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HURRICANE BIANCA: FROM RUSSIA WITH HATE // Official Trailer...

After winning over the staff and students of Milford High School, chemistry teacher Richard Martinez aka Bianca Del Rio (Roy Haylock) sent her nemesis Vice Principal Deborah “Debbie” Ward (Rachel Dratch) to jail in a flawlessly executed plan. When Debbie is released from jail, she conjures up a scheme to do away with Bianca Del Rio once and for all, by luring her on a dangerous journey to Russia to accept a teaching award and cash prize. Filled with laughs, celebrity cameos and America’s drag superstars, HURRICANE BIANCA: FROM RUSSIA WITH HATE is packed with surprises and unlikely partnerships that spark friendship and acceptance.’

Available On Digital May 18.

First teaser for the American reboot of Skam...

Skam Austin – set in Austin, Texas – will debut on Facebook Watch, with clips posted in real time much like the original. Julie Andem, the original show’s creator, is also on board as a writer and producer, so it’s likely we’ll see things in the vein of the Oslo-set original, with some fresh storylines. 

New drops daily starting Tuesday, 4/24 at 3:40pm CST.

Amazon Prime adds a mountain of LGBT titles...

Amazon Prime subscribers now have more than 58 new LGBTQ films to choose from, in association with the Outfest Film Festival.

The films were published to Prime Video directly by filmmakers or rights holders through Amazon’s Prime Video Direct self-publishing program, which lets content owners earn royalties based on customer viewing time.

Check out the full list available now on Prime Video, with six more titles expected soon:

  • 52 Tuesdays
  • A Sinner In Mecca
  • An Englishman in New York
  • Anatomy of a Love Seen
  • Ander
  • Baby Steps
  • Beautiful Something
  • Body Electric
  • Call to Witness
  • Crazy Bitches
  • Desire Will Set You Free
  • Do You Take This Man
  • Eating Out
  • Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds
  • Eating Out: All You Can Eat
  • Eating Out: Drama Camp
  • Ekaj
  • Empire State
  • Family Values: An American Tragedy
  • G.B.F.
  • Geography Club
  • Good Mourning Lucille
  • Greek Pete
  • Grown Up Movie Star
  • Hello Again
  • Hit So Hard
  • Howl
  • I Do
  • Isle of Lesbos
  • Jamie Marks is Dead
  • Karl Rove, I Love You
  • Liberty: 3 Stories about Life & Death
  • Loving Annabelle
  • Lyle
  • Major!
  • Morgan
  • Nate & Margaret
  • Open
  • Park
  • Political Animals
  • Queens and Cowboys: A Straight Year on the Gay Rodeo
  • Retake
  • Rift
  • S&M Sally
  • Sebastian
  • Slash
  • Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four
  • Strange Fits of Passion
  • Stuff
  • 10 Year Plan
  • The Gymnast
  • The Pearl
  • The People I’ve Slept With
  • The Resurrection of a Bastard
  • Were The World Mine
  • Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell
  • Wild Flowers
  • Women Who Kill

 

Cannes adds more films...

Cannes 2018The Cannes Film Festival has announced several additions to its 2018 line-up, including the new Lars von Trier project, Terry Gilliam’s long-awaited The Man Who Killed Don Quixote and three new competition films.

Competition

Firstly Yann Gonzalez makes his competition debut with Un Couteau Dans Le Cœur (Knife + Heart) starring Vanessa Paradis

So does director Sergey Dvortsevoy with Ayka. His Tulpan won the Prize Un Certain Regard in 2008.

Nuri Bilge Ceylan, winner of the Palme d’or 2014 for Winter Sleep, returns with Ahlat Agaci (The Wild Pear Tree / Le Poirier Sauvage).

The additions take the competition line-up to 21 films in all.

Out of Competition

Lars von Trier returns to Cannes with The House That Jack Built, seven years after he was declared “persona non grata” by festival chiefs following Nazi comments in the press conference for his Palme d’Or contender Melancholia.

The film is a serial killer thriller starring Matt Dillon and Uma Thurman.

Closing film

Terry Gilliam’s long-gestating and troubled The Man Who Killed Don Quixotewill appear at Cannes after all, as the closing film. Its participation was in doubt as it was caught up in a legal battle in the French courts.

The screening will take place on Saturday May 19 after the Closing ceremony and the film, which stars Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce and Olga Kurylenko, will be released in France on the same day.

Midnight screenings

Kevin Macdonald’s documentary Whitneyabout the life of the troubled singer Whitney Houston, has been announced as a midnight screening and adds some more British interest to the festival.

Another midnight screening is Fahrenheit 451 by Ramin Bahrani, the second adaptation of the novel by Ray Bradbury, after François Truffaut’s 1966 version. It stars Sofia Boutella, Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon.

Un Certain Regard

Donbass from Sergey Loznitsa which will open Un Certain Regard on May 9. His previous film A Gentle Creature was selected for the official competition last year.

The other Un Certain Regard additions are...
Muere, Monstruo, Muere (Meurs, Monstre, Meurs) by Argentina’s Alejandro Fadel Chuva E Cantoria Na Aldeia Dos Mortos (The Dead And The Others / Les Morts Et Les Autresfrom João Salaviza and Renée Nader Messora.

Critics' Week 2018 @ Cannes...

Semana De La Critica 2018...devoted to first and second features as well as shorts, has unveiled the line-up of its 57th edition, running May 9-17.

full line-up...

OPENING FILM

  • Wildlife, Paul Dano

CLOSING FILM

  • Guy, Alex Lutz

FEATURE FILMS IN COMPETITION

  • Chris The Swiss, Anja Kofmel
  • Diamantino, Gabriel Abrantes & Daniel Schmidt
  • Egy Nap (One Day), Zsófia Szilágyi
  • Fuga (Fugue), Agnieszka Smoczyńska
  • Kona Fer Í Stríð (Woman At War), Benedikt Erlingsson
  • Sauvage, Camille Vidal-Naquet
  • Sir, Rohena Gera

FEATURE FILMS SPECIAL SCREENINGS

  • Nos Batailles (Our Struggles), Guillaume Senez
  • Shéhérazade, Jean-Bernard Marlin

SHORT FILMS SPECIAL SCREENINGS

  • La Chute (The Fall), Boris Labbé
  • Third Kind, Yorgos Zois
  • Ultra Pulpe (Apocalypse After), Bertrand Mandico

SHORT FILMS IN COMPETITION

  • Amor, Avenidas Novas, Duarte Coimbra
  • Ektoras Malo : I Teleftea Mera Tis Chronias (Hector Malo - The Last Day Of The Year), Jacqueline Lentzou
  • Mo-Bum-Shi-Min (Exemplary Citizen), Kim Cheol-Hwi
  • Pauline Asservie (Pauline, Enslaved), Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet
  • La Persistente, Camille Lugan
  • Rapaz (Raptor), Felipe Gálvez
  • Schächer, Flurin Giger
  • Tiikeri (The Tiger), Mikko Myllyahti
  • Un Jour De Mariage (A Wedding Day), Elias Belkeddar
  • Ya Normalniy, Michael Borodin

50th Directors’ Fortnight @ Cannes...

Directors Fortnight Poster 2018

Created by the French Directors Guild in the wake of the events of May ’68, the Directors’ Fortnight seeks to aid filmmakers and contribute to their discovery by the critics and audiences alike. From its initial program in 1969, it cast its lot with the avant-garde (the glorious seventies), even as it created a breeding ground where the Cannes Festival would regularly find its prestigious auteurs.

Striving to be eclectic and receptive to all forms of cinematic expression, the Directors' Fortnight pays particular attention to the annual production of fiction features, short films and documentaries, to the emergence of independent fringe filmmaking, and even to contemporary popular genres, provided these films are the expression of an individual talent and an original directorial style.

The 50th anniversary edition will take place from 9 till 19 May 2018 in Cannes then in Marseille, Paris, Geneva, Rome, Milan, Florence and Brussels.


Selected Feature Films...

Amin de / by Philippe Faucon première mondiale

Carmen y Lola de / by Arantxa Echevarria première mondiale – premier film

Climax de / by Gaspar Noé première mondiale

Cómprame un revólver ( Buy Me a Gun ) de / by Julio Hernández Cordón première mondiale

Les Confins du monde de / by Guillaume Nicloux première mondiale

El motoarrebatador ( The Snatch Thief ) de / by Agustín Toscano première mondiale

En Liberté ! de / by Pierre Salvadori première mondiale

Joueurs ( Treat Me Like Fire ) de / by Marie Monge première mondiale – premier film

Leave No Trace de / by Debra Granik première internationale

Los silencios de / by Beatriz Seigner première mondiale

Ming wang xing shi ke ( The Pluto Moment ) de / by Ming Zhang première mondiale

Mandy de / by Panos Cosmatos première internationale

Mirai ( Mirai ma petite sœur ) de / by Mamoru Hosoda première mondiale

Le monde est à toi de / by Romain Gavras première mondiale

Pájaros de verano ( Birds of Passage – Les Oiseaux de passage ) de / by Ciro Guerra & Cristina Gallego première mondiale – film d’ouverture

Petra de / by Jaime Rosales première mondiale

Samouni Road de / by Stefano Savona première mondiale – documentaire

Teret ( The Load ) de / by Ognjen Glavonic première mondiale

Troppa grazia de / by Gianni Zanasi première mondiale – film de clôture

Weldi ( Dear Son – Mon cher enfant ) de / by Mohamed Ben Attia première mondiale


Selected Short Films...

Basses de / by Félix Imbert première mondiale

Ce magnifique gâteau ! ( This Magnificient Cake ! ) de / by Emma De Swaef & Marc Roels première mondiale

La Chanson ( The Song ) de / by Tiphaine Raffier première mondiale

La lotta de / by Marco Bellocchio première mondiale

Las cruces de / by Nicolas Boone première mondiale

La Nuit des sacs plastiques ( The Night of the Plastic Bags ) de / by Gabriel Harel première mondiale

O órfão ( The Orphan ) de / by Carolina Markowicz première mondiale

Our Song to War de / by Juanita Onzaga première mondiale – documentaire

Skip Day de / by Patrick Bresnan & Ivette Lucas première mondiale – documentaire

Le Sujet ( The Subject ) de / by Patrick Bouchard première internationale

Short films in Competition and the Cinéfondation Selection 2018 @ Cannes...

Cannes ShortsTHE 2018 SHORT FILMS COMPETITION

 

This year, the selection committee received 3,943 short films.
The 2018 Short Films Competition comprises eight films (7 works of fictions and 1 animation), from Australia, China, France, Iran, Japan, Philippines, Poland and USA.

 

These films are all in the running for the 2018 Short Film Palme d’or, to be awarded by Bertrand Bonello, President of the Jury, at the official award ceremony of the 71st Festival de Cannes on May 19th.

 

Oren GERNER

GABRIEL

France

15'

Raymund Ribay GUTIERREZ

JUDGEMENT

Philippines

15’

Celine HELD
Logan GEORGE

CAROLINE

USA

12’

Saeed JAFARIAN

TARIKI
(Umbra)

Iran

14’

Marta PAJEK

III
animation movie

Poland

12’

Masahiko SATO, Genki KAWAMURA, Yutaro SEKI, Masayuki TOYOTA,
Kentaro HIRASE

DUALITY

Japan

14’

WEI Shujun

ON THE BORDER

China

15'

Charles WILLIAMS

ALL THESE CREATURES

Australia

13’

 

THE CINÉFONDATION SELECTION 2018

 

The Cinéfondation Selection has chosen 17 films this year (14 live-action and 3 animated films), from among the 2,426 submitted by film schools all over the world. Fourteen countries on four continents will be represented. Twelve of the twenty-two directors selected for this program are women.

The jury will hand over the three Cinéfondation prizes at a ceremony preceding the screening of the awarded films on Thursday 17th May, in the Buñuel Theatre.

Ori AHARON

DOLFIN MEGUMI
(Rubber Dolphin)

Steve Tisch School of Film & Television,
Tel Aviv University
Israël

28’

Zhannat ALSHANOVA

END OF SEASON

The London Film School
UK

23’

Louise AUBERTIN, Éloïse GIRARD, Marine MENEYROL, Jonas RITTER, Loucas RONGEART, Amandine THOMOUX

SAILOR'S DELIGHT

ESMA
France

6’


Lucia BULGHERONI

INANIMATE

NFTS
UK

8’

Diego CÉSPEDES

EL VERANO DEL LEÓN ELÉCTRICO 
(The Summer of the Electric Lion) 

Universidad de Chile - ICEI
Chile

22’

Jamie DACK

PALM TREES AND POWER LINES 

NYU Tisch School of the Arts
USA

15’

DI Shen 

DONG WU XIONG MENG
(The Storms in Our Blood)

Shanghai Theater Academy 
China

31’

Laura GARCIA
 

FRAGMENT DE DRAME
(A Piece of Tragedy)

La Fémis
France

24’

Constanza GATTI

CINCO MINUTOS AFUERA
(Five Minutes Outside)

Universidad del Cine (FUC)
Argentina

10’

Ariel GUTIÉRREZ

LOS TIEMPOS DE HÉCTOR
(Hector's Nightfall)

CCC
Mexico

29’

Eryk LENARTOWICZ

DOTS

AFTRS
Australia

23’

Marta MAGNUSKA

INNY
(The Other)

PWSFTviT
Poland

5’

Georgiana MOLDOVEANU

ALBASTRU SI ROSU, IN PROPORTII EGALE
(Equally Red and Blue) 

UNATC I.L. CARAGIALE
Romania

21’

Pier Lorenzo PISANO

COSÌ IN TERRA
(As It Is on Earth)

Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia
Italy

13’

Igor POPLAUHIN

KALENDAR
(Calendar)
 

Moscow School of New Cinema
Russia

28’

Arian VAZIRDAFTARI

MESLE BACHE ADAM
(Like a Good Kid)

Tehran University of Dramatic Arts 
Iran

20’

Andrew ZOX

I AM MY OWN MOTHER 

San Francisco State University
USA

23’

 

Hotel Artemis Trailer...

Enter the world of #HotelArtemis, a hospital run exclusively for bad guys. Watch the first trailer starring Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Jeff Goldblum and Sofia Boutella. In cinemas July 20.

Jean Thomas, aka THE NURSE (Jodie Foster) is the manager of the Hotel Artemis, an ultra-exclusive, members-only hospital hidden in a hotel redolent of faded ‘20s glamour. Tough, sharp and utterly fearless, The Nurse treats an assortment of assassins, gunrunners, thieves and gangsters in an unexpected state-of-the-art emergency room capable of providing a new liver with a 3-D printer or injecting a patient with nanobots that heal from the inside out. With the help of her towering assistant EVEREST, The Nurse wrangles some of the most dangerous criminals in the world, from sultry French assassin NICE and international arms dealer ACAPULCO, to bank robbers WAIKIKI and his brother HONOLULU.

One night as a violent riot rages on the streets of Los Angeles, legendary crime boss Orian Franklin, aka NIAGARA, arrives needing immediate treatment after a failed attempt on his life. Niagara’s sudden arrival creates a violent clash among the criminals in the hospital, with one ‘patient’ having a particularly deadly motive for checking into the hotel. The Nurse makes a decision that could jeopardize the future of the ER and everyone in it. Now the safest place for criminals in the city has become the most dangerous.

Written and directed by: Drew Peace (Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, Iron Man 3)

Cast: Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella, Dave Bautista, Jeff Goldblum, Zachary Quinto, Charlie Day.

Dear White People - Vol. 2...teaser...

Let’s break it down: Cultural appropriation, sex and gender norms, racist bots, conspiracy theories, Jesus, weed, The Sunken Place and WAY more. Dear White People Volume 2 coming soon on Netflix.

The Incredibles 2 Trailer...

Watch the latest trailer for Disney Pixar's Incredibles 2. In UK cinemas July 2018!

In “Incredibles 2,” Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) is called on to lead a campaign to bring Supers back, while Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) navigates the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life at home with Violet (voice of Sarah Vowell), Dash (voice of Huck Milner) and baby Jack-Jack—whose superpowers are about to be discovered. Their mission is derailed, however, when a new villain emerges with a brilliant and dangerous plot that threatens everything. But the Parrs don’t shy away from a challenge, especially with Frozone (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) by their side. That’s what makes this family so Incredible.

71st Cannes Film Festival...

Cannes Poster 2018

So...the big news this year is that Netflix has - quite rightly - pulled out of this illustrious festival. Thierry Frémaux, festival director, seems to be more concerned with the business of cinema rather than its art, he and his cronies have banned films that are not theatrically released in France (with particular reference to Netflix)...hopefully, other festivals and award ceremonies (yes, this is a dig at Steven Spielberg) will not follow this erroneous path. The world of cinema is changing...and, film festivals need to change with the times. Thierry Frémaux & Co are elitists...obviously forgetting the most important factor: The audience!

