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The Crown Season 3 | Official Trailer...

Times change. Duty endures.

As Queen Elizabeth II (Olivia Colman) faces a rapidly changing Britain, her family continues to struggle against the needs of the monarchy and the wants of their fracturing personal lives. 

Season Three of The Crown arrives November 17th.

IrisPrize 2019: The Winners...

IrisBlack HatBLACK HAT WINS 2019 IRIS PRIZE IN CARDIFF

BLACK HAT, a drama set within LA’s Hasidic community and directed by Sarah Smith, wins the £30,000 prize for an international LGBT+ short film

Teen trans drama MY BROTHER IS A MERMAID, directed by Alfie Dale, wins the awards for Best British Short and the Audience and Youth Awards.

Winner announced by Queer as Folk/Years and Years writer Russell T Davies

Black Hat, directed by US director Sarah Smith, has been announced as the winner of Cardiff’s annual international LGBT+ short film award, the Iris Prize. Her film tells the story of a closeted Hasidic Jewish man living in Los Angeles and was a second nomination for Sarah and producer and writer Philip Guttman, who were shortlisted for their comedy D. Asian in 2015. She is the fourth woman to win the prize.

The £30,000 prize, supported by The Michael Bishop Foundation, allows Sarah to make another short film here in the UK. Eleven films have been produced by Iris Prize winners to date, the first being Colonial Godsfrom Academy Award-nominated writer and director Dee Rees (Mudbound).

My Brother Is A MermaidThe winner of the Best British award, sponsored by Pinewood Studios, is My Brother is a Mermaid; a magic-realist story about a trans teen living in a dilapidated seaside community. The film, directed by Alfie Dale, was also the winner of both Cardiff University’s Iris Prize Youth Award and the Buzz Magazine Audience Award.

And Then We DancedBest Feature went to And then We Danceda romantic drama set in a prestigious Georgian dance academy, with special mentions going to UK director Hong Khaou’s film Monsoon and the documentary Changing the Game.

Best Performance in a Male Role went to Monsoon’s star Henry Golding(Crazy Rich Asians, A Simple Favor), with Best Performance in a Female Role being won by Linda Caridi from the Italian comedy Mom + Mom (Mamma + Mamma).

The awards took place during the Iris Carnival at Cardiff’s Tramshed, with live music from BLɅCKƎLVIS, a “food village” supplied by Co-Op.

The winner of the Iris Prize was announced by writer and producer Russell T Davies (Queer as Folk, Doctor Who, Years and Years).

“Visually stunning… a perfectly crafted and concise work of art”

Speaking of Black HatInternational Jury chair Jake Graf said, “It shone a light on an often unseen community in a sensitive, tender and positive way, without casting judgement. We found the lead charming and likeable, the film visually stunning, and responded well to this perfectly crafted and concise work of art. Accomplished, enjoyable and captivating.”

In an event on Saturday, Black Hat was announced as one of three films in the final running for the Iris Prize, the other films being Ponyboi, directed by and starring intersex actor River Gallo, and Marguerite, directed by Marianne Farley, which was previously nominated for an Academy Award.

Marguerite elicited an unprecedented emotional response from our jury,” said Graf, “with many of us in floods of tears. Not only did it depict an underrepresented section of our community, but it did so with subtlety, empathy and charm.”

Speaking of Ponyboi he added that it was, “Original and dreamlike… a visual feast. The lead performances were as strong as the cinematography. Fresh, original filmmaking.”

Jungle Cruise Official Trailer...

Join the adventure of a lifetime and watch the action-packed new trailer for Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE.

The trailer was launched via a fun-filled Instagram Live featuring Dwayne Johnson, interacting with a boat full of skippers from the Jungle Cruise attraction at The Disneyland Resort.

Inspired by the famous Disneyland theme park ride, Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE is an adventure-filled, Amazon-jungle expedition starring Dwayne Johnson as the charismatic riverboat captain and Emily Blunt as a determined explorer on a research mission. Also starring in the film are Edgar Ramirez, Jack Whitehall, with Jesse Plemons, and Paul Giamatti.

Jaume Collet-Serra is the director and John Davis, John Fox, Dwayne Johnson, Hiram Garcia, Dany Garcia and Beau Flynn are the producers, with Doug Merrifield serving as executive producer.

Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE opens in U.S. theaters on July 24, 2020.

Monos: 20 Sebastiane Award winner...

Sebastieane 20 NaranjaMonos 2019The MONOS movie by Alejandro Landes has won the 2019 edition of the Sebastiane Awards. The LGTBI awards of the 67th San Sebastian Festival.

This production of Colombia has a youth and choral cast to speak with great filmic power on issues such as violence, sexuality, inequalities … Where it seems that Colombia is talked about but in reality we are talking about all of us.

The jury of the 20 Sebastiane Prize said:

In a world in which the binary dichotomy is blurred; Monkeys offers us a story that is put on both sides of all things. But it is also placed nowhere. The films of good and bad, the gay and the straight, the separation between man and woman, victim and victimizer … are binomials that throw us away from the real debates. Disputes about violence, sexuality or social inequalities.

In the filmic development Alejandro Landes does not use the highlands, the jungle and the river as scenarios but as moods of a group. In that group the only moral compass is called Rambo and is a queer character.

BFI London Film Festival 2019...

LFF 2019 Banner

 

by David Anderson Cutler

The BFI London Film Festival is upon us again [that was a quick year!]...with a staggering choice of LGBT films and short films. It will be nigh on impossible to cover every [LGBT] film...but, we will try to do our very best. So...here are the films on our watch-list...subject to changes and clashes...enjoy!


Wednesday 2 October 2019...

The Personal History Of David CopperfieldDev-PatelThe Personal History of David Copperfield
By Armando Iannucci

Here's a book...a wild re-imagining of an absolute classic...

Undoubtedly, the purists will loathe it...it's akin to a cubist doing an interpretation of the Mona Lisa. Mr Iannucci has been a tad extravagant with the original material...rendering it into mainstream comedy [with generous dollops of sentimentality] rather than the satirical/cynical wit that he is best known for.

Those, unlucky enough to have never read the book...will be duly entertained. It is a fine production for the uninitiated. But...there remains that great big elephant [in the film] that needs to be addressed: The casting. Certainly, [one of] the boldest casting decisions ever made. In Mr Iannucci's defence, as he explained in the Q&A, he wanted to reflect a modern-day, multi-ethnic London...in Dickens' time! A bold move, a bolder decision...but, does it work? Yes, it [in part] does...in that ethnicity should never matter...and, for that [alone], this film should be applauded.


Thursday 3 October 2019...

The King

Timothee-ChalametThe King
by David Michôd

Take a piece of history, give a nod to William Shakespeare, oomph it up with a few big names, some [historical] inaccuracies [aka poetic licence] and a budget to die for...the result is this...The King - a rather savage, sweeping and assured version of the 'facts'. 

Joel Edgerton @ London Film Festival 2019This is a film about manipulation and masculinity...moreover, this is about the brain behind the brawn. Watching Timothée Chalamet jostle to the tune of the puppet master(s) - until the penny eventually drops - is as revelatory as the revelation itself. This young man can act...it will come as no surprise if he receives the nod from Oscar. In fact, this film has Oscar-worthiness written all over it...even Robert Pattinson's small [as in role] but perfectly formed Dauphin may bag him an award for best supporting actor! He steals the show...with his heavily accented menace.

Joel Edgerton deserves due praise for both being [gruff and amiable] John Falstaff and co-writer...the script manages the complexities of the story without being overly complex...now that's clever. Sentimentality does get a look in, without it being soppy. As we all [should] know, Prince Hal's mighty moment was Agincourt...the film's climactic battle scene does not disappoint. Filmed with breath-taking savagery while still retaining the absolute futility of it all. Impressive to say the least...and that is what this film is...impressive.

The Miracle Of The Sargasso Sea

The Miracle of the Sargasso Sea
by Syllas Tzoumerkas

Structure is everything...especially in film! Strong foundations are crucial...without them everything falls apart. Ironically, this film has the strongest of foundations - the opening scene is fierce. And then, sadly, it literally falls apart...for a while...waiting for something to happen...when that 'thing' eventually does [belatedly] happen, the audience couldn't care less. Why? Because...what Syllas Tzoumerkas [erroneously] did is to make his central character so bloody unlikeable that you don't give a hoot if this drunken police chief solves the [long awaited] crime or not. Obviously, she does...in an absolute [inconceivable] flash!

All this film needed was a brutal script editor, someone who could see the wood behind the trees. Quite possibly, Mr Tzoumerkas' intention was to present humdrum daily monotony as a foil against the abject disturbia that follows. It certainly is as disturbing as disturbing gets...but, the lead up, all that flaff...well, disappointingly so, let's just say that there was way too much flaffing around before the final event and leave it at that!

Matthias & Maxime

Matthias & Maxime
by Xavier Dolan

Xavier, Xavier, Xavier...where have you been?

After a cacaphonous and dissenting win at Cannes with the divisive It's Only the End of the World [although we loved this film]. And, following the full-on flatulent disappointment of The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, Monsieur Dolan [thankfully] returns to what he does best...with one almighty problem!

That 'problem' is none other than that old chestnut itself...being too close, doing too much. The importance of a script editor can never be exaggerated...M&M desperately needed one to shave off all the unnecessary bristle. In John F. Donovan, Monsieur Dolan infamously cut Jessica Chastaine from the entire film [he lost quite a few Hollywood Brownie points with that manoeuvre]...if he had employed that same tactic with M&M, by cutting out the entirely unnecessary scenes with Harris Dickinson...and, by listening to and acting on a script editor's advice, M&M would have been a far better film than it is.

Saying that...M&M is [still] a fine film...with so much heart and wounded soul. Boys born on different sides of the tracks...friends with aspirational benefits, friends destined to become so much more. Monsieur Dolan infuses his character with a decent, deep-down delicacy...he is everything that Matthias is not and vice versa. Yet, they fit. Their relationship is as lovely as it is frustrating to watch...with their histories concluded and their futures yet to be decided...this is all about will they or won't they.

