black comedy tagged posts

Tears and Laughter: Movie Reviews


Tears and Laughter: Women in Japanese Melodrama runs until Wednesday 29th November at the BFI Southbank. For more information and to book tickets, click here.

To read an interview with season curator and Sight and Sound features editor James Bell, click here.


OSAKA ELEGY

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi

Writer: Yoshikata Yoda (screenplay), Tadashi Fujiwara (dialogue)

Cast: Isuzu Yamada, Yôko Umemura, Benkei Shiganoya

Cert: PG

Running time: 71mins

Year: 1936



What’s the story: To pay off her father’s debts and her brother’s university fees, young switchboard operator Ayako (Yamada) becomes her boss’ mistress. But, when he rejects her she is forced into prostitution.

What’s the verdict: A pre-war film from director Kenji Mizoguchi, the 1936 Osaka Elegy anticipates Japan’s rejection ...

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Last Flag Flying

Director: Richard Linklater

Writer: Richard Linklater, Darryl Ponicsan (screenplay), Darryl Ponicsan (novel)

Cast: Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston, Laurence Fishburne, J. Quinton Johnson, Yul Vazquez

Cert: 15

Running time: 124mins

Year: 2017


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What’s the story: Larry Shepherd contacts Sal Nealon and Richard Mueller, who served with him in Vietnam, to help escort his son’s body home after he was killed in Iraq. But, the journey takes longer than expected as secrets are revealed and past events are revisited.

What’s the verdict: Midway through Richard Linklater’s excellent new movie, Bryan Cranston’s troublemaking Sal says every generation gets its war. Every generation also gets its sign-of-the-times dark military comedy.

Vietnam had Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H and Hal Ashby’s The Las...

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Catfight (2016)

Director: Onur Tukel

Writer: Onur Tukel

Cast: Anne Heche, Sandra Oh, Alicia Silverstone, Ariel Kavoussi, Damian Young, Giullian Yao Gioiello

Cert: 15

Running time: 95mins

Year: 2016




What’s the story: Veronica (Oh) and Ashley (Heche), two roommates in college, meet many years later and pent-up resentment in unleashed in a series of brutal brawls.

What’s the verdict: If Happiness director Todd Solondz teamed up with Freedom author Jonathan Franzen, Catfight is a decent indication of what they would produce.

A brutal, absurdist, black comedy, it is a biting attack on foreign wars and domestic indifference, a wry commentary on pettiness and jealousy, and Fight Club for women.

Set kind of now-ish, there is a War burning up the Middle East...

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Blu-Ray Review: His Girl Friday

His-Girl-Friday---Criterion-Collection-coverDirector: Howard Hawks

Writer: Charles Lederer (screenplay), Ben Hecht, Charles MacArthur (play)

Cast: Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy, Helen Mack, Joe Qualen

Cert: U

Running time: 92mins

Year: 1940


Film: medium_5

Extras: medium_5


What’s the story: Ruthless newspaper editor Walter Burns (Grant) schemes to keep his ex-wife and best reporter Hildy Johnson (Russell) from marrying new fiancé Bruce (Bellamy).

His-Girl-Friday---Cary-Grant,-phoneHis-Girl-Friday---Cary-Grant,-Rosalind-Russell

What’s the verdict: Renowned as the archetypal screwball comedy, 76 years on from its original release His Girl Friday remains sparkling and surprisingly relevant. With a few wince-inducing comments that betray its age.

On the surface this is the madcap rom-com territory Howard Hawks previously traversed to great effect in 1934’s Twentieth Century and Bringing Up Baby four years later...

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The Best Films of the 2016 BFI London Film Festival

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Another BFI London Film Festival belongs to the ages. And this 60th anniversary festival was done proud by some of the best cinema you will see this year (or next dependent upon UK release patterns).

Below is Electric Shadows’ Top 10 of this year’s LFF. Please note that in Brexit Britain immune systems seem to have fallen as low as the pound. With a heavy cold racking this gutsy scribe’s constitution, part days and bed rest replaced full film indulgence. This meant Personal Shopper, Certain Women (the LFF’s Best Film winner), The Birth of a Nation, Dog Eat Dog and Ethel and Ernest were all missed in favour of Lemsip and blankets.

All the above movies seem like Top 10 contenders.

Press screening scheduling clashes meant Elle was chosen over Manchester By the Sea and Your Name over ...

