Rob Zombie has made his name as a filmmaker manking extremely gory films that seem designed to make the viewer want to constantly wince, such as The Devil’s Rejects and House Of 1000 Corpses. For The Lords Of Salem he sticks with horror but tones down the blood, guts and truly gruesome violence for a film that deliberately harks back to the movies of the 60s and 70s, although still with a modern feel. [Read more…]
Marco Berger made his name with gay themed flicks like Plan B and the Berlin Teddy award-winning feature Absent. For Sexual Tension: Volatile he’s teamed up with Marcelo Monaco – who has a background in porn – to create six short films (each directors helmed three) all themed around men getting close in a variety of situations, where the sexual heat gets turned up even if they never fully get in on. [Read more…]
Keep The Lights On comes to the UK after an incredibly well-received run on the festival circuit and very strong reviews for its US release. So does it live up to the hype that’s suggested this is the gay-themed film of the year? It pretty much does.
There’s been a lot of comparisons between last year’s Brit flick Weekend and Keep The Lights On. There are indeed quite a few similarities between the movies, even if one takes place over two days and the other 10 years. They share a similar tone and style, so that rather than a traditional narrative it’s like peeping in on two gay people’s lives, almost documentary style. They also share the fact that while for years most gay-themed films have centred on issues of identity, both Weekend and Keep The Lights on are about living a gay life once those questions have largely been settled. [Read more…]
What would you do if you knew the world was going to end in three weeks? Maybe you’d carry on with your day-to-day life, go crazy and do all the things you’d always wanted to but just hadn’t had time for yet, or maybe you simply just don’t know.
These are the things that Lorene Scafaria sets out to explore in this touchingly sweet, sad and laugh out loud look at the end of the world. Where as apocalyptic films in the past have looked at how the human race can save the day and prevent the world from being smashed to pieces, this uniquely original film looks at it from the everyday person’s perspective as they casually live out their last days. [Read more…]
I slightly wonder if the title of this one will confuse a few people, who’ll think a Seminarian is some sort of sexual stud, when it’s actually a ‘student in a theological seminary’ (thank you Dictionary.com). That said, The Seminarian does follow one of my maxims about gay-themed movies, which is that a penis will appear in the first 10 minutes, preferably in an unnecessary context – but then if I looked as good nude as Mark Cirillo I’d be unnecessarily naked a lot too.
However this is not a movie about tricking people into thinking Semin is the same as Semen or simply titillating the audience with the sight of a willy, it’s actually a romantic drama about a young, closeted man called Ryan (Cirillo), who’s trying to write a thesis he hopes will get him onto a top PH.D theology course. His subject is ‘The Divine Gift Of Love’, looking at whether love in its many forms is an aspect of us being made in God’s image (and therefore any love for another person is an expression of His goodness), or if the seemingly unneeded pain love brings is incompatible with a truly good God. [Read more…]
For nearly 50 years now Ken Loach has been charting his own course with the sort of social realist cinema that’s ensured he’s long had admirers and been beloved in arthouse circles, but has often had difficulty convincing mainstream audiences to give him a chance. It’s a bit of a shame, as while he did go through a period where his films were a bit of a slog, he usually has a knack for making movies that while grounded in an often deprived or desperate social world, still manage to be entertaining and truly believe in the possibilities of human beings. That’s certainly true of The Angels’ Share. [Read more…]
While Zac Efron could do with a few bona fide hits, there’s no doubt that’s he’s got all the prerequisites for stardom – looks, talent and a rather endearing way about him. He certainly brings all that to The Lucky One, but rather like Charlie St. Cloud, he’s let down by a script and tone that takes things a bit too literally and often undermines itself even if it does have its heart in the right place.
Cut straight from the Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook, Dear John) novel template, Efron is Logan, an Iraq soldier who sees a picture of a beautiful woman on the battlefield. Bending down to pick it up saves him from a violent death, which makes him start to think of the woman as a kind of guardian angel. [Read more…]
The Island President tries to give a human face to climate change, following Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed. The movie opens with a quick history of the man, who was educated in England before returning to The Maldives and working for years to bring democracy to the autocratic islands that had been ruled by the same man since 1978. He was arrested and tortured numerous times, had to go into exile before going back and managing to help force change and become President in 2008.
Rather than just resting on his laurels, Mohamed quickly realised that the biggest issue facing The Maldives is climate change and that if it isn’t stopped, the islands may literally sink under the waves in the next 50 years. The film follows his attempts to raise the profile of the issue and affect change ahead of the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit in December of 2009. [Read more…]
Hollywood is now investing a lot of time and money into fairytales of old, as with today’s CGI anything goes. You wait ages for a Snow White films and two turn up, the same can also be said of waiting for a Tarsem Singh film, as we hadn’t had anything since 2006’s The Fall, and now we’ve had Immortals and Mirror Mirror within a few months of one another. One does not normally associate a Tarsem Singh film with comedy, but this is what has he has delivered with Mirror Mirror, which is unusual considering his inability to connect with the audience with his previous films.
Tarsem Singh is a cinematic visionary who tends to focus more on imagery, costumes and style than with plots, and again has delivered something very similar with Mirror Mirror. Personally I enjoy watching Singh’s films and marvel at the beauty and striking canvas he envisages like a true artist (it is definitely style over substance), along with the creator of his incredible costumes, Eiko Ishioka, who unfortunately passed away this year. [Read more…]
When you look at the poster for The Innkeepers and read the quotes from the likes of Eli Roth and Total Film, you’d expect a nail-biting ghost/horror story. What we get is an initially slow-moving film that eventually juggernauts at full pace towards an unsatisfying climax.
I’m not really sure of the difference now between a ghost story and a horror story, as the genres seem to have merged, but the results usually include ghosts stuck in different dimensions in some sort of limbo, scaring humans, which either results in the spirit being laid to rest, or the humans meeting an untimely grizzly death. Perhaps after the spate of Gorn (Gore and porn) and ‘found footage’ movies over the past ten years (e.g. Saw, Hostel, Paranormal Activity), the film industry is starting to realise we might be getting desensitized. [Read more…]