All Matthias & Maxime needed was a closer shave to be more of a marvel than it already is...!


Friday 4 October 2019...

Bacurau 2019

Barbara Colen @ London Film Festival 2019Bacurau
by Juliano Dornelles & Kleber Mendonça Filho

When you cheer at someone's head being blown off...you just know that these directors hit the nail squarely on that head!

Take one tiny pueblo in the middle of nowhere, populate it with some 'savoury' characters...throw in a flying saucer, some mind-altering drugs and a few murderous guns...Bacurau is a place you wouldn't want to visit...but, will definitely want to experience...from afar, from the comfort of your living room!

From where it starts to where it ends up is akin to popping a pill [or two] downed with a bottle of Mezcal...this is definitely a trip into foreign and strange territories. The cruelty is unnerving, the corruption is soul-destroying and the twists and turns are a hallucinogenic rollercoaster return to normality.

As a statement on poverty, Bacurau is relentless. This is a community that is - quite literally - preyed upon...by absolutely everyone, in ways you couldn't imagine. Yes, it's political. No, it's not a head-spinning whine against captialism. This is a thrilling, often hysterical, shot-gun approach to social commentary. This is what happens when evrything goes barking mad and the underdogs collectively raise their hackles. Seriously...the is sensational filmmaking.

Monos 2019

Monos
by Alejandro Landes

Lord of the Flies with a bit of Johnny Mad Dog, snippets of Deliverance and a soupçon of Apocalypse Now...yip, a sensorial smörgåsbord of cinematic references...with a [vital] difference. This is Colombia's dilapidated state-of-affairs...thrown out, for all the world to see...made accessible through the power of film.

Alejandro Landes grinds his axe...into a searing and scathing edge. For this is not fiction, this is the reality that Colombians have been living with for decades. The exploitation, the brain-washing, the arming of children is a practice so heinous...yet, it [inexplicably, criminally, negligently] persists all over the world.

Monos is a difficult film to watch...as it should be. It's finely crafted with some remarkable performances. There is little in the way of sympathy for these kids, there are a few nuggets of vulnerability...but, bearing in mind that these are just [manipulated] kids, the sympathy should gush...Señor Landes presents it as it is...asking the question: What would you do if this happened to your own child? A tough one to imagine, this film will help.

Remarkable.

Trouble

Trouble
by Mariah Garnett

The trouble with Trouble is...there really isn't a very interesting story to be told.

Sorry to have to say that...but, what may have had potential [to be made into a film] proved to have little-to-no potential at all...rendering this to be a masterclass in getting blood out of a stone...with some bizarre [gender] identity issues thrown in, along with some drag queens, simply [it would seem] to increase the run-time to that of a feature.

For Mariah Garnett, this is a personal travelogue into her family history and beyond. After many years, she reunites with her estranged father...you would think that this would be an emotional journey...surely, an emotional reunion...for the audience, it's not. If it was for her, she certainly doesn't show it on camera.

Apologies...but, some [most] familial stories really ought not to be shared...they are only interesting to those involved...even with the 'artistic' flourishes!


Saturday 5 October 2019...

The LighthouseThe Lighthouse
by Robert Eggers

Madness...pure and utter madness! You'll either love it or loathe it...we loved it!

Apart from a few brief appearances by a mermaid, this is a duel of words and a jousting of minds...between [equally matched] Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson...bothknock it out of the park unreseveredly. Robert Eggers sets the malignant tone from the off...stern black and white, claustrophobic aspect, wildly angular sets and a soundscape that will shake the bejeezuz out of you...that bellowing foghorn!

So...it's two men alone on a rock for weeks...surely, there's got to be some kind of subtext!?! Oooh there is, a smidgen. But, if you let your imagination run wild [as Mr Eggers did], that subtext is as subtle as a brick banged into your face. Robert Eggers, as he said himself: "Nothing good can happen when two men are trapped alone in a giant phallus." And nothing does!

It ain't pretty, it is bizarrely comic and it will invoke a few WTFs...all-in-all, this is just a brilliantly realised nightmare. Not one for the more prudish nor bird lovers!

This Is Not Berlin

This is Not Berlin
by Hari Sama

One for the underage kiddies who [all] desperately want to be overage!

The year is 1986 [in Mexico City]...for those of us who lived, loved and partied through the 80s, This is Not Berlin had the potential to cause a wave of nostalgia to wash over us. Apart from some of the song choices, it [sadly] didn't. And, for those of us who lived in big cities, balancing on the various stepping stones to full-out-and-proud homosexuality, This is Not Berlin will - quite possibly - infuriate...perhaps, even anger.

So...why all this negativity? This is Not Berlin is a victim of these politically correct times. This [film] may be set in the 80s...but, the sentiment is distinctly present day...the obvious target audience being the queer kids now. Hey, there was none of that [reclaimed] queer then...we were all just 'gay' trying to get on and feeling a bit safer in [big city] numbers. Remember, the 80s [and 90s] were decades of horror...no matter how much we [all] partied and rocked the establishment...the spectre of HIV/AIDS was never far away...no matter where you were, machismo Mexico or hedonistic Berlin...

Hari Sama lays it on thick, too thick...his vision of the 'sexuality revolution' is more pastiche than the then reality. Still, the queer kids [of today] will probably give it an approving nod...because, none of them were born when this film took place...and, few of them realise and/or respect what their older generation did for them!

MonsoonMonsoon
by Hong Khaou

Story-telling takes on many forms, Hong Khaou has his own style and voice...infused with delicacy and, surprisingly, [considering the many themes explored] serentiy. Quite easily, Monsoon could have slipped into a melodramatic deluge of emotion...thankfully, it doesn't. Instead, we are given room to think, moments just to watch a process of exploration and self-realisation. This is a carefully constructed mood, a thoughtful sense of being. The three tenses are given a voice...past, present, future...as are the conditionals...what could/should/would have been/be...as for the future...well, that all depends on the here and now...those 'ifs' - this all sounds terribly complex and that is the innate beauty of this film, Hong Khaou manages to demystify the complexity...via a gentle and poised performance by Henry Golding...

Monsoon may [or may not] sweep you away emotionally...but, it will linger...asking - politely - where are you? Where is your place? Not many filmmakers are bold enough to ask such questions...Hong Khaou does, politely.

A lovely, careful film.

Jojo-Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit
by Taika Waititi

Rib-tickling and spine-chilling...both, at the same time!

Taika Waititi has outdone himself...here's a director, an actor, a writer at the top of his own game...and, thankfully, doesn't take himself too seriously. His performance on the red carpet [@London Film Festival] was...nothing short of bizarre...and, a breath of fresh air!

From Charlie Chaplin to Mel Brooks, not many have taken on a caricature of Hitler [and succeeded]...Taika Waititi joins this 'elite' - with his camp, crazed, comical führer...it's sure to offend many.

It's a tricky road to navigate, war & Nazism seen through a young boy's eyes & mind...where do you draw the line? Well...it would seem, you don't...throw it all up into the air and if you have the gift of being able to direct young actors [especially in comedy]...then, for sure, you're quids in! Taika Waititi directs kids with a stuffed wallet. Roman Griffin Davis is a wee marvel as he jumps between naivety, innocence and curiosity...all awhile sensing the penny starting to drop...it's a daft and dark road to his enlightenment.

There are even a couple of gay Nazis...Sam Rockwell and Alfie Allen, are a not-so-subtle couple of contrasting screaming, sweet-and-sour Nellies...the uniform re-design [scene] is an instant classic in absolute absurdity.

Jojo Rabbit is absurd...and [weirdly], has garnered much [undeserved] criticism from critics [what do they know!?!]...way too cantankerous and analytical to enjoy a film that [brilliantly] mixes the highs and lows of childhood with the absolute horrors of war.

Kids will love it. Everyone will love it...apart from those daft critics! A wee gem of a film.


Sunday 6 October 2019...

Honey Boy

Honey Boy
by Alma Har'el

It's no surprise when Shia LaBeouf surprises...here, he surprises in a way you wouldn't expect!

There is nothing wrong with the film per se...it is a [fairly] finely crafted piece with two standout performances from Mr LaBeouf and Noah Jupe [playing father and son]. There are even moments of deft directorial flourishes. The only problem is...after all of his antics over the years, can you really take Mr LaBeouf seriously?

This is Shia's catharsis...thrown into the public realm...for all to see, for all to dish out their sympathies and empathies...of course, it's an uncomfortable film to watch. It is just as uncomfortable to witness...a child being utterly exploited presented via the cinematic equivalent of a tabloid front-page.

If this had not been written by the man himself, if this was not his story, if he had not played his own father...so many 'ifs'...then, it wouldn't be the film it is. This is a head-line grabbing testimony. It's just that...that formidable reputation gets in the way...perhaps, wishfully, this is exactly what Mr LaBeouf needed...a grand venting of all the crap that life prematurely threw at him. Hopefully, this release will be followed by the 'relax' he so obviously needs. And then, who knows, he could become a credible, seriously-taken actor...here, he shows [amply]...he has the talent.

Still, as a statement on the consequences and repercussions of 'child stardom' - it packs a mightily powerful punch.

Sid & Judy

Sid & Judy
by Stephen Kijak

Seriously, she didn't stand a chance...being surrounding by vultures...who pecked and picked the very flesh off of her bones.

Gleaned from [some would say a dubious] memoir [by Sid Luft], personal photographs and archival footage...Sid & Judy is both pleasure and pain. Her star shone so brightly...she died, June 22, 1969, aged 47.

Judy Garland needs no introduction, her story is familiar territory for many...yet, Stephen Kijak has rooted and rummaged and assembled...Judy as you've never seen her before, Judy as you have never heard her before...and, Judy...a version of events, you did not know.The impeccable highs, the death-defying lows...the drugs, the alcohol, the marriages, those men...who eagerly snatched the money she earned without offering a helping hand...something she so desparately needed. Judy will always be an icon...when she sang...she sang with her heart on her sleeve. Torch and tragedy have never been so painfully [nor painstakingly] portrayed.