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Prevenge

Director: Alice Lowe

Writer: Alice Lowe

Cast: Alice Lowe, Jo Hartley, Kavyan Novak, Gemma Whelan, Tom Davis, Kate Dickie

Cert: 15

Running time: 88mins

Year: 2016




What’s the story: Believing her unborn baby is telling her to get revenge on certain people, mum-to-be Ruth (Lowe) embarks on a bizarre killing spree.

prevenge-alice-lowe-back-of-carprevenge-alice-lowe-bus-stop

What’s the verdict: No surprise pregnancy often crops up in horror films. An alien being growing inside you, controlling and distorting your body, altering your mind; it’s all good horror fodder.

Rosemary’s Baby, Inside, Twilight: Breaking Dawn, The Brood, Alien – just some examples of impregnation trepidation cinema.

Prevenge is an imaginative, funny, clever addition to the foetal attraction canon...

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Elle

elle-posterDirector: Paul Verhoeven

Writer: David Birke (screenplay), Philippe Dijan (novel)

Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Anne Consigny, Charles Berling, Judith Magre, Jonas Bloquet, Alice Isaaz, Christian Berkel, Laurent Lafitte, Lucas Prisor, Raphaël Lenglet

Cert: 18

Running time: 130mins

Year: 2016



What’s the story: After being raped in her home, businesswoman Michele seemingly puts the incident aside to calmly continue with her busy life. When her attacker contacts her again, a power play ensues.

elle-isabelle-huppertelle-isabelle-huppert-computer-game-company

What’s the verdict: Well ensconced in his 70s, Paul Verhoeven has lost none of the provocative audience baiting that has seen him produce great movies (Black Book, RoboCop, Starship Troopers, Katie Tippel, The 4th Man) and dreadful ones (Basic Instinct, Showgirls).

Elle is a great movie...

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Must-See Films at the 2016 BFI London Film Festival

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When writing preview features for the London Film Festival it’s difficult to resist the numbers. Those big numbers representing how many films will show over the 12 day festival, how many countries are featured, how many cinemas films are hosting films. And crucially, which numbers in the calendar you should be blocking out.

That last one’s easy – Wednesday 5th to Sunday 16th October.

But, there is one figure this year of paramount importance. 60.

In 2016 the BFI London Film Festival marks its 60th anniversary. Maintaining the original brief of being a “festival of festivals” the LFF continues to bring to the UK movies which have wowed audiences at other festivals that year.

The opening film way back in 1957 was Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece Throne of Blood...

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DVD Review: Tale of Tales

Tale-of-Tales---DVD-coverDirector: Matteo Garrone

Writer: Edoardo Albinati, Ugo Chiti, Matteo Garrone, Massimo Gaudioso (screenplay), Giambattista Basile

Cast: Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, Toby Jones, Bebe Cave, Shirley Henderson, Hayley Carmichael, Christian Lee, Jonah Lees, John C. Reilly

Cert: 15

Running time: 133mins

Year: 2015




What’s the story: In three neighbouring mystical kingdoms, a queen wrestles with her willful, supernaturally born son, a king’s attempt to find a suitor for his daughter goes monstrously awry and two aged sisters attract the attention of another lusty sire.

Tale-of-Tales---Salma-Hayek,-heartTale-of-Tales---Bebe-Cave,-tightrope

What’s the verdict: Director Matteo Garrone is still best known internationally for his masterly gangster epic Gomorrah...

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The Lobster

The-Lobster-posterDirector: Yorgos Lanthimos

Writer: Yorgos Lanthimos

Cast: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Lea Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Michael Smiley, Angeliki Papoulia, Ashley Jensen, Oliva Colman, Jessica Barden

Cert: 15

Running time: 118mins

Year: 2015


 


The lowdown: The crazy little thing called love has meat in its claws in The Lobster. Colin Farrell is David, a resident of The City, where singlehood is outlawed. Recently divorced, he has 45 days to find another partner in a luxury hotel or be transformed into an animal of his choosing (the eponymous lobster). Funny and disturbing, sometimes simultaneously, think Being John Malkovich meets The Notebook with script notes by Franz Kafka.

The-Lobster---Reilly,-FarrellThe-Lobster---Weisz,-Farrell

The full verdict: The Lobster opens with an act of donkeycide. By the end of the film you’ll understand why, if

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