Shame on them.


Here are the films...minus the 5 Netflix productions...

Opening Night Film

“Everybody Knows,” Asghar Farhadi (In Competition)

The Iranian director of A Separation and The Salesman has teamed up with Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem for his latest drama. The film involves the on- and off-screen couple travelling to the outskirts of Madrid, where unexpected events bring hidden secrets into the open.

BlacKkKlansman by Spike Lee

Adapted from the book of the same name by Ron Stallworth, Spike Lee’s hotly anticipated crime drama tells the story of an African-American detective (played by John David Washington) who infiltrates a Colorado chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, eventually becoming its leader. Adam Driver, Topher Grace and Laura Harrier co-star.

Le Livre D’Image by Jean-Luc Godard

Still going strong at 87, the French New Wave icon returns to Cannes competition this year with an examination of the modern Arabic world that’s tantalisingly described by the following “synopsis”: Nothing but silence. Nothing but a revolutionary song. A story in five chapters like the five fingers of a hand.

Lazzaro Felice by Alice Rohrwacher

Alice Rohrwacher is one of the most talented female filmmakers working today, as she proved with her previous feature The Wonders, which premiered at Cannes in 2014. Her latest follows a man living on the margins of society who travels through time.

Under the Silver Lake by David Robert Mitchell

US writer/director David Robert Mitchell rocked Cannes four years ago with his convention-busting teen horror It Follows. Now he’s back with what looks to be a novel spin on the crime-thriller, Under the Silver Lake, in which Andrew Garfield becomes obsessed with the suspicious details surrounding a girl’s kidnapping and a billionaire’s murder.

Also In Competition…

En Guerre by Stéphane Brizé
Dogman by Matteo Garrone
Sorry Angel by Christophe Honoré
Asako I & II by Ryusuke Hamaguchi
Girls of the Sun by Eva Husson
Ash is Purest White by Jia Zhangke
Shoplifters by Hirokazu Koreeda
Capernaum by Nadine Labaki
Burning by Lee Chang-dong
Three Faces by Jafar Panahi
Cold War by Pawel Pawlikowski
Yomeddine by AB Shawky
Summer by Kirill Serebrennikov

Un Certain Regard (Second Competition)

Sofia by Meyem Benm’Barek
Long Day’s Journey Into Night by Bi Gan
Little Tickles by Andréa Bescond and Eric Métayer
Manto by Nandita Das
Girl by Lukas Dhont
Angel Face by Vanessa Filho
Euphoria by Valeria Golino
Sextape by Antoine Desrosieres
My Favourite Fabric by Gaya Jiji
Friend by Wanuri Kahiu
The Harvesters by Etienne Kallos
In My Room by Ulrich Köhler
El Angel by Luis Ortega
The Gentle Indifference of the World by Adilkhan Yerzhanov

Special Screenings

Ten Years in Thailand by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Au Grand Desir du Mystico by Carlo Diegues
The Dead Souls by Wang Bing
A Tous Vent by Michel Toesca
La Traversse by Romain Goupil
Pope Francis – A Man of His Words by Wim Wenders
To the Four Winds by Michel Toesca
The State Against Nelson Mandela and Others by Nicolas Champeaux and Gilles Porte

Out of Competition

Solo: A Star Wars Story
by Ron Howard
Le Grand Bain
by Gilles Lellouche

Midnight Screenings

Arctic by Joe Penna
The Spy Gone North by Yoon Jong-Bing


 

McKellen: Playing the Part | Trailer | Live Event in UK Cinemas Sunday 27 May...

Mckellen Playing The Part Quad Slide

Join us on Sunday 27 May at 3pm for the UK Premiere of McKellen: Playing the Part, followed by a Q&A with Ian McKellen, hosted by Graham Norton and broadcast live to cinemas across the UK and Scandinavia from London’s BFI Southbank. In Playing the Part, audiences will have the opportunity to celebrate one of Britain’s true acting icons on his birthday weekend.

Built around a 14 hour interview, Playing the Part uncovers McKellen's story. From his upbringing living through the war, working through repertory and West End theatre becoming a pioneering stage star, coming out and being a leader in the campaign for equality, to his mainstream film breakouts as Magneto and Gandalf. His work and influence transcends generations, celebrated here in this fully authorised insight.

McKellen: Playing the Part features unprecedented access to private photo albums, a wealth of never-before-seen archive material, including diaries written when he was 12, and unseen behind the scenes of theatre shows and films, alongside his personal thoughts on a life long lived.

To find your local cinema and book tickets, please visit https://mckellenfilm.com/

ANYTHING Official Trailer...

Here's the trailer to fuel the contoversy...

Matt Bomer playing a trangender sex worker...

Anything will be released in New York on May 11th and Los Angeles and other markets on May 18th.

IDEAL HOME Official Trailer...

Steve Coogan and Paul Rudd star as Erasmus and Paul, a bickering gay couple whose life is turned inside out when a ten-year old boy shows up at their door claiming to be Erasmus’ grandson. Neither Paul, nor Erasmus, are ready to give up their extravagant lifestyles to be parents, but maybe this little kid has thing or two to teach them about the value of family.

US release of June 21st...no information as to a UK release date.

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote Trailer...

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote tells the story of a deluded old man (Jonathan Pryce) who is convinced he is Don Quixote, and who mistakes Toby (Adam Driver), an advertising executive, for his trusty squire, Sancho Panza. The pair embark on a bizarre journey, jumping back and forth in time between the 21st and magical 17th century. Gradually, like the infamous knight himself, Toby becomes consumed by the illusory world and unable to determine his dreams from reality. The tale culminates in a phantasmagorical and emotional finale where Toby takes on the mantle of Don Quixote de la Mancha.

Directed by Terry Gilliam

Boys on Film 18: Heroes - On DVD + Online April 23...

Boys On Film 18

ON DVD AND ONLINE APRIL 23...

BOYS ON FILM comes of age with ten uplifting and powerful tales recounting the lives of everyday heroes fighting for their own identities and right for us all to be ourselves.

DANIEL  (UK, 2015, 14 mins) Director: Dean Loxton.  Starring Henry Garrett (Poldark) and Éva Magyar (X-Men: First Class)

Dániel is studying in London while working part-time as an escort. He is invited to a lunch by his best friend Nori. She surprises everyone by introducing her new lover Tom, with unforeseen consequences.

BUDDY  (The Netherlands, 2015, 12 mins) Director: Niels Bourgonje

When a young man is asked by his ex lover to support him during an HIV test, he sees an opportunity to find out if there is still a chance for reconciliation.

HALF A LIFE (Egypt, Indonesia, USA, Netherlands, 2017, 12 mins) Director: Tamara Shogaolu

Pairing the intimate narration of a young, Egyptian gay activist with a highly stylized animation, Half A Life brings the streets of Cairo to life through this firsthand account of the increasingly oppressive social climate of Egypt.

UNDRESS ME  (Sweden, 2013, 15 mins) Directed by Victor Lindgren.

When Micke meets Mikaela on a night out, he is immediately attracted to her, as he can sense that there’s something different about her. When Mikaela explains that she is trans he gets confused, aggressive and also curious. Undress Me examines and challenges our perceptions of gender.

THE COLOUR OF HIS HAIR  (UK, 2017, 23 mins) Director: Sam Ashby. Starring BAFTA-nominated Josh O’Connor (God’s Own Country)

Based on an unrealised film script written in 1964, when homosexuality is still illegal, The Colour of His Hair merges drama and documentary into an impressionistic meditation on queer life before and after the partial legalisation of homosexuality in 1967.

SILLY GIRL (UK, 2016, 5 mins) Director: Hope Dickson Leach. Starring Clara Baxendale (My Mad Fat Diary) and Jason Barker (A Deal with the Universe).

Silly Girl is all about the first time you are noticed, that first time someone sees you for who you are and the transformative nature of that moment. From the Director of The Levelling and co-written by Game of Thrones’ Ellie Kendrick.

AN EVENING (Denmark, 2016, 10 mins) Director: Søren Green.

Frederik has had sex for the first time with Mathias, his friend from school. Whilst Mathias embraces what they have done and is keen to move forward, Frederik struggles to understand his own feelings and his newfound desire for Mathias.

AIDS: DOCTORS AND NURSES TELL THEIR STORIES (UK, 2017, 26 mins) Director: Alejandro Medina

For the first time, doctors and nurses who cared for Britain’s first AIDS patients in the 1980s tell of the extraordinary situation they found themselves in and the rules they had to break to help patients forgotten by the state.

IT’S CONSUMING ME (Germany, 2012, 3 mins) Director: Kai Staenicke

From the director of B. A young man obsesses over his ex-lover as he takes us through a collage of memories, the highs and lows of their relationship and images of his ex-boyfriend’s new life with his new lover.

MOTHER KNOWS BEST (Sweden, 2016, 13 mins) Director: Mikael Bundsen

Starring Alexander Gustavsson from Girls Lost. A mother gives her teenage son some friendly advice on their way home from having met his boyfriend for the first time, but this innocent conversation leads to revelations that threaten to completely change their relationship. Winner of Iris Prize 2017.

 

How To Talk To Girls At Parties | Official Trailer...

From the raucous dual imaginations of fantasy laureate Neil Gaiman (“American Gods,” Coraline) and glam-rock multi-hyphenate John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Shortbus) comes the electrifying and singular pop extravaganza film, How to Talk to Girls at Parties. Enn (Alex Sharp) is a shy suburban London teenager in 1977, sneaking out with his best friends to after-hours punk parties.

‘One night they stumble upon a bizarre gathering of sexy teenagers who seem like they are from another planet. In fact, they are from another planet, visiting Earth to complete a mysterious rite of passage. That doesn’t stop Enn from falling madly in love with Zan (Elle Fanning), a beautiful and rebellious alien teenager who, despite her allegiance to her strange colony, is fascinated by Enn. Together they embark on a delirious adventure through the kinetic punk rock world of 1970s London, inadvertently setting off a series of events that will lead to the ultimate showdown of punks vs. aliens, and test the limits of how far each of them will go for true love.

DIRECTOR: John Cameron Mitchell

CAST: Elle Fanning, Alex Sharp, Nicole Kidman, and Ruth Wilson

BFI: Flare 2018...Our [remote] Coverage...

BFI Flare 640x320

Once again, it's that glorious time of the year for...

...BFI: FLARE!

Unfortunately, due to a minor surgical procedure and post-operative recuperation, I can't be there in person...but, BFI: Flare have kindly given CGiii.com access to a mighty selection of films they'll be screening in good old London town...73 in all!

So...there will be many cinematic delights to be had as I while away the hours in a rather comfortable hospital bed...those post-op stitches, the dressings and that swelling will all be but a minor distraction as I delve into the cinematic cornucopia that is BFI: Flare.


All information for screenings, tickets and times can be found here


We'll try to cover the films [in order] as they appear in the programme schedule...wholly dependent up on stitches and swelling!

Comments, criticisms, disagreements and praise are always welcome...and, if you would like your name to appear in CGiii.com why not submit a review of a film we have or have not seen. The more opinions, the merrier the conversation becomes...


On with the show...

22 March 2018...

Sidney & Friends

Sidney & Friends:
Directed by Tristan Aitchison

Artistry, in documentary filmmaking, is too rare. So...when a documentary's opening credits manages to grab your attention and sets the tone for the film from the outset...you just know you're going to be watching something rather special. Sidney & Friends is special.

Shot in black & white, with beautiful photography, haunting & horrific blackouts...and, a soundtrack that is worthy of [countless] awards...Sidney & Friends is a pull-no-punches, emotional rollercoaster ride...tradition & christianity, demons & priests, doctors & IDs, just a few of the insurmountable obstacles that the trans & intersex people of Kenya have to contend and negotiate with...on a daily basis. This bashing-your-head-against-a-brick-wall type of existence presents an entirely different perspective on the trans/intersex fight for equality. This is not a fight for equality, this is their [daily] fight for survival.

Grim as it may sound, the film is punctuated with moments of levity and joy...the indomitable spirit of humanity shines through...amidst the [understandable] tears and the [incomprehensible] suffering. 'God is Good' echoes throughout the film...good, because, He has given Sidney and his friends the ability to lie! Well, religion [& tradition], doctors and governments have [resoundingly] failed in protecting all of their people. When something fails...it's usually replaced!

Tristan Aitchison does a mighty fine [and artful] job in telling these stories, raising awareness is key to change. Truly, a beautiful, difficult and important work of film art.

Paternal Rites

Paternal Rights:
Directed by Jules Rosskam

Possibly, not the best film to watch after Sidney & Friends...in that, challenging as it is [on so many different levels], this is Jules Rosskam's autobiographical, cathartic, personal form of art. And, as we all know, [all] art is subjective.

The main problem with autobiography is...is your story interesting enough to engage an audience? And, if so, can you tell that story in a way that will maintain interest from start to finish? Herein lies the problem, Jules Rosskam wants the answers he wants to hear. He doesn't get them. Frustrating for him and frustrating to listen to...because that's what you do with this film, you listen...to conversations and interviews that are accompanied by relevant and [too many] irrelevant images, [rather charming] home movies and [artsy] animations. It does tend to go round in circles...too much!

There was an interesting premise to this film - a kid retraces the epic trans-American roadtrip that their parents undertook in the early 70s - sadly, that retracing was abandoned after 6 weeks...leaving the film [somewhat] prematurely [somewhat] high and dry. Shame...as the film drives off in a completely different direction.

Issues surrounding...transition, an emotionally [and physically] absent father, allegations pertaining to grand-paternal & paternal sexual and physical abuse, maternal denial...are all addressed, debated, rebuffed and questioned. It's baggage-laden, serious stuff...with no definitive resolution!

But...the [only] straight-to-camera segment, the reading of the [resolving, condemning & forgiving!] letter to his brother [who suffers from severe mental health issues] could, quite easily, be viewed as...a step too far...all in the name of art, all for this cathartic film!

Art - truly - is subjective. Catharsis - truly - is personal.

Tomorrow Never Knows

Tomorrow Never Knows:
Directed by Adam Sekuler

Few films are as difficult to watch than this...quite literally, you watch someone die.

Shar Jones has early onset Alzheimer's Disease...the decision for a concious death is taken. For those of you who don't know what conscious dying is...it's a more spiritual way of putting-your-house-in-order. Tying up loose-ends, saying goodbyes, building broken bridges and saying 'I love you' to those you love...it's all about [everyone involved] being emotionally ready for the death to happen in peace with grace...with dignity.

The other decision taken is when. Shar Jones wants that control...thereby preserving who she is and the memory of her...rather than her person, her memory, herself...being lost forever in the Alzheimer's fog. To be remembered for who you were and not for who you became...a monumental decision that can never be taken lightly.

For the filmmaker, the gravity of the situation demanded a different kind of approach. Less intrusion...infinite respect. Adam Sekuler succeeds...by simply observing the often mundane daily routine of this couple's last days together. At times, it's agonising to watch...sometimes, it's heart-warming...always respectful. Death happens to us all...few of us get to die on our own terms.

Shar Jones never got to see the completed film...she knew she never would. She leaves behind an essence of her, who she was.

Luft AirAir / Luft:
Directed by Anatol Schuster

There is so much to admire in this debut feature...the cinematography [especially those drone shots!], the music [even the accordian sounds good!], the performances [all plausible, all relatable] and then, there's the direction [slick, imaginative and efficient].

Manja is the perfect, wrong-side-of-the-tracks, ever-smiling, school-girl...who sees the good in just about everyone. Louk, the rebellious and unpredictable, has her issues...the two form a bond. But...will that bond go in the direction that Manja wants it to go? Or, will her desires remain - frustratingly - unrequited?  

Anatol Schuster plays with his audience, it's a little cat-and-mouse...what with all the male suitors popping in and out...and, Louk running hot-and-cold to Manja's - obvious - adoration. It's all very idealistic YAs being irresponsible YAs...with the added addition of good old-country tradition [lovely scenes with Manja's Baboushka] that gives the film a solid grounding and a required context...different generations, different cultures and languages. Different lives...where love is the bond.

A fine film that may have benefitted from a stronger ending...but, by no means does it detract from the film, it does add a little mystery. But, for the sake of its target audience...it is a Y[oung]A[dult] film and, perhaps, those young adults would have preferred something more concrete...or, maybe they wouldn't! Just an opinion...on an assured debut.