This is an astounding homage...punctuated with highlights; live on stage, singing with Ms Streisand. Truly, un-missable.

Dont Look Down

Don't Look Down [Haut perchés]
by Olivier Ducastel & Jacques Martineau

Odd...strangely compelling...but, definitely odd...in an absurdist sort of way.

Olivier Ducastel & Jacques Martineau seem to be channeling Jean-Paul Satre, there's a whiff of his 'No Exit' surrounding Haut perchés - so, you wouldn't be wrong in thinking that an existential vibe permeates throughout this peculiar offering. Not everyone's cup of tea and - quite possible - not everyone's cup of coffee either...it is a challenging bit of work that would have benefited more from the few [rather bizarre] scenes of levity...the 'flossing' scene is an instant, weirdly and insanely out-of-place [in a good way] classic. The film just needed a bit more of that insanity.

Saying that...this is an insane film...and, considering there is only one set [an apartment with a rather lovely Parisian rooftop view], the cinematography is slick and colourful. The performances...each character has their moment...and, can't be faulted. It's an interesting, technically accomplished film...it [too] has its moments, it just needed more of them and, perhaps, a few less words.

BlackbirdBlackbird
by Roger Michell

Get the hankies ready...this is raw emotion with a [last-minute] realised dysfunction that really screams: It's never too late to make amends.

A re-make of the Danish film, Silent Heart...with some big names attached. This is ensemble acting at its absolute best...held together by a director who knows how to treat his actors.

This is the peeling off of layers until you get to the hearts of all that matters...love, sexuality and fidelity all take their respective bows...but, it's the assisted suicide that takes centre stage. Taking charge, taking control...before it's too late...Susan Sarandon gives everything and more.

There are no judgments...each states their case, for or against...and all just want one [maybe two] more days, weeks, months. But, when that indelible line is self-drawn...it would take something and more to back down.

Sam Neil delivers a quiet and contemplative performance...both as husband and doctor, he segues away from the Hippocratic Oath and marital vows...further strands to add to the complexity of the situation.

And, this is a situation that most will neither want nor be able to contemplate...yet, Roger Michell's direction offers a familiar hand...family squabbles and family secrets persist even in the face of finality.

How would you cope? That's what the film asks, there are no right or wrong answers. There is only respect and to be respectful...indeed, a difficult film to watch...all kinds of emotions will well up...but, ultimately, it will leave you with only one...respect.

Again-Once-AgainAgain Once Again
by Romina Paula

Not much ado about practically nothing!

This is a bit of a peculiar hybrid...a playwright/theatre director's first film...part fiction, part autobiographical, part documentary, part drama. As a whole, it's underwhelming to say the least.

It's a bit of everything...it's a bit static, it's a bit sparse. She's a bit lesbian, a bit heterosexual...probably, although unstated, totally bisexual. She's either left her partner or is [just] on a little break...and, it all amounts to a dithering disinterest.

If this had been a straightforward documentary about Romina Paula's mother [her actual mother plays her mother in the film]...then, yes, something interesting could have been gleaned from this mundane misadventure. She [the mother] certainly has a rich and untapped history about immigration and re-settlement...but, alas, the director's creativity got in the way.

All in all, this is a mid-life crisis that is neither mid-life nor critical. It's just a film that doesn't know what it is! Not exactly a glittering debut!


Monday 7 October 2019...

The-Two-Popes

The Two Popes
by Fernando Meirelles

The writer should get an Oscar!

 

 

 

 

 

And-Then-We-Danced

And Then We Danced
by Levan Akin

A bold, brave and brilliant rage against traditionalism!

 

 

 

 

 

Gosta

Gösta
by Lukas Moodysson

The exploitation of kindness.

 

 

 

 

 

Disappearance-of-My-Mother

The Disappearance of My Mother
by Beniamino Barrese

A life so full of contradictions, it will make your head spin!

 

 

 

 


Tuesday 8 October 2019...

Portrait-of-a-Lady-on-Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire
by Céline Sciamma

Stunning...simply stunning.

 

 

 

 

 

End-of-the-Century

End of the Century
by Lucio Castro

Lucio Castro demands - perhaps - too much from his audience. Quite literally...nothing happens in the first 10 minutes. An overwhelming sense of dread creeps in...maybe...nothing will happen in next 74 minutes!

As they say, patience is a virtue...and, all good things come to those who wait. Señor Castro takes his time, his actors - also - take their time to settle into their roles...and then, the magic starts to happen. Seriously, this story will resonate with many...those with emotional baggage, those with regrets, those who let 'the one' get away!

Ever wondered where [your] ex-lovers are, what they're doing, how they got to where they are wherever they are? Those moments of quiet reflection accompanied by a sad [or wry] smile...perhaps, a tear?

This is exactly what Lucio Castro has captured...'what ifs' and regrets mixed with temporal joy and ever-lasting sorrow...because of the man who got away! The road gets rougher, it's lonelier and tougher...where's Judy when you need her!?!

This is torch song without the song, this is agony without the pain...this is magic with all the trickery that illusion requires. This will ache - possibly break - many a heart...and leaves you quietly reflecting...

What a way for a film to leave you...wiping those bittersweet tears from your cheeks. Moving...so very moving.

Nocturnal
by Nathalie Biancheri

A tiny budget...a wealth of talent.


Wednesday 9 October 2019...

Walking-with-Shadows

Walking with Shadows
by Aoife O'Kelly

A film from Nigeria dealing with homosexuality...now, that is both bold and brave!

 

 

 

 

 

Tlamess

Tlamess
by Ala Eddine Slim

Bamboozling, infuriating...a wasted opportunity!?!

 

 

 

 


Thursday 10 October 2019...

Moffie

Moffie
by Oliver Hermanus

Perhaps...the best South African film ever made!

 

 

 

 

 

Piranhas

Piranhas
by Claudio Giovannesi

Boys will be boys...poor boys who want to be rich boys...aye, there's the rub! Crime pays...temporarily.

 

 

 

 

 

Lost Lives
by Dermot Lavery

Quite simply...a work of extraordinary emotion and art.

Earthquake-BirdEarthquake Bird
by Wash Westmoreland

Get the hankies ready...this is raw emotion with a [last-minute] realised dysfunction that really screams: It's never too late to make amends.

A re-make of the Danish film, Silent Heart...with some big names attached. This is ensemble acting at its absolute best...held together by a director who knows how to treat his actors.

This is the peeling off of layers until you get to the hearts of all that matters...love, sexuality and fidelity all take their respective bows...but, it's the assisted suicide that takes centre stage. Taking charge, taking control...before it's too late...Susan Sarandon gives everything and more.

There are no judgments...each states their case, for or against...and all just want one [maybe two] more days, weeks, months. But, when that indelible line is self-drawn...it would take something and more to back down.

Sam Neil delivers a quiet and contemplative performance...both as husband and doctor, he segues away from the Hippocratic Oath and marital vows...further strands to add to the complexity of the situation.

And, this is a situation that most will neither want nor be able to contemplate...yet, Roger Michell's direction offers a familiar hand...family squabbles and family secrets persist even in the face of finality.

How would you cope? That's what the film asks, there are no right or wrong answers. There is only respect and to be respectful...indeed, a difficult film to watch...all kinds of emotions will well up...but, ultimately, it will leave you with only one...respect.

Fanny Lye Deliver'd

Fanny Lye Deliver'd
by Thomas Clay

Think back to those films that left a distinct chill in your bones...The Wicker Man, Witchfinder General, The Devils and the ilk...this is the territory where Thomas Clay is going with this one.

Alas...a hodge-podge of style and theme is the result. As they say, less is more...and, Mr Clay dishes it out in great big generous dollops...in other words, he throws everything at the screen...some material sticks and some...lands on the floor with an audible splodge.

There are two couples, one spewing religious repression, the other extolling the virtues of free and unbridled love...cue: Lesbian/bisexual pas de trois. And...rather graphic it is too...with Freddie Fox displaying [in the blink of an eye] a rather large, engorged, prosthetic willy...only to be upstaged [and blinded] by his gleaming white teeth. Dentistry in 1657 was state-of-the-art, it would seem!

Not only do we have these co-habiting, incongruous couples...throw into the mix, a badly acted, laughable [for all the wrong reasons] comedy duo...as Cromwell's law-men. They dish out the law with neither remorse nor compassion...nor any credulity whatsoever.

With a strong start, a [too] theatrical middle, a rather rushed, ultra-violent ending and an epilogue that ought not to have made it into the final cut...Fanny Lye delivers too much more and not enough less...rather than feeling a chill in your bones, you will feel as if you have been walloped across the face with a muddy shovel.


Friday 11 October 2019...

Yves Saint Laurent: The Last Collections

Yves Saint Laurent: The Last Collections
by Olivier Meyrou

Filmed in the late 90s, a [pulled] release in 2007...then, duly, shelved [due to it being too revealing]...until now! Was it worth the wait? Erm...no.

 

 

 

Zombi-Child

Zombi Child
by Bertran Bonello

Quite easily the most boring 'zombi' film ever made...but, to be fair, this is - most definitely - not the zombie flick where decomposed corpses drag themselves slowly towards fresh juicy flesh. This goes behind that myth, into the voodoo, delving deeper to uncover the zombie truth!

It sounds quite interesting, doesn't it? Alas, frustratingly, no...

Cut to...present day, a privileged, Catholic girls school...replete with a vile teen sorority imbued with sapphic desire. Back to Haiti in the 60s. Back and forward it deliriously goes. It's a film of two halves that never - satisfactorily - come together. Contrasting and comparing between the then and the now...

Yes, we get the message, loud & clear...this is cultural appropriation and the bastardisation of that culture...done to satiate that white privilege bloodlust.

