Ti West directs Mia Goth, David Corenswet and Tandi Wright in this gothic horror prequel to X, set decades earlier.
An electric central performance motors Pearl. Part Dorothy Gale, part Tracey Flick, all Norman Bates – Mia Goth should have been up for an Oscar for this level of sweetly deranged commitment. The movie itself is a pschobiddy flick’s flashback sequence writ large. Horny, deranged but only occasionally gory. This is all about mood and showcasing the deterioration of our eponymous character. It isn’t as pure or as satisfying as X (a more straightforward love letter to the slasher) but the scrappy ambition of it is very seductive.
Norman Jewison directs Cher, Nicolas Cage and Danny Aiello in this romantic comedy about a New York family of Italian-American’s led astray by the big full moon.
John Patrick Shanley’s script is a witty treat. A gorgeous, warm hug of a movie with enough salt and truth to make you feel that your heartstrings aren’t being yanked by a mercenary endeavour. A nice early full fat Cage performance really stokes the fire.
One of the best ensembles of the new millennium take on Grisham’s sturdiest airport novel. And the results are slick… even if they rarely threaten to reach the status of a classic. After a strong start setting up all the conspirators, the plot kinda fizzles into a series of face offs, break-ins and foot chases. And that’s fine for a Saturday night but the red meat of the novel is in the jury room… the 12 get lost in the mix by the third act as you really want to keep your eyes on old warhorses Hackman and Hoffman as they preen and grimace.
Darren Aronofsky directs Brendan Fraser, Sadie Sink and Hong Chau in this drama about a dying, obese, housebound man trying to connect with his teen daughter.
Natalie got a lot more out of this than me. I think we both appreciated Fraser’s performance and it was nice to see a sweet dude win the Best Actor Oscar this year. But the movie itself suffers from a few gargantuan bug bears of mine… filmed play, too gloomy in terms of lighting, hard to square moments of levity, spoof worthy grand standing. See also: Women Talking.
Paul W. S. Anderson directs Jude Law, Sadie Frost and Sean Pertwee in this British dystopian ram-raiding teen movie.
The lead acting in this is pretty blunt and it doesn’t help that the leads are playing two quite such grating numpties to begin with. There be good support in the background from Ralph Ineson and Jason Isaacs, though they are taking their first steps on screen too so you can’t expect them to steal the show. You can see why the thumping car chases caught the eye of Hollywood though… and why P.W.S.A. has worked steadily since. He traces over the very best sources. He takes a leaf from Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange and really exploits post-Thatcher London as a brutalist hellhole. Wish there was a Reel Streets page for this. On point techno soundtrack. I never expected to seek Shopping out again… that instinct was probably correct.
Kevin Williamson directs Katie Holmes, Helen Mirren and Marisa Coughlan in this teen thriller where three high school students hold hostage the tyrannical teacher who threatens their future.
A disappointment after Scream 1& 2 and Dawson’s Creek. This feels very much like a little indie script that has gotten lost in the rewrites and reshoots. Holmes’ stock good girl gets hot’n’heavy in some lingerie, Marisa Coughlan is decent enough value but the story goes nowhere after the first twenty minutes and the remaining hour of this short movie feels interminable. The ending just aborts the entire concept for the sake of a swift wrap-up.
John Schlesinger directs Julie Christie, Alan Bates and Terence Stamp in this epic adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s classic anti-romance novel.
In turns sumptuous and bleak. Tells the story at an accessibly gentle pace. All the performance pop and I got really lost in this. Without ever making things too implicit, Schlesinger frames the reaction shots of characters so you care and connect to their inner turmoil and desires. Christie’s Bathsheba Everdene might be a bit of a cruel tease and a fool at times but I like the way she runs her house and heart. Feels progressive. Nicolas Roeg’s cinematography, unsurprisingly, really loves a bit of red.
Tom Holland directs Robert John Burke, Joe Mantegna and Lucinda Jenney in this strange little curse movie where an overweight lawyer wrongs a caravan of gypsies with emaciating consequences.
This doesn’t really work as a horror feature. There’s not really enough shocks and peril apart from one discombobulating trip to the carnival. What Thinner does have though is a fair few genuinely left-of-field subplots… mafiosos, marital paranoia, deadly pies! And these are quirky enough to make you feel like you haven’t wasted your evening. Unlike most Stephen King projects it ends better than it starts. Burke makes a bland central character feel credible and the two female supports are smokin’ hot. Holland is a bit too much of a meat and potatoes filmmaker to truly lean into his projects’ strengths (see also Fright Night, Child’s Play) but they all prove undemanding VHS fodder.
Giuseppe Tornatore directs Philippe Noiret, Marco Leonardi and Salvatore Cascio in this Italian coming-of-age movie that charts the friendship between a young boy and an aging projectionist who works at the titular movie theatre.
Bumped up to a 10 out of 10. I think the first two times I saw it as a teenager I was a bit stymied by the sentimental aspects. Now I just get lost in the romantic sweep. At what age does nostalgia for a lost time, a time and place I never existed in, become potent? A beautiful film… there’s something pure, primordial about. The strength and simplicity of even the opening moments set the tone. Every shot is clean but full of depth and implicit storytelling. It feels like the shots of Sicilian lemons and billowing curtains are there to invoke the senses cinema often ignores – taste, smell, touch. And then we are off. Just magical. And with added bonus that the end credits leave glimpses of the lengthier director’s cut… making the whole thing seem like a half imagined dream.