23 March 2018...

Marikas Missio

Marikas Missio:
Directed by Michael Schmitt

It gives us great pleasure when we deliver a glowing review...all that hard work finally being recognised!

It gives us greater pleasure when we are able to recommend a film...ensuring that the audience's money and/or time are well-spent.

When we are unable to deliver a glowing recommendation...we ask ourselves why? Documentary filmmakers should ask themselves a few questions before they even touch a camera! Why do I want to make this film? How do I make this film? What are my ambitions for my film? Do I have the technical ability to make a professional film? These are questions that Michael Schmitt should have asked himself...then, if he gave himself satisfactory answers...let pre-production begin...which usually involves making a plan! Ooops, looks like you forgot that bit!

So...instead of being overly harsh...we thought we would offer a few tips. Make and stick to a production plan [don't worry, there's always room for manoeuvre]. Buy a tripod. Maintain the focus throughout. When you can't see the sheep from the wool, shear it!  Just because he's your brother [and brother-in-law to the main subject] doesn't mean he has to feature in the film, the same goes for your parents - their input is unnecessary and uninteresting. When conducting interviews, use two cameras...or, conduct two interviews one after the other. You'll be thankful you did, in the editing suite afterwards...rather than having jump-cut hell with bouncing talking heads. It's so jarring to watch...as is aspect change!

Look...when kids are making [technically] off-the-scale Youtube videos on their cell-phones...it's time to...either up the ante or get out of the game!

But, most importantly...the subject! There's nothing new here. There is no story. Everyone knows that the catholic hierarchy is a patriarchal, [internalised] homophobic den of hypocritical delinquents...in drag! Everyone knows that the catholic institution preaches: Thou shalt only love the opposite sex! Marika knows this, Marika did not challenge...and, Marika lied to the religious practice that she & other gay/lesbian catholics [so weirdly] believe in. Why believe in something that so transparently and vigorously condemns you?!? Why don't all the disgruntled catholics band together and form an all-loving, all-encompassing religious institution of their own? Now...there's a story!!!

Arachnaphobes don't play with spiders...those who do...well, Hell mend them!

The Revival

The Revival:
Directed by Jennifer Gerber

There's nothing worse than a bible-bashing, self-hating, hypocritical homo!

There's nothing worse than a script like this...here's a sample...

A dreary, nerdy, married-to-a-woman, Southern Baptist pastor to a homeless, meth-addicted, blonde, hunky drifter:

Pastor: I just wanna come over here and introduce myself...I’m brother Eli, I’m the pastor here at First Baptist...[silence] okay...well, enjoy your food.
Drifter: I like your hands.
Pastor: Excuse me?
Drifter: Your hands...they’re pretty.

As if?!?

And then...in next to no time, the pastor gives the drifter a home...seconds later, they're bonking [each other's brains out] akin to randy, rabid rabbits on Viagra!

They don't come anymore whirlwind than this whirlwind romance! For yes...we all know that this little tête-à-tête will be [predictably] shortlived and will [predictably] end in tears.

The [oh so many] conflicts come and go...faster than ricocheting bullets bouncing all over the place. To hell with guilt. Who needs soul-searching when there's a blonde-haired hunk willing to deal in carnal pleasure and crystal meth?!? After all...God forgives!

There's no forgiving this [somewhat homophobic] mess of a film!

The 34th

The 34th:
Directed by Linda Cullen & Vanessa Gildea

Hallelujah...there is a documentary filmmaking God!

This has absolutely everything a documentary needs to have...it's educational, emotional, engaging, enlightening and entertaining...with technical expertise to boot!

This is history...and, at the core, a love story...between two rather remarkable women. Without them, Ireland's fight for equality could have been delayed for decades! So...to Katharine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan, an unreserved and unbridled: Thank you.

And...a great big thank you to Linda Cullen & Vanessa Gildea for this film. For managing such a complex process with chronological clarity, for introducing us to a whole host of passionate and inspiring people. For the card-carrying feminist who [once] thought equal marriage was an athema, for the fantastic definition of the 'queer community' - that's cleared that one up! For highlighting the 'in-house' fighting...same target, different aims! And, for showing that the LGBTQI+ community is - indeed - a functional and aspiring community!

Crowd-pleasers don't come anymore crowd-pleasing than this! The rewards for hard work!

Tasty

Tasty: Directed by Meaghan Palmer

 With work, this could - quite easily - be developed into a feature. It's definitely a story that needs to be told: Police brutality gets a' class action' kicking! It's not often 'the law' gets good press...Meaghan Palmer has hit upon a tasty kernel and delivered a fine little film with quite alot of balls!

AlaskaAlaska is a Drag:
Directed by Shaz Bennett

A [major] problem with developing a [good] short film into a feature is...material. The question that needs to be asked before production begins: Is the material elastic enough to stretch to 90 or so [engaging] minutes? Alaska is a Drag suffers not through a lack of material...but, from structural issues.

Leo is a fish-filleter-cum-drag-queen-cum-boxer who yearns to escape from the sedantry life that is Alaska! The opportunity to do so presents itself in the form of a [local] qualifying round for a drag show in L.A. Right up Leo's street! So...why does the rather anticlimactic drag show appear halfway through the film?!? Did none of the [many] producers not see that this was the build-up and obvious ending to the whole film? A classic three-act structure...discovery, rehearsal, performance. Kaboom! Everything that came after the drag show could have gone before...thereby ensuring an explosive finish...a finish it so richly deserved.

There were so many storylines that could have been milked for all their worth. The sister with cancer. The broken and lost father. The love that punches instead of daring to speak its name! The material was there!!! By no stretch of the imagination is Alaska is a Drag a bad film. It's a sweet, well-performed, rich-in-ideas sort of film. It could have been something else entirely...an Alaskan Priscilla!!!

Wood: Directed by Eve DufaudWood

Sometimes - oh too rare - along comes a short film that - quite literally - has the ability to take your breath away. Eve Dufaud does exactly that! Simply breath-taking. The violence is tangible. The anger is palpable. The eroticism has its roots in blood, sweat and tears. This is classy, sophisticated filmmaking. Stunning!


24 March 2018...

Rift

Rift / Rökkur:
Directed by Erlingur Thoroddsen

If you like your films to be all neatly packaged, tied up with string and bows...then, this film is - most definitely - not for you.

If, on the otherhand, you like to be kept in the dark, teased and trifled with, amid a beautiful and eerie landscape...with screaming echoes of a bygone, [now] unrequited love...while being watched by someone or something lurking in the shadows...then, Rift is right up your windswept [v]alley.

It just goes to show what talent can do with a shoestring budget...use what you've got...rather than redundantly moaning about what haven't! Erlingur Thoroddsen does just that...sometimes, less is definitely more.The less you get...the more you want!

Now, we might be going out on a limb here, bear with us...but, the parallels with the haunting and majestic Picnic at Hanging Rock are staring you in the face [well, our faces at least]! Landscape, cinematography, music, remoteness, an indistinguishable presence...and, no explanation! See...it does make sense! And, like Picnic, Rift is sensory...you can almost smell the chill, taste the tension, feel the goosebumps, hear the mystery!

Really...this is an exceptional film...for the financial constraints it had. To re-iterate: This is what talent can do with little!

Love Scott

Love, Scott:
Directed by Laura Marie Wayne

Aaaaaargh!!! Nearly everything we said about Marikas Missio applies here...the only difference - and it's a major difference - there is a story here...sadly, lost in all the [artsy] nonsense...that hideous voice-over, the endless footage of water, the cheesy music, the appalling camera-work [apart from two rather wonderful shots]! A classic example of the filmmaker being [way] too close to the subject and doing too much...it's that jack-of-all-trades that too many films suffer from...yet again!

Here's a piece of advice for all would-be filmmakers: Turn off the auto-focus and buy a bloody tripod!

Scott Jones suffered an horrendous, homophobic attack that left him paralysed from the waist down. His assailant was caught and sentenced to 10 years for attempted murder. Apart from re-visiting the scene of the attack and talking briefly about it...wherein he reveals something [legally significant] that he did not say to the police...a word to the wise, from an ex-lawyer, show your film to a lawyer before releasing it...unwanted attention can be a powerful tool with respect to mitigation!!! Any other details about the attack or the attacker are - frustratingly - absent.

Scott Jones is a personable, handsome, charismatic and talented young man...being a music graduate and a pianist, his paralysis has not only affected his life...but, his livelihood too. He has had to adapt and has done so...the [atrociously filmed] segments of him conducting are an absolute joy to watch. As for him standing on stage, what could have been a massively powerful scene...why diminish it with an earlier shot of him standing?!?

Finally, near the end...this is where the real story is...Scott reads out a letter he has written to his attacker. Just imagine if the film had started with this letter...restorative justice stories grip - like a vice - all those involved and all those who watch! Did Scott send the letter? We don't know...just like the rest of the film...so many questions - frustratingly - unanswered.

120 BPM120 BPM:
Directed by Robin Campillo

At first, BPM is a torrent of words...said in anger, stained with frustration, wrought from fear...and, pinned down by rage!

Terrifying times...especially when the 'authorities' refused to grasp the gravity of the situation. Or, rather, they chose to downplay the whole crisis...after all, AIDS only affected fags, blacks, junkies and whores!

In 1986, British television viewers heard John Hurt chillingly say: There is now a danger that has become a threat to us all...It is a deadly disease and there is no known cure...Aids. Don't die of ignorance.

Norman [Lord] Fowler (health and social security secretary), Sir Donald Acheson (chief medical officer) and Willie Whitelaw...acted with defiance and determination...running the ad campaign, sending a graphic no-nonsense leaflet to every household in the country, followed by a week of educational programming scheduled at peak time on all four terrestrial channels. The desired effect was almost immediate, people were talking, they knew what was in their midst, what they were up against. Terrifying times, heartbreaking times.

Other countries were slow to follow...or, in truth, blankly refused to follow...after all, AIDS only affected fags, blacks, junkies and whores!

In 1987, Act-up was formed in America...as a direct response to the then president's refusal to act. Ronald Reagan.

In 1989, Act-up was formed in France...as a direct response to the then president's refusal to act. François Mitterrand.

Without Fowler and co's intervention, without Act-up's direct action...many, many more lives would have been needlessly lost.

No matter what you may have thought [or think] about Act-up's highly contentious brand of 'activism' - they, undoubtedly, made a mighty difference. Quite possibly, those of a certain age, reading this, have Act-up [& co] to thank for still being around!

We have to thank them for that fight. We have to thank Robin Campillo for this film. A document from a heartbroken heart. From an angry heart...

At first, BPM is a torrent of words...said in anger, stained with frustration, wrought from fear...and, pinned down by rage!

With considerable skill, step-by-step, those words - slowly - start to disappear. When rivers turn to blood, words have no effect on deafened ears...when death increasingly inches towards you, words are replaced by touch...a much needed and appreciated touch.

From the raging fire that he was...to the dying ember he becomes, Nahuel Perez Biscayart delivers a heart-stopping, totally involving performance, overseen and, with delicacy...directed by Mr Campillo. This is a beautifully designed soundscape of a short life...edited with a daring, draining vitality. Oh, those final moments...that pragmatism. So many deaths, so much love lost...Arnaud Valois' face is testament to that...

Again, Mr Campillo...we thank you...

Martyr

Martyr / Žrtva:
Directed by Mazen Khaled

Indeed...no doubt, a film that will polarise every audience.

More homo-suggestive than homoerotic, more closted than in-your-face homosexual, this is a life where the simplest of actions [a touch, a look, a proximity] speak louder than the loudest words, where reverence and respect are uttered with every greeting and farewell...after all, this is a culture that demands sexual subtlety.

Martyr is loaded with inference and bold parallels...in essence, what Mazen Khaled is saying is: You and I, we're not that different...for death is the greatest of all equalisers.

The narrative is simple enough...Hassane, a young, unemployed, Muslim man goes to the beach, fools around with his friends, takes a dive and drowns...his body is retrieved, transported and prepared for burial. As simple as it sounds, there is a profound complexity and dignity in the proceedings...there are the undercurrents of guilt and [that] forbidden love that flow throughout. Tableaux and parable...complimented by contemporary dance...bring this death to life. It's both deferential and visceral...challenging, affecting...and, artful.

It's succinct, it's subtle, it's surreal...it's [strangely] serene.


25 March 2018...

My Own Private Hell

My Own Private Hell / Inferninho:
Directed by Pedro Diogenes & Guto Parente

If John Waters, Arturo Ripstein and [the spirit of] Rainer Werner Fassbinder were to team-up...Inferninho is what they may have come up with!

Think: Dante's Inferno meets Querelle...who has a head-on collision with [some] Pink Flamingos on Bleak Street...done on a last-strand-shoe-string budget in a squalid set and accompanied by some of the worst sung songs ever to be heard by a human ear!

And, by gum, it works...thanks, principally, to a mesmerising and commanding performance from Yuri Yamamoto. To say that My Own Private Hell is rough-around-the-edges would be a massive understatement...the back projections are as shabby as they are hysterical.

The idea that this is where old, washed-up and washed-out, wannabe, Superheroes [and cartoon characters] go to hang-out and die...is inspired. Tongue-in-cheek, off-the-wall...marvel in this nefarious, flea-pit of a bar where you will be served by a rabbit called Rabbit...under the ever-watchful eye of the tragic trans*owner and serenaded by a cacophonous screech!

A brilliantly bizarre bargain of a film.

Snapshots

Snapshots:
Directed by Melanie Mayron

Hello?!? Helloooooo?!? Did someone just switch the channel?

Snapshots looks and feels like something the Hallmark channel would produce...that is, up until the steamy lesbian sex scene! The obvious draw to this film is Piper Laurie - a thrice Oscar-nominated actor! She does not disappoint...she is the sanity admist the unnecessary melodrama.

This is a tale of three generations...sapphic nostalgia [grandmother], alcohol-infused regret [daughter], time for tumultuous change [grand-daughter]. Sadly, two of these tales need not have been told, they are inconsequential to the main thrust of the film. Snapshots works well when Rose [Piper Laurie] reflects on her long lost lesbian love by the lakeside...these endearing flashbacks are [always] rudely interrupted by some [drunken and/or hysterical] squawking about that old trope, the-trouble-with-men...which is a trifle perplexing considering the men [in the film] rarely get a look in...when they do, the two flashback husbands, are a stark contrast to the [merely mentioned] contemporary men. They are affable, dim and [especially one] stoned...blissfully unaware that their wives are rutting the brains out of each other.

As far a lesbian dramas go, it's neither the worst nor [anywhere near] the best. Perhaps, a little too cautious...and, definitely, too Hallmark-ish!

Love Simon

Love, Simon:
Directed by Greg Berlanti

Breathe in. Hold.

An American, high-school, gay-themed, teen dramedy...what could possibly go wrong? Well...potentially, just about everything in this tired-and-tested formulaic genre!!!

Keep holding your breath, babies...because, wait for it, this is an absolute peach of a film...doing the book the justice it deserves [not many films can say that!].

Love, Simon is a modern-day [coerced] ‘coming out’ story...with a villainous teen, a love’s unrequited teen, a [modest] heart-throb and a whole host of potential Romeos, ready to strip away that modesty...oh, and there’s a fierce drama teacher who takes no prisoners!

For those, a little longer-in-the-tooth, ‘coming out’ may appear to be a little easier, less traumatic than yesteryear. How times have changed, they are sure to say...no doubt, for the better. But, for the kid who is standing with his/her hand tightly-gripped on the door-handle, it’s just as terrifying as it ever was! Because...when that door opens, nothing will ever be the same again. But...when the control of that life-changing moment is taken from you, when you are ‘outed’ – thoughts go awry, friends feel betrayed, things get ugly!

It sounds as if Love, Simon has taken a wrong turn...for the worse!!! Hold your horses, don’t throw your toys out of the cradle, keep holding your breath...all is not lost. Tis but a [necessary] hiccup. The writing is as sprightly as the direction...it dwells not on the dark...and, as Simon [good job, Mr Robinson] settles into his new skin...the hunt for his Romeo continues.

Shamelessly manipulative, seamlessly sentimental and so crowd-pleasingly sweet...it’s impossible not to clap, cheer and cry...all at the same time.

Now. Exhale. Wow.

Buddies

Buddies:
Directed by Arthur J Bressan Jr.

Lest we forget...

An important film...the first to deal with the HIV/AIDS crisis. Well done...to BFI: Flare for screening it, 33 years after it was made.

It's a film that brings back an ocean of memories...of those tear-draining, terrifying times. I remember, as a young man, walking into my local pub [The Black Cap...now, sadly gone] and missing familiar faces, being told such-and-such is in hospital, such-and-such has died...over time, so many faces disappeared.