What was Bertrand Bonello thinking? This is shabby allegorical mayhem...rather than zombie mayhem. And, good grief, does Monsieur Bonello - quite literally - like to lecture!?! To such an extent, he actually presents an elongated scene of a teacher delivering a fatuous, meandering, historical monologue...

More back and forth...and, then, it becomes horrible horror...with - quite possibly - the worst demonic lyp-synching ever to be seen on the big screen...way back in 1973, The Exorcist managed to do a damn fine job with demonic possession...what happened in 2019?

It has to be said...this a director who has produced some [truly] remarkable films...this is not one of them.

Zombie fans will loathe it. Anthropologists will probably consider it a masterwork!

Two of Us
by Filippo Meneghetti

A true and utter heartbreak...


Saturday 12 October 2019...

Beautiful-Day-in-the-NeighbourhoodA Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood
by Marielle Heller

What an unexpected and [pleasantly] surprising film...this is not a warts-and-all bio-pic of Fred Rogers. It's something entirely different...an unlikely friendship...that packs an emotional wallop.

 

 

 

 

 

Death-Will-Come-and-Shall-Have-Your-Eyes

Death Will Come and Shall Have Your Eyes
by José Luis Torres Leiva

A film that will challenge the most alert...this film has the same effect as a dozen sleep pills quaffed down with a pint of Gin!

 

 

 

 

 


Sunday 13 October 2019...

The-Irishman

The Irishman
by Martin Scorsese

 

 

 

 

 

 


The films we wanted to watch...but, alas, those damn clashes!!!

Finis Terræ
by Jean Epstein

The Aeronauts Knives Out Lingua Franca Ema 2019 Beanpole Bombay Rose By The Grace Of God House Of Hummingbird Cunningham Mr Jones Muscle On A Magical Night The Weeping Woman Tremours You Dont Nomi Rialto 2019

Cunningham - Official Trailer...

CUNNINGHAM traces Merce’s artistic evolution over three decades of risk and discovery (1944–1972), from his early years as a struggling dancer in postwar New York to his emergence as one of the world’s most visionary choreographers. The 3D technology weaves together Merce's philosophies and stories, creating a visceral journey into his innovative work. A breathtaking explosion of dance, music, and never-before-seen archival material, CUNNINGHAM is a timely tribute to one of the world’s greatest modern dance artists.

Directed by Alla Kovgan

In theaters December 13th.

DARK WATERS - Official Trailer...

Inspired by a shocking true story, a tenacious attorney (Ruffalo) uncovers a dark secret that connects a growing number of unexplained deaths due to one of the world's largest corporations. In the process, he risks everything – his future, his family, and his own life - to expose the truth.

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins, Bill Camp, Victor Garber, Mare Winningham, William Jackson Harper, Bill Pullman

Directed by Todd Haynes

In Theaters November 22

BLOOD MACHINES - Official Trailer...

Two space hunters are tracking down a machine trying to free itself. After taking it down, they witness a mystical phenomenon: the ghost of a young woman pulls itself out of the machine, as if the spaceship had a soul. Trying to understand the nature of this entity, they start chasing the woman through space… Blood Machines is directed by the French filmmaking team known as Seth Ickerman

2019 Sebastiane Awards: Nominations...

Sebastiane 20Sección Oficial

LA TRINCHERA INFINITA / THE ENDLESS TRENCH

Aitor Arregi

Jon Garaño

Jose Mari Goenaga

España – Francia

Higinio y Rosa llevan pocos meses casados cuando estalla la Guerra Civil y la vida de él pasa a estar seriamente amenazada. Con ayuda de su mujer decidirá utilizar un agujero cavado en su propia casa como escondite provisional. El miedo a las posibles represalias, así como el amor que sienten el uno por el otro les condenará a un encierro que se prolongará durante más de 30 años.

VENDRÁ LA MUERTE Y TENDRÁ TUS OJOS / DEATH WILL COME AND SHALL HAVE YOUR EYES

José Luis Torres Leiva

Chile – Argentina – Alemania

Dos mujeres que han compartido toda una vida juntas se ven enfrentadas a la enfermedad de una de ellas. La mujer enferma decide no seguir ningún tratamiento y ambas se mudan a una pequeña casa en el bosque hasta el día que la muerte llegue a sus vidas. Es así como volverán a reencontrar el amor que con el tiempo fue sepultado por la rutina. Poco a poco fortalecerán su relación mientras fuera de la cabaña la muerte aguarda su momento.

PATRICK

Gonçalo Waddington

Portugal – Alemania

Mário, un niño de 8 años secuestrado en el centro de Portugal en la primavera de 1999, reaparece 12 años después en una celda en París. El periodo de desaparición esconde un terrible secreto y todas las complejidades de este misterioso personaje.

New Directors

LE MILIEU DE L’HORIZON / BEYOND THE HORIZON

Delphine Lehericey

Suiza – Bélgica

Verano del 76. Una ola de calor está provocando que el campo suizo se seque a toda velocidad. En un ambiente sofocante, Gus, que tiene trece años y es hijo de un granjero, ve cómo su entorno familiar y su inocencia se resquebrajan: está viviendo el fin de un mundo. Segundo largometraje de su directora.

Horizontes Latinos

DE NUEVO OTRA VEZ / AGAIN ONCE AGAIN

Romina Paula

Argentina

Romina vuelve a la casa familiar después de haber sido madre. Alejada del padre de Ramón, su hijo, se refugia en la casa de su madre, Mónica. Allí se ve sumergida en la temporalidad de su madre, de ella como hija, e intenta dilucidar qué desea. De visita en Buenos Aires, Romina da clases de alemán, intenta retomar su vida de soltera, salir de noche. Quiere saber cómo era antes de la experiencia del amor a su hijo. Necesita comprender quién es, retornando a sus orígenes y reconstruyendo algo de la historia familiar. Debut en la dirección de la escritora, dramaturga y actriz Romina Paula. Presentado en la sección Bright Future del Festival de Rotterdam.

EL PRÍNCIPE / THE PRINCE

Sebastian Muñoz

Chile – Argentina – Bélgica

Cine en Construcción 34

San Bernardo, Chile, 1970. En una noche de borrachera, Jaime, un joven de 20 años solitario y narcisista acuchilla a su mejor amigo en un aparente arrebato pasional. En la cárcel conoce a El Potro, un hombre mayor y respetado a quien se acerca necesitado de protección, ternura y reconocimiento. Jaime se convierte en El Príncipe y descubre el amor y la lealtad mientras asiste a la violenta lucha de poder en la prisión. Seleccionada en la Settimana della Critica del Festival de Venecia.

MONOS

Alejandro Landes

Colombia – Argentina – Países Bajos – Alemania – Suecia – Uruguay

En la cima de una imponente montaña, donde lo que a primera vista parece un campamento de verano, ocho niños guerrilleros apodados ‘Los Monos’ conviven bajo la atenta mirada de un sargento paramilitar. Su única misión es clara: cuidar a la doctora, una mujer americana a la que han tomado como rehén. Cuando esta misión comienza a peligrar, la confianza entre ellos empezará a ponerse en duda. Premio Especial del Jurado en Sundance.


TEMBLORES / TREMORS

Jayro Bustamante

Guatemala – Francia – Luxemburgo

Pablo es un hombre de 40 años, casado y padre de dos maravillosos niños. Es un modelo a seguir y un cristiano evangélico practicante. Pero su perfecta vida tradicional comienza a quebrarse cuando se enamora de un hombre y sus sentimientos entran en conflicto con sus creencias. Su vida se convierte en un infierno de intolerancia represiva cuando su familia y su iglesia deciden hacer lo que sea preciso para curarle, forzándole a reprimir sus impulsos mediante terapia. Presentado en la sección Panorama de la Berlinale.

Perlak

PORTRAIT DE LA JEUNE FILLE EN FEU   PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE

Céline Sciamma

Francia

Bretaña francesa, 1770. Marianne es una pintora que debe realizar el retrato matrimonial de Héloise, una joven que acaba de dejar el convento. Héloise no acepta su destino como mujer casada y se niega a posar, por lo que Marianne debe trabajar en secreto. Para ello, se hace pasar por dama de compañía, para así observarla de día y pintarla de noche. Entre ellas surgirá una relación muy especial.

Zinemira

GLITTERING MISFITS

Iban del Campo

España

Dirty Martini y Tigger!, estrellas del underground neoyorquino, nos descubrirán algunos de los secretos de sus provocativas y reivindicativas formas de expresión artística en night-clubs y cabarets del off-off Broadway de Nueva York. Al mismo tiempo, nos permitirán entender desde su intimidad cotidiana los motivos, las luchas y las claves que les mantienen como figuras y referentes del neo-burlesque, más de 20 años después de que todo este fenómeno explotara en Nueva York en la década de los 90.

Made in Spain

DOLOR Y GLORIA  PAIN AND GLORY

Pedro Almodovar

España

Dolor y Gloria narra una serie de reencuentros de Salvador Mallo, un director de cine en su ocaso. Algunos de ellos físicos, otros recordados: su infancia en los años 60, cuando emigró con sus padres a Paterna, un pueblo de Valencia en busca de prosperidad, el primer deseo, su primer amor adulto ya en el Madrid de los 80, el dolor de la ruptura de este amor cuando todavía estaba vivo y palpitante, la escritura como única terapia para olvidar lo inolvidable, el temprano descubrimiento del cine y el vacío, el inconmensurable vacío ante la imposibilidad de seguir rodando. Dolor y Gloria habla de la creación, de la dificultad de separarla de la propia vida y de las pasiones que le dan sentido y esperanza. En la recuperación de su pasado, Salvador encuentra la necesidad urgente de narrarlo, y en esa necesidad encuentra también su salvación.

