April Film Preview

By Orla Smith

April UK releases take a downturn, certainly in frequency, compared to March, but there’s still plenty to look forward to, particularly when it comes to independent and arthouse fare. These are the five films I’m most looking forward to – some others you should keep your eye on includes ‘Rules Don’t Apply’, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ (obviously), ‘Neruda’, ‘Clash’, ‘Their Finest’ and ‘The Zookeeper’s Wife’.

  1. Casting JonBenet (UK release: 28th April) (dir. Kitty Green)

‘The Lost City of Z’ Review: An Ambitious Epic/Sleeping Pill

James Gray’s sprawling adventure drags itself through a monotonous, mind-numbing, stiflingly macho 2 hour and 20 minute runtime.

By Orla Smith

‘The Lost City of Z’ opens with a jolt of energy. After a shot of the jungle – wavering in the orange light of campfires hidden within the trees – disappears after a rapturous moment, we’re greeted to a brighter sight: our hero Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam), a rather bland man – but this opening works so well because we don’t know that yet.

‘John Wick: Chapter Two’ – How to Build an Action Film

By Orla Smith

When it comes to pure entertainment, ‘John Wick: Chapter Two’ is a masterpiece. That might sound hyperbolic but it’s true – not nearly enough credit is given to the sheer mountain of skill it takes to craft a truly exhilarating action film, and perhaps that’s because we’re hardly ever afforded the opportunity to give it.

And this is coming from someone who doesn’t think the same about the first ‘John Wick’, a film that started with a bang and slowly simmered out. Working solo this time, director Chad Stahelski was able to boil out everything that hindered Chapter One and ramp up the volume of elsewhere, and what he’s come out with is a genuinely astounding, balletic, pulse-pounding pleasure centre. Nothing else matches up.

‘Get Out’ Review: Jordan Peele’s Directorial Debut Strikes Gold

Exploring an untapped vein of studio horror, ‘Get Out’ is a thrilling, racially-charged event of a film, with rising star Daniel Kaluuya in the lead.

By Orla Smith

Of all the places the career of Jordan Peele could have gone, such an abrupt jump from comedy to horror wasn’t one anybody could have seen coming, although it’s likely that for the man himself – being a self-proclaimed horror buff – this was always an inevitability.

‘Personal Shopper’ Review: Kristen Stewart Captivates in a Soul-Shaking Horror-Mystery

Olivier Assayas’ second collaboration with actress Kristen Stewart is a stunning, difficult and terrifying ghost story studying communication with the dead in the wake of grief.

By Orla Smith

Not since ‘The Witch’ has a horror movie harnessed such a power to shake the souls of its victims. That is because it’s not your typical horror movie, indicated by a title that seems like a very deliberate misdirect. While protagonist Maureen Cartwright is a personal shopper – to spoilt, self-obsessed and hyper-famous French celebrity Kyra – that profession is just a placeholder, something that allows her to stay in Paris in order to hold onto a more supernatural hope.

2017 Oscar Predictions: March Edition

By Orla Smith

Is it too early to be predicting next year’s Oscars? Of course it is, but that’s not going to stop me or anyone else. Of course, these predictions aren’t going to mean much in the long run. It’s the first of an ongoing series of posts over the next 12 months that will chart the evolution of my predictions as the Oscar race goes on. These preliminaries are more of a vague ‘keep a watch on this’ kind of thing, and also something I can look back on next year and laugh at how wrong I was (last year’s March predictions had me wincing).

‘Certain Women’ Review: Kelly Reichardt’s Subtly Beautiful Triptych

Kelly Reichardt’s critically acclaimed triptych delivers flawless performances from all concerned, observing small-town American life with a true humanist eye.

By Orla Smith

A world-weary lawyer handling a difficult client. A determined mother trying to build a summer house for her family. A lonely ranch hand falling for her teacher. These three stories chart a small time in disparate lives, connected by loneliness and Montana.