Watching Buddies...brings it all back.

Yes, it is a little preachy and rough around the edges...but, Mr Bressan was flying solo on this one, so little was known...he did the best with what he had to work with...and, quite remarkably, managed to avoid the trite sentimentality that plagued subsequent films.

Arthur succumbed to AIDS in 1987...RIP

RIP to all the faces...friends and strangers alike. I can write no more.


26 March 2018...

Maurice

Maurice:
Directed by James Ivory

The waves of nostalgia continue...to lap my shore...

Is it really 31 years ago when I walked into my local cinema - the Screen-on-the-Hill - to watch one of my favourite novels being brought to life?!? Yes, it is. Unlike Maurice, I have not turned into a timeless classic!

Those heady [youthful] days when James Ivory and Ismail Merchant [together] were a tour-de-force...still careless and foolish with love, Maurice resonated...in 1987, the homosexual age of consent was 21...few films dealt with homosexuality and, those that did, did not do it with such style and conscience...Maurice was an event.

Having Hugh Grant and James Wilby introduce their film - in person - 31 years later...BFI: Flare certainly pulled a rabbit out of the hat. What a photo opportunity! May its influence continue...

The Wound

The Wound / Inxeba:
Directed by John Trengove

Here's a film that's ruffling quite a few traditional feathers! In essence, banned [temporarily] in its native South Africa, The Wound explores an arena that no other film has explored before...Xhosa initiation rites...with a bit of same-sex desire thrown in...to assure the controversy [and fury] continues for years to come! It is a truly unique and well-crafted film.

Let's get one thing off of our chests: Non-consensual circumcision [aka, genital mutilation], enforced circumcision...is, in the 21st century, barbaric...especially when it's done by non-medically trained foreskin hackers! The statistics for death and deformity after circumcision [without anaesthetic] are jaw-dropping. Patriarchal pressure [and peer pressure] ensure/assure/insure that boys can only become men after they get their foreskins [non-surgically] lopped off. Tell it how it is...and, it tends to sound as ridiculous as it actually is! In today's world...this needs to be addressed.

John Trengrove's film does just that...rather than laying down a judgment, he simply shows. It's brief and it's brutal. It's all about conformity and the things people will do to be seen as conformists!!! The Wound will shock. No doubt about that!

The Rainbow Nation's divisions are as vast as its size...post-Apartheid heralded a unification between the disparate...but, the division between the urban and the rural are as deep as ever. To be gay in a city is so much easier than to be gay in the middle of a traditional nowhere. This socio-economic wound is far more difficult to treat...every government, world-wide, has failed in the past, failing today and will fail in the future. Conformity is [r]evolution's greatest enemy. Education is [r]evolution's greatest asset. Wow! This film certainly hits on some massive, major issues!

Modernity's galloping horse waits for no man, neither religion, nor tradition...archaic institutions and practices are [stubbornly, erroneously and tenaciously] clinging on...but, in time, their grip will loosen. Globalisation, the internet, education and mass migration...and, film...are all playing their role in the game for change. 30 years ago, the world was a very different place...30 years from now the world will be a very different place! But...we're here in the now...and our 'now' is shrouded in a suffocating blanket of political correctness...you can't say this, you can't say that! Well, John Trengrove's film dared to say what it wanted to say.

Who said film was not powerful!?!

5Films4Freedom

#FiveFilms4Freedom

GODDESS by Karishma Dev Dube

A powerful little film that will make you seethe...it leaves you wondering what would happen if the shoes were on the other feet! It really does pack an almighty punch! Wow!

GoldfishGOLDFISH  by Yorgos Angelopoulos

One for all the male chauvinists out there...

A gay goldfish named Tom [Daley]...cute as buttons, sweet as cherry-pie...perfectly crafted.

A wonderful little film.

HANDSOME & MAJESTIC by Jeff Lee Petry and Nathan Drillot

A trans*boy tells his story...we've heard it all before and, no doubt, will hear it over-and-over again.

A few troubling details...an eyebrow piercing at his age?!? And, bearing in mind that the kid is obviously going to watch this...his parents talking about his attempted suicide is...bewildering.

LandlineLANDLINE by Matt Houghton

In all honesty, we thought this was a joke...a helpline for gay farmers in 2018!!!

As bizarre as it may sound - it's a thoroughly accomplished and beautifully made film...really rather moving!

Watch  out for the sequel: TreeLine, for gay lumberjacks!

UNINVITED by Seung Yeob Lee

There's nothing worse than an interfering, meddlesome, nagging mother...and, there's nothing worse than having to watch that said mother!

It's an agonisingly slow, long-drawn-out, lifeless affair...making its 20 minute runtime seem like an eternity.


27 March 2018...

The Feels

The Feels:
Directed by Jenée LaMarque

Sometimes you watch a film and wonder: Who was this made for? If the answer is: Solely for the cast and crew...almost immediately, the word 'oops' pops into mind!

This is an ensemble piece about a [lesbian] bachelorette party...obviously, heavily improvised...the problem with improvisation, it takes a tough director to steer it away from indulgence...oops! Dialogue-driven as it is, the director ought to have screamed 'cut' more than she did, too many conversations go on-and-on taking the film nowhere. Oops. As for the numerous straight-to-camera interjections...jump-cut hell...either the editor just wasn't up to the job...or, lazy writing, lazy performances and lazy direction made these scenes intolerable to work with and you can only work with what you've got! Oops.

There is no story to speak of...unless, a drunken revelation about not having an orgasm counts as a story! There's an irksome little man sniffing around these women like a mangy dog on heat...he manages [inexplicably] to bang the only straight woman there! There's a stoner who's stoned and a singer who sings sounding stoned. Who wrote this stuff?!? The cast did! Oops.

Too many 'oopses'.

Malila

Malila: The Farewell Flower:
Directed by Anucha Boonyawatana

Nothing can quite prepare you for the extraordinary beauty found within the frames of Malila - practically, every shot is a perfectly composed work of art.

A spiritual meditation on life, love and death...centred around the potency and purity of Jasmine. This is what can be achieved when a visionary director chooses his crew with care and consideration. There is no weak link here. Seamless editing, breathtaking cinematography, accomplished lighting...and, a sparingly-used soundtrack that waxes and wanes with the gentle, profound emotion. But...the force majeure is the control, by the actors...by this considerable and considerate director.

Even when the horror descends, there is still a sense of serenity...the unfliching grotesque becomes a beauty in itself. There's a moment that will make you gasp...as a tear - quite rightly - trickles down your cheek. You won't want to wipe it away...this film will stay with you.

As immersive as can be imagined...an extraordinary work of art.


28 March 2018...

Freak Show

Freak Show:
Directed by Trudie Styler

This will certainly polarise opinion...young Mr Lawther gives a [damn fine] credible performance...but, as a rich-kid with gender identity issues and a penchant for camping it up [at every conceivable opportunity]...the audience may not [or may] get entirely behind him...at first.

But...be patient, he does grow on you...amid the diamante and darkness. It's that...I'd-rather-be-sexually-confused-in-my-mansion-than-in-a-homeless-hostel kind-of-thing! Struggling heirs elicit little empathy! Mr Lawther does a remarkable job...in shifting that opinion!

Now, it has to be said...Bette Midler is tragically [and mind-bogglingly] under-used...she and Mr Lawther could have easily presented a little cabaret performance [in the mansion] for our delectation and titillation...alas, no...although the script was crying out for it!

The director, perhaps, was not entirely in-tune with the audience's thirst for the Divine. It's Bette Midler for Christ's sake...you got her...use her! She ain't cheap!

Freak Show embraces and celebrates individuality and diversity. Despite our 'quibbly moanings' about Bette, it's a great little film.

It delivers the finest of messages...live and let live...all the world's a stage...I am what I am...be what you wanna be!

Close Knit

Close-Knit:
Directed by Naoko Ogigami

A gentle story about a very big issue: Parenting. Who's fit, who's not, who decides?!?

Nowadays, trans*films have become ten-a-penny. Most follow a tired and tested formula, addressing the same issues, going down the same paths, coming to the same conclusions. So, when a film comes along that goes way off-piste regarding trans*issues, it's like a breath of fresh air.

Somewhat eccentric, always polite...Close-Knit is a well-mannered joy. Sure, there are the usual trans*tropes...but, they are not dwelt upon. Instead, Naoko Ogigami focuses on the budding [surrogate] mother/daughter relationship...as they find a commonality, a trust, a bond, an understanding...and, a love. Knitting becomes their thing...as to what they are knitting...well, you'll just have to see the film! No spoilers here!

Rin Kakihara is mesmerising as the little girl...she displays a rainbow of emotions...as she negotiates the unfamiliar territory she finds herself in. For a kid, trans*acceptance is no big deal, it's the adults we have to worry about...but, kids become adults! Such a positve message, such a positive film.

And...the last shot is an absolute classic!

Silverlake Life

Silverlake: The View from Here:
Directed by Tom Joslin & Peter Friedman

It's 1993...Philadelphia hit the cinemas like a tidal wave. Whatever you may think of the film, being the first Hollywood-produced, mainstream film [with big names] to deal with HIV/AIDS, it served a purpose...Tom Hanks received the Oscar and delivered an unforgettable acceptance speech...the film, the speech...changed hearts and minds. That's Hollywood!

In the same year...another film was released...

Silverlake is not Hollywood. Silverlake is real. Harrowing...and, heart-breakingly real. A film that celebrates the life, love and death of a couple...two men who were - untimely and cruelly - ripped apart.  It's a tough watch. Those toughest of times. Again, apologies...I can write no more.


29 March 2018...

Conversations With Gay Elders

Conversations with Gay Elders: Kerby Lauderdale Episode:
Directed by David Weissman

An interesting and important social history project...preserving the memories [and memory] of older gay men. Those who paved the way for where we are now.

Life stories don't come any more interesting that this. What a life this man has led...from forester to pastor, from married-with-children to divorced-and-gay, Kerby Lauderdale has led his life - in his own words - balanced between despair and delight. He is so open about his past, it's impossible not to be taken along with him...on this emotional ride. When his eyes well up with tears...your eyes will well up too.

David Weissman conducts the interview with the utmost of respect...and, care. Daring to ask the unthinkable...he still gets answers. This really is a masterclass in how to conduct an interview...documentarists: Watch, listen and learn. This is how you do it...choose your subjects wisely, put them at their ease, converse...and, listen.

Thank you, Mr Lauderdale, for sharing.


Altered States: Collection of short films...

Burn BridgeBURN BRIDGE by Rhys JONES

A well-produced film...about two ghastly teenage boys. Perhaps, a serious injection of 'likeability' would have made this film more appealing. Still, there's talent on show.


EDMUND THE MAGNIFICIENT by Ben OCKRENTEdmund

As far as short films go...this is up there with the best of them. A gay pig no less!!! The production values are off-the-scale...and, with narration by Ian McKellan...this film has pedigree and [massive, and we mean gigantic] balls!

Missed ConceptionsMISSED CONCEPTIONS by Ruby PARKER-HARBORD

A lesbian couple want a baby...sperm donor wanted! Not exactly original. The problem with this film is that it doesn't know what it is...it starts off being a 'comedy' [that laughs at 'quirky' gay men]...then, descends into a melodramatic meltdown...with a predictable ending.

OUTLINES by Ellie ROGERSOutlines

Despite being a decent production, technically speaking...plausibility flies out the window in next to no time. Would you really get the prostitute - who has just bonked your father's brains out - to pierce your nose? Thought not! Such a bizarre idea for a film!

The SermonTHE SERMON by Dean PUCKETT

It's that old abomination thing again...with creepy characters by the truckload! Yes, horror is a difficult genre to pull off...especially with a short on a tight budget. But...when the grim reaper makes an appearance...this becomes a comedy!

THESE ARE MY HANDS by Evi TSILIGARIDOUThese Are My Hands

As with all experimental films...a required, acquired taste is neccessary to fully appreciate what the filmmakers are trying to do and/or say.


30 March 2018...

Becks

Becks:
Directed by Elizabeth Rohrbaugh & Daniel Powell

American, independent, lesbian dramas really do need to become more distinguishable and less stereotypical. A tight budget should not necessarily mean short shrift with regards to originality.

Let's move away from the hard-drinking, home-wrecking, guitar-playing, instantly-in-love protagonist. Becks is all of these and more, she may sing like an angel...but, that's where those angelic similarities end...for Becks is not the most likeable of characters. Being predatory and [somewhat] parasitical, not exactly redeeming qualities, ensures that any sense of empathy is in short supply.

The film works best when Becks and her mother are together, in her house [her rules]...their conflict is startling, hurtful and truthful...culminating in the mother saying exactly how it is:

Do you think being gay is an excuse for being selfish?

Ouch! But, this is where the film comes alive, a mother who is trying and a daughter who isn't...if only these scenes were as long and as frequent as all the endless snogging...then, Becks would have been a far better film.

Hard Paint

Hard Paint / Tinta Bruta:
Directed by Filipe Matzembacher & Marcio Reolon

The deserving recipient of the Teddy Award and the Premio Maguey Award for Best Film...

Just how far the internet has invaded our personal spaces, just how much we are willing to divulge on social media...when privacy was once the much-defended, prized possession of the many...the younger generations are increasingly throwing it all away. What won't they reveal!?!

Once upon a time, it was the happy hooker who did not kiss...now, it's cyber-survival-sex-work...with no touching!

Is it an underclass or a sub-culture... when the young reveal themselves at their most initmate, in the confines and safety of their own home, to [potentially] millions of voyeuristic eyes? To earn a buck or two without doing a decent day's work...or, crossing their threshold. This salacious 'working-from-home' must have consequences...serious psychological consequences! Or, are the young [now] able to lightly dismiss acts of moral turpitude with the flick of a hand?!? T'was a phase!

A serious state-of-affairs, raising some serious questions...which Hard Paint is not afraid to address and answer. There's a threat, there's a dread, there's a love and a thread that runs throughout. It's bleak, it's not-so bleak...it's colourful, it's pallid...and nothing is simply black and white. It's explosive, it implosive...it's corrosive, immersive and deceptive. This is a reality...and, with just one flick of the hand, it doesn't seem so grim after all. An astonishing, challenging piece of work.

Independent filmmaking at its absolute finest.


Brown is the Warmest Colour: Short Film Collection

Brown Queers Chudala The Fish Curry

BROWN QUEERS by Michelle Williams GAMAKER
CHUDALA by Maaria SAYED
THE FISH CURRY (MAACHER JHOL) by Abhishek VERMA


31 March 2018...

Pulse

Pulse:
Directed by Stevie Cruz-Martin

This is exactly why we need film festivals...to find this kind of film, to find this kind of voice!

It took a while...but, at last, someone had the balls to address the current [often confusing] hot potato: Gender. Whether it be non-binary, gender-fluid, gender-queer, gender non-conforming, transgender, transsexual...Pulse puts its finger on it! And, presses...hard!

There's no pussy-footing around disability, there's no fluffing around trans*issues. Pulse will - indeed - upset many...because, the writer [and star], Daniel Monks speaks a truth...and, it's harsh...there's no hiding behind a politically correct, protective shroud here. This is how he sees it. This is how many see it! Academics have bamboozled us with the whole 'Gender is not biology' thing...it's a bit like LeVay's 'Gay Gene' in the 90s - people [us] cling to anything that gives them [us] legitimacy. We are not freaks. We are prime, healthy and wholesome examples of medical phenomena. And, as for the religious bible-bashing righteous, it's simple: God doesn't make mistakes! Put that in your God-fearing pipes, you can all huff and puff all you want as we celebrate our validity!

Getting back to the film...

Imagine you are a teenage boy with a physical disability and an unrequited [hidden] love for your [straight] best friend...you are given the opportunity to switch bodies...no more disability...and, you can chose your sex [or, it is gender?]! That love could be requited! You choose the opposite to your assigned-at-birth sex, still retaining your assigned-at-birth sexuality. You become a girl with a [gay] boy's mind...or, you remain a [gay] boy trapped inside a girl's body?!? Confusing, isn't it? And, remember...this is a choice! Where there once was a penis...there is no more!

Pulse plays - exquisitely - with both perception and identity. The sustained momentum of the film is staggering...it gets to a point when you think these filmmakers cannot take it any further...yet, they do. I have to live with this for the rest of my life is a line that will resonate, deafen and anger. This is a film that chimes with a chain of challenges...this is a voice that needs to be heard!

Picture This

Picture This:
Directed by Jari Osborne

Here's a film that every able-bodied person needs to see. Andrew Gurza doesn't mince with words...he just gets right on and tells it how it is...to be disabled and gay and sexual.

