In a way RUSH has all the ingredients for why many go to the pictures: Glamour, adrenaline, good-looking protagonists, sex, nudity, thrills and grounding in reality. Forget the TV movies-of-the-week that have come to epitomise director Ron Howard’s career: A BEAUTIFUL MIND, APOLLO 13, CINDERELLA MAN, etc. Here, we have a gripping rivalry, based on a true story, full of banter and incendiary performances – whether smouldering or burning up the screen or both. [To read more, click here.]
The Selfish Giant
There is often talk of national cinematic waves: A happenstance coalescence of talents emerging from a country – France, Germany, South Korea, Romania, etc. Lest us not forget that the United Kingdom, a relatively small isle off the western coast of Europe, is now firing on all cylinders. Doubly impressive, as arts funding crises are frequently hailed. Somehow, eviscerating voices are being heard. The spotlight on disenfranchisement is being turned primarily on their own society’s political and cultural failings:
- Amma Asante pulled no punches in an upsetting and well played look at teenage hopelessness and racism in modern day Wales, in A WAY OF LIFE (2004).
- Paddy Considine also made the transition from acting to director look exertionless in TYRANNOSAUR (2011), a harrowing portrayal of domestic violence and canine intimidation.
- Andrea Arnold in both FISH TANK (2009) and WUTHERING HEIGHTS (2011) adroitly handled youth isolation and neglect and abuse.
- Artist turned filmmaker Steve McQueen blasted into our consciousness, bringing Michael Fassbender with him, in prison protest drama HUNGER (2008).
- Shane Meadows has made a career of chronicling an interloper’s mayhem once they have inserted themselves into a group, from A ROOM FOR ROMEO BRASS (1999) to THIS IS ENGLAND (2006).
- Let us not forget the grand doyens: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh.
[To read more, click here.]
Sunshine on Leith
Actor turned director Dexter Fletcher takes the songs of Scottish pop-folk duo The Proclaimers and turns them into a joyous heartstring pulling musical. Err, say that again?! You read that right. Building on a confident debut, WILD BILL, a pseudo-gangster-western set on a London council estate, Fletcher has grown in leaps and bounds. Out of nowhere he has fashioned a movie that can stand tall next to any of its modern rivals. [To read more, click here.]
The program was named MK-ULTRA.
The results were horrifying.”
The results were horrifying were they? That’s a big statement. The movie kicks off with archive footage, including President Clinton, seguing into found footage, and then abandoning that for handheld camerawork. The mixing it up at first feels uneven, then one is glad formalism is not adhered to. BANSHEE CHAPTER is badly written and acted, and doesn’t always make a lot of sense, but what saves it: Effective tension and scares. Executive produced by actor Zachary Quinto, who oversaw the excellent financial crisis drama MARGIN CALL, and starring THE SILENCE OF THE LAMB’s Ted Levine, there is some pedigree. [To read more, click here.]