Glasgow Film Festival ’18: ‘Isle of Dogs’ is an ineffable treat with bite

“you say isle of dogs we hear i love dogs” reads a tweet from the official Isle of Dogs account. Naturally, I repeated it over and over again — Isle of Dogs, I love dogs, Isle of Dogs, I love dogs. Wes Anderson’s latest is a touching love letter to our canine companions. It’s replete with the signature touches we know and love (or hate), a style that has been parodied a countless number of times. The delectable animation on display here is no gimmick though — Anderson imbues his film with a warmth and sincerity that affirms that his style can coexist with substance, with the breezy confidence of an auteur in full command of his craft.

In the fictional Japanese city of Megasaki, mayor Kobayashi has banished every dog to Trash Island — the titular Isle — to curb the spread of “dog flu” and “canine fever”. One of these dogs is Spots, the former bodyguard dog of the mayor’s orphaned nephew Atari, and the subject of a desperate search that is the heart of this story. Back in Megasaki, group of teenage activists attempt to rise against the corrupt government and find a cure for the dog flu. Isle of Dogs is thrilling and charming in equal measure — I even found myself tearing up a few times, but if the sight of a dog crying doesn’t make you feel anything then you definitely don’t have a heart.  

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Loveless Review: Andrey Zvyagintsev is the modern master of making Russia look depressing as hell

As much as we bicker with our parents, it’s safe to say that no child ever wants to feel like they’re not wanted. Unfortunately, poor little Alexey is the biggest loser of the parental lottery. His parents are going through a divorce so brutal, it makes you question why they even got married in the first place; they have both found new partners and it’s clear from observing their separate lives that their son doesn’t fit into the equation. One night they argue over who should take custody — neither of them wanting to carry what they consider a burden. A shot tracks the mother, Zhenya, as she leaves the bathroom and slams the living room door to reveal a devastated Alexey hiding behind it — his face projecting horror and overwhelming sadness. It is perhaps the most powerful shot in a film full of them. Any cliched metaphor can be applied — a stab in the heart, a punch in the gut — from there, I understood that this was going to be a rough ride, though I was never expecting it to be easy.

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Much Ado About Cinema’s Oscar Predictions

After months of a less than fruitful awards season, the beginning of the home stretch is finally upon us: Oscar nominations are announced tomorrow. With our varied taste at Much Ado, some of us have celebrated as their favourite films win big at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards and SAG Awards, while others have suffered as their favourites get paid dust. It’s been a tumultuous couple of months, but now it’s time to honour the grand old tradition of making predictions. Without further ado, we present our Oscar predictions, along with some films and performances that we think deserve more awards attention.

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Sundance Preview — 10 Films to Look Out for from Park City

We at Much Ado About Cinema are unfortunately not attending the Sundance Film Festival, but I can attest from years of experience that there is another way of immersing yourself in all things Sundance without stepping onto the chilly streets of Park City. Learning the schedule like the back of your hand; obsessively refreshing your Twitter feed; jumping on the hype-train for films you haven’t even seen — this is all familiar territory for anyone who is well-versed in the Sundance-away-from-Sundance experience. To bring you your first dose of Sundance FOMO, I present 10 films in the Sundance lineup that I’m dying to read the reviews for — then wait 6 to 12 months to actually see:

(I’ve tried to include a broad range of films from different strands, but I have notably left out documentaries, only because there are so many interesting films to choose from that it would make this list too long.)

 

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The Universal Relatability of Lady Bird

Read any review, tweet, or basically any form of writing about ‘Lady Bird’ and you’ll likely find a line like: “I feel like Greta Gerwig wrote ‘Lady Bird’ for me” or “It was like the pages of my teenage diary had come to life”. Greta Gerwig’s beautiful debut is a singular experience for any woman because it feels like you are reliving your senior year of high school all over again. This can all be attributed to the fact that this hasn’t been written by a man trying to score a paycheck, but a woman who has lived through this herself.

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Black Mirror Review: Crocodile – A Chaotic Nordic Noir

The relationship between technology and memory is not a new concept to ‘Black Mirror’. Back in season one, the triumphant ‘The Entire History of You’ examined how sharing our memories can cause the disintegration of a marriage. In that episode, memories were stored on devices and could be projected for everyone to see. This drives the protagonist to extreme measures to find the truth after falling into a deep paranoia when he suspects his wife of cheating  — the ability to access memories only increases his paranoia tenfold. In this imagined dystopia, secrets are impossible to keep, and everyone feels some sort of entitlement to know what people are hiding — even when the truth hurts.

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Films That Made Us Happy In 2017: Jane

As Much Ado team, we’re starting a new writing series called “Films That Made Us Happy in 2017” in which each writer of our blog will write a personal essay on a film that made them happy, joyful, cheerful and all. It might be their favourite or least favourite, or neither. Our aim with this series is to highlight an aspect of cinema that is as important today as the times when cinema first entered people’s lives, that tingling feeling and the smile we have when we leave the theatre. Hope you enjoy our new series! -Dilara Elbir

When I was thinking about what movie I could talk about for this series, my mind went to various places. ‘Call Me By Your Name’ is my favourite movie of the year and anyone who knows me knows I can’t go a day without gushing about how much I love it; Films like ‘Baby Driver’, ‘Free Fire’ and ‘Logan Lucky’ are an absolute blast and had me in stitches from laughter from start to end; I have such a deep personal connection to ‘Columbus’ because Casey feels like a reflection of myself. But there was one film that unexpectedly put me through every emotion on the palette, that made me feel like I had lived an entire life in 90 minutes, that gave me a greater appreciation of life by the time the credits rolled – that film is ‘Jane’.

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