Indeed, a good documentary should be revelatory...Picture This reveals much...and more, to the point where some will feel less comfortable listening to what Andrew and Stella have to say. Listen and learn! The reality is...people can be cruel. Any film that can bring about a change [in people's preception with regards to disability] is most welcome. Picture This does just that...with straight-talking warmth.

A Home At The End Of The World

A Home at the End of the World:
Directed by Michael Mayer

Gentle, adorable and heart-wrenching.

This was Michael Mayer's debut feature...way back in 2004...heralding the beginning of what seemed to be a glorious cinematic career. Sadly, that didn't happen...nought queerer than the film industry!

Definitely, a film that deserves a re-visit. For those who haven't seen it...see it! A young Colin Farrell uses that boyish charm to perfection...he will make you cry. Such a lovely film.


You Can't Always Get What You Want: Short Film Collection

Marguerite Mine Is Yours Three Centimetres Y Gina Wenzel

MARGUERITE by Marianne FARLEY
MINE IS YOURS by Sam COYLE
THREE CENTIMETRES by Lara ZEIDAN
Y by Gina WENZEL


1 April 2018...

Battle Of The Sexes

Battle of the Sexes:
Directed by Valerie Faris & Jonathan Dayton

Is it a tennis film? Or, is it a Billie-Jean King behind-the-scenes bio-pic sort of film? It's a bit of both...where seriousness gets lost in a pedestrian, more comedic than it should've been, screenplay.

Yes...it is an entertaining and topical film...but, at what expense? The Battle of the Sexes was a media circus helmed by the contemptible, publicity-seeking, money-hungry Bobby Riggs. Steve Carrell's portrayal does him no favours...but, does paint him with a lighter brush than he [possibly] deserved. Emma Stone does a convincing job...in a watered-down, often-distracted, version of events.

If you really want a film that examines sexism and discrimination [in sport], you will have to look a little further...otherwise, as an introduction to this ludicrous event...it serves its purpose.

Gods Own Country

God's Own Country:
Directed by Francis Lee

Yes, yes, yes...we've heard all about this being the British 'Brokeback' - sheep farmers in the wilderness! But, this is so much more! 

It's raw and relatable. It's rural and real. It screams...love can be found in the remotest of places!

Bleak...most definitely. Heart-warming...the cockles of your heart will be on fire! Wanna see chemistry on-screen? This is a reaction like no other!

Mr Lee uses words more sparingly than most [first-feature] directors...the film will leave you speechless...and, if you are a certain age with a surfeit of experience, nostalgia and warmth will spread through your body...as if you are thawing from a winter's chill. Yes, this film resonates. Mr Lee's experience resonates...and, communicates!

Unfortunately, the power of the film will be lost on those it would affect most...racists and homophobes should be forced to sit, watch and learn...about hard work, harsh environments and the great big thumping heart of humanity that prevails.

A deft, detailed, delicious [under-stated] triumph!

Thank you Mr Lee, for communicating.

A Fantastic Woman

A Fantastic Woman / Una Mujer Fantástica:
Directed by Sebastián Lelio

Oscar and Teddy award winner...what is it about A Fantastic Woman that has garnered so much praise and so many accolades? Well, it all depends on how you watch it...differing points-of-view will interpret the film [entirely] differently!

Those expecting a trans-infused, camp-extravaganza are going to be bitterly disappointed! The cynics who will regard it as just another addition to the trans*tsunami that has swept across the film [and television] production boards over the last year or so...probably will say: Told you so!

And then there are those who will play the hot potato of the moment...the political correctness card. Recently, there has been a much [heated] debate on the subject of trans*actors [exlusively] playing trans*characters...a debate that is as damaging to the acting profession as a double-bladed sword in a massacre. It's acting! Whoever takes a role - regardless of their gender identity - needs to deliver a plausible [and compelling] performance...Daniela Vega does just that - regardless of her gender identity - she acts!

You wouldn't expect a [real] serial killer to play a [fictional] serial killer - that's just downright ludicrous! Now, let that debate cease, here and now!

A Fantastic Woman  is about grief. Sebastián Lelio delivers his story with a resolute composure...this composure either makes or breaks the film, depending on your point-of-view. There are no mad histrionics, there are no hysterical outbursts...Marina Vidal is staggeringly polite, simply compliant and systematically stripped of her love...by those who vehemently disapprove of her. This is a Chillean high[ish] society family...scandal will be avoided at all costs.

No denying, it is a hard watch...resisting the urge to scream at the screen, egging Marina on to stop bowing and bending is...an intolerable hardship in itself. Just imagine what she's going through!!! But...will she break, will she blow, will she take what is rightfully hers? Well...you'll just have to watch this fine, fine film to find out!

A film most worthy of all the praise and accolades.

Call Me By Your Name

Call Me by Your Name:
Directed by Luca Guadagnino

This is going to go down like a lead balloon...we didn't hate it, we didn't love it...we [kind of] liked it...with reservations.

The word 'masterpiece' has been bandied about a little too liberally when it comes to Call Me By Your Name...it's not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, in places, it's incredibly scrappy...both in terms of writing and direction.

Nominated for 4 Oscars...all [thoroughly] undeserved.

Timothée Chalamet delivers a competent performance as the awkward, precocious teen...a character who suffers from hypothermia, he is so devoid of warmth...teens are meant to be difficult, that's their fabric. This one...well, let's just say 'detestable' is too strong a word...but, it's going in the right direction.

As for Arnie Hammer - deservedly not nominated - again, gives a competent perfomance replete with bad dancing and soft-boiled eggs...as the teen's preferred 'cherry-picker' [the fruit metaphor is carried tiresomely throughout the film] - or, as many dissenting voices have likened him [his character] to that of a statutory rapist/paedophile...the age of consent, homosexually & heterosexually, in Italy is 14 years old and has been since 1890. So, stick that in your dissenting pipes!

Now...James Ivory has directed some timeless classics: Room with a View, Howards End, The Remains of the Day & Maurice (which he also adapted for the screen). 14 years after his last screenplay, he gives the world this...and, increduously, received the Oscar nod.

Call Me By Your Name has three scenes that should have been deleted and/or re-worked. Two are distinctly directorial and the one Mr Ivory is responsible for is pivotal...and, catastrophic. When the tiresome teen decides to spill the beans about his sexuality...instead of a great out-pouring of emotional sluice as they dither round a monument for fallen soldiers, we get, to paraphrase:

I have something I need to tell you.

I know.

That's it!!! Talk about anticlimactic. However, there is one speech that soars emotionally...near the end, when the tiresome teen's father gives him a few words of advice and imparts a mighty suppressed truth. Truly, heartbreaking!

Luca Guadagnino may have been given the Oscar nod for Best Film...but, not for Best Director. There's a good reason...the film is filled with frilly, mundane irrelevances. In other words, padding. Oh, if your actor doesn't know how to smoke, don't let them smoke. A good 30 minutes could have been cut...if not 40...thus ensuring that the snail's pace would be increased exponentially...making it a better film! Ever heard of: Less is more!

Guadagnino's ideas surrounding...sex and suggestion...are particularly painful to watch. Those boiled eggs! No way of God's hallowed earth are soft-boiled eggs sexual! That ridiculous peach scene - who masturbates with a peach? Ever heard of a melon?!? Pass on the banana!

Once upon a time, when [heterosexual] lovers got down to do the dirty, the direcor cut to crashing waves and swirling surge [or, surging swirls]. Guadagnino has given the world the homosexual equivalent...swaying trees. Yes, when Elio & Oliver finally get down to do the dirty...the camera zooms through the window and settles on some swaying trees! It it wasn't so bad, it would be funny...you can ruffle my foliage anytime!

The Oscar-nominated song...Mystery of Love...a Simon & Garfunkel-ish sounding reject.

All this that has been said...in conclusion, we didn't hate the film, we didn't love it...we [kind of] liked [bits of] it...with a few [massive] reservations. Not the masterpiece that so many have [erroneously] proclaimed it to be!


Sometimes You Get What You Need: Short Film Collection

Elena  Mai Wishin & Hopin

ELENA by Ayerim VILLANUEVA
MAI by Marta GONZÁLEZ
WISHIN’ AND HOPIN’ by Jacqueline PEPALL


A massive thank you to BFI:Flare...for access to an incredible selection of film. And, to all the filmmakers.


Everything we watched...

 Flare18


And, some of the short films...

Flare Shorts

#FiveFilms4Freedom 2018...

Global LGBTQ+ film campaign returns, bringing message of freedom to millions

British Council

#FiveFilms4Freedom, the world’s widest-reaching LGBTQ+ online film campaign, returns for the fourth year running with distinctive voices from around the globe, including a transgender teenager dealing with discrimination and abuse in a Canadian school, gay farmers in the UK, a feisty teenage girl living in India exploring her burgeoning sexuality, a young Korean man who receives an unexpected visit, and a Greek goldfish called Tom Daley.

The British Council, working in partnership with BFI Flare: London LGBTQ+ Film Festival, will make five LGBTQ+ themed short films available for the world to watch online for free, over the twelve days of BFI Flare from 21st March to 1st April. The programme of films, which features work by emerging filmmakers from across the world, has been selected from BFI Flare.

On 26th March, a coordinated effort from the British Council’s global network of over 100 countries stretching from the Americas, China and India to Europe, the Middle East and beyond will encourage people to watch the films in solidarity with LGBTQ+ communities in countries where freedom and equal rights are limited. The campaign will ask audiences to share the films using the hashtag #FiveFilms4Freedom in recognition of the fact that Love is a Human Right. Flare18

In the UK on the same day, MPs will attend a special reception at the Houses of Parliament organised by the British Council, coinciding with similar events being organised at embassies and cultural centres around the world.

To celebrate #FiveFilms4Freedom, BFI Flare and the British Council, in partnership with the UK Government’s GREAT campaign, will project clips from the five films onto the Tower of London on 25th March in a spectacular display to spread the message that Love is a Human Right.

Last year the films were viewed 1.8 million times by people in 202 countries and principalities, including parts of the world where homosexuality is criminalised, and in some cases punishable by the death penalty.

2018 Films

The five short films selected for 2018 include drama and documentary, and shine a light on the experiences of people from different parts of the world, from India to Greece, Canada to South Korea. The films all speak to the idea that Love is a Human Right that everyone should be free to pursue. They are:

GODDESS (India)

Dir. Karishma Dev Dube | 13 minutes

Tara, a feisty teenager, risks both family and tradition as she pursues her attraction towards her housemaid, Devi. When they are caught together at a dinner party, Tara must suddenly define who she really is.

GOLDFISH (Greece)

Dir. Yorgos Angelopoulos | 10 minutes

Stratis’ seventh birthday turns sour when he reveals to his father that he has named his goldfish after Tom Daley.

HANDSOME & MAJESTIC (Canada)

Dir. Jeff Lee Petry and Nathan Drillot | 12 minutes

The story of Milan Halikowski, a young trans boy from the rural city of Prince George, British Columbia. In the face of discrimination from his peers and teachers at school, Milan becomes a role model and an advocate for trans people in his small community and beyond.

LANDLINE (UK)

Dir. Matt Houghton | 11 minutes

A short documentary about the only helpline in the UK for gay farmers. Through recorded telephone conversations and reconstructed visuals, the film uses the helpline as a lens through which to view the often isolated experiences of LGBTQ+ people in the British farming community.

UNINVITED (South Korea)

Dir. Seung Yeob Lee | 20 minutes

Jungho’s mother visits his new place unannounced, and Jungho’s not comfortable with her visit.


The films will be available to view from 00.01 GMT on 21st March on the British Council Arts YouTube channel. Interviews with the filmmakers and a trailer of all the films are available now.

The films will also be available to watch on the BFI Player, as well as select international platforms including Wechat and Tencent in China and JioCinema across India.

Briony Hanson, the British Council’s Director of Film, says: ‘#FiveFilms4Freedom goes to the heart of the British Council’s mission to share stories that transcend country borders and open people’s minds to the experiences and perspectives of others. The selection of films we’re championing in this year’s campaign is truly global and together the films make a compelling case for the fact that love is a human right, no matter how we identify or where we are. We can’t wait to see how audiences across the world respond.’

Michael Blyth, Senior Programmer for BFI Flare, adds: ‘At BFI Flare: London LGBTQ+ Film Festival we strive to provide a platform for filmmakers from all across the globe to tell their stories. We believe in film as an essential tool to open hearts and minds, and to incite social, personal and political change. #FiveFilms4Freedom gives us the chance to share these vital stories with audiences worldwide. These short films may come from five very different perspectives, but all hold the power to enlighten, to provoke and to inspire.’

Matt Houghton, whose film Landline features the stories of gay farmers in the UK, says: ‘From the very start we said to ourselves we don’t want to make a film about an issue – we wanted to make a film which is about people. The aim is that anyone anywhere can watch the film and relate to it because if you can make someone relate to something then you can possibly make them understand it a little bit better and from that understanding, you know, good comes I think.’

Will & Grace...

Will  Grace Renew

Via The Hollywood Reporter...

Will and Grace’s return to TV doesn’t look to be all that temporary. NBC announced Saturday at PaleyFest that it has committed to a third season of the revived sitcom, its 11th season overall. This early order comes before production has even begun on the second season of the popular revival. The second and third seasons of the revival will be for a total of 18 episodes each, up five from this year’s run.

New Avengers: Infinity War Trailer...

An unprecedented cinematic journey ten years in the making and spanning the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” brings to the screen the ultimate, deadliest showdown of all time. The Avengers and their Super Hero allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

In UK Cinemas 26 April 2018

Ready Player One – Dreamer Trailer...

From filmmaker Steven Spielberg comes the science fiction action adventure “Ready Player One,” based on Ernest Cline’s bestseller of the same name, which has become a worldwide phenomenon.

The film is set in 2045, with the world on the brink of chaos and collapse. But the people have found salvation in the OASIS, an expansive virtual reality universe created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance). When Halliday dies, he leaves his immense fortune to the first person to find a digital Easter egg he has hidden somewhere in the OASIS, sparking a contest that grips the entire world. When an unlikely young hero named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) decides to join the contest, he is hurled into a breakneck, reality-bending treasure hunt through a fantastical universe of mystery, discovery and danger.

Three-time Oscar winner Spielberg (“Schindler’s List,” “Saving Private Ryan”) directed the film from a screenplay by Zak Penn and Ernest Cline. “Ready Player One” was produced by Donald De Line, Spielberg, Kristie Macosko Krieger and Dan Farah; with Adam Somner, Daniel Lupi, Chris deFaria and Bruce Berman serving as executive producers.

“Ready Player One” stars Tye Sheridan (“X-Men: Apocalypse,” “Mud”), Olivia Cooke (“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” “Bates Motel”), Ben Mendelsohn (“Rogue One – A Star Wars Story,” “Bloodline”) and T.J. Miller (“Deadpool,” “Silicon Valley”), with Simon Pegg (the “Star Trek” movies, the “Mission: Impossible” movies) and Oscar winner Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies,” “Dunkirk”).

Behind the scenes, Spielberg reunited his creative team from “Bridge of Spies,” including Oscar-winning director of photography Janusz Kaminski (“Schindler’s List,” “Saving Private Ryan”), Oscar-winning production designer Adam Stockhausen (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”), Oscar-winning editor Michael Kahn (“Saving Private Ryan,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark”) and Sarah Broshar (“The Post”), and costume designer Kasia Walicka Maimone (“Moonrise Kingdom”). The music is by Oscar-nominated composer Alan Silvestri (the “Back to the Future” films, “Forrest Gump”).

Warner Bros. Pictures and Amblin Entertainment present, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, an Amblin Production, a De Line Pictures Production, a Steven Spielberg Film, “Ready Player One.”

Slated for release beginning Thursday, March 29, 2018, the film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - Official Teaser Trailer...

But...will Dumbledore emerge from the closet?!?

Don't hold your breath!

Warner Bros. Pictures’ Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is the second of five all new adventures in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World™.

At the end of the first film, the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) was captured by MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America), with the help of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escaped custody and has set about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings.

In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world.

The film features an ensemble cast led by Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, with Jude Law and Johnny Depp. The cast also includes, Zoë Kravitz, Callum Turner, Claudia Kim, William Nadylam, Kevin Guthrie, Carmen Ejogo, and Poppy Corby-Tuech.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is directed by David Yates, from a screenplay by J.K. Rowling. The film is produced by David Heyman, J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves and Lionel Wigram.

In cinemas November 16.

Inside Chechen Prison...