ME LLAMO VIOLETA MY NAME IS VIOLETA

David Fernández de Castro

Marc Parramon

España

Dos familias muy distintas con un punto en común: en ambas, un menor transgénero. Violeta, que acaba de cumplir 11 años, decidió hace tiempo que quería tener nombre de niña y vestirse como tal. Sus padres, desconcertados, tardaron un tiempo en asumir su nueva identidad, y hoy Violeta lleva una vida feliz. La historia de Alan es todo lo contrario: fue víctima de acoso en el instituto y el apoyo de su familia no fue suficiente para evitar un final que conmocionó su ciudad natal.

Fuera de Concurso

Cortometrajes Zabaltegi

BLUE BOY

Manuel Abramovich

Argentina – Alemania

¿Qué buscás? ¿Me tenés ganas? Vamos a divertirnos… Siete trabajadores sexuales rumanos en Berlín son retratados mientras escuchan y reaccionan a grabaciones de sus propias experiencias. La cámara se vuelve cliente y el proceso de explotación se convierte en espectáculo, resaltando la inevitable performatividad de las relaciones de poder. 

Series Moviestar+

VIDA PERFECTA

Leticia Dolera

España

María, Esther y Cristina son tres mujeres adultas y complejas que se encuentran en plena crisis vital. Se han dado cuenta de que los planes que tenían para sus vidas no les han dado la felicidad anhelada y prometida. Juntas aprenderán a buscar alternativas y tomarán decisiones que las alejarán de lo que la sociedad tradicionalmente espera de ellas. Las veremos descubrir que su vida no tiene que ser, obligatoriamente, como siempre imaginaron. Serie de ocho capítulos.

Categoría: 2019 Sebastiane Latino

Temblores

Second Star on the Right

One Taxi Drive

Lemebel

Un Rubio

Esto no es Berlín

The 13th Queer Lion Award...

The PrinceThe winner is...

El Príncipe (The Prince)

by Sebastián Muñoz (Chile, Argentina, Belgium), presented in the 34. Venice International Film Critics Week.

"El Príncipe is a passionate portrait of life in a Chilean prison on the eve of Allende’s rise to power in 1970. The savage brutality of prison life is contrasted by intensely emotional relationships between prisoners. Led by a towering Alfredo Castro, the excellent ensemble cast give stirring performances of a powerful script which conveys the paradoxical acceptance of gay attachments in prison at a time when it was not socially acceptable. Sebastián Muñoz’s directorial debut is a bold and erotically charged exploration of recent history which reveals an unexpected tenderness at its heart."

 

 

The New Pope: Official Teaser...

Academy Award-winning director Paolo Sorrentino returns with The New Pope, his second original series set in the world of the modern papacy. Written by Sorrenttino with Umberto Contarello and Stefano Bises, the nine-episode original series features Jude Law and John Malkovich. Sharon Stone and Marilyn Manson guest star.

Queer Lion Award 2019: films in competition...

Queer Lion Cover 2019

The nominees are:

Rialto by Peter Mackie Burns (UK, Ireland, 90′, 2019)
Colm is in his mid-forties, married, with two teenage children. Still grieving the death of his father, a destructive figure in his life, Colm struggles with his relationship to his own son, whilst at work a recent takeover threatens his job. Unable to share his vulnerability with his wife, Colm’s world is falling apart around him. In the midst of this crisis, Colm solicits sex from a young man called Jay. This encounter and his growing infatuation has a deep effect on Colm. He finds a comfort in Jay that no one else can provide.
Presented in Orizzonti

El Principe by Sebastián Muñoz (Chile, Argentina, Belgium, 96′, 2019)
Chile, 1970. During a night of heavy drinking, Jaime, a lonely 20-year-old young man, stabs his best friend in what seems a passion outburst. Sentenced to prison, he meets “The Stallion”, an older and respected man in whom he finds protection, and from whom he learns about love and loyalty. Behind bars, Jaime becomes “The Prince”. But as their relationship grows stronger, “The Stallion” faces the violent power struggles within the prison.
Presented in Settimana Internazionale della Critica

House of Cardin by P. David Ebersole, Todd Hughes (USA, France, 95′, 2019)
House of Cardin is a rare peek into the mind of a genius, an authorized feature documentary chronicling the life and design of Pierre Cardin. A true original, Mr. Cardin has granted exclusive access to his archives and has provided unprecedented interviews at the sunset of a glorious career. A vivid, colourful portrait of the refined yet contradictory society Cardin was/is part of, from Veneto (where Pietro Cardin was born 96 years ago) to Paris to Asia; from Jean Cocteau, Jean Marais, Jeanne Moreau, Christian Dior, Visconti, Pasolini to Jean Paul Gaultier, Philippe Starck, Sharon Stone, Naomi Campbell, Dionne Warwick.
Presented in Giornate degli Autori

Barn (Beware of Children) by Dag Johan Haugerud (Norway, Sweden, 157′, 2019)
When crisis strikes we reveal our true colors. Beware of Children traces the dramatic aftermath of a tragic event in a middle class suburb of Oslo. During a break in school 13 year-old Lykke, the daughter of a prominent Labour Party member, seriously injures her classmate Jamie, the son of a high profile right-wing politician. When Jamie later dies in hospital, contradicting versions of what actually happened risks making a difficult and traumatic situation worse. Was it only innocent play behind? Liv, the school’s principal and the secret lover of Jamie’s father, must find the strength to confront a community in distress, and her own highly conflicted emotions.
The tragic event at the center of the story will put to test the balance of all the couples – gay and straight – in the movie.
Presented in Giornate degli Autori

Bombay Rose by Gitanjali Rao (UK, India, France, Qatar, 93′, 2019)
Amidst the struggle of survival in a big city, a red rose brings together three tales of impossible loves. Love between an unavailable girl and boy. Love between two women. Love of an entire city for its Bollywood stars.
Presented in Settimana Internazionale della Critica

Moffie by Oliver Hermanus (South Africa, UK, 99′, 2019)
Based on André Carl van der Merwe’s book, Moffie (a derogatory Afrikaans term for a gay man) follows the story of Nicholas van der Swart: from a very young age, he realises he is different. Try as he may, he cannot live up to the macho image expected of him by his family, by his heritage. At the age of 19 he is conscripted into the South African army and finds his every sensibility offended by a system close to its demise, and yet still in full force. Set during the South African border war against communism, this is a long overdue story about the emotional and physical suffering endured by countless young men.
Presented in Orizzonti

Psykosia by Marie Grahtø (Denmark, Finland, 87′, 2019)
Viktoria is an odd and extremely self-disciplined researcher in the field of suicide. She is invited to a psychiatric ward to treat the suicidal patient Jenny. Through intimate night conversations, they form a tight bond. Viktoria slowly opens up to experience closeness with another person for the first time in her life, but the closer the two women get, the more it becomes clear that something is not as it seems.
Presented in Settimana Internazionale della Critica

Lingua Franca by Isabel Sandoval (USA, Philippines, 90′, 2019)
In this beguiling drama, an undocumented Filipina immigrant paranoid about deportation works as a caregiver to a Russian-Jewish grandmother in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. When the American man she’s secretly paying for a green card marriage backs out, she becomes involved with a slaughterhouse worker who is unaware that she’s transgender. When Alex’s machismo is threatened upon discovering her transgender status, he finds himself weaponizing her immigration anxieties to emotionally brutalize Olivia.
Presented in sezione Giornate degli Autori

Ema by Pablo Larraín (Chile, 102′, 2019)
After a terrible accident fractures her family and her marriage, a woman sets out on a risky quest to reset her life, in this incendiary drama about art, desire, and family in which many characters express their feelings through dance. From Chilean director Pablo Larraín, competing for the Golden Lion for the third time after Post Mortem (2010) and Jackie (2016).
Presented in Venezia 76

Iris Prize 2019 Shortlist...

Organisers of the Iris Prize have today (16/08/2019) announced details of the 36 short films competing for the Iris Prize at the 2019 Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival. The winning director will be presented with £30,000 to make their next short film here in the UK, supported by the Michael Bishop Foundation.

36 short films compete for the 2019 Iris Prize

19 countries represented in Cardiff final including for the first time Peru, Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia

The £30,000 prize continues to be funded by The Michael Bishop Foundation

The nominees are:

BLACK HAT - DIRECTOR: SARAH SMITH

BREAK ME (KNUS MEG) - DIRECTOR: IRASJ ASANTI

BY THE END OF THE NIGHT (QUE LA NUIT S’ACHÈVE) - DIRECTOR: DENOAL ROUAUD

CARLITO LEAVES FOREVER - DIRECTOR: QUENTIN LAZZAROTTO

CRASH AND BURN, HONEY - DIRECTOR: DAWID ULLGREN

DANTE VS MOHAMMED ALI - DIRECTOR: MARC WAGENAAR

DELIVERY BOY - DIRECTOR: HUGO KENZO

DUBS - DIRECTOR: ANTHONY GREYLEY

EQUAL - DIRECTOR: GILLIAN CALLAN

FAME - DIRECTOR: LENE POTTGIESSER & CHRISTIAN HÖD

FICUS (FIKUS) - DIRECTOR: ANDREY VOLKASHIN

GIRL FRIEND - DIRECTOR: CHLOE SARBIB

GRETA - DIRECTOR: SPARKMAN CLARK

HOW TO LIVE YOUR LIFE CORRECTLY - DIRECTOR: XINDI LOU

IN CASE OF FIRE (EM CASO DE FOGO) - DIRECTOR: TOMÁS PAULA MARQUES

JOY BOY - DIRECTOR: STEF SMITH

LEAKING BLUE (AZUL VAZANTE) - DIRECTOR: JULIA ALQUÉRES

MARGUERITE - DIRECTOR: MARIANNE FARLEY

MINI DV - DIRECTOR: SHAULY MELAMED

MISS CHAZELLES - DIRECTOR: THOMAS VERNAY

OUTDOORING - DIRECTOR: MAXWELL ADDAE

PONYBOI - DIRECTOR: RIVER GALLO, SADÉ CLACKEN JOSEPH

RENOVATION (REFORMA) - DIRECTOR: FÁBIO LEAL

RUOK - DIRECTOR: JAY RUSSELL

SKIES ARE NOT JUST BLUE - DIRECTOR: LYSANDRE COSSE-TREMBLAY

SKIN - DIRECTOR: AUDREY ROSENBERG

STIGMA (ESTIGMA) - DIRECTOR: DAVID VELDUQUE

STRANGERS - DIRECTOR: JAMIESON PEARCE

TERMINALLY IN LOVE - DIRECTOR: EMILY JENKINS & JUSTIN BLACK

THE BOOTH - DIRECTOR: ROHIN RAVEENDRAN

THE ONE YOU NEVER FORGET - DIRECTOR: MORGAN JON FOX

THE ORPHAN (O ÓRFÃO) - DIRECTOR: CAROLINA MARKOWICZ

THOMAS BANKS’ QUEST FOR LOVE - DIRECTOR: PIP KELLY

U FOR USHA (U USHACHA) - DIRECTOR: ROHAN PARASHURAM KANAWADE

WE OUTLAWS (红裙下) - DIRECTOR: WANG KAIXUAN

WONDER - DIRECTOR: JAVIER MOLINA


 

Iris Prize Best British Short TRAILER 2019...

