October Film Preview

By Orla Smith

This time of year is always by favourite cinematically, especially following a summer as devoid of highlights as the one we just experienced. September was a bit of a warm up, and not without its gems, but October is the beginning of the period of a few months in which we receive some of the films that this year might be remembered for. It’s also the month when Netflix’s original film game might start to really pick up, given the huge bulk of content they’ve got ready for us over the next few weeks. There’s plenty to look forward to, so much so that I had to leave out some other UK October releases I’m also very pumped to see, films such as ‘Doctor Strange’, ‘The 13th’, ‘The Girl On the Train’, ‘Into the Inferno’ and ‘I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives In the House’, amongst others.

‘The Girl With All the Gifts’ is a Fresh Take On Zombies That Saves the Best For Last: Review

‘Peaky Blinders’ and ‘Sherlock’ director Colm McCarthy tackles Mike Carey’s adaptation of his novel with a sense of artistry, although only manages to bring all the goods in the final movement.

By Orla Smith

Here is an example of that rare thing: a man vs. nature story that gives equal weight to both arguments. What a brave and bold thing to consider in front of an audience of people, that maybe our dominance of this world isn’t meant to last forever; perhaps nature has a right to consume us. ‘The Girl With All the Gifts’ dares to suggest that the human race might not be completely in control, that we might not be all powerful.

‘The Magnificent Seven’ Understands What Makes a Western Great, But Can Never Quite Achieve It: Review

Antoine Fuqua’s remake of a remake loves the genre it inhabits, but feels less sweepingly adventurous and more dry the further along it goes.

By Orla Smith

There’s a scene in this new version of ‘The Magnificent Seven’ in which a Native American man, astride a horse, face coated in red paint, approaches our heroes and is met with fear and readied guns. As an audience member you’re made to expect that he will be a threat, and some kind of battle with ensue, but the reality is nothing like that. When Denzel Washington’s Sam Chisolm approaches and explains their situation, it’s not long before the two join forces in their quest for justice, and he becomes one of the seven. In a time as politically turbulent as our own, it’s hard to ignore the relevance of a film like this, in which we’re shown that what is foreign is not our enemy – the most powerful villains may be the ones on our own soil.

2016 Oscar Predictions: September Edition

By Orla Smith

A lot has changed in the Oscar race since I last made one of these, and while it’s still too early to have a full handle on things (with NYFF and AFI fest still to go), as well as the fact that almost all of these haven’t been seen by the general public yet (let alone me), I’m still putting out these thoughts. How true or untrue they may be is yet to be seen.

‘Hell or High Water’ Offers a Rare and Refined Western: Review

David McKenzie’s bone-dry crime-western offers a lot buried underneath the surface.

By Orla Smith

‘They don’t make them like this anymore’, except they do. I hear people say that all the time, so how can it be true? Cinema has changed over time, as has everything else, but the problem isn’t that classic, quality films have gone away; the problem is that people have stopped seeing them. With the rise in superhero films and the complete takeover of tent-pole franchises in the minds of the movie going audience, many avid cinema goers naturally long for the director-centric era of the 70s, when critical acclaim was enough to draw the masses. Still, it hardly matters as long as films like ‘Hell or High Water’ are still being shown somewhere. Those who want them can find them, as long as they look hard enough.

‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ Charms, Delights and Causes Frequent Gut-Busting – Review

Taika Waititi’s latest indie comedy revitalises old tropes and manages to make them feel new again.

By Orla Smith

‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ is essentially a meta-film in the sense that the experience of watching it reflects the plot itself: a journey you know has to end eventually, but by god you don’t want it to. Emerging from the buzz of Park City in January, the film became one of the biggest breakout names of this year’s Sundance film festival, rising from the dense bustle of a hundred different wannabe hidden gems vying for attention. There’s a certain stigma that comes from the title ‘Sundance hit’, with that phrase conjuring up the idea of unbearable quirkiness and self importance in some minds, but ‘Wilderpeople’ earns that brand with its winning spirit.

Telluride Film Festival Wrap Up

By Orla Smith

Telluride is the inbetween festival, caught in the middle of Venice and Toronto and premiering some of the most exciting films of the year. A couple of them were beat to the post by Venice by a few days, but I’m going to allow them into my top 5 list of films that stood out at this fest. However, I won’t be including movies that showed months earlier in the year like ‘Manchester By the Sea’ or ‘Toni Erdmann’, but trust me, I can’t wait to see those too.

  1. Sully