“You’re just a piece of meat to them,” Eamon McCarthy (Richard Dormer)
Imagine a British APOCALYPTO, set in Northern Ireland, during the 1970s. ’71 is a small-scale, yet more tense BLACK HAWK DOWN. Positioning an action-thriller during the Troubles might have been tasteless in the wrong hands, but writer Gregory Burke, director Yann Demange and cast/crew concoct a story that traverses a political knife-edge without taking sides; and actually offers a fascinatingly bleak take on that civil unrest. [To read more, click here.]
What We Do In the Shadows
Asked why vampires like drinking virgins' blood, Vladislav (Jemaine Clement) deadpan replies, "Would you eat a sandwich someone had f*cked?"
The New Zealand Documentary Board crew were granted protection while filming a vampire coven situated in a Wellington suburb. And by coven: A house share of four dorky ancient bloodsuckers. Our initial guide is Viago (Taika Waititi – also co-writer/director with Clement), a 379-year old, ladling on a thick pseudo-German accent. The documentary team, who the audience don’t see (this isn’t a Michael Moore/Nick Broomfield style film), is there to cover “The Unholy Masquerade” ball, where a secret society of the undead meets only every few years. In the lead up to the event, we get to know (and grow to love) these vamp subjects. What a hilarious mockumentary, from three quarters of the FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS team! (Bret McKenzie must have been busy with MUPPETS MOST WANTED.) [To read more, click here.]
“I was afraid to say yes, and said yes,” Jerry Hickfang (Ryan Reynolds)
Russians used to be cast as the baddies, then the British. Lazy cinema loves a shorthand. Mental illness, especially schizophrenia, is still a go-too modus operandi for unimaginative, insensitive filmmakers. One can forgive the use in pioneering fare like PSYCHO or FIGHT CLUB, but the likes of De Palma’s DRESSED TO KILL and RAISING CAIN and many others have the whiff of dubiousness. In KUMIKO, THE TREASURE HUNTER, apparent clinical depression is an excuse for a quirky mini-adventure. Beyond race, gender and sexual orientation, disability is the next frontier for enlightenment. As much as THE VOICES has charisma to spare, the portrayal of someone charmingly disturbed, as the motivator for comedy homicide, is misguided at worst, a bit tired at best. [To read more, click here.]