cinema

Film review: Armageddon Time

Filmmakers often tell the story of their childhood through their pictures; recent examples of this include Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma and Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast. Acclaimed writer and director James Gray looks back at his own formative years in Armageddon Time, a coming-of-age drama set in Queens, New York City in 1980. The semi-autobiographical plot follows schoolkid Paul (Banks Repeta) who becomes friends with black student Johnny (Jaylin Webb) on his first day of sixth grade, bonding over their fascination with space travel. His mother Esther (Anne Hathaway) and father Irving (Jeremy Strong) struggle to cope with their son’s regular mischievous behaviour, but he always listens to his grandpa Aaron (Anthony Hopkins) who inspires and mentors the youngster, delivering nuggets of wisdom and teaching him about the importance of his family’s Jewish roots.

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cinema

Film review: Tori & Lokita

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have been favourites at Cannes Film Festival for many years and were awarded the special 75th anniversary award for their latest effort. The film, their twelfth collaboration as both writers and directors, is Tori & Lokita, a drama which follows two youngsters seeking asylum in modern-day Belgium. Posing as brother and sister though in fact they are really good friends who met on the boat from Benin, Tori (Pablo Schils) and Lokita (Mbundu Joely) turn to petty crime to make ends meet whilst they wait for their immigration paperwork.

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cinema

Film review: Watcher

Maika Monroe attracted the attention of cinema audiences in 2014 with a double whammy of excellent turns in creepy horror It Follows and neon-synth flick The Guest. Since then, she’s largely been relegated to supporting parts, but returns to centre stage for Watcher, the feature debut of writer and director Chloe Okuno. The psychological thriller follows Julia (Monroe) who moves to Bucharest with her husband Francis (Karl Glusman) when he lands a new job. He speaks the language thanks to his Romanian family roots, but she begins to feel isolated, and is unnerved when she spots a man in the building opposite who appears to be looking into their apartment.

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cinema · LFF22

Film review: The Banshees of Inisherin

 Over a decade on since the trio collaborated on cult classic In Bruges, writer and director Martin McDonagh reunites with actors Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson for his latest black comedy. The Banshees of Inisherin tells the tale of dairy farmer Pádraic (Farrell) and fiddle player Colm (Gleeson) who have an abrupt falling out after years of friendship. Reeling from the news that his old pal doesn’t like him anymore, Pádraic turns to his sister Siobhan (Kerry Condon) and local idiot Dominic (Barry Keoghan) for support. Their row has repercussions across the small rural island where they live, and soon takes a very sinister turn.

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cinema

Film review: Vengeance

 B.J. Novak will be best known to many as Ryan in the American version of The Office, but he has many strings to his bow. As well as being an actor, comedian, TV writer, and children’s book author, he has now written and directed his first feature film. Vengeance is a black comedy thriller which follows New York-based journalist Ben (Novak, casting himself in the leading role), who flies to Texas for a funeral when his ‘girlfriend’ Abilene (Lio Tipton) dies of a suspected drug overdose. Her brother Ty (Boyd Holbrook) suspects foul play and asks for help to avenge her death, which gives Ben an idea for a new true crime podcast series.

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cinema · Interviews · LFF22

Klokkenluider Interview: Neil Maskell – ‘I’m angry, so it’s a way of expressing frustration with my own apathy’.

After an acting career that has spanned almost thirty years, Neil Maskell is finally pursuing his long-time passion to write and direct. His debut feature is black comedy thriller Klokkenluider and centres around a government whistleblower and his wife. Ready to tell their story to the press, they are joined by a pair of eccentric bodyguards to protect from any potential threat. I was fortunate enough to chat with the filmmaker ahead of the film’s premiere at the London Film Festival…

You’ve got a wealth of experience in acting, but this is your first time behind the camera. Have you had the desire to direct for a while, or was there something in particular about this film that meant you needed to give it a go?

Definitely the former. I’ve been really quite desperate to be directing something for a long, long time. I’ve been writing for the last 15 years, trying to get either a TV project or film made. Klokkenluider was actually something I didn’t think would really come to fruition. It’s so fucking weird, you know!? The allusion I keep drawing on is that it was like the car in the garage with an old fella sort of tinkering with it, you know, you never get that thing started again! I really enjoyed working on Klokkenluider so even when I was on another project as an actor or a writer, I was always going back to it because I enjoyed being with the characters. I’d get ideas for it when I was in the supermarket after having not written for weeks and I felt I was always slowly getting somewhere with it. It’s kind of amazing that it ended up being the first thing I’ve directed because it wasn’t what I expected it to be, but I’m really glad that it did end up being that because I’m very proud of the script and felt very close to it as a piece.

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cinema · LFF22

Film review: Klokkenluider

 Known for his menacing portrayals as an actor, Neil Maskell has stepped behind the scenes to write and direct his first feature film. Titled Klokkenluider, which is Dutch for whistleblower, the comedy thriller follows civil servant Ewan (Amit Shah) and his partner Silke (Sura Dohnke) who are sent to a secluded farmhouse in Belgium after the former accidentally uncovers a huge government secret. They await the arrival of a journalist in order to tell their story and are joined by close protection officers Benjamin (Roger Evans) and Kevin (Tom Burke), assigned to provide security from any potential threats of danger or unwanted attention.

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cinema

Film review: Clerks III

Almost thirty years after the seminal original, Kevin Smith brings his layabout trilogy to a close with his latest comedy Clerks III. Back at the Quick Stop convenience store where it all began, Dante (Brian O’Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson) team up with drug-dealing duo Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith) to make their own autobiographical movie, taking them down memory lane and putting their friendship to the ultimate test.

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cinema · EIFF22

Film review: The Forgiven

 John Michael McDonagh is perhaps best known for black comedies set in the sinister, sprawling vistas of Ireland, but he’s arrived in sunnier climes for his latest feature, The Forgiven. Based on the 2012 novel of the same name by Lawrence Osborne, the drama sees functioning alcoholic David (Ralph Fiennes) and his glamourous wife Jo (Jessica Chastain) arrive in Morocco to attend the luxury desert retreat of friends Richard (Matt Smith) and Dally (Caleb Landry Jones) for a weekend fuelled by booze and narcotics. Tragedy strikes whilst on their way to the party, and the couple are soon forced to face the consequences of their actions.

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