cinema · EIFF21

Film review: Annette

The artistic style of French critic turned director Leos Carax has divided audiences for a while, the most notable example being his 2012 fantasy effort Holy Motors which was hailed a masterpiece by some but left others bewildered by the acclaim. His latest piece is romantic musical drama Annette, marking his English-language debut and with a screenplay penned by musicians Ron and Russell Mael, the idiosyncratic brothers behind the band Sparks. The bizarre plot follows comedian Henry (Adam Driver) and opera singer Ann (Marion Cotillard) as they begin a very public courtship. However, when they marry and have their daughter, the eponymous Annette, their relationship soon hits the rocks.

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cinema · EIFF21

Film review: The Night House

Of all the genres of cinema, horror arguably contains the most trademarks and tropes, whether it’s basement-based jump scares or a hapless prey running from an attacker in the woods, only to inevitably trip and fall. In his latest effort, director David Bruckner subverts the expectations of the haunted house movie whilst playfully pandering to cliché. 

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cinema

Film review: Censor

Writer and director Prano Bailey-Bond plunges into the wacky world of video nasties for her feature debut Censor. Penned with her regular co-writer Anthony Fletcher, the psychological horror centres around Enid (Niamh Algar), a reticent film censor who spots something in a movie which triggers dark memories from her childhood. The shocking discovery prompts her to dig deeper into the works of controversial filmmaker Frederick North (Adrian Schiller) and his creepy producer Doug (Michael Smiley) as she becomes increasingly obsessed with the mystery surrounding her younger sister’s strange disappearance.

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cinema

Film review: Zola

It’s the norm for screenplays to be adapted from novels, plays, short stories, and other mediums, but writer and director Janicza Bravo has broken new ground by developing her latest picture from a series of tweets. The 148-tweet thread in question was posted in 2015 by Aziah “Zola” King and went viral, starting with now meme-famous line ‘Y’all wanna hear a story about why me and this bitch here fell out? It’s kind of long but full of suspense’. If you haven’t already read the now-deleted chain of events, the black comedy plot follows the titular Zola (Taylour Paige) who works as a waitress and part-time stripper. One day, she serves sex worker Stefani (Riley Keough) who invites her on a wild weekend of ‘dancing’. A little reluctantly and rather naively, she takes her up on the offer, joining her, her gormless boyfriend Derrek (Nicholas Braun), and her apparent roommate who goes only by the name X (Colman Domingo) on a tempestuous road trip to Tampa Bay, Florida.

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cinema · DVD & Digital

Film review: Settlers

Writer and director Wyatt Rockefeller boldly embarks onto the Martian frontier for his feature debut Settlers, a dystopian sci-fi western. The plot centres around parents Reza (Jonny Lee Miller) and Ilsa (Sofia Boutella) as they seek refuge whilst striving to build a prosperous life for their young daughter Remmy (Brooklynn Prince). When their home is threatened by the mysterious Jerry (Ismael Cruz Cordova), the family face a desperate battle for survival.

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DVD & Digital · Interviews

Settlers Interview: Wyatt Rockefeller – ‘Film is an emotional medium. Audiences don’t see something unless they feel it’.

Set on an evolving Martian frontier in an unknown future, sci-fi drama Settlers centres around a family’s battle for survival. As parents Reza (Jonny Lee Miller) and Ilsa (Sofia Boutella) try to build a life for their daughter Remmy (Brooklynn Prince), their home is threatened by mysterious stranger Jerry (Ismael Cruz Cordova) who is looking for answers. I took the opportunity to sit down with the writer and director Wyatt Rockefeller to chat about his striking debut…

You’ve had quite the journey to finally making your first feature, after lots of shorts, commercials, and docs and a break for politics too. What was it about Settlers that made you take the plunge?

 Well, when I first had the idea for Settlers, I was actually working on another feature to come off the heels of one of my shorts. I had the spark of an idea and then it all came really quickly. It hit me at a gut level which is a good sign! I mentioned it to a few producers including my wife who’s actually one of the producers on this, and the story really told itself. Within 15 minutes, I had the plot in my head right up until Jerry puts the gun on the table.

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DVD & Digital

Film review: The Birthday Cake

An amazing ensemble cast has come together for gangster drama The Birthday Cake, the directorial debut of Jimmy Giannopoulos. The contained ‘day in the life’ plot centres around Gio (Shiloh Fernandez), the youngest footsoldier of an Italian American organised crime family who, as a tradition, continue to celebrate the birthday of their late patriarch. To mark the tenth anniversary of his passing, an extra special gathering is arranged, and Gio’s mother Sofia (Lorraine Bracco) assigns him the task of delivering the cake. He arrives to a warm reception from Angelo (Val Kilmer), Joey (John Magaro), Vito (Vincent Pastore), Ricardo (William Fichtner), and more. However, when it transpires that Leo (Emory Cohen) is missing, a chain of events is set in motion that reveal a dark secret from his past.

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DVD & Digital

Film review: Giddy Stratospheres

We’re transported back to the indie era of one-pound pints, sweaty walls, and those coloured framed sunglasses that everyone wore to nightclubs for Giddy Stratospheres, the debut of musician, model, and actress turned filmmaker Laura Jean Marsh. As well as writing and directing the piece, Marsh plays the lead role of Lara; an art-school scenester whose party lifestyle begins to catch up with her. Reeling after a boozy night out with her best pal Daniel (Jamal Franklin), she is called away to a family funeral where she is forced to face up to her mounting problems.

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