black comedy tagged posts

The Best Films of the 2016 BFI London Film Festival

la-la-land-ryan-gosling-emma-stone

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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Slow West

Slow-West---posterDirector: John Maclean

Writer: John Maclean

Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Michael Fassbender, Ben Mendelsohn, Caren Pistorious, Rory McCann

Cert: 15

Running time: 85mins

Year: 2015

 

The lowdown: John Maclean, founder of cult rock group The Beta Band, makes an auspicious movie debut writing and directing this striking Western. The story is standard fare: Scottish aristocratic greenhorn Jay (McPhee) has pursued his love Rose (Pistorious) to the new world of America. He enlists the help of soft-spoken bounty hunter Silas (Fassbender) to help traverse the rough terrain and copious ne’er-do-wells who risk his reunion. Violent, funny, surprising and poetic, this spins fresh silk out of an old genre.

Slow-West---Michael-Fassbender,-Kodi-Smit-McPheeSlow-West---Ben-Mendelsohn

The full verdict: The Western is currently having a quiet renaissance...

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The Overnight

The-Overnight-posterDirector: Patrick Brice

Writer: Patrick Brice

Cast: Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman, Judith Godrèche

Cert: 15

Running time: 79mins

Year: 2015

 

The lowdown: A successful example of that most difficult beast, the sex comedy, The Overnight is a sophisticated, smutty delight. Adam Scott and Taylor Schilling are a couple recently moved to LA with their young son, who have a night not easily forgotten when invited to Jason Schwartzman’s house for dinner and a play date for their boys. Unpredictable and laugh-out-loud hilarious, this is grown-up comedy with the dick jokes purely in service of character… well, mostly.

The-Overnight---Jason-Schwartzman,-Judith-GodrecheThe-Overnight---Adam-Scott,-Taylor-Schilling

The full verdict: In the tradition of Carnage or While We’re Young, The Overnight is a textbook example of how to make a nightmare comedy of social awkwardn...

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Blu-Ray review: Wild Tales

Wild-Tales-posterDirector: Damián Szifrón

Writer: Damián Szifrón

Cast: Ricardo Darin, Erica Rivas

Cert: 15

Running time: 122mins

Year: 2014

Blu-Ray Region: B

 

The lowdown: Outrageously entertaining collection of six stories, managing to blend slapstick comedy, ultraviolence, class war, urban terrorism, and the worse wedding party in Argentinean history. Tied together with the piano wire of revenge as a central theme, this is breathlessly accomplished and, Oscar and Palme D’or nominations later, puts writer-director Damián Szifrón on the map. Pulp Fiction meets Fight Club goes some way to describing the delights in store.

Wild-Tales---plane-passengersWild-Tales---road-rage

The full verdict: Portmanteau films risk outstaying their welcome long before the end credits roll...

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Show Pieces

Show Pieces - Darrell D'Silva, Khandie Khisses, Andrew Buckley, Siobhan Hewlett, Alan MooreDirector: Mitch Jenkins

Writer: Alan Moore

Cast: Siobhan Hewlett, Darrell D’Silva, Andrew Buckley, Khandie Khisses

Cert: 18

Running time: 75mins

Year: 2014

 

The lowdown: Alan Moore pens this short film portmanteau that follows two different characters into the underworld. Moore motifs of eroticism, magick, ancient death myths and Northampton all surface in striking stories from the comic guru’s twilight zone.

Show Pieces - Siobhan Hewlett, phone, mouth close upShow Pieces - Siobhan Hewlett

The full verdict: Saying Alan Moore is circumspect about movie adaptations of his work is like saying Richard Dawkins is on the fence about religion.

Perhaps surprising then to see him writing work for the big screen. Although he may subscribe to the adage, ‘if you want something done properly, do it yourself’.

And Moore is nothing if not versatile; remember, he wrote 2000...

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