under the radar of the public eye – his name is Del Close. With her latest documentary, "For Madmen Only", director Heather Ross looks to delve into Close’s influence and the methods and madness that sparked a new kind of comedic art form.

GFF Exclusive Review: How to Build a Girl

Closing the 2020 Glasgow Film Festival is Coky Giedroyc’s adaptation of Caitlin Moran’s “How to Build a Girl” (2019). With a festival that has produced so many great new films by female filmmakers and has advocated diversity in cinema since its inception, it’s appropriate to have the closing film concern the journey of a maturing young woman - the building of a girl if you will. The end result film that is flawed, but nonetheless mature and fun. Beanie Feldstein is one of the most delightful people walking the earth right now, and her role in this film continues to prove this. Putting on a surprisingly good Warwickshire accent, she is Johanna Morigan, a sixth former who aspires to great things, looking to her wall of heroes - including Jo March, Maria von Trapp and Karl Marx - for guidance. A skilled writer, she submits a review for the “Annie” soundtrack at a weekly music magazine to buy back the family TV. Though initially baffled by this, the magazine eventually hires Johanna where Johanna dons the pen name Dolly Wilde to take her sudden new career to new, and life learning, heights.

Review: Buffaloed

“Buffaloed” (2020) is a tricky beast to categorize.  It’s a dark comedy with some truly stark social commentary about debt in America and socioeconomics.  Peg Dahl (Zoey Deutch) is a hustler.  She always has some form of income stream to try to get her way out of poverty in Buffalo, NY.  After her father’s death, her family are plagued by debt-collection calls. Her mother (Judy Greer) is resigned to this way of life, but Peg is not. Peg is crass, determined, smart, cunning.  She will rope her brother (Noah Reid) into her endeavours.  But it is her hustle that gets her time behind bars.  Once out of the clinker, Peg runs into the same issues as most re-entering: employment.  Peg finds herself in debt thanks to legal fees and the scam she ran. She finds herself being called by a collector and smooth talks her way into becoming a debt collector herself for a local professional hustler, Wizz (Jai Courtney).

Review: The Other Lamb

"The Other Lamb" is the English language debut from filmmaker Malgorzata Szumowska. You may not be familiar with Szymowska's work, but she is an auteur with a distinct voice and style, her previous films have been divisive "Elles" (2011) a sexually explicit drama which followed Anne (Juliette Binoche), a journalist in Paris for French Elle who is writing an article about female student prostitution, the 2013 film "In the Name Of" which told the story of a closeted gay Catholic priest living in rural Poland and the 2018 film "Mug", a strange comedy that told the story of fun-loving Jacek (Mateusz Kościukiewicz) who is disfigured in an accident at work, and becomes the first person in Poland to receive a face transplant, which leads to his status as a national hero and martyr. As a filmmaker, Szumowska isn't afraid to take on unusual and challenging narratives which push boundaries and are designed to make the viewer think.

SXSW Exclusive Review: An Elephant in the Room

The death of a loved one is difficult. As a child, losing a loved one such as a parent or sibling seems unimaginable. Childhood can be confusing in itself. Death, whether it is expected or not, is never easy. Death is something adults find dreadful, but we understand it is inevitable. How does any person deal with loss and grief? No one can ever prepare for how they will react to the loss of a loved one until it happens. Every person is different. Most adults go through stages of grief, some never confront those feelings for the rest of their lives. However, children barely understand what living is—let alone death.

Review: Mickey and the Bear

The prospect of forging one’s path at the cost of leaving others behind is certainly far from an original narrative for the coming-of-age drama. For first-time writer & director Annabelle Attanasio however, what she achieves with ‘Mickey & The Bear’ is a heart-wrenching, visceral piece on the pursuit of personal gratification, while attempting to balance perceived family obligation, as fiercely headstrong Michaela (Mickey) is the sole provider and carer for her addict, veteran father Hank. A gifted young woman, Mickey is wholly a likeable, well-rounded character, without stripping an ounce of her humanity. She has flaws, she has emotions and her limits. Almost as if this coming-of-age narrative was written by a woman, for a woman. Camila Morrone’s method of characterisation is subdued, though sharing her on-screen father’s temper on occasion.

SXSW Exclusive Review: Red Heaven

One can almost guarantee that NASA, along with the filmmakers and subjects of this documentary, “Red Heaven” (2020), would have never guessed how relevant the content they captured would be during these quarantine times the world is currently facing. Right now, almost the entire population is experiencing—at the very least—anything from social distancing or full isolation due to the global pandemic, COVID-19. People are staying in their homes away from the rest of the world to try to stop the spread of the virus. “Red Heaven” is a different type of isolation story: imagine if MTV’s The Real World took place next to a volcano in Hawaii: six scientists picked to live in a small dome, work together and collect data for NASA to help send astronauts to Mars someday. 

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