...Where Gay Men Say They Were Tortured

As international attention narrows on the alleged persecution, torture and killing of homosexual men in Chechnya, VICE News Tonight reports from the conservative Muslim republic - meeting Kheda Saratova, a human rights advisor to the Kadyrov regime, and touring the prison allegedly used to detain and abuse the accused.

Tully - Official International Trailer...

A new comedy from Academy Award®-nominated director Jason Reitman (“Up in the Air”) and Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (“Juno”). Marlo (Academy Award® winner Charlize Theron), a mother of three including a newborn, is gifted a night nanny by her brother (Mark Duplass). Hesitant to the extravagance at first, Marlo comes to form a unique bond with the thoughtful, surprising, and sometimes challenging young nanny named Tully (Mackenzie Davis).

Mary Poppins Returns Trailer...

“Mary Poppins Returns” stars: Emily Blunt as the practically-perfect nanny with unique magical skills who can turn any task into an unforgettable, fantastic adventure; Lin-Manuel Miranda as her friend Jack, an optimistic street lamplighter who helps bring light—and life—to the streets of London; Ben Whishaw as Michael Banks; Emily Mortimer as Jane Banks; and Julie Walters as the Banks’ housekeeper Ellen; with Colin Firth as Fidelity Fiduciary Bank’s William Weatherall Wilkins; and Meryl Streep as Mary’s eccentric cousin, Topsy. The film also introduces three new Banks’ children played by Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh and newcomer Joel Dawson. Angela Lansbury appears as the Balloon Lady, a treasured character from the PL Travers books and Dick Van Dyke is Mr. Dawes Jr., the retired chairman of the bank now run by Firth’s character.

The film is directed by Rob Marshall from a screenplay by David Magee and screen story by Magee & Marshall & John DeLuca based upon The Mary Poppins Stories by PL Travers. The producers are Marshall, DeLuca and Marc Platt with Callum McDougall serving as executive producer and the music is by Marc Shaiman with songs by Shaiman and Scott Wittman.

In cinemas: December 2018

Oscar 2018 Nominations & Winners...

Oscars 2018Oscar Nominations 2018: The Complete List

Oscar nominations for the 90th annual awards were announced on Tuesday morning from the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Academy President John Bailey was joined by Tiffany Haddish and Andy Serkis to reveal the nominees in 24 categories.

Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” continued its awards show streak, leading the pack with 13 nominations. Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk,” Martin McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird,” Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me by Your Name,” and Steven Spielberg’s “The Post” also scored nominations.

The Academy Awards — hosted by Jimmy Kimmel for the second time — will air live on ABC on March 4.

Here is the list of 2018 Oscar nominations:

Best Picture:

“Call Me by Your Name”
“Darkest Hour”
“Dunkirk”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Lead Actor:

Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

Lead Actress:

Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”

Supporting Actor:

Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Supporting Actress:

Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”

Director:

“Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“Phantom Thread,” Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro

Animated Feature:

“The Boss Baby”
“The Breadwinner”
“Coco”
“Ferdinand”
“Loving Vincent”

Animated Short:

“Dear Basketball”
“Garden Party”
“Lou”
“Negative Space”
“Revolting Rhymes”

Adapted Screenplay:

“Call Me by Your Name,” James Ivory
“The Disaster Artist,” Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
“Logan,” Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green
“Molly’s Game,” Aaron Sorkin
“Mudbound,” Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

Original Screenplay:

“The Big Sick,” Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Martin McDonagh

Cinematography:

“Blade Runner 2049,” Roger Deakins
“Darkest Hour,” Bruno Delbonnel
“Dunkirk,” Hoyte van Hoytema
“Mudbound,” Rachel Morrison
“The Shape of Water,” Dan Laustsen

Best Documentary Feature:

“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”
“Faces Places”
“Icarus”
“Last Men in Aleppo”
“Strong Island”

Best Documentary Short Subject:

“Edith+Eddie”
“Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405”
“Heroin(e)”
“Knife Skills”
“Traffic Stop”

Best Live Action Short Film:

“DeKalb Elementary”
“The Eleven O’Clock”
“My Nephew Emmett”
“The Silent Child”
“Watu Wote/All of Us”

Best Foreign Language Film:

“A Fantastic Woman” (Chile)
“The Insult” (Lebanon)
“Loveless” (Russia)
“On Body and Soul (Hungary)
“The Square” (Sweden)

Film Editing:

“Baby Driver,” Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss
“Dunkirk,” Lee Smith
“I, Tonya,” Tatiana S. Riegel
“The Shape of Water,” Sidney Wolinsky
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Jon Gregory

Sound Editing:

“Baby Driver,” Julian Slater
“Blade Runner 2049,” Mark Mangini, Theo Green
“Dunkirk,” Alex Gibson, Richard King
“The Shape of Water,” Nathan Robitaille
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Ren Klyce, Matthew Wood

Sound Mixing:

“Baby Driver,” Mary H. Ellis, Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin
“Blade Runner 2049,” Mac Ruth, Ron Bartlett, Doug Hephill
“Dunkirk,” Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo
“The Shape of Water,” Glen Gauthier, Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Stuart Wilson, Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick

Production Design:

“Beauty and the Beast” 
“Blade Runner 2049″
“Darkest Hour”
“Dunkirk”
“The Shape of Water”

Original Score:

“Dunkirk,” Hans Zimmer
“Phantom Thread,” Jonny Greenwood
“The Shape of Water,” Alexandre Desplat
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” John Williams
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Carter Burwell

Original Song:

“Mighty River” from “Mudbound,” Mary J. Blige
“Mystery of Love” from “Call Me by Your Name,” Sufjan Stevens
“Remember Me” from “Coco,” Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez
“Stand Up for Something” from “Marshall,” Diane Warren, Common
“This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman,” Benj Pasek, Justin Paul

Makeup and Hair:

“Darkest Hour,” Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, Lucy Sibbick
“Victoria and Abdul,” Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard
“Wonder,” Arjen Tuiten

Costume Design:

“Beauty and the Beast”
“Darkest Hour
“Phantom Thread”
“The Shape of Water”
“Victoria and Abdul”

Visual Effects:

“Blade Runner 2049,” John Nelson, Paul Lambert, Richard R. Hoover, Gerd Nefzer
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner, Dan Sudick
“Kong: Skull Island,” Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza, Mike Meinardus
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,”  Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Chris Corbould, Neal Scanlon
“War for the Planet of the Apes,” Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett, Joel Whist

The TEDDY Winners 2018...

Teddy AwardThe TEDDY Winners 2018

Best Feature Film

Tinta Bruta
By Marco Reolon, Filipe Matzembacher

Jury Statement:  The TEDDY fiction feature award goes to a movie which beautifully tells the story of a boy reconnecting himself with the real world. In a unique and creative cinematic form, the film captures the fierce strugglebetween fear and desire. Music, lights and colours culminate in a pure expression of the protagonist’s feelings, gradually becoming his means to reconcile body, heart and soul. For its incredible directingachievement and tremendous cast, the TEDDY jury is proud to award Tinta Bruta / Hard Paint by Marcio Reolon and Filipe Matzembacher.

Best Documentary Film

Bixa Travesty (Tranny Fag)
By Claudia Priscilla, Kiko Goifam

Best Short Film

Three Centimetres
By Lara Zeidan

DIE TEDDY Jury Award

Obscuro Barocco
By Evangelia Kranioti

L`Oreal TEDDY Newcomer Award

Retablo
By Alvaro Delgado Aparicio

TEDDY Readers` AWARD powered by Mannschaft Magazin

Las Herederas (The Heiresses)
By Marcelo Martinessi

‘The Good Fight’ Season 2 Trailer...

Dear CBS,

Regional blocking of a trailer is ridiculous...it's only a trailer!!!

Anyway...we found a region-free promo...to whet your appetite!

Season 2 episodes will be released weekly on Sundays on CBS All Access beginning, March 4.

Jeffrey Tambor Speaks Out...

Transparent Tambor

Following his termination from Transparent, Jeffrey Tambor responded...

“I am profoundly disappointed in Amazon’s handling of these false accusations against me. I am even more disappointed in Jill Soloway’s unfair characterization of me as someone who would ever cause harm to any of my fellow cast mates

In our four-year history of working together on this incredible show, these accusations have NEVER been revealed or discussed directly with me or anyone at Amazon. Therefore, I can only surmise that the investigation against me was deeply flawed and biased toward the toxic politicized atmosphere that afflicted our set. As I have consistently stated, I deeply regret if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone and I will continue to vehemently defend myself. I also deeply regret that this ground-breaking show, which changed so many lives, is now in jeopardy. That, to me, is the biggest heartbreak.” – Jeffery Tambor

The #MeToo movement really has to address this whole 'guilty until proven innocent' debacle...accusation are just accusations, not criminal charges!

Think about it...if a false accusation was made against you, how would you feel?

Glasgow Film Festival 2018...

Gff18

Day 1

It’s not! It is! It can’t be. It is! Already?!? Time certainly flies [when you get older]!

Yes...it’s that time of the year...the Glasgow Film Festival has crept up and landed on our doorstep!

But...it’s not raining! It’s not even that cold...give it time...rest assured the weather will not disappoint...and neither will #GFF18, it never does :)

Isle Of Dogs

Isle of Dogs:
Directed by Wes Anderson

Welcome to the wonderful world that is Wes Anderson's imagination...fasten your [cinematic] seatbelts, this is a kaleidoscopic visual and aural [canine] treat. If ever animal activists and/or dog lovers [the world over] were waiting for a film to support their cause...this is it! How can man's best friend be let down by man...left to scavenge and rot on an island of trash?

Well, thankfully...not all men [and, boys] are bad [oooh that's a rather topical statement]...in a world where power [still] corrupts, pooches retain the power to melt hearts...ensuring humanity continues [no less]. Give up on the animals and - eventually - we'll give up on ourselves...or, to be more precise, those less fortunate than those who are prepared to give up [on them]! Isle of Dogs may not be your typical [animated] prima facie political film...it will have your heartstrings a-plucking, have you in stiches...and, have you rooting for the underdog [pun - totally - intended]. Now, doesn't that sound - politically - familiar?!?

Howlingly good and barkingly bleak...just like Bryan Cranston's marvellously-voiced mangy Chief - this film bites [and snaps and kicks] - in all the right places!

What a way to start a festival!


Day 2

Hold on a minute...what's happening?!? The sun is a-shining...it's February, it's Scotland...a lovely walk to the cinema...

Scotty And The Secret HistoryScotty and the Secret History of Hollywood:
Directed by Matt Tyrnauer

Where to start with this one...

You're going to have to [violently] sift the wheat from the chaff...to find any grains of truth in this one! Definitely 'entertaining', explosively 'revelatory', scurrilous in every way - it's like watching a [filmed] X-rated tabloid...dedicated to narcissism and fake news...all rolled into one person: Scotty Bowers.

Now in his 90s, Bowers wrote a book [from where this film hails] about...himself. About how he supplied a 'service' to the Hollywood elite. He was a gas-pumping pimp and prostitute...to the stars! According to Bowers, he bonked everyone who was anyone...or, supplied some-body to someone who could pay $20.

He reveals some pretty big names [those we know of and those we don't] with neither reservation nor shame. In other words, he's 'outing' the dead...again, for money. Old habits don't die!

Handsome as he was, personable as he is...Bowers' 'stories' are corroborated by - who else but - his [aged] ex-employees and a smattering of [aged] clients. His [long-suffering] wife - of three decades plus - merely states that she knows nothing about those days and wants to know nothing...let's hope she doesn't watch the film!!!

This film - really - is an exercise in the freedom of speech...let him say what he wants without challenge. For there is little challenge...a brief segue of a decrying Whoopi & Co...but, it's when Bowers recounts his early years of turning tricks, from aged 11...things get real ugly. Not in the way you would expect! He - quite literally - debunks child abuse! Calling it a nonsense! He sought out his tricks, wanted to trick and [happily] found a steady income with the priesthood. Don't tar everyone with the same brush!

At this point in the film, any warmth you might have felt for this once-personable old man - immediately - evaporates.

Matt Tyrnauer's film is remarkable...in that, Bowers' freedom of speech is what condemns him. Unremarkable, as a portrait of Bowers...we only really get to see what Bowers wants us to see. Even in his dotage, he is an inveterate performer/manipulator who has aged...direspectfully, disgracefully, disloyally, irresponsibly. [Delete those that don't apply]

The gossip-hungry will love it...the more-savvy will abhor it. A film that will elicit many a fraught discussion...in the bar, afterwards...with Gin.

That SummerThat Summer:
Directed by Göran Hugo Olsson

To get the most out of this film, you really ought to watch Grey Gardens - or, at least, know something about Grey Gardens...if you haven't or don't...then, it is a big ask to view That Summer as a standalone film. For sure, this is a companion piece...in fact, this is a prequel to the main event.

If you have had the pleasure of meeting the big and little Edies before...then, there is a veritable treat awaiting you in this film.

Göran Hugo Olsson presents found 'lost footage' of the orginal [erroneously] aborted project...lost for 45 years...and, like all good vintages, vastly improved by time and dust.

Unlike Grey Gardens itself, That Summer is less staged, more intimate, rough & spontaneous. There's a genuine warmth between the filmmakers and the subjects...kith and kin play a big part. Lee Radziwill (Jackie O's sister) enjoyed spending time with her eccentric kin and they, respectfully, enjoyed spending time with her...up until their reunion, not one person had crossed their threshold in 5 years...what did they do with themselves, how did they survive?

The film is awash with waves of nostalgia...the venerated portrait, glimpses of Capote, Warhol, Jackie and the boys...all gone now. Tears.

Like all good documentaries, That Summer leaves you with more food [for thought]than can be consumed in one sitting...the Edies, as always, deliver a sumptuous feast of the bygone.

Thank you for finding this footage.

WonderstruckWonderstruck:
Directed by Todd Haynes

If you can suspend all disbelief...accept the most contrived of coincidences, adore interchanging points-of-view, love parallel cinematic structures and embrace the notion that lightning can cause deafness...then, my babies, you are in for a treat.

Todd Haynes' latest, possibly his bravest...is, perhaps, a step too far. There is so much to admire, production values, performances, cinematography, music. But...the narrative is an out-and-out mess. None too-clever-by half, this is what happens when an author screenplays his own book!

What could have been a great film...wasn't. What should have been a commanding drama...dissipates with directorial frivolities.

All points were - obviously - leading to an emotional, tear-inducing upwelling? Where was it?

Wonderstruck!?! Nope.

The Ballad Of Lefty Brown

The Ballad of Lefty Brown:
Directed by Jared Moshe

Oh dear! What in heaven's name happened?

On paper, why this script got the green-light will remain a mystery: It was the long-haired blonde fella!

On screen, who came up with the idea that Bill Pullman should do Robin Williams...if ever there is to be a Robin Williams bio-pic...Bill Pullman is your man!

In places, the desire to laugh out loud (bearing in mind it is not a comedy) is overwhelming and frightfully difficult to stem! Predictable, often preposterous, totally implausible...all held [loosely] together with unintentional comedy and some dubious performances and accents.


Day 3

Submergence

Submergence:
Directed by Wim Wenders

With Wim Wenders at the helm, two major Hollywood A-listers, a decent budget...what could possibly go wrong?

Well, just about everything! Two parallel stories play out betwixt a love story. McAvoy & Vikander meet, get smitten and declare to each other that they are - respectively - 'in' - all in the space of a couple of days...he goes off to be kidnapped by some nasty Jihadists...and, she goes off to plumb the depths of the ocean...in a yellow submarine.

Obviously, being kidnapped, McAvoy is relieved of his cell-phone. Cue...scene-after-scene of Vikander staring into her communication device and [endlessly] moaning and moping - she does do moping rather well - about the lack of reception and the lack of a single reply to her multitude of texts and messages. He's dumped me. It's more painful to watch than poor James' torture!

When they are together, in all those lovey-dovey scenes [done, obviously, via flashbacks], their conversations are...just plain bizarre. Dignam's writing is...just plain bizarre. As for Wenders' direction...he lost the plot. And, as for the ending...we're glad it happened...although, we had no idea what actually happened!

Thoroughbreds

Thoroughbreds:
Directed by Cory Finley

What nasty, spiteful little fillies they are!

Cory Finley teases the humour out of the macabre...in what can only be called a deft little [ice-cold] chiller. That percussive soundtrack sounds like nails being dragged down a blackboard...cacophonous as it is, it works so well!

Olivia Cook steals the show..with her deadpan delivery...competently supported by each and all. The twists come aplenty...if it were a book, it would be a page-turner. Rest assured, Thoroughbreds will make sure you don't sit comfortably in your chair...especially if you are a parent!

