LFF Review: I Lost My Body (J’ai Perdu Mon Corps)

“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.

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ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No.31: Destroyer

Earlier this year gritty thriller “Destroyer” (2019) stormed onto the big screen, with all of its rage, vengeance and gusto. Surprisingly it failed to blow up, instead crashing and burning at the box office making only $5.5 million in comparison to its $9 million budget. We can only really guess at what exactly caused the film to flop, but poor distribution and weak marketing certainly played their roles. Despite gunning for those golden gongs, especially with Nicole Kidman’s central phenomenal transformative performance, it received barely any attention on the awards circuit, although it has to be said organisations like The Academy have never been known for their good taste in cinema.

Review: In My Room

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.

Retrospective Review- “Foxfire”: a Universal Coming-Of-Age Story

When "Foxfire" came out in 1996, I was only one-year-old. While watching it only a few months ago, it became clear that Annette Haywood-Carter's drama exists in the dimension of exceptional productions. Those productions have a crucial influence on young women's lives.

Meet Legs Sadovsky (Angelina Jolie). Nobody knows where she came from. Tomboy-ish looking, young woman is a mystery, especially to Maddy Wirtz (Hedy Burress). Maddy, a high school teenager, doesn't even know that Legs will change her life forever. After hearing about the teacher's sexual harassment, the mystery girl teaches Maddy, Rita (Jenny Lewis), Goldie (Jenny Shimizu), and Violet (Sarah Rosenberg) to stand up against abuse and fight for their rights as women.

Review: Here Comes Hell

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).

Retrospective Review: 8 Women

François Ozon’s “8 Women” (2002) is a locked-house murder mystery whodunit with over the top caricatures who fling around accusations and burst into song. It’s ultra-theatrical and it’s brilliant.

Based on Robert Thomas’s 1958 play “Huit Femmes”, the film is set in the 1950s in a snow-bound French manor far from help. As the family gathers for Christmas the patriarch Marcel (Dominique Lamure) is found murdered. Of course nobody can contact the police or get out through the snow. The murderer is amongst them and they need to figure out which one of them it is.

Review: Last Christmas

I think we can all agree that Hallmark-adjacent Christmas movies like “Love, Actually,” “The Holiday,” and most recently, “Last Christmas” were made with female audiences in mind, right? The romantic scenarios that would never happen play on the ladies’ heartstrings during the most festive time of year, the holidays. But, branding a piece of media this way comes at a cost, and that cost is reducing its value as a film.

“Last Christmas” (dir. Paul Feig, written by the illustrious Emma Thompson) draws inspiration from the George Michael song of the same name. It centres on Kate (Emilia Clarke), a hot mess of a woman surviving, not thriving, in modern London. She works as an elf employee in a Christmas shop, hoping to someday make it as a performer at West End.

Review: A Good Woman Is Hard To Find

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).

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