The full list of nominated films:

Becoming Cherrie (Dir. Nicky Larkin)
Invisible Women (Dir. Alice Smith)
We Are Dancers (Dir. Joe Morris)
#TradWives (Dir. Anna Snowball)
Fee (Dir. Guen Murroni)
Starboy (Dir. Joelle Bentolila)
Dead Birds (Dir. Johnny Kenton)
My Brother Is A Mermaid (Dir. Alfie Dale)
Marco (Dir. Saleem Haddad)
Deep Clean (Dir. David Wilson)
Dix Pix (Dir. Steven Fraser)
Hey You (Dir. Jared Watmuff)
Dubs (Dir. Anthony Greyley)
My Sweet Prince (Dir. Jason Bradbury)
My Loneliness is Killing Me (Dir. Tim Courtney)

Before You Know It | Official Trailer...

A long-kept family secret thrusts codependent, thirty-something sisters Rachel and Jackie Gurner into a literal soap opera. A journey that proves you really can come of age, at any age.

DIRECTED BY Hannah Pearl Utt

STARRING Judith Light, Mandy Patinkin, Hannah Pearl Utt, Jen Tullock, Mike Colter, and Alec Baldwin

IN THEATERS AUGUST 30, 2019

THE PARTING GLASS trailer...

In his feature film directorial debut, Stephen Moyer helms a star-studded cast in this powerful and emotional drama about an estranged family coming back together when the youngest sibling, Colleen (Anna Paquin), mysteriously dies. Left to sort through her belongings, Colleen’s father (Ed Asner), three siblings (Melissa Leo, Cynthia Nixon and Denis O’Hare), and ex-husband (Rhys Ifans) revisit their memories and make peace together. Inspired by autobiographical events, Denis O’Hare makes his feature screenplay debut with this poignant and heartfelt story.

A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD - Official Trailer...

Tom Hanks portrays Mister Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. After a jaded magazine writer (Emmy winner Matthew Rhys) is assigned a profile of Fred Rogers, he overcomes his skepticism, learning about empathy, kindness, and decency from America’s most beloved neighbor.

Directed by: Marielle Heller

The Harvesters Trailer...

US Release Date: September 13, 2019

Starring: Brent Vermeulen, Alex van Dyk, Juliana Venter

Directed By: Etienne Kallos

Synopsis: South Africa, Free State region, isolated stronghold to the Afrikaans white ethnic minority culture. In this conservative farming territory obsessed with strength and masculinity, Janno is different, secretive, emotionally frail. One day his mother, fiercely religious, brings home Pieter, a hardened street orphan she wants to save, and asks Janno to makes this stranger into his brother. The two boys start a fight for power, heritage and parental love. An official selection of Cannes Un Certain Regard, Etienne Kallos' debut feature film explores teenage angst and family dynamics set against a harsh yet stunning South African backdrop.

The Making of Panthera...Watch...

The Making of Panthera from Renee Mao on Vimeo.

The Making of Panthera is a character-driven documentary short about 25-year-old Brooklyn-based drag queen Panthera Lush, whose awe-inspiring creations are the product of hundreds of painstaking hours spent at the sewing machine. With her inventive, couture-worthy looks, Panthera elevates drag to the status of fine art. Weaving cinéma vérité and choreographed drama, this documentary short invites you to gallivant around Panthera's Brooklyn — in her dressing room, backstage, and at a 2 a.m. diner run with friends. Somewhere along the way, we learn just what it is about drag that has captivated today's culture.

CREDITS:

Directors | Renee Mao & Savannah O'Leary
Producer | Kieran Altmann
Cinematographer | Shannon Palmer
Editor | Savannah O'Leary

ADAM // Official U.S. Trailer...

Exclusively In Theaters: NYC August 14 // LA August 23

Directed by Rhys Ernst

Screenplay by Ariel Schrag

Awkward, self-conscious Adam Freeman (Nicholas Alexander) has just finished his junior year of high school in 2006. When his cool older sister Casey (Margaret Qualley, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood) suggests he visit her in New York for the Summer, Adam has visions of meeting a girl and finally gaining some actual life experience. The fantasy doesn’t materialize exactly as expected. Casey has enthusiastically embraced life amidst Brooklyn’s young LGBTQ community and invites Adam to tag along with her to queer bars, marriage equality rallies and other happenings. When Adam falls at first sight for Gillian (Bobbi Salvör Menuez), a smart, beautiful young woman in this new crowd, she mistakenly assumes he is trans. Flummoxed and enamored, he haplessly goes along with her assumption, resulting in an increasingly complex comedy - and tragedy - of errors he’s ill-equipped to navigate.

Cubby - Official Trailer...

The eccentric, lovable LGBTQ feature debut from writer/director. Mark Blane and co-director Ben Mankoff. Mark Blane, Patricia Richardson, and John Duff star in CUBBY.

Mark, a misanthropic 26-year-old gay man, had been living in his mother’s garage in Indiana and working on his sexually explicit—and BDSM-themed—artwork until a lie he tells gets him unwittingly in New York City, dog paddling among the sharks. There, he takes a job babysitting for 6-year-old Milo, a new best friend who fully accepts Mark, but does little to help him meet the challenges of everyday life.

Falling behind on rent, and running out of anti-anxiety pills, Mark finally discovers the inspiration he needs, in the form of the alternative superhero, Leather-Man, who appears to him through the lens of a psychedelic cupcake. As a sexy metaphor for discipline and control, Leather-Man helps Mark onto the path for success, but not before Mark’s babysitting adventures turn from empowering, to risky, and ultimately: transformative.

Limited Theatrical begins this Fall

DVD & VOD: November 2019

Directed by: Mark Blane & Ben Mankoff

Written by: Mark Blane

Where's My Roy Cohn? | Official Trailer...

Lawyer Roy Cohn personified the dark arts of American politics, turning empty vessels into dangerous demagogues - from Senator Joseph McCarthy to his final project, Donald J. Trump. This thriller-like doc exposé connects the dots, revealing how a deeply troubled master manipulator shaped today's American nightmare. Where's My Roy Cohn? is directed by acclaimed American doc filmmaker Matt Tyrnauer, director of the documentaries Valentino: The Last Emperor, Citizen Jane: Battle for the City, Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood, and Studio 54 previously. This premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. Sony Classics will release Tyrnauer's Where's My Roy Cohn? doc in select theaters starting September 20th this fall.

HUSTLERS TRAILER PREMIERE!!!

Hustlers follows a crew of savvy former strip club employees who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients. The film was inspired by the article published by New York Magazine entitled “The Hustlers at Scores” written by Jessica Pressler.

Starring Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Lizzo and Cardi B.

Judy Trailer...

Winter 1968 and showbiz legend Judy Garland arrives in Swinging London to perform a five-week sold-out run at The Talk of the Town. It is 30 years since she shot to global stardom in The Wizard of Oz, but if her voice has weakened, its dramatic intensity has only grown. As she prepares for the show, battles with management, charms musicians and reminisces with friends and adoring fans, her wit and warmth shine through. Even her dreams of love seem undimmed as she embarks on a whirlwind romance with Mickey Deans, her soon-to-be fifth husband. Featuring some of her best-known songs, the film celebrates the voice, the capacity for love, and the sheer pizzazz of “the world’s greatest entertainer.”

How Stonewall Became Famous...

Ever since the 1969 riots on the streets outside New York City’s Stonewall Inn, L.G.B.T.Q. communities have gathered there to express their joy, their anger, their pain and their power.

Few places are so tightly identified with the birth of a movement as the Stonewall Inn and the streets that surround it, in the downtown Manhattan neighborhood of Greenwich Village. This month marks 50 years since the Stonewall riot, which galvanized a half-century of activism and agitation for L.G.B.T. rights and made Stonewall a recurring stage for public protest, grieving and celebration.

Cheryl Furjanic’s new Op-Doc, “Stonewall: The Making of a Monument” traces that history, exploring the process by which a chaotic street fight in protest of police brutality has been engraved into history in the form of a national monument. Furjanic’s film, built from a chorus of voices and archival footage, is also a case study in how mainstream acceptance can, ironically, be a mixed blessing for political movements, as people struggle to control their own history.

THE GOOD LIAR - Official Trailer...

Consummate con man Roy Courtnay (Ian McKellen) has set his sights on his latest mark: the recently widowed Betty McLeish (Helen Mirren), worth millions. And Roy means to take it all. From their very first meeting, Roy begins plying Betty with his tried and true manipulations, and Betty, who seems quite taken with him, is soon going along for the ride. But this time, what should have been a simple swindle escalates into a cat-and-mouse game with the ultimate stakes—revealing more insidious deceptions that will take them both through a minefield of danger, intrigue and betrayal.

The Good Liar - In Theaters November 15

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2019...