Just one little complaint...without the final [unnecessary] scene, it would have been even more chilling than its hypothermic whole. Less is more. Definitely, an unpleasant delight!

Anyab

Anyab / Fangs:
Directed by Mohammed Shebl

How can you not not go and see an Egyptian,1981, remake/rip-off of Rocky Horror - minus all the sex and drag - it's a no-brainer!

We expected...terrible...and, terrible it was. Truly, truly terrible...but, madly entertaining! The audience were whooping with glee for the first 30 minutes or so...and then, as the story veered from the familiar and plummeted into the depths of monotony, the audience were muted for a while...only to be resurrected when the familiar Rocky-ish themes returned to the screen. The end heralded an enthusiastic applause...not quite sure why!?! Because this travesty had come to an end...or, for a genuine appreciation of something so bad it ought to be applauded!

An un-missable curiosity...a once-in-a-lifetime experience! If you believe that...you'll believe anything!


Day 4

Good Favour

Good Favour:
Directed by Rebecca Daly

Religious fervour is an easy sell...well, maybe not!

But, when a face like Vincent Romeo’s appears on the screen...that sell becomes a whole lot easier. He [as Tom] buys into it – hook, line and sinker – and takes the audience (i.e. me) willingly along with him. Aaah that great power of seduction. That face!

Rebecca Daly provides composure around a tricky subject. Is it cult? Is it conviction? A film that asks more questions than it answers...and, the better for it. Chilling to those who don’t believe, warm to those who do. A beautiful, thoughtful film.

The Breadwinner

The Breadwinner:
Directed by Nora Twomey

An animated feature that will leave you tear-soaked and breathless. Stupefying terror punctuated with morsels of joy and an unimaginable [yet realised] sense of freedom - that’s what The Breadwinner delivers...in abundance.

Be still my breaking heart...here’s a film that will stay with you long after the end credits roll. Oscar nominee...and, in our humble [non-debatable] opinion, the winner.


Dont Talk To Irene

Don't Talk to Irene:
Directed by Pat Mills

 It’s been 3 long years since Pat Mills gave us the rather wonderful Guidance.

Joy-upon-joy, he’s back, back with his sharpened axe and back in high-school...with the adorable Irene...and, Geena Davis!

There’s nothing more enjoyable than spending 90 minutes rooting for the underdog(s) – Irene embraces the names-will-never-hurt-me maxim...to a point!

Young and old, this is a crowd-pleasing, toe-curling, camp-infused, heart-warming little film...with a mighty sting in its tale...bullies beware!

The Partys Just Beginning

The Party’s Just Beginning
Directed by Karen Gillan

It’s a kind of drug-infused, chip-munching, suicidal, promiscuous, gender-confused Groundhog Day!

In other words...too much! And, a tad too repetitive. Karen Gillan – as lovely as she is – writes, directs and is rarely off the screen. In other words...she did too much and she’s in it too much. The central story – the suicide, it’s in the first few minutes so we’re not spoiling anything – gets thrown into the wake of all the chip-munching and bonking.

Yes, she can act...yes, she can write...yes, she can direct...all three together? A bit of the less-is-more approach will definitely benefit future films! And, there will be future films...she has the talent.

A Prayer Before Dawn

A Prayer Before Dawn
Directed by Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire

Drugs and thugs...in the Bangkok Hilton [prison].

Dumb, young and full of rage...Billy Moore, a white Liverpudlian boxer went to Thailand and broke the law. He deserved everything that the judicial system threw at him. After serving his time...he returned and wrote a book...from where this film emerged. You can almost hear the redemptive clatter [of prison bars] cloying at your ears.

What saves this film from being a self-absorbed [and needless] cathartic testimonial is Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire’s direction...indeed, his artistry is the film’s saving grace. Visually driven rather than dialogue-laden, Sauvaire shows rather than tells...let’s face it, who wants to hear a thug’s version of events!?! Without doubt, some 'details' have been omitted, altered, exaggerated or completely made-up...as is the nature of these autobiographical outpourings.

A savage film, filmed beautifully...with an exceptional performance by Joe Cole.


Day 5

Rebel Without A Cause

Rebel Without a Cause:
Directed by Nicholas Ray

A true classic...on the big screen. What a treat!

There's nothing to be said about this film that hasn't been said before...63 years old and still one of the best [if not The Best] teen dramas ever made.

James Dean, Sal Mineo, Natalie Wood...and, of course, Nicholas Ray...thank you.

Beast

Beast:
Directed by Michael Pearce

There are so many 'beasts' in this film...it's hard to count them all!

Geraldine James really is the mother-from-Hell...but, it's not about her! It's about her downtrodden, baggage-laden daughter...and her frowned-upon romance with a rather handsome Jersey rogue. Johnny Flynn does seduction well...the crisp script gives him so much to play with and he excels, cheekily with warmth and humour - no wonder Moll [Jessie Buckley] convincingly falls head-over-heels. This mis-matched pair wrestle their way into avenues of trust and blind allies...hoodwinking each other and everyone else around them.

The twists and turns come aplenty...in this assured debut feature from Michael Pearce...demonstrating with ease [and finesse] what can be done with a tiny budget...when genuine talent is involved.

Lean On Pete

Lean on Pete:
Directed by Andrew Haigh

It's really difficult to imagine...Andrew Haigh has gone from the excruciating Greek Pete to the almost-Disney [minus the expletives] family drama, Lean on Pete, in a matter of 8 years. Once a filmmaker with something to say...now, it would seem, he has lost his voice.

Lean on Pete is not a bad film...it's just a silly film, presented in a [bog-standard] three act structure...boy meets horse, boy runs away with horse, boy loses horse...with the big names being cast aside after Act 1!

Thankfully, Charlie Plummer [as Charley] is so likeable, he single-handedly saves the film...with his gentility and grace, surprising qualites obviously not gleaned from his redneck father. Surely nothing bad can happen to this saddened, system-failed, fine young man?!? Ooooh...the potential to manipulate the audience was there...but, sadly, squandered. There is only one scene that will make you gasp...all the others range from the downright silly to the twee.

It's a family film...with expletives! Ooops.

Marlina The Murderer In Four

Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts:
Directed by Mouly Surya

If ever a film is described as an Indonesian, feminist, satay-western...avoid like the plague!

Mouly Surya certainly knows how to stretch a scene to the limit. This is not a compliment, not by any stretch of the imagination...every single scene is too long...and, [too] many are irrelevant to the central story. Genuine boredom sets in rather rapidly...the urge to scream 'get on with it' is difficult to resist.

As you would expect with a feminist film...most [if not all] of the men are vile and/or stupid. And, duly, from a feminist point-of-view, they get their just desserts. But - c'mon - to think that the audience is going to accept that Marlina carries - on her way to confess - a decapitated head for all the world to see...well, it's just plain stupid!

Monotony and stupidity, two ingredients that every film should avoid. Unfortunately, this film is crammed with both of them!

You Me And Him

You, Me & Him:
Directed by Daisy Aitkens

OMG - a lesbian-themed film without an acoustic guitar in sight! Not even a distant twang!

OMG - a lesbian-themed film that is genuinely funny. What is going on...!?!

Daisy Aitkens...we thank you, from the bottom of our hearts. What a refreshingly lovely little film this is...full of silliness and warmth. It [gently] pokes fun at the stereotypes and clichés that usually litter [mainly American-made] lesbian-themed films. You, Me & Him jogs on at a sprightly pace with laughs aplenty and will, undoubtedly, warm the cockles of your heart. David Tennant...do more comedy! Daisy Aitkens...write and direct more films!

That LGBT sandwich line...genius! A wee comedic gem!

A Fantastic Woman

A Fantastic Woman:
Directed by Sebastián Lelio

Oscar contender and Teddy award winner...what is it about A Fantastic Woman that has garnered so much praise and so many accolades? Well, it all depends on how you watch it...differing points-of-view will interpret the film [entirely] differently!

Those expecting a trans-infused, camp-extravaganza are going to be bitterly disappointed! The cynics who will regard it as just another addition to the trans*tsunami that has swept across the film [and television] production boards over the last year or so...probably will say: Told you so!

And then there are those who will play the hot potato of the moment...the political correctness card. Recently, there has been a much [heated] debate on the subject of trans*actors [exlusively] playing trans*characters...a debate that is as damaging to the acting profession as a double-bladed sword in a massacre. It's acting! Whoever takes a role - regardless of their gender identity - needs to deliver a plausible [and compelling] performance...Daniela Vega does just that - regardless of her gender identity - she acts!

You wouldn't expect a [real] serial killer to play a [fictional] serial killer - that's just downright ludicrous! Now, let that debate cease, here and now!

A Fantastic Woman  is about grief. Sebastián Lelio delivers his story with a resolute composure...this composure either makes or breaks the film, depending on your point-of-view. There are no mad histrionics, there are no hysterical outbursts...Marina Vidal is staggeringly polite, simply compliant and systematically stripped of her love...by those who vehemently disapprove of her. This is a Chillean high[ish] society family...scandal will be avoided at all costs.

No denying, it is a hard watch...resisting the urge to scream at the screen, egging Marina on to stop bowing and bending is...an intolerable hardship in itself. Just imagine what she's going through!!! But...will she break, will she blow, will she take what is rightfully hers? Well...you'll just have to watch this fine, fine film to find out!

A film most worthy of all the praise and accolades.


Day 6

Never Steady Never Still

Never Steady, Never Still:
Directed by Kathleen Hepburn

First and foremost, Shirley Henderson's performance is utterly mesmerising.

Secondly, that said performance deserved [much] better camera-work and a more thought-out narrative.

Imagine you are an 18-year old boy [battling with your sexuality], working on an oil-field in the middle-of-nowhere, leaving behind your [recently] widowed mother - who lives alone, quite literally, in the back-of-beyond - who just happens to be suffering from debillitating, advanced Parkinson's Disease. Any decent child would drop tools, in the blink of an eye, and return back to the family's nest to offer support and care. Nooo, not here! Instead, he keeps on working and has a fleeting same-sex thought in the shower [blink and you'll miss it]...

What could have been a fantastically emotional mother-and-son film - sadly - wasn't. Why couldn't he have just stayed after the funeral? Thereby developing a co-dependent relationship that could have warmed the coldest of hearts...that opportunity was staring you in the face! And yet the director chose to explore other erroneous avenues...what young man [battling with his sexuality] would ask a boyfriended, pregnant, 17 year old girl out? What boyfriended, pregnant, 17 year old girl would accept? The implausibilities are just too much to bear.

Ooooh we so wanted to love this film. Still, that performance makes it worth a watch.

Faces Places

Faces Places:
Directed by JR & Agnès Varda

Charming, utterly charming.

Seriously, whoever came up with the idea of doing this film was [genuinely] inspired. An inter-generational, artistic, roadtrip into France's neglected hinterlands!

JR is charmingly boyish, sweetly cheeky and, above all, respectful of [and to] his companion. She, on the other hand, takes no prisoners...she says what she wants and has little-to-no patience for trifling and dilly-dallying...for, aware as she is, her time is running out. As improbable as it may sound, they make the perfect double act...absolute opposites, in every possible way.

The art is on a grand-scale and is magnificent. Their relationship goes from strength-to-strength...there is a moment when JR reveals just how deep-rooted his affection for Agnes is...it will leave you breathless. What a timeless and optimistic film...a veritable joy!

Lucky

Lucky:
Directed by John Carroll Lynch

Feature film debuts don't come much better than this...nor with such pathos and pedigree. Harry Dean Stanton's final film...he died 2 weeks before its US release...leaving behind a cannon of mighty films...and this...a masterwork of his profession.

Lucky lives alone, never married, ex-Navy, no kids, drinks cocktails and loves Liberace...it doesn't take a super sleuth to detect that Lucky may be in cahoots with Dorothy...although not explicitly said, the evidence is pointing - distinctly - towards Oz!

Harry Dean Stanton takes us on a whistlestop tour of every emotion...when his wizzened face breaks into a smile, when he sings, when he shows his fear and loneliness...when his regrets are plain to see...his audience, like the faithful, go wherever he leads them. Reflections such as these are all too rare in the cinema nowadays.

This is an old-fashioned film about an old-fashioned man...that blossoms with old-fashioned humour and sentiment. Exceptional and un-missable.

Sweet Country

Sweet Country:
Directed by Warwick Thornton

There is much to admire about Sweet Country...performances, cinematography...but, something lets the team down. The script.

If ever a card-carrying liberal were to make a film about the white invading 'settlers' of Australia...then, this is it. A film that prefers to sit on the fence rather than stand on its own two feet...on a particular side. Shame.

The pace is slow and is - intermittently - jolted with flashes of what's to come...bearing in mind that the story is fairly predictable, these 'flashes' do nothing but ruin the film...it's akin to reading the last chapter of a book before starting from the beginning...a very odd decision by the director.

Yes, the racism is abhorrent...but, nowhere near to the extreme that it certainly was [is!]...the injustices against the aboriginal people are well-documented, this film chose a [rare] instance when justice was served appropriately. One day, hopefully, a more damning [and shaming] film will be made...Sweet Country could have been...but, wasn't...it!

120 BPM

120 BPM (Beats Per Minute):
Directed by Robin Campillo

At first, BPM is a torrent of words...said in anger, stained with frustration, wrought from fear...and, pinned down by rage!

Terrifying times...especially when the 'authorities' refused to grasp the gravity of the situation. Or, rather, they chose to downplay the whole crisis...after all, AIDS only affected fags, blacks, junkies and whores!

In 1986, British television viewers heard John Hurt chillingly say: There is now a danger that has become a threat to us all...It is a deadly disease and there is no known cure...Aids. Don't die of ignorance.

Norman [Lord] Fowler (health and social security secretary), Sir Donald Acheson (chief medical officer) and Willie Whitelaw...acted with defiance and determination...running the ad campaign, sending a graphic no-nonsense leaflet to every household in the country, followed by a week of educational programming scheduled at peak time on all four terrestrial channels. The desired effect was almost immediate, people were talking, they knew what was in their midst, what they were up against. Terrifying times, heartbreaking times.

Other countries were slow to follow...or, in truth, blankly refused to follow...after all, AIDS only affected fags, blacks, junkies and whores!

In 1987, Act-up was formed in America...as a direct response to the then president's refusal to act. Ronald Reagan.

In 1989, Act-up was formed in France...as a direct response to the then president's refusal to act. François Mitterrand.

Without Fowler and co's intervention, without Act-up's direct action...many, many more lives would have been needlessly lost.

No matter what you may have thought [or think] about Act-up's highly contentious brand of 'activism' - they, undoubtedly, made a mighty difference. Quite possibly, those of a certain age, reading this, have Act-up [& co] to thank for still being around!

We have to thank them for that fight. We have to thank Robin Campillo for this film. A document from a heartbroken heart. From an angry heart...

At first, BPM is a torrent of words...said in anger, stained with frustration, wrought from fear...and, pinned down by rage!

With considerable skill, step-by-step, those words - slowly - start to disappear. When rivers turn to blood, words have no effect on deafened ears...when death increasingly inches towards you, words are replaced by touch...a much needed and appreciated touch.

From the raging fire that he was...to the dying ember he becomes, Nahuel Perez Biscayart delivers a heart-stopping, totally involving performance, overseen and, with delicacy...directed by Mr Campillo. This is a beautifully designed soundscape of a short life...edited with a daring, draining vitality. Oh, those final moments...that pragmatism. So many deaths, so much love lost...Arnaud Valois' face is testament to that...

Again, Mr Campillo...we thank you...


Day 7

Pin Cushion

Pin Cushion:
Directed by Deborah Haywood

What a kaleidoscopic film this is...colourful, cheerful [to begin with] and then BAM! The rot starts to set in, takes hold and grips like a vice. Make no mistake, this is a hard watch.

Deborah Haywood’s debut feature is an economical stunner. Low on budget, big on everything else.

The cruelty is asphyxiating. School-girls...what vile creatures they can be. Stay-at-home-mums...here, they are savage, rabid dogs would be better neighbours. But they are peripheral...all eyes are on Joanna Scanlan [as she battles the universe] and Lily Newmark [as she flies and falls]. It's a careful unfolding heartbreak...beautifully stylised, raw to the core.

You will remember this film...for a very long time! Indeed.

The Cured

The Cured:
Directed by David Freyne

A couple of years ago the BBC produced In the Flesh – a series about zombies being cured and the subsequent prejudices they faced...by the righteous non-infected.

Well, The Cured is pretty similar in many aspects...with a couple of major differences. Here, the cured zombies remember every horrible thing they did when zombified, 25% of the zombied are immune to the vaccine, these zombies are fast, none of that sluggish nonsense, they whizz all over the place...and, it’s set in Ireland which lends a rather interesting political strand to the proceedings.

