EIFF 2018 Review: ‘Piercing’ is Fifty Shades of Grey for Sadists

Have you ever planned out a conversation in your head, just for it to go completely off the rails when it happens? No matter how terrible things have gone for you, Reed (Christopher Abbott) probably has it worse. Instead of a conversation, he has a murder mapped out. With all intricately designed plans, one wrong step can be the catalyst for catastrophe, and in Piercing, that catalyst is prostitute-turned-victim Jackie (Mia Wasikowska) who instigates a blood-splattered catastrophe with equal amounts of stabbing and sexual tension. A psychosexual romp gone wrong (or right depending on how kinky you are), Nicolas Pesce’s follow-up to The Eyes of My Mother is a bold leap from his haunting debut that doesn’t quite stick the landing.

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Mia Wasikowska and Christopher Abbott in ‘Piercing’

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EIFF 2018 Review: John Cho is ‘Searching’ for Answers in the Macbook-set Mystery

Though Searching is thrillingly innovative with the way it uses the computer screen as a storytelling device, it cannot claim to be the first. That title goes to the horror film Unfriended (and by association its sequel coming next month). Perhaps no movie gimmick has earned more scoffs than the one Unfriended started. Imagine the grumbles of retrograde purists everywhere: kids these days are addicted to their computers, and now it has infiltrated into our cinemas yadda yadda yadda. While the computer screen format grew thin for producing jump scares, it may have found its niche in Searching as a tool for investigation.

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John Cho in ‘Searching’ © Sony Pictures

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Edinburgh International Film Festival Preview

EIFF may not be the biggest event on everyone’s calendars but it’s the world’s longest continually-running film festival. For the next 2 weeks, Scotland’s capital will play host to British world premieres, festival circuit favourites, and plenty of smaller films looking to find distribution. Two of our writers, Iana and Hannah, are attending this year and highlight a few of the films they are excited to see from this year’s eclectic programme.

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Much Ado’s Best Films of 2018 (So Far)

We may only be halfway through the year, but there have already been plenty of great movies to sink our teeth into. From slow-burn indie darlings to crowd-pleasing blockbusters, the past six months have provided something for all tastes, proving that we don’t have to be mid-awards season to experience great cinema. Check out the following 15 films that we think are the best of the best:

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Sundance London 2018 Review: ‘An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn’ is a Waste of its Talented Cast

I will admit that I haven’t seen Jim Hosking’s previous Sundance venture The Greasy Strangler—a grotesque exercise in trying to annoy as many people as possible. After speaking with others at my screening who had seen The Greasy Strangler, it was evident that no one particularly liked it. So why were we here, seated for his sophomore feature? Morbid curiosity perhaps?

Credit should be given where it’s due, there are few directors with as a vision as singular as Hosking, a style that’s about as anti-Hollywood as it can get. Will he be able to retain his signature idiosyncratic style with top-tier comedic actors like Aubrey Plaza, Craig Robinson, and Jemaine Clement on board? To answer that question: yes he can, for better or for worse. Fans of The Greasy Strangler will revel in this offbeat trip. To everyone else, I recommend you don’t waste your time.

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Aubrey Plaza in ‘An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn’ © Universal Pictures

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Sundance London 2018 Review: ‘Skate Kitchen’ is a Vibrant Portrait of Female Friendship

Crystal Moselle’s previous film, the documentary The Wolfpack, chronicled the lives of a group of cinephile brothers who were confined to their Manhattan apartment for 14 years. Skate Kitchen, Moselle’s narrative feature debut, brings another slice of New York’s bustling culture to the big screen: the eponymous all-girl skate group. Moselle met several members of Skate Kitchen by chance on the subway in 2015, and the film marks their second collaboration after a Venice-bound short film. The film is like a narrative-documentary hybrid as she enlists the group to play fictionalised versions of themselves; a modern cinéma vérité. It’s evident how much she admires the skaters, as Skate Kitchen blossoms into a feisty coming-of-age tale about the enduring power of female friendship in the search for identity.

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Sundance London 2018 Review: ‘Never Goin’ Back’ is a Fun, Raunchy Tale of Teenage Rebellion

It’s a common tradition in the all-girl sleepover to lie down, stare blankly at the ceiling, and talk about the future. It’s a utopian view of the future, of course, in which you have your dream job, a giant house, and you can go on those luxury vacations usually reserved for celebrities and millionaires. Texas BFFs Angela (Maia Mitchell) and Jessie (Cami Morrone) have dreams of their own: waste time away on the beach at Galveston. That all seems rather quaint, but for high school dropouts living paycheck-to-paycheck waiting tables at a diner—a little getaway means a lot.

 

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Maia Mitchell and Cami Morrone in ‘Never Goin’ Back’ © A24

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