“I Lost My Body” (2019) is the first feature film by director Jérémy Clapin. It was shown as part of the “Dare” stream at London Film Festival 2019 which was described as “In-your-face, up-front and arresting: films that take you out of your comfort zone”. That certainly is a good description of this film. The Cannes Critics’ Week Grand Prize winner engages all the senses to take you on a melancholic and emotional journey towards a gruesome end.
In this quiet, sweet little German flick, ‘tis the end of humanity as we know it. Time and time again we’ve seen Hollywood emphasize, in many terrifying ways, just how something like this could come about: invading aliens, nuclear warfare, immense natural disasters… yet none of that (at least none seen in the context of this story at least) is seen here. Humanity just disappears; one could probably argue this film takes place in the same universe where Thanos’ snap severely depopulates the world (it would be nice to think about how this was how some human beings lived their lives in the 5 years it took for the Avengers to get their you-know-what together, but I digress). No Hollywood junk to be found here, just pure truths and insights which are inherent in all humans; which exist in both the context of the hectic day-to-day lives we all lead, and the fictional scenario presented here.
Set in a tough but glamorous moment in time, “MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN” follows Lionel Essrog (Edward Norton) after the murder of his closest friend and colleague Frank Minna (Bruce Willis). Lionel is hellbent on unraveling the reason and discovering why Frank was killed and who is the killer. He finds himself on a paper trail across Brooklyn, never giving up on his plan. Being that Lionel is someone someone who also happens to suffer from Tourettes or Tertz Syndrome, and other verbal and motor tics, yet is endowed with perfect pitch of a memory that forgets nothing, makes him a true asset in the world of being part of Minna’s boys – the team of the Private Investigation office of Frank Minna. He is a character that has a lot of depth to get behind, and being one that needs a great performance in order to be authentic. And we are given that performance in spades, not only by Norton, but the fantastic entire ensemble cast of this film.
A weekend in the country can be a nightmare, if the right combination of people are thrown together. Writer-director Jack McHenry and co-writer Alice Sidgwick have taken this thought and run with it for their feature debut “Here Comes Hell”: a horror-comedy of the same gore-fest breed as Sam Raimi’s “Evil Dead” films, with the action instead taking place in an English country estate in the 1930s rather than in a cabin in the woods.
The estate in question is Westwood Manor, recently acquired by the heir of a vast family fortune who has invited his friends to a dinner party at his new home. Naturally, post-dinner entertainment includes a seance - complete with an eccentric medium - which goes just as well as any cinematic encounter with the hereafter has done previously (with the exception of “Ghost”, of course).
f Emilia Clarke was looking to step out and reinvent herself after eight years as Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen, then “LAST CHRISTMAS” would be that vehicle. Along with her character choice of Kate, a wayward and dysfunctional wanna-be actress in her 20’s, who spends her day working as an Elf selling year round Christmas monstrosities – well you couldn’t be further removed from the queen of dragons herself with this one.
Her boss, in what is sure to be London’s gaudiest Christmas store, conveniently goes by the moniker “Santa” (Michelle Yeoh), constantly admonishes Kate for her shortcoming, and there are many of them. As a matter of fact, Kate is simply just the worst. Her nights are devoted to getting plastered, trying to find one in the endless array of couches to crash on – and mornings, well mornings are spent trying to recall the who/what/where of the previous evening shenanigans.
Over the years, genre cinema has had a lot of examples of crime dramas from the female perspective. We have had stellar examples further in the past like Kathryn Bigelow's sharp "Blue Steel" (1990) and F. Gary Gray's "Set It Off" (1996) and just recently, we had Lorene Scarafia's vibrant "Hustlers" (2019) and Andrea Berloff's problematic "The Kitchen" (2019). On the more ambitious side, we have had crime films that meld with other genres like Park Chan-wook's artistic "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" (2005), Carol Morley's "Out of Blue" (2018) and Harmony Korine's "Spring Breakers" (2012).
In the case of Abner Pastoll's "A Good Woman Is Hard To Find" (2019), we have that perspective alongside other promising notions that make the film look great on paper. Firstly, it is a British film; and British cinema is well-known for their intensity within crime stories like James Watkins' "Eden Lake" (2008) and Daniel Barber's "Harry Brown" (2009).
The screening I attended showed the making of this film and the journey of the director (Gurinder Chadha) and the man whose life influenced this film (Sarfraz Manzoor). I was moved and utterly sucked in just watching the preview! I enjoyed the making of this film; from the director reading Sarfraz's memoir and instantly wanting to make the film to both of them anxiously waiting to hear back from Springsteen after sending him the screenplay.
Based on the memoir of Sarfraz Manzoor, the majority of the topics are universal, making them easier to relate. Chadha manages to capture the difficulties individuals endure on a day to day basis all while successfully allowing the music to aid in the narration. Although the story takes place on a different continent to the one I live, it resonated with me. Political issues, social tensions, identity issues, family dynamics, friendships, and many more topics are situations we’re are currently experiencing.
There hasn’t been a stronger or more talked about example childhood fame leading to a destructive transition into adulthood than the story of Shia LaBeouf. After becoming an absolute hit on Disney’s “Even Stevens” and other small movie roles, LaBeouf reached new heights in starring in “Disturbia” and the “Transformers” franchise – that is until people started to talk about something else with LaBeouf. With his countless run-ins with the law, the story of him sitting in a theater watching all of his films, and him telling everyone to “just do it” turning him into a living meme, he basically became the butt of the internet’s jokes.
“I don’t feel anything”, Jonathan (Yonatan Langer, also known as the internationally-recognized porn star Jonathan Agassi) laments at the end of the film, having ostensibly reached an all-time low. He is broken, sick, depressed, numb, and addicted to drugs. He’s also a hardcore gay pornstar who does some escorting on the side. This documentary (by Tomer Heymann) establishes early on that porn is about building a fantasy and attempting to break the fourth wall. Here, we scratch the surface of Yonatan’s psyche; we learn that despite all the supposed fun that keeps pornstars like him busy, he seems terribly dissatisfied.