Monthly Archives October 2014

The Keeping Room

The-Keeping-Room---posterDirector: Daniel Barber

Writer: Julia Hart

Cast: Brit Marling, Hailee Steinfeld, Muna Otaru, Sam Worthington, Kyle Soller, Amy Nuttall, Ned Dennehy

Cert: 15

Running time: 95mins

Year: 2014




The lowdown: Ferocious American Civil War horror from director Daniel Barber, taking a major step up from his debut Harry Brown. Brit Marling and Hailee Steinfeld are Southern sisters besieged by two Yankee soldiers, including a dead-eyed Sam Worthington. Grim Southern Gothic, laden with atmosphere and dread, and graced by performances as intense as the subject matter.

The Keeping Room - Brit MarlingThe Keeping Room - Brit Marling, Muna Otaru, Hailee Steinfeld

The full verdict: Featuring rape and triple murder in the opening minutes, The Keeping Room sets out its stall from the get-go.

An unflinching look at war’s brutalising effects in an already brutal time, although there are plenty of s...

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The World of Kanako

World of Kanako - Nakashima - posterDirector: Tetsuya Nakashima

Writer: Tetsuya Nakashima (screenplay) Akio Fukamachi (novel)

Cast: Koji Yakusho, Miki Nakatani, Nana Komatsu, Jun Kunimura, Hiroya Shimizu, Asuka Kurosawa

Cert: 18 TBC

Running time: 118mins

Year: 2014

The lowdown: Ultraviolent, nightmarish thriller from the director of the multi-award winning Confessions, this is too wild and brutal to receive a similar level of love. But, unrelenting and bludgeoning though it may be, Testuya Nakashima’s latest is a phantasmagoric, exhilarating tale of family secrets, madness and murder. And Koji Yakusho’s ex-cop hunting for his missing daughter is one frighteningly memorable monster.

World of Kanako - Koji Yakusho, snowWorld of Kanako - Nana Komatsu

The full verdict: Director Tetsuya Nakashima dislikes being bound to a single genre and The World of Kanako, his first film since 2010’s Co...

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Mizuho Nishikubo talks Giovanni’s Island

Giovanni's Island - Junpei, KantaTwo brothers’ experiences on an island off the North tip of Japan in the year’s after World War 2 form the core of Mizuho Nishikubo’s Giovanni’s Island. When the Soviet army lay claim to the island of Shitokan, Junpei and Kanta find themselves forced to share their home with a Soviet family and their school with Soviet children before seismic decisions jeopardise the fragile peace and send the boys on a terrifying journey.

We caught up with director Nishikubo and associate producer Francesco Prandoni to discuss the film.

Mr. Nishikubo, this is your first film in five years. How did it come about?

Mizuho Nishikubo: Giovanni’s Island’s writer, Shigemichi Sugita, told me he had come across an interesting, or not interesting maybe I should say unusual war story that he wanted to...

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Hubert’s Ghost wins Shortcuts To Hell II Grand Prize!

Shortcuts To Hell II banner

On Wednesday 8th October the opening of the London Film Festival dominated news in the capital.

But, at The Phoenix Artist Club on Charing Cross Road there was also something exciting happening in the world of film. The Shortcuts to Hell II competition was about to change a short filmmaker’s life and launch a new talent on the UK movie scene.

Shortcuts To Hell II - Emily BoothThe 2014 competition, sponsored by the Horror Channel, FrightFest, Movie Mogul and Wildseed Studios, had a fantastic prize on offer to the winner, as MC for the night Emily Booth explained:

“It’s a bit different this year. It was not just about finding a great short film, it was about asking people to create a three minute piece that could translate into a potential feature film...

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Pasolini

Pasolini - posterDirector: Abel Ferrara

Writer: Maurizio Braucci

Cast: Willem Dafoe, Adriana Asti, Giada Colagrande, Valerio Mastandrea, Maria de Medeiros

Cert: 18 TBC

Running time: 84mins

Year: 2014

 

The lowdown: Abel Ferrara recounts the final two days of inflammatory Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini in typically opinion splitting style. Willem Dafoe impresses as the radical, outspoken leftwing director who met a brutal end after picking up a rent boy in a seedy suburb of Rome. Reality and illusion blur to dynamic effect in an idiosyncratic look at a filmmaking giant.

Pasolini - Willem DafoePasolini - Willem Dafoe, sports car

The full verdict: On 2nd November 1975 Pier Paolo Pasolini’s body was found on the outskirts of Rome...