...by David Anderson Cutler

EIFF 2019

It's that time of the year again...come rain or shine, when we all head off to the glorious capital city of Edinburgh.

Must admit, the LGBT content [this year] is - for the want of a better word - sparse. Last year's festival presented 20 LGBT films...with a few additional surprises. This year, a mere 6 - not including all the retrospective films!

Still...there are always the surprises, we've just got to find them...hiding behind all that subtext and/or homoerotica! And, let's face it, practically every film made [nowadays] has - at least - one LGBT character...who ticks the [now obligatory] diversity box!


Day 1...

Didn't get to see Boyz in the Wood...but, here are the Boyz...

BoyzintheWood


Day 2...

Aniara @EIFF2019

Aniara
by Pella Kågerman & Hugo Lilja

Earth is buggered...let's all bugger off to Mars!

Here's a film with - quite possibly - the longest timeline in cinematic history...it literally spans 1000s of years. Aniara is a dark, pessimistic tale about humanity...the hopes and ambitions and the crushing reality when it all doesn't go to plan...all explored within the confines of a rather large, out-of-control spaceship!

It takes a brave filmmaker to take on the might of Harry Martinson's epic poem...purists will probably pick fault with every scene. But, hey...not everyone is a purist! This is a version, an interpretation of the text...it makes you think, it makes you sad, it makes you ask yourself questions...what would you do if you found yourself infinitely hurtling through infinity? That's not a question you blurt out at a dinner party!

The directors have worked magic with their budget...the atmosphere is palpable, the claustrophobia is tangible, the hopelessness is indisputable. It's not without a few faults...but, considering the budget and the richness of the source material...it's a damn decent effort.

So-Pretty@EIFF2019

So Pretty
By Jessie Jeffrey Dunn Rovinelli

Made by a niche demographic...for a niche demographic. Most definitely...not one for the hoi-polloi!

In these PC times, when the snowflakes are frantically searching for their own identities...be it fluid, non-binary, trans or cis...ad nauseum. It comes as an ironic surprise...So Pretty is a film that hasn't a clue what it is...it calls itself a drama, although it is [almost] devoid of a story...and, for the most part, it seems to be completely improvised. The aesthetic is part cinéma vérité, totally guerilla, too Dogme-95-ish for comfort...and, topped off with an obvious [and sycophantic] Warholian nod. In other words...this is low budget, home-made, artistically challenged fayre.

It veers from the [wholly] pseudo-intellectual to the mundane to the ooh-you-wouldn't-want-your-mother-to-watch-this...the [bewildering] ass-whipping scene will bring tears to your eyes! It screams: Hey, we're crazy queer kids, we do crazy things! This 'Queer Thang'...well, it's all rather reminscent of the good ole Punk days...alas, without the humour, the style, the angst or the music! [C'mon Punk was funny!] So, just to be controversial...this kind of 'Queer' is merely the post-post-modern Punk for today...a poor photocopy of the original. Yip...subcultures [do] come and [do] go, leaving in their wake films like these. Perhaps, in years to come So Petty will be afforded the same kind of attention [and praise] Andy Warhol & Paul Morrissey continue to receive. For they did - indeed - definitively defined their subculture. Sadly, So Pretty is without definition.

The-Grizzlies@EIFF2019

The Grizzlies
By Miranda de Pencier

Here's a film that bellows: Canada...make amends!

A straightforward narrative...without any bells or whistles...that really does kick the Canadian government in the proverbials! Tradition and modernity will always be at loggerheads...but, when the suicide rate soars among the young...something has got to be done. Heads have got to be bashed and solutions threshed out. This is an ongoing tragedy...but, what makes it more tragic is...it is all completely avoidable.

The Grizzlies is both heart-breaking and uplifting...the message is clear and uncomplicated. Invest and keep on investing until this shocking suicide statistic has been reduced down to 'normal' parameters...and then, keep on investing...in education, sport, art, tradition...and, people.

A fine film...with a young, inexperienced cast who all step up to the plate and more. Hopefully, this film will get the audience it deserves...not only does it show the importance of education...but, it educates the audience. Now...that's something more films should do!


Day 3...

Love-Type-D@EIFF2019

Love Type D
By Sasha Collington

The question is: Would you take and act on [dating] advice dished out by an 11-year-old? Well, if you have been dumped as many times as this character has...desperation makes people do incredible things!

However, the implausibility of the whole scenario and the lightness of tone makes this an underwhelming rom-com...with little in the way of genuine 'rom' and pushing too hard for the 'com'. Such a shame, the two little boys do deliver a rather nifty little comedy act. But, it's too cutesy...obviously [and most bizarrely] intended for the family market...can't quite see the families packing into the cinema to see this! Perhaps, adolescent girls...desperate to clich their first boyfriends...all they need is an elephant-strength love potion!

It's all just a little too immature!

The-Art-of-Self-Defense@EIF2019

The Art of Self-Defense
By Riley Stearns

Let's face it, Jesse Eisenberg is a bit of a Marmite actor...you either love or loathe. Well, my dears, he uses that dichotomy to his utmost advantage in this timely tale of toxic masculinity.

Riley Stearns takes his story - inch-by-inch - into the darkness...what makes it so gripping is the tongue-in-cheek [almost camp] posturing of the alpha-males, Alessandro Nivola's Sensei is a howling homage to narcissism. Everybody loves an underdog...but, when that underdog transforms, through self-empowerment...most will applaud and cheer...until it goes too far. When the self-empowered become the self-righteous...oh dear!

The Art of Self-Defense takes it to the absolute limit...in the beginning, you will love [or loathe] Mr Eisenberg...in the end, you shoud loathe his character...although, some will - undoubtedly - love him. It all depends on your own moral compass...!

This is a film that has everything...with one added bonus...intelligence. It's frightening!

The-Dead-Dont-Die@EIFF2019

The Dead Don't Die
By Jim Jarmusch

Zombies have been done to death...well, Mr Jarmusch knocks his zombies out of the park and beyond!

When a film features a lusty Scottish mortician who just happens to be a Samurai warrior and takes the form of Tilda Swinton...c'mon, it's a no-brainer...this has got to be seen to believed. She - quite literally - steals every scene...one, in particular, involving two dead bodies, a Sumurai sword and funky make-up. One of the most outrageous and satisfying belly-laughs in the history of cinema!

Bill Murray does nonchalant Bill Murray to [the expected] perfection...with Adam Driver, bouncing all the way, as his sidekick...showing the power of understated comedy.

The Dead Don't Die goes off-piste so often...it really is - at times - a case of WTF! Go with it, this is Jim Jarmush doing his thing with done-to-death zombies...it's a treat and a trial and it will give you [and leave you with] that - utterly joyous - belly-laugh!


Day 4...

Yesterday@EIFF2019

Danny-Boyle@Eiff2019Yesterday
By Danny Boyle

Not what you would expect from Mr Boyle!

It's not the greatest film ever made...in truth, it's a bit daft...but, if it's the feel-good factor that you're after...well, they don't come much better than this!

The Beatles have been wiped from the world's collective memory [hysterically, so has Oasis...and, bizarrely Coca-Cola, think about it]...all, apart for one [lucky and luckless] busker...who just happens to know practically every song the Fab4 produced. Vicarious fame and fortune dangle before him like a lush donkey's carrot!

Whether you are a 'Beatles' fan or not...the biggest surprise in Yesterday is how fresh these songs come across..and that's all thanks to a beautifully natural performance by Himesh Patel, not an easy transition from being a [long-time] soap star to the big screen. He does it with aplomb...and, most importantly, he is absolutely, cheek-tweakingly adorable.

However, Ed Sheeran is not a natural actor [hey, it's not his gig]...but, credit where credit's due, he gives it a go and embraces the self-mockery...that's nothing but admirable. 'Dude' instead of 'Jude'...just hysterical!

So...suspend disbelief and enjoy. This is solid entertainment.

Astronaut@EIFF2019

Astronaut
By Shelagh McLeod

Cosmic sentimentality...a sweet and safe little film without any artistic risks whatsoever. Just a plain old-fashioned story...reminiscent of Cocoon [sans les extraterrestres]...about regrets, missed opportunities...and, legacy.

Mr Dreyfuss delivers a stoic performance...aided and abetted by a script that maintains the mantra: Never give up...wishing, hoping, living.There is, however, a smidgen of respite from the heart-tugging...in the form an elderly gay gentleman who has not lost his eye-for-the-men and vocalises his pent-up lust with neither shame nor reticence.

Of course it's sentimental, how could it not be!?! Considering Mr Dreyfuss' cinematic girth...Jaws, Close Encounters...and, his Oscar-winning, The Goodbye Girl...Astronaut is a modest film, it will certainly warm the cockles of many hearts, both young & old...and, for those of a certain age, it's poignancy will resonate in so many ways.

A solid, lovely wee film...just a little bit on the safe side.

The-Furies@EIFF2019

The Furies
By Tony D'Aquino

Eeew...if it's blood, guts and gore that you're after...you've come to the right place!

This is vicious...sometimes, you really have to cover your eyes...as these kidnapped young women are hunted [and killed] by 'extravagantly' masked men...in the wilderness that is the Australian outback. It's unrelenting!

The cinematography captures the geography perfectly, the editing is brisk...and, the music is striking. Being his debut feature...Mr D'Aquino has done the right thing...surrounding himself with technicians who know their jobs. The result is an over-the-top, wholly misogynistic, assault to the senses...so much so, it actually becomes quite funny in a macabre way...when you laugh at an exploding head...it really is time to question your own sanity!

Thrilling, nasty stuff!

The-Fall-of-the-American-Empire@EIFF2019

The Fall of the American Empire [La chute de l'empire américain]
By Denys Arcand

The Canadian master-filmmaker...does it again! No, it's not a sequel to Mr Arcand's similarly entitled [brilliantly poisonous] The Decline of the American Empire - still, the obvious [titular] dig at his next-door-neighbour is more than just a slap-in-the-face!

