In 2018, legendary football manager Sir Alex Ferguson suffered a brain haemorrhage which left him fearing that he would lose his memory. Whilst in recovery, he began telling stories of his past to prove to himself and his family that he could. His son, Jason Ferguson, used this as an opportunity to craft documentary film Never Give In, which charts the illustrious life and times of his father.Continue reading “Film review: Sir Alex Ferguson: Never Give In”
Kirk Caouette has a wealth of film industry experience in a multitude of roles, most notably as a stuntman and fight choreographer. With hitman drama American Badger, he writes, directs, and takes on the leading role, playing ruthless gun-for-hire Dean. When he is assigned the task of befriending call girl Velvet (Andrea Stefancikova) and then subsequently ordered to take her out, he is faced with a dilemma that challenges his immoral attitude.Continue reading “Film review: American Badger”
Police corruption stories have emerged as their own sub-genre of crime films of late, and due to the actions which reignited the Black Lives Matter movement last year, these reactionary tales are unlikely to stop anytime soon. The writer-director duo Frederik Louis Hviid and Anders Ølholm join forces to address some of these societal issues in Danish drama Shorta, a common Arabic word for police.Continue reading “Film review: Shorta”
The directorial debut of Ryan Andrew Hooper has its premiere at Glasgow Film Festival. A comedy Western set in Pembrokeshire, The Toll tells the story of an unnamed toll booth operator played by Michael Smiley, and about what happens when his dark past catches up with him. I was fortunate enough to chat with Ryan about the film ahead of its release…
I see you have directed The Toll previously as a short film titled Ambition. How closely linked are the two and were there any major changes to the story for the feature-length version?
In terms of that, it was actually written as a feature before it was a short. We came up with the idea and the writer (Matt Redd) and I had this strategy around a short film scheme in Wales called The Beacons. We decided to make the short in order to apply to Cinematic for funding to make the feature! We ended up making a short that was nothing like The Toll. We had different actors, a different toll booth, and there was some magic realism in it.Continue reading “The Toll Interview: Ryan Andrew Hooper – ‘Smiley’s timing equates as well to drama as it does to comedy’.”
“The expert in battle moves his enemies but is not moved by them” is just one of the phrases slightly misquoted by the stationary anti-hero in black comedy The Toll, the first time feature from director Ryan Andrew Hooper. An extension of his 2019 short film Ambition, the crime caper centres around an unnamed toll-booth operator (Michael Smiley) who appears to enjoy the simple things in life. His peace is shattered by various incidents occurring in and around the nearby small Welsh town, meanwhile traffic cop turned detective Catrin (Annes Elwy) is looking for answers.Continue reading “Film review: The Toll”
The US government’s forceful methods are called into question in Kevin Macdonald’s legal drama The Mauritanian, which tells the incredible true story of a suspected terrorist’s detainment at Guantanamo Bay. Based on the protagonist’s bestselling book, we see Mohamedou Ould Salahi (Tahar Rahim) imprisoned due to information suggesting his involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Still protesting his innocence three years after his arrest, he is represented by defence attorney Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) and her associate Teri (Shailene Woodley), while the military lawyer Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch) heads up the prosecution.Continue reading “Film review: The Mauritanian”
A filmmaker suffers from writer’s block in jet-black comedy drama Black Bear, the latest effort from Lawrence Michael Levine. The initial plot sees struggling artist Allison (Aubrey Plaza) head to a rural retreat seeking inspiration for her next feature. She is entertained by expectant couple Gabe (Christopher Abbott) and Blair (Sarah Gadon) who own the lake house and after a few bottles of wine, the evening takes an unexpected turn.Continue reading “Film review: Black Bear”
Premises don’t come weirder or more wonderful than with the feature debut by writer and director Zoé Wittock. Jumbo is a fantasy drama which follows painfully shy Jeanne (Noémie Merlant) as she returns to her summer job at a local amusement park. Still living with her supportive, if a little overbearing, mother Margarette (Emmanuelle Bercot), she struggles with social interactions, but when a new fairground ride opens at her work, her fascination with attractions develops into something more romantic.Continue reading “Film review: Jumbo”
Having worked together many times before, writer and director Anders Thomas Jensen and actor Mads Mikkelsen come together in collaboration again for revenge comedy Riders of Justice. Disaster strikes on a commuter train in the opening act, leaving maths nerd Otto (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) analysing the algorithms of his lucky escape as troubled soldier Markus (Mikkelsen) returns from war to support his teenage daughter Mathilde (Andrea Heick Gadeberg). When a conspiracy suggests the explosion was caused by a local biker gang known as the Riders of Justice, a violent plan for retribution ensues.
Writer and director Lee Isaac Chung revisits his childhood in semi-autobiographical drama Minari. The narrative follows Korean-American couple Jacob (Steven Yeun) and Monica (Han Ye-ri) and their children Anne (Noel Kate Cho) and David (Alan Kim), who move to rural Arkansas to build a new life on a farm. With a lot to learn about the agricultural business, the challenges they face begin to put financial and emotional strain on their close-knit family.Continue reading “Film review: Minari”