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Benedict Cumberbatch on playing The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game - posterBased on the life of British mathematical genius Alan Turing, The Imitation Game was a fine choice to open the 58th BFI London Film Festival. Leading the team at Bletchley Park who cracked the Nazi Enigma code machine, Turing was also the father of modern computing and without his work you may not actually have the PC, tablet or phone upon which you’re reading this.

But, Turing’s life was beset by secrets, including his homosexuality which he was forced to conceal during a period in British history when discovery brought harsh jail sentences or damaging experimental drug treatments.

The Imitation Game delves into Turing’s work during World War 2, an unhappy childhood at an exclusive public school and a scandal in the early 50s that saw Turing arrested for gross indecency and was only r...

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The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game - Benedict Cumberbatch, posterDirector: Morten Tyldum

Writer: Graham Moore, Andrew Hodges (book)

Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Rory Kinnear, Matthew Goode, Charles Dance, Mark Strong

Cert: 12

Running time: 113mins

Year: 2014

 

The lowdown: Alan Turing, the tragic father of modern age computing, is the focus of Headhunter’s director Morten Tyldum’s engrossing biopic. Benedict Cumberbatch delivers a performance of pathos and intelligence as the genius mathematician and cryptanalyst who led the team which cracked the Nazi’s Enigma code machine, turning the tide of the war, while hiding a damaging secret of his own. Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong and Charles Dance round out a great cast in a moving and gripping portrayal of one of Britain’s most unsung heroes.

The Imitation Game - Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Mark StrongThe Imitation Game - Benedict Cumberbatch, Charles Dance, Mark Strong

The full verdict: Easy c...

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Giovanni’s Island

Giovanni's Island - posterDirector: Mizuho Nishikubo

Writer: Shigemichi Sugita, Yoshiki Sakurai

Cast: Kota Yokoyama, Masachika Ichimura, Yusuke Santamaria, Saburo Kitajima, Polina Ilyushenko, Tatsuya Nakadai

Cert: PG  Running time: 102mins

Year: 2014

 

The lowdown: Recounting the story of the tiny Shikotan island off the north of Japan, claimed as part of Russia in the aftermath of World War 2. Two brothers’ worlds change forever when Soviet troops land on the island, and later forces above them threaten the fragile peace the Japanese and Russian islanders share. A touching, beautifully animated account of a little known chapter in post-WW2 history, although suffering the same lack of context that blights many Japanese accounts of WW2.

Giovanni's Island - Tanya, Junpei, KantaGiovanni's Island - Tanya, picture

The full verdict: Inevitably destined to be compared to Studio Ghibli’s cher...

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Tokyo Tribe

Tokyo Tribe - posterDirector: Sion Sono

Writer: Sion Sono (script) Santa Inoue (manga)

Cast: Young Dais, Ryouhei Suzuki, Nana Seino, Shota Sometani, Riki Takeuchi

Cert: 18

Running time: 117mins

Year: 2014

 

The lowdown: Ichi the Killer with a transfusion of West Side Story is one way to describe Tokyo Tribe. The most dazzling teen movie since Scott Pilgrim is another. The latest film from Japanese provocateur Sion Sono is cinematic MDMA. The plot: rival gang war, organised crime and sentimental bromance is standard stuff. The rush comes in the telling, a narcotic blast of hip-hopera, kung-fu, nudie exploitation, yakuza silliness and bizarro horror. Addiction is mandatory.

Tokyo Tribe - Sion Sono, Young Dais, Nana SeinoTokyo Tribe - Mera, Ryohei Suzuki, Young Dais

The full verdict: Tokyo Tribe will split audiences in much the same way various gang members are bisected by the myriad katana samurai s...

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The Man in the Orange Jacket

The Man in the Orange Jacket - posterDirector: Aik Karapetian

Writer: Aik Karapetian

Cast: Maxim Lazarev, Aris Rozentals, Anta Aizupe

Cert: 18 TBC

Running time: 70mins

Year: 2014

 

The lowdown: Latvia enters the horror arena reportedly for the first time with this grim, austere psychological slasher. Writer and director Aik Karapetian fashions a dark story of economic payback when a recently laid-off worker takes revenge on his boss. But, as he begins to enjoy the high-life in his boss’ palatial home is he being watched as well? Striking and interesting if muddled entry into the psycho sub-genre.

The Man in the Orange Jacket - Lazarev, knifeThe Man in the Orange Jacket - Lazarev

The full verdict: Harbour worker Dan (Lazarev) is not pleased when a rich industrialist shuts down his dock, putting Dan and 200 others out of work.

Dan elects to pay the industrialist (Rozentals) and his young, trophy wife (Aiz...

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