Monthly Archives September 2015

The Martian

The-Martian---posterDirector: Ridley Scott

Writer: Drew Goddard, Andy Weir (book)

Cast: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Sean Bean, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Donald Glover

Cert: 12

Running time: 141mins

Year: 2015

The lowdown: Gravity meets Castaway in Ridley Scott’s enjoyable sci-fier. Matt Damon turns his likeability up full wattage as Mark Watney, an astronaut thought dead and stranded on Mars after his team make an emergency getaway during a ferocious storm. While not shooting for the stars in the same way as Interstellar, or indeed Gravity, The Martian ultimately manages to break the gravitational pull of being ordinary.


The full verdict: “I’m gonna science the shit outta this...

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Blu-ray review: A Snake of June

A-Snake-of-June---Blu-ray-coverDirector: Shinya Tsukamoto

Writer: Shinya Tsukamoto

Cast: Asuka Kurosawa, Yuji Koutari, Shinya Tsukamoto

Cert: 18

Running time: 77mins

Year: 2002

The lowdown: Forget 50 Shades of Grey, only one shade of blue is required for this dark, not easily forgotten erotic oddity. Tetsuo: The Iron Man and Gemini director Shinya Tsukamoto’s 2002 movie is a surreal love story that encompasses sexual repression, voyeurism and male/female anxieties… in the opening 15 minutes. Asuka Kurosawa (relation?) is the striking buttoned down woman targeted by an enigmatic stalker played by Tsukamoto himself, who leads her into a world of fear and desire.


The full verdict: Given a handsome Blu-ray release by the good folk at Third Window Films, A Snake of June’s visual mysteries have never looked so go...

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A Girl At My Door

A-Girl-At-My-Door---posterDirector: July Jung

Writer: July Jung

Cast: Doona Bae, Kim Sae-ron, Song Sae-byeok

Cert: 18

Running time: 119mins

Year: 2014

Original title: Doheeya

The lowdown: July Jung’s debut movie is a good example of the powerful, satisfying melodrama Korean cinema can do so well. Wachowski muse Doona Bae is Young-Nam, a Seoul police chief banished to small coastal town and its small-minded residents. Soon she finds herself the reluctant protector of Do-hee, a teenage girl terrorised by her abusive father and grandmother. Captivating and tragic, with Bae deservedly winning Best Actress at the Asian Film Awards for her nuanced portrayal of a flawed, conflicted woman.


The full verdict: One of the best films of the past ten years is Lee Chang-dong’s Palme D’or nominated Secret Sunshine...

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Safiyah Flies Across The Ocean

Safiyah-Flies-Across-The-Ocean---posterDirector: Samuel de Ceccatty

Writer: Mei Leng Yew

Cast: Olivia Anson, Rebecca Herod, Lewis Fernee

Cert: TBC

Running time: 13mins

Year: 2015

The lowdown: Friendship, growing pains and Middle Eastern revolution come together in this moving short film. Safiyah, a young British Egyptian girl bored in a London tenement flat attempts to get a letter to her dad, in Egypt during the Arab Spring. Local lad Thomas may have the answer with his toy helicopter. Perfectly judged magic realism twins with darker incidents happening far away in a short film that promises big things to come from its creators.


The full verdict: The opening shot of a toy truck twinned the sound of a real engine gunning sets the tone. Safiyah’s world is where fantasy and harsh reality intertwine.

Yew’s debut script i...

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Mei Leng Yew talks Safiyah Flies Across The Ocean

Mei-Leng-Yew-interview---Safiyah-Flies-Across-The-OceanAs movie lengths grow ever longer and more arduous, the short film continues to prove good things often come in small packages.

One such good thing is Safiyah Flies Across The Ocean, a touching story set in 2011 about a young British-Egyptian girl waiting to hear news from her father who is caught up far away in the Arab Spring. Deciding that her mum is standing in the way of her reuniting with her dad, Safiyah decides to embark upon a journey to find him.

A children’s adventure story and quietly powerful political drama, in 13 brief minutes it packs in more character, emotion, magic and wonder than most blockbusters do in ten times that duration.

Earlier this year we caught up with the film’s writer Mei Leng Yew to discuss what drew her to the subject and how this gem came to be.


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The Visit (2015)

The-Visit---UK-posterDirector: M. Night Shyamalan

Writer: M. Night Shyamalan

Cast: Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dunagan, Peter McRobbie, Kathryn Hahn, Celia Keenan-Bolger

Cert: 15

Running time: 94mins

Year: 2015


The lowdown: M. Night Shyamalan threatens to make a return to form with The Visit, but manages yet again to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. His tale of a brother and sister visiting their grandparents and realising all is not well joins The Prestige as an enthralling experience ruined by a denouement that betrays the early good work. Horrifyingly disappointing.


The full verdict: After early Oscar-nominated promise, by the time M. Night Shyamalan came to helm Will Smith stinker After Earth his name was so toxic he was barely mentioned in any promo material.

Now, with mojo partiall...

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