‘Baby Driver’ Review: Edgar Wright’s Motor Musical is an Ecstatic Ride

Ansel Elgort stars as a young getaway driver fuelled by his iPod in a pseudo-musical that puts ‘The Fast and the Furious’ to shame.

By Orla Smith

Baby is propelled by music. We all know that feeling; when you’re walking down the street with as song in your ear, your world and your headphones so in sync that it feels as if you’re the star your own movie. As the camera twists and twirls around Ansel Elgort’s eponymous getaway driver, we witness the musical in Baby’s head bursting to life.

‘The Big Sick’ Sundance London Review: Kumail Nanjiani Spectacularly Leads a Hilarious Knockout Hit

Michael Showalter directs this star-studded romantic-comedy based on the courtship of writers Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon.

By Orla Smith

‘The Big Sick’ was the second greatest new film I saw at this year’s Sundance London, and comparing it to the number one – David Lowery’s mystifying ‘A Ghost Story’ – pointedly asks the question of what makes a good film; the two couldn’t be more different.

Most notably though, ‘A Ghost Story’ is all about directorial flair, whereas ‘The Big Sick’ lacks any at all. That’s not to say that Michael Showalter’s direction is bad – rather, it does exactly what it needs to do. But what the film really rides is its hilarious script, universally spectacular performances and specific truthfulness.

‘A Ghost Story’ Sundance London Review: A Tiny Film with Cosmic Implications

David Lowery’s ‘Pete’s Dragon’ follow-up, starring previous collaborators Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck, is a strange and immense micro-budget feature about life after death and the places we call home.

By Orla Smith

Fading in and out of focus, a couple. The moment is a blip in the immensity of their lives, but it’s almost all of what we’re allowed to witness. Huddled on the sofa together, they talk about memories of places, and self-preservation. Cut into their exchange is a sky full of stars that expands far beyond the limited frame of their lives.

Celine Sciamma: A Retrospective

By Orla Smith

Sometimes, doing the bare minimum can have the best results.

That’s not true in every aspect of life – it’s probably not the best advice to give to a student with a homework assignment – but when it comes to minimalist filmmaking, Celine Sciamma has found her niche and she’s working it.

The French auteurs’ films work best when they’re taking things out of the frame. Each one depicts different childhoods in France, and (in ‘Tomboy’ especially) those childhoods are painted in simple colours. Her films are lean, but they pack a punch because they contain only the essentials. Plainness of the frame highlights a smile here, a shift in posture there. It directs your focus and contrasts the simple innocence of childhood with the burgeoning complexities of personhood.

‘Wonder Woman’ Review: A Milestone for Women and for the DCEU

Patty Jenkins’ second feature is a knockout blockbuster, on a level never before reached by the superhero genre.

By Orla Smith

The DCEU isn’t known for its surprises. In fact, every single film they’d made up until last weekend could be surmised as one big, blob of sludgy sameness. But let’s give them some credit, because they’ve finally pulled it off. They’ve finally pulled off the biggest surprise of them all:

They made a good movie.

Sundance London 2017 Wrap-Up

By Orla Smith

Awaiting the start of the surprise film at this year’s Sundance London film festival, I realised that the couple sitting next to me had been tipped off.

Quickly, I reached for my headphones to drown out their voices; although I was about to find out the identity of this mystery film in a few minutes anyway, I wanted to be ignorant along with everyone else right up until the point when enlightenment would reach us all as a collective group. Finding out from the people next to me and finding out from the screen might technically be the same thing, but you don’t go to film festivals for technicalities – you go to experience.

‘Beatriz at Dinner’ Sundance London Review: A Sleek, Beautifully Staged Chamber Piece About Anger in the Age of Trump

Miguel Arteta’s latest is a simple, angry drama that asks the question: what would you do if you were sat across a dinner table from Donald Trump?  

By Orla Smith

Art reflecting life is a curious question. Lately, we’ve been treated to a number of films that feel very rooted in the age of Trump, yet the nature of film production means that they were birthed long before his presidency.