cinema

Film review: The Card Counter

Writer and director Paul Schrader has explored masculinity and redemption throughout his career, going way back to when he penned the script for Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver in the 1970s. Revisiting these motifs once again, his latest crime drama The Card Counter treads the complex path of William Tell (Oscar Isaac), a mysterious ex-con who turns to betting after a stretch in prison. On his travels, he takes troubled youngster Cirk (Tye Sheridan) under his wing and when presented with a lucrative opportunity by new friend La Linda (Tiffany Haddish), he embarks on a poker-playing mission in an attempt to atone for his sins.

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cinema

Film review: Dune

Others have tried and failed at successfully adapting Frank Herbert’s acclaimed science fiction novel for the big screen, most notably in 1984 when surrealist filmmaker David Lynch released a version to an almost universally poor reception. However, with impressive genre credits such as Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 to his name already, writer and director Denis Villeneuve has stepped up to the challenge of Dune.

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Interviews · LFF21

Boiling Point Interview: Philip Barantini – ‘I wanted to make the audience the voyeur, and it added an extra layer of tension’.

Filmmaker Philip Barantini combined his experience working in busy kitchens with his time as an actor to craft his latest feature Boiling Point. It’s all shot in one continuous take and centres around a head chef played by Stephen Graham during a hectic evening at a high-end London restaurant. I was fortunate enough to chat with the director about the process of making this ambitious film…

I’m sure this is what everyone is asking about but as if getting a film made wasn’t hard enough in the current climate, you decide to do it in one take. Where did the decision behind this come from and are there any other one-take films that influenced this style choice?

Well, we did a short in the back end of 2018, and we did that all in one take. That was just 20 minutes. I’ve seen Victoria, Russian Ark, and movies like that so I knew it could be done. For me, the reason we did it in one take I think is because I wanted to throw the audience into that perspective of being in a busy restaurant, over that period of time and almost like making the audience the voyeur, and it added that extra layer of tension. I wanted the audience to maybe forget halfway through that it was a one take and be like ‘Oh my god!’ when they realise. Someone said to me the other day, which is the best comment I could ever get, was that they hadn’t realised it was one take and that they’d need to watch it again! 

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cinema · LFF21

Film review: Spencer

Departing from making movies in his native tongue, Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larraín directed his English-language debut five years ago with a Jackie Kennedy biopic, zoning in on the mournful days following the assassination of her husband, JFK. His latest feature Spencer follows another woman married into a hugely powerful family, with the beloved Princess Diana (Kristen Stewart) taking centre stage during a festive break with the Royals. Arriving at Sandringham Estate on Christmas Eve to a frosty reception from eagle-eyed equerry Alistair Gray (Timothy Spall) but greeted with warmth by her dresser and confidante Maggie (Sally Hawkins), she must face up to her failing marriage whilst struggling with an eating disorder.

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cinema · LFF21

Film review: Bull

Writer and director Paul Andrew Williams takes on the classic tale of revenge in his latest feature Bull. Neil Maskell stars as the eponymous protagonist who arrives back in his neighbourhood after ten years away. It is unclear exactly where he’s been for the past decade but there’s no mystery around the reason for his return; to get his own back against those that have wronged him. His unsuspecting targets include his crooked father-in-law Norm (David Hayman), old pal Marco (Jason Milligan) and his ex, Gemma (Lois Brabin-Platt), and he’ll stop at nothing short of total retribution.

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cinema · LFF21

Film review: Boiling Point

It’s no coincidence that the latest feature from actor-turned-director Philip Barantini shares its name with a documentary mini-series fronted by potty mouthed cook Gordon Ramsay. Developed from a short version from a couple of years ago, Boiling Point unfolds across an incredibly hectic evening at a high-end London eatery, centring around head chef Andy (Stephen Graham) who’s taken his desperate personal problems into the workplace. Between an inspection from food hygiene jobsworth Mr Lovejoy (Thomas Coombes), a surprise visit from pompous former employer Alastair (Jason Flemyng), and other unexpected challenges, the increasing stress of the occasion begins to weigh down on him.

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cinema · LFF21

Film review: Cop Secret

 It’s the norm for footballers to move onto careers in coaching or punditry when they hang up their boots, but for Icelandic national goalkeeper Hannes Þór Halldórsson, he’s chosen a very different path. After dabbling in filmmaking previously with work on commercials, music videos, and a spot of editing, he has now written and directed his debut feature. Cop Secret is an action comedy that centres around policeman Bússi (Auðunn Blöndal) who is forced to team up with new partner Hörður (Egill Einarsson) when his colleague Klemenz (Sverrir Þór Sverrisson) is injured in the line of duty. A series of heists orchestrated by mastermind Rikki Ferrari (Björn Hlynur Haraldsson) attract the attention of the authorities, but as well as fighting crime, Bússi also faces an internal struggle with his sexuality.

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cinema

Film review: No Time to Die

After a switch in director, a script revamp, and a global pandemic which thrust its release into jeopardy, No Time to Die has finally landed in cinemas. It’s directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga and marks the fifth and final outing for Daniel Craig as the iconic secret agent James Bond.

Picking up from where 2015’s Spectre left off, Bond is enjoying retirement in Italy with Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) when he is ambushed by a gang of assassins, which leads him to fear that he’s been betrayed by his girlfriend. We’re then taken five years later to London, where an MI6 laboratory is targeted in an attack, and scientist Valdo Obruchev (David Dencik) is kidnapped. He is forced to co-operate with terrorist Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek) to help create a new bioweapon which, in the wrong hands, could be used to spread a deadly virus across the world.

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cinema · DVD & Digital

Film review: The Green Knight

With visionary tales of western love, animated dragons, and supernatural presences to his name, the eclecticism of writer and director David Lowery’s work reflects the expansive nature of his imagination. His latest feature is medieval fantasy epic The Green Knight, adapted from a 14th century poem of chivalric romance, and it could be his most imaginative to date.

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cinema

Film review: The Many Saints of Newark

Before iconic mobster drama The Sopranos altered the landscape of television forever, the writer David Chase, whilst waiting for the show to be picked up, actually considered developing the pilot into a feature to pursue his dream of becoming a film director. Thankfully, HBO eventually greenlit the series and the rest is history. Over twenty years later, the show creator has revisited the New Jersey mob for prequel movie The Many Saints of Newark. Directed by Alan Taylor, who worked regularly on the series, the plot follows gangster Dickie Moltisanti, a soldier of ‘Johnny Boy’ Soprano (Jon Bernthal) within the DiMeo crime family. Set against the backdrop of the 1967 race riots, tensions are running high between Dickie and his former street enforcer Harold (Leslie Odom Jr.), leading to a brutal feud that would divide the communities in the city.

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