‘Monster’ – Sympathy for the Devil

By Orla Smith

In her astonishingly empathetic directorial debut ‘Monster’, Patty Jenkins showed that her strengths lie exactly in the areas that superhero movies almost always leave untouched. Why her then? Hollywood is not notorious for their skilful hiring practices, but this just might be one of their greatest strokes of genius, whether intentional or not.

June Film Preview

By Orla Smith

The presence of ‘King Arthur’ and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ alone is enough to make someone retroactively call May a lacklustre month (that someone being me), but if I were to look back at the last 30 days from a more objective standpoint, it still feels a little thin, in quantity if not in quality. That is not the case with June. There’s a veritable treasure trove washing up onto UK shores this upcoming month, leaving me to have to leave off potential hits such as ‘The Mummy’, ‘Lovesong’, ‘To All the Corners of the World’, ‘My Life as a Courgette’ and more. These are the five I’m most looking forward to.

2017 Oscar Predictions: May Edition

By Orla Smith

Now that Cannes has come and gone, it’s time to re-assess this year’s Oscar race from a vantage point that’s more informed – even if it’s still way too early for all this nonsense.

The festival’s main takeaways: ‘Wonderstruck’ has been too divisive for it to be the definite contender I’d initially pegged it to be, but it’s certainly not out of the picture. ‘The Florida Project’, which was adored by all, is still a question mark – will it breakthrough in the way that A24 hopes? They certainly did wonders for ‘Moonlight’. I’m holding off for now.

‘Colossal’ Review: Anne Hathaway Commands a Bizarre, Ingenious Satire

Nacho Vigalondo’s ‘Colossal’ explores a multitude of timely modern anxieties through the lens of an alcoholic, aimless woman and her connection with a giant monster on the other side of the world.

By Orla Smith

You know that feeling? The one you get every day when you turn on the news and remember the suffering of those elsewhere on your shores and off, those people you’ve never met. You know that feeling of helplessness when you complain about the tiniest of things, then remember that people are dying right this very moment, and you’re doing nothing to help. That feeling of being complicit. That terrifying distance between you and them that equates the pain of others to a blink of an eye, as if it’s nothing – except it isn’t.

‘The Pearl of Africa’ Review: A Warm, Essential Doc

This intimate portrait of Ugandan transgender woman Cleo Kambugu warms the heart with its truthful humanism.

By Orla Smith

Shot with artful, lush photography in widescreen, it takes a moment or two to adjust to the rhythms of ‘The Pearl of Africa’. The voice of Cleopatra Kambugu floats measured over the top of ambient music, her words practiced and poetic.

April Film Wrap-Up: Rules, Rebels & Raw Meat

April Film Wrap-Up

By Orla Smith

Is it possible to consider any month in which an Adam Sandler movie is released a good month? That philosophical conundrum and more, as I rank the sixteen films I saw released to the UK in April.

  1. Sandy Wexler (dir. Steven Brill)

I watched it so you didn’t have to. I think that officially makes me a saint? Still looking into that.

Rating: 0.5/5

  1. The F8 of the Furious (dir. F. Gary Gray)

‘Somewhere’ – How Sofia Coppola Makes a Point

By Orla Smith

– Mild spoilers for ‘Somewhere’ ahead –

There are 345 cuts in Sofia Coppola’s ‘Somewhere’, and every one of them is there for a reason. Each of her five features (soon to be six) holds its own joys, but none of them exemplifies her ability to make a point as clearly as ‘Somewhere’ does.

I’ve given a spoiler warning, but that’s not to suggest that anything actually happens in the film. It is about movie star Johnny Marco – named to perfection – played by a flawlessly cast Stephen Dorff (who’d have thought it).