It’s a nifty little film...intelligent story, great performances (especially from the little boy) with thrills & chills aplenty. Just one little quibble...the last couple of scenes were unnecessary. There’s nothing quite like walking into the dark...to end a film!!!

My Friend Dahmer

My Friend Dahmer:
Directed by Marc Meyers

Does this film give an insight into the making of a serial killer? No. Not at all. Because...

This is a fiction...with a few grains of truth. Derf Backderf, the writer of this parasitical nonsense, went to school with Dahmer...then capitalised on the [dubious] ‘friendship’ that [supposedly] existed between them. With a friend like him, enemies would become extinct in next to no time.

[Too] much of the film is made-up of a compliant Dahmer being encouraged [by Backderf & Co] to act weird...in their lingo, to spazz out. It - truly - is excruciating to watch.

There’s nothing wrong with the performances, direction nor the production values. As a film, it’s pretty accomplished, albeit it monotonously repetitive. However...it’s the source material and its writer that are problematic...they are just about as toxic as Dahmer became [yes, folks, we don't mince with words].

Backderf and his cohorts were passive [aggressive] bullies...in the right legal hands, a case could be made holding him [and Co] accountable [in part] for Dahmer’s crimes. Backderf has written the evidence himself...now, that would make an interesting film!


Day 8

Michael Inside

Michael Inside:
Directed by Frank Berry

What a shame, a film that deserved a bigger audience...but, alas, due to the mad/bad weather, only a few braved it out to go to the cinema!

Thankfully and unexpectedly, not just a bog-standard prison drama with a young protagonist being bullied and raped in the shower...but, a rather clever look at the ever-increasing circles of criminality.

It has been said over and over again, and yet governments refuse to listen/act...the only thing that custodial sentences teach [especially] the [young] prisoners is how to become a better and/or a more feared criminal. The prison system - the world over - is broken. Rehabilitation can only work if there are the resources [and the will] to rehabilitate. Michael - on the inside - is failed by the system. Michael - on the outside - has been failed by the system.

Yes...it's a bleak film. It makes a powerful point with neither fuss nor unnecessary exaggeration. Dafhyd Flynn delivers a compelling and vulnerable performance...as the young man whose world is turned outside in...aided and abetted by some deft direction. Michael Inside is amassing quite a few awards...it's not difficult to see why. See it!

In The Fade

In the Fade:
Directed by Fatih Akin

Justice and the judicial system...no matter where you are in the world, the law will always be an ass – depending on where you stand...either in the dock or in the public gallery. Whether it be the correct verdict or not...someone is going to be pleased and someone – most definitely - is not. The latter applies to this film.

In the Fade focuses on the criminal ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ standard of proof...and is - sadly – the weakest part of the film. The ‘doubt’ the writer introduces is far too simplistic to be plausible. In law, no matter which country you are in, ‘doubt’ cannot be confused with coincidence – if it is, then no defendant can ever be found guilty!

That said...it is a strong film with a mightily powerful central performance. The ‘taking of the law into your own hands’ is always a crowd-pleaser. Audible gasps and grunts emanated consistently from the audience...especially the ending, perfect!

Non-lawyers will love it, lawyers will be screaming at the screen...


Unfortunately, due to the horrendous weather...these films were cancelled.

The Rider The Guardians How To Talk To Girls At Parties


Day 9

Madame

Madame:
Directed by Amanda Sthers

A frothy French farce...with no froth, no French and plenty of pitiful farce.

Here [the ever-adorable] Toni Collette is just plain vile. Harvey Keitel fares no better. The one saving grace is Rossy de Palma...the big question is: Can she carry a film single-handedly? Not with this contrived script...she's a maid who falls, requitedly, for a millionaire art-dealer who thinks - unbeknown to her - that she's related to Royalty.

It's a 'comedy' about class and [unbridled] snobbery...sadly, it's a little lacking in the laughter department, as for being a satire [it so dearly wanted to be], oh dear...but, it is beautifully photographed!

Pity

Pity:
Directed by Babis Makridis

A Greek New Wave, abursdist, dead-pan, snail-paced, dark comedy...that delves into Munchausen-by-proxy territory...taking it to an absolute extreme!

You really do need to know a little about this film beforehand...otherwise, you won't have a clue what's going on. This man likes to be sad, to be pitied...indeed, he thrives on it. A great idea. However, there are a few problems with the execution...it's a bit repetitive...and, dare we say, monotonous! Such a shame...all it needed was a massive injection of energy to really make it fly off the screen.

It was interesting listening to the audience throughout...there is a moment in the film when 'the man' says his wife [in a coma] had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer...there was a laugh!!! Please, someone explain that one!?! Like most Greek New Wave...you really have to have the acquired taste!


Day 10

High Fantasy

High Fantasy:
Directed by Jenna Cato Bass

In every film festival, there is that one film...the film you want to avoid like the plague...yet have managed – through no fault of your own - to find yourself sitting in the cinema, staring at the screen...with your jaw resting in your lap.

Shot on an i-phone with four [there is a fifth but she comes and goes, in the blink of an eye] drama students [each one vying to upstage the other], improvising with as many expletives as possible. It’s an oral assault. It’s a visual malfunction [except for the drone shots, rather splendid they are]...and just when things couldn’t possibly get worse...they all – inexplicably – swap bodies...changing sex and race...giving these feisty drama students more fodder to spew upon the now beleaguered and bewildered audience.

Unless you have a sack-load of untapped and unimaginable talent, these i-phone films have to stop now. When there’s no skill, neither technical nor artistic, they are - tortuously - too painful to watch...it’s simple, paying audiences deserve and demand better.

The Bookshop

The Bookshop:
Directed by Isabel Coixet

What an odd film this is...everything about it is odd, the acting, the writing, the story...and, it's winning awards by the bucket load! Especially in Spain!

A quintessential English tale...a young widow opens a bookshop in a coastal village...and, all hell breaks loose [not]! And that is the problem with the film...the conflict is played out with polite conversations that are plagued by ludicrous affectations, Bill Nighy and Patricia Clarkson act with both feet firmly planted in the absurd.

This just may well be an unrealistic imagining of small-town English eccentrics by a Spanish director...Brits do have a certain dotty reputation to live up to - not a difficult task when that reputation is aided and abetted by films such as these. 

The Bookshop is whimsical, back-stabbing...and, somewhat, unfullfilling...when you root for the underdog, you do expect that underdog to put up some kind of a fight! Here, there was no fight!

Cold Skin

Cold Skin:
Directed by Xavier Gens

In the [inexplicable] Oscar-winning The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Torro had Sally Hawkins bonk a [man]fish...here, Xavier Gens has Ray Stevenson bonk a [woman]fish...it's all a little too fishy...and, no matter how you look at it, it is bestiality!

Cold Skin won't be winning any Oscars...but, if you can suspend all disbelief throughout [there are a few gigantic plotholes to contend with]...you will be duly rewarded with a thoroughly entertaining, wonderfully photographed, deliciously daft, romp...with a multitude of suicidal creatures from a cold lagoon!


Day 11

The Devil And The Blacksmith

Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil:
Directed by Paul Urkijo Alijo

11am on a cold and snow-covered morning...and, the cinema is absolutely packed with hardcore, hardy FrightFest fanatics!

A strange time in the day for a bit of horror...but, Errementari is so much more! Once you get your head around the fact that it's not taking itself too seriously...the thrill of it all, starts tickiling you in all sorts of unexpected places!

Tongue-in-cheek horror with great big, generous dollops of humour...who would ever have thought that Chick Peas could be funny?!? Well, they are! The cinema was - quite literally - howling with laughter. Genius!

Errementari is a rollercoaster ride that's well-worth the price of the ticket...it's demonic, madcap fun...with surprisingly good production values. You couldn't ask for anything more on a cold and snow-covered morning!

Nico 1988

Nico, 1988:
Directed by Susanna Nicchiarelli

A bio-pic that treads [mostly] on egg shells. In other words, it’s careful and [somewhat, perhaps too] affectionate. Trying desperately not offend Nico’s memory [too much] nor those closest to her, Susanna Nicchiarelli’s portrait is more of an impression [of a drug-addled former beauty-cum-underground superstar] than a warts-and-all, kiss-and-tell, dredge-for-dirt exposé.

Nicchiarelli was a young girl when Nico died...those who were fortunate [or, unfortunate] enough to see Nico perform may not recognise this on-screen depiction nor most of the music [some songs were written especially for the film, what an odd decision to have made]...making it impossible to imagine that this film will win the Nico [that was] any new fans [that are].

She was difficult, her music was difficult...her life was difficult...made so by her outspoken-tongue, her tumultuous superiority-complex and her syringe-grabbing hands. Trine Dyrholm does a remarkable job at bringing [a sense of] Nico back to life...successfully charting a course from the [narcotic] severe to the [prescribed] mellow.

Nico was a heroine of the underground. Some will say...a victim. And, some will remember her with affection as Susanna Nicchiarelli has done...with this memorable impression.

Love Simon

Love, Simon:
Directed by Greg Berlanti

Breathe in. Hold.

An American, high-school, gay-themed, teen dramedy...what could possibly go wrong? Well...potentially, just about everything in this tired-and-tested formulaic genre!!!

Keep holding your breath, babies...because, wait for it, this is an absolute peach of a film...doing the book the justice it deserves [not many films can say that!].

Love, Simon is a modern-day [coerced] ‘coming out’ story...with a villainous teen, a love’s unrequited teen, a [modest] heart-throb and a whole host of potential Romeos, ready to strip away that modesty...oh, and there’s a fierce drama teacher who takes no prisoners!

For those, a little longer-in-the-tooth, ‘coming out’ may appear to be a little easier, less traumatic than yesteryear. How times have changed, they are sure to say...no doubt, for the better. But, for the kid who is standing with his/her hand tightly-gripped on the door-handle, it’s just as terrifying as it ever was! Because...when that door opens, nothing will ever be the same again. But...when the control of that life-changing moment is taken from you, when you are ‘outed’ – thoughts go awry, friends feel betrayed, things get ugly!

It sounds as if Love, Simon has taken a wrong turn...for the worse!!! Hold your horses, don’t throw your toys out of the cradle, keep holding your breath...all is not lost. Tis but a [necessary] hiccup. The writing is as sprightly as the direction...it dwells not on the dark...and, as Simon [good job, Mr Robinson] settles into his new skin...the hunt for his Romeo continues.

Shamelessly manipulative, seamlessly sentimental and so crowd-pleasingly sweet...it’s impossible not to clap, cheer and cry...all at the same time.

Now. Exhale. Wow.


Day 12

Descent Into The Maelstrom

Descent into the Maelstrom:
Directed by Jonathan Sequeira

Think: This is Spinal Tap...without the humour! This is all very serious...

Think: Here’s a bunch of old, back-stabbing farts going on-and-on-and-on about how good they were/are! Narcissistic, grudge-bearing geriatrics who have neither mellowed nor improved [musically] with the passing years. It really is time to pull the plug!

Radio Birdman...not exactly a household name, a group [seemingly] ‘comparable’ to the likes of The Sex Pistols and The Clash – well, their number 1 fan likes to thinks so...in reality, success eluded them and only a few [mostly Australians] appreciated their musical endeavours!

The film is practically longer than their musical output...in other words, this is a long-drawn-out affair, their [many] reincarnations, reformations re-enacted for the benefit of their few living fans. For them [and only them]...their cup will runneth over - with this meticulously compiled biography!

Liquid Truth

Liquid Truth:
Directed by Carolina Jabor

Liquid Truth shows just how ugly and terrifying this digital world has become...we are now a global culture of accusation...that has led us into the minefield of IED-judgment without charge nor trial. A paranoid society where finger-pointing has been replaced by the ever-expansive pulse and vicious onslaught of social media. Fake news, fake accusations...evidence, corroboration – now - seem like distant civilised memories!

This is a mercilessly powerful film. It tries – against the [media-savvy] odds – to present a balanced response to a damning and damaging accusation – man kisses boy! As they say...when the cat is let loose...among the pigeons...!

To watch the destruction of this man is hard. To see the smile wiped off his face, to witness his joie-de-vivre extinguish...hard. Daniel de Oliveira is a charismatic and emotional tour-de-force.

Lucas Paraizo’s screenplay – quite brilliantly – plays with the audience. We see where the accusation spawns from...or, do we? Reaffirming the [legal] value of ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ – Liquid Truth leaves behind an indelible truth...can we ever [really] be sure...but, one thing is for sure, social media cannot be accuser, judge and jury! It seems that boat has sailed!

A hard, thought-pounding, mightily impressive film.

Nae Pasaran

Nae Pasaran!:
Directed by Felipe Bustos Sierra 

What an odd little film to choose to close a film festival...until you see it!

Not a dry eye in the house. Happy tears. What a way to end a festival! Well done Glasgow.

 

 


G18sched

Baftas 2018 Nominations & Winners...

BaftaThe Baftas will take place this year on Sunday, February 18.

For the second year in a row, the ceremony will be held at London's Royal Albert Hall.

Stephen Fry has stepped down from his Bafta hosting duties after 12 years at the helm. Joanna Lumley is set to replace Mr Fry as the host for this year's Baftas, becoming the first female solo host...

The nominations & winners:

Best film

Call Me by Your Name
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Outstanding British film

Darkest Hour
The Death of Stalin
God’s Own Country
Lady Macbeth
Paddington 2
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer

The Ghoul – Gareth Tunley (writer/director/producer), Jack Healy Guttman & Tom Meeten (producers)
I Am Not a Witch – Rungano Nyoni (writer/director), Emily Morgan (Producer)
Jawbone – Johnny Harris (writer/producer), Thomas Napper (director)
Kingdom of Us – Lucy Cohen (director)
Lady Macbeth – Alice Birch (writer), William Oldroyd (director), Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly (producer)

Best film not in the English language

Elle
First They Killed My Father
The Handmaiden
Loveless
The Salesman

Best documentary

City of Ghosts
I Am Not Your Negro
Icarus
An Inconvenient Sequel
Jane

Best animated film

Coco
Loving Vincent
My Life as a Courgette

Best director

Denis Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049
Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape of Water
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best original screenplay

Get Out
I, Tonya
Lady Bird
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best adapted screenplay

Call Me by Your Name
The Death of Stalin
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
Molly’s Game
Paddington 2

Best actress

Annette Bening, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

Best actor

Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Jamie Bell, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name

Best supporting actress

Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Kristin Scott Thomas, Darkest Hour
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Best supporting actor

Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
Hugh Grant, Paddington 2
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best original music

Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water

Best cinematography

Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best editing

Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best production design

Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water

Best costume design

Beauty and the Beast
Darkest Hour
I, Tonya
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water

Best make up & hair

Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
I, Tonya
Victoria & Abdul
Wonder

Best sound

Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Best special visual effects

Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
War for the Planet of the Apes

Best British short animation

Have Heart
Mamoon
Poles Apart

Best British short film

Aamir
Cowboy Dave
A Drowning Man
Work
Wren Boys

EE Rising Star award (voted for by the public)

Daniel Kaluuya
Florence Pugh
Josh O’Connor
Tessa Thompson
Timothée Chalamet

Bafta Fellowship: Ridley Scott

Official Competitive Selection Premio Maguey Over The Rainbow 2018...

PremioThe 33rd Guadalajara International Film Festival (FICG) is pleased to announce the official competitive selection of the seventh edition of Premio Maguey, which showcases the best of LGBT+ cinema in the world.

Fourteen feature-length films will compete for the awards given to the Best Performance, Special Mention, and Best Film, selected by a renowned international jury.

Eleven countries are represented in this competition: Mexico, Spain, Germany, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, United States, France, United Kingdom, Ireland and Portugal.

Premio Maguey is proud to have six films directed by women, as well as four debut features. Ellen Page, Rachel McAdams, Rachel Weisz, Evan Rachel Wood, Margaret Qualley and Melissa Leo star in some of these productions.

The films that make up the Premio Maguey Over The Rainbow official competition selection are:
Al Berto (Portugal),
Alguma Coisa Assim (Brazil/Germany),
Allure (Canada),
Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex Fashion & Disco (United States),
Aos Teus Olhos (Brazil),
Coby (France),
Disobedience (United States/United Kingdom/Ireland),
Los días más oscuros de nosotras (Mexico),
Miss Rosewood (Denmark/United States),
M/M (Germany/Canada),
My Days of Mercy (United States/United Kingdom),
Novitiate (United States),
Tierra Firme (Spain)
Tinta Bruta (Brazil). 

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