Christmas Evil is an odd film, but it’s certainly a cult one that has some loyal fans – mainly those who harbour a love for trash cinema. The likes of John Waters count it as a favourite (and indeed he pops up on one of the commentaries). So if you think a killer Santa sounds fun (it predates the more famous Silent Night Deadly Night’s homicidal Kris Kringle nuttiness), you may want to check it out. [Read more…]
There must be a lot of very angry sex going on in France. While cinema has long linked sex and violence, there’s little doubt that it’s a much bigger theme in French films than those from anywhere else. Indeed, prostitutes who kill is almost a subgenre of Gallic entertainment. Our Paradise follows aging hustler Vassili, who’s just coming back from fleecing a trick when he stumbles over the unconscious young Angelo at a cruising ground and takes him back to his flat to nurse his wounds.
The two spark up a passionate affair, with Vassili and Angelo working together to service clients and often violently rob them. When the heat gets too great, they head out of Paris looking for somewhere to be happy. Soon they begin to see a way to get the comfortable family life they crave, but it can’t be achieved without more violence. [Read more…]
Back in 1945, vaguely realistic depictions of addiction on screen weren’t just a rarity, they were pretty much unheard of. However, coming off the success of Double Indemnity, writer-director Billy Wilder decided that the time was ripe to adapt Charles R. Jackson’s novel about alcoholism, The Lost Weekend, for the big screen. It certainly worked, as Wilder won Best Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture Oscars for the movie.
Ray Milland plays Don Birnam, who’s supposed to be giving up the booze and heading off for the weekend with his straight-laced brother, Wick. However the lure of the liquor proves too much and Wick gives up on helping his brother, leaving Don’s girlfriend, Helen (Jane Wyman), to deal with him. This is the start of a four day binge, where Don’s desperation for alcohol becomes ever greater. He harbours ideas of being an author, but blames his alcoholism of writer’s block, and it’s gotten so bad he even hocks his typewriter to get more whiskey. [Read more…]
In an era where cinema audiences are bombarded with romcoms, remakes and endless superhero franchises, along came a silent film that showed the industry that there was a market for the more concerning cinemagoer, who liked something a little different. The Artist became a worldwide phenomenon that swept every award ceremony across the globe, winning 5 Oscars, 7 BAFTAs, 3 Golden Globes, and Best actor at Cannes, as well as being lauded by the harshest of critics and filmgoers alike. The film cost $15 million to make, but has so far amassed over $130 million at the box office, and is only the second time a silent film has won best film Oscar, the first being at the very first Oscars – Wings. [Read more…]
Lifeboat is one of those movies a lot of people have heard about, but relatively few have seen. While it came before most of Hitchcock’s most famous movies – although after his Best Picture Oscar-winning Rebecca – it’s a classic that’s worth visiting. After a German U-boat torpedoes an allied ship, a group of disparate survivors gather on a lifeboat. Told completely from within the confines of the boat, the men and women aboard realise their predicament is a hairy one and that their best chance of survival is to make for Bermuda.
The problem is that none of them know where Bermuda is. However there’s one person on board who does appear to be able to navigate, a German U-boat survivor who might have been the captain of the vessel. But can they trust him? [Read more…]
A film which consists in large part of two gay blokes sitting around talking doesn’t immediately smack of something that would set the critical world alight and bag awards at the likes of the British Independent Film Awards, The Evening Standard British Film Awards and the London Critics Circle Film Awards. Weekend did just that though, and it deserved every award and more. Indeed if the world was fair and small independent movies could compete on a level playing field with the big boys, it should have scored a fair few BAFTA noms too.
The film opens on a Friday evening with the quiet, self-effacing Russell (Tom Cullen) heading off to his straight mates’ house before pretending that he’s tired, begging his leave and going to a gay club on the pull. There he meets the louder, brasher Glen (Chris New) and the two end up in bed together. The next morning, Glen gets out his tape recorder as Russell has drunkenly promised to be part of his art project, where he gets people to record their thoughts. [Read more…]
The release date of Drive deliberately seems to have set in the hope the movie would pick up a few Oscar nominations. While it only managed one – for Sound Editing – the film might well have been helped by the outrage many have expressed about the Academy pretty much ignoring it.
Ryan Gosling plays a Hollywood stunt driver, mechanic and getaway driver who strikes up a friendship/chaste romance with a young mother called Irene (Carey Mulligan), whose husband is in prison. When the hubby is released from jail, the driver agrees to help him with a robbery, in the hope this will ensure Irene and her son remain safe. However when things go wrong, it sets off an increasingly violent chain of events, with the driver’s life and that of everyone around him at threat from gangland heavies, including the brutal Nino (Ron Perlman) and gangster turned movie producer Bernie (Albert Brooks) [Read more…]
Farce is a tough thing to pull off because it takes a lot of skill to build a situation that convincingly grows from a simple mix up to an impossibly complex, over-the-top situation, without seeming contrived or desperate. It’s a line that Out At The Wedding tries to walk with only middling success.
Alex has told her mixed-race fiancé that her family is dead, largely because she thinks her Southern patriarch father is racist. Obviously she hasn’t told her family that she has a non-white boyfriend, with the result that when she goes to her sister’s wedding, a mix-up ends up with everyone thinking she’s a lesbian. [Read more…]