There's nothing quite like drilling home your message via sarcasm and wit, Mr Arcand does not - in the slightest - hold back. This is crime-caper done to perfection...with an added [blistering] social commentary. The crux of the film is a moral issue...akin to Robin Hood...stealing from thieves for the greater good of the community. Then...there's an unbridled assault on education and intellectualism: Intelligence is a handicap!

What makes this all work is Alexandre Landry's ultra-charismatic performance...he's a delivery-man with a PhD, a bit of a geek, who falls for an exorbitant escort...while being chased by hardcore, torture-weilding criminals and harassed by a duo of police officers...who are contending with a few sexual issues, she had him, he wants her, she's switched teams!

Messieurs Landry et Arcand take everything in their stride...the pace is furious, the 2 hours zip by...indeed, the Canadian master-filmmaker...has done it again!


Day 5...

The-Tobacconist@EIFF2019

The Tobacconist [Der Trafikant]
By Nikolaus Leytner

What a story! What a film!

This is direction, Nikolaus Leytner has the unique vision and ability...to put everything that is in his mind's eye onto the screen. A period piece with daubs of nightmare and flourishes of fantasy...

The rise of Fascism...witnessed by and seen through the impressionable eyes of somewhat naive, young man. This is a character who grows - exponentially - before your very eyes. Oooh...how you will involve yourself with his fragilities and friendships. How you will smile as he grows into his adult's skin...and, how you will weep...as life's realities take their toll.

T'is always a pleasure to see a young actor step up to [and beyond] the plate...this should be his breakout performance, he literally carries the film from start to finish...talk about character arcs, this arc is mighty. With touches of Cabaret, tête-à-têtes with Sigmund Freud, cigar etiquette and the snivelling, rotten musk of the Black Shirts lurking...The Tobacconist is a story that needed to be told...and, with might, has it been told well!

Stunning.

The-Red-Phallus@EIFF2019

The Red Phallus
By Tashi Gyeltshen

The cinematography is splendiferous...but...the acting...well, there are two ways of looking at using non-professional actors...you may find a diamond-in-the-rough...or, as is the case here, you don't. With the exception of Tshering Euden, she does do a decent job...but, all the others...it's a great big oops!

Now...if you are going to use no-pros...you had better be a director worth his-or-her salt. Tashi Gyeltshen demonstrates the biggest mistake a [relatively inexperienced] director can make...he completely forgot about his potential audience. If film-making is all about bums-on-seats and telling a story to those bums...these bums on these seats are sound asleep...because, the story doesn't quite unfurl and the unfurling is akin to treacle coming out of a vinegar bottle! In other words: Slooow!

Talk about overly long-takes...who wants to watch a gas-ring [burning] for 2 minutes? Some will label it 'mood' and/or 'atmospheric' - forget those labels...this is monotony.

Manta-Ray@EIFF2019

Manta Ray [Kraben rahu]
By Phuttiphong Aroonpheng

An intriguing beginning...a man adorned with fairy lights walks through a forest covered in fairly lights...visually, it's stunning. But, what does it all mean? The director gives you plenty of time to mull it over.

A perplexing middle...a peroxide-blonde man finds an unconscious man deep in the mangroves, he extricates him without any trouble, nurses him and allows him to share his home and life...and, he doesn't utter a word [throughout the entire film]! The villagers perceive them as a married couple...up until the peroxide-blonde disappears. In walks his pregnant ex-wife, who shacks up with the mute foundling...and then she bleaches his hair! What does it all mean? Seemingly, this film is a damning indictment on how [badly] the Rohingya are treated in Thailand...however, being so utterly abstract, that damning [and important] 'message' is all but lost.

And, not just a cacaphonous ending...but one that will cause your jaw to slam uncontrollably onto the floor...it's cryptic...perhaps, surreal...in truth, it's just plain stupid.


Day 6...

The-Souvenir@EIFF2019

The Souvenir
By Joanna Hogg

Film-school drivel...from a 'seasoned' [as in, no Spring chicken] film-school graduate...who ought to have known [much] [much] better!

With such mighty names attached to this narcissistic, preachy 'project' - Martin Scorsese [executive producer ] & Tilda Swinton [with daughter-in-tow]...this a classic case of: It's not what you know...it's who!

It would be far too easy to [completely and utterly] rip this mind-numbingly repetitive 'film' apart...and, quite possibly, in doing so...incur a rather costly libel!!! So...without further fuss [or, ado]...I will say no more...other than...a 'Part Deux' [sequel] is in-the-works [with the same fabulous names attached]...a word of advice: Read, just a handful of, the [public, entrance-fee-paying] reviews on IMDb...and then, perhaps, you will climb down from cloud-cuckoo-residence and realise that your [parentally] fully-funded-far-flung-film-school days are NOT as interesting as you have deluded yourself [and some fabulous names] into believing!

But...hey, well done...for getting Tilda and Martin onboard! And...winner of the Grand Jury Prize @ Sundance!?! Must admit Ms Hogg...you keep non-hoi-polloi 'good' cinematic company! Proper...cinematic elitism.

Cronofobia@EIFF2019

Cronofobia
By Francesco Rizzi

A film that goes from the interesting [albeit confusing]...to the rivetting [albeit wonderfully mundane]...to the downright pedestrian.

Yes...the final third threw a spanner into-the-works and screwed everything [so frustratingly] up! Aaargh...sometimes, the need for artiness is not needed whatsoever! Just keep it real.

This is an impressive feature debut. Francesco Rizzi has it all...vision, voice and talent...with a little fine-tuning, [third act] tucks and tweaks...his next project could easily knock it out of the park. Not many directors can intrigue an audience...then, absorb them...and lose them all in the space of 93 minutes...as they say, two out of three ain't bad...but, three out of three makes for a solid cinematic career!

Bulbul-Can-Sing@EIFF2019

Bulbul Can Sing
By Rima Das

Bulbul can't sing!

What an odd little film...it has been screened at many LGBT film festivals throughout the word...yet, it is not [by any stretch of the imagination] a first-tier LGBT film. Yes, it does feature a young gay man...who gets periodically forgotten about throughout [but still manages to pack a well-placed punch or two]...the main themes in this film are burgeoning sexuality, traditional patriarchy...and, that old favourite...arranged marriages...in rural India, where time stands still...despite the howling cries from modernity.

Rima Das is her own one-woman production company...quite literally, doing everything herself to get her projects off the ground and onto the silver screen...that, in itself, has to be admired. This is as decent a film can be when non-professional actors are used...the leads do do an admirable job...sadly, the support does not fare as well!

Bulbul has a pivotal scene involving the two young women...they are caught flirting [illicitly] with a couple of boys...all Hell breaks loose! The townsmen beat the girls black-and-blue...well, that was the intention, what we see is a slap-happy, sloppy improvisation that goes on for far too long. It really is a case of...less is more. If performers can't do stunt-fighting convincingly...then don't show it. There are other ways to convey violence...via sound and crisp editing.

Weaknesses aside, Bulbul Can Sing has a captivating freshness. Rima Das' voice needs to be heard, she is tackling subjects that need to be told and seen...modernity stops for no man...it's just that in some places some men do what they can to stop it themselves...the reprecussions can be tragic. A film that - surely and hopefully - will change [traditional] minds!


Day 7...

The-Captor@EIFF2019

The Captor [Stockholm]
By Robert Budreau

Who doesn't love a bumbling criminal with a heart of gold?

Be warned...this is not an accurate re-telling of the botched bank heist that led to the psychological 'discovery' of the Stockholm Syndrome. Instead, this is a tongue-in-cheek, almost caper-ish rendition of the 'facts' and Ethan Hawke just rolls with it. He's cheek-tweakingly lovable!

It's a mad approach to the actual madness, not too dissimilar with Dog Day Afternoon...hitting a perfect balance between comedy and drama...between sentiment and survival. As you would expect, nothing goes smoothly for our anti-hero...and every error of judgment is met with a carnvorous performance by Vladimir Jon Cubrt who - as the bank manager - steals every scene with his snide and cynical coolness.

So...with Bob Dylan crooning away in the backgroud...take a pinch of salt, suspend disbelief and enjoy...this has an unexpected charm and a jaw-dropping silliness. As daft as it is entertaining.

X&Y@EIFF2019

X&Y
By Anna Odell

Artistic boundaries do not exist...well, they bloody well ought to...and, if they did [or, do], this incredible indulgence would never have made it to the screen!

After a tortutuous [and mind-numbing] 112 minutes, it all amounts to one great big pile of pseudo-intellectual-sexual guff...packed to the rafters with mental and physical probings...who is me? Let me bonk me to find out! Galloping ginger cats...there goes the audience!

Part scripted, part improvised...wholly incomprehensible and lamentably risible. Ms Odell - increduously - gathered a mighty fine company of actors, convinced them to do as she directed, forgot [completely] about the audience...as nothing is answered in the film...the only question that remains is...why?

Thirty@EIFF2019

Thirty [Dreissig]
By Simona Kostova

Here's a little experiment...I asked a complete stranger [who just happened to be a young man] to recommend a film, something that wasn't on my list. He recommended this...saying it was completely brilliant.

Sometimes you get a pleasant little surprise...and, sometimes you don't.

Alas, Thirty falls into the latter category...but, what makes this interesting is...this is filmmaking for a different generation. Me, I like a story...something that grabs you and doesn't let go until the very end. Thirty has no story...it's just a bunch of friends, approaching thirty and moaning about everything and anything...

It's all very cinema verité - realism to the core...the only problem is, other people's realities can be a complete bore to watch. Hey...different generation...different mindset!


Day 8...

I-See-You@EIFF2019

I See You
By Adam Randall

Well...if ever a film keeps you on your toes, keeps you guessing...and, on the edge of your seat throughout...here it is!

Seriously, this is clever stuff...especially when the perspectives change, a very difficult mechanism to pull off...well, Adam Randall hit a home-run! Nothing is as it seems...no-one is who they seem. A cheating mother and wife, held to account by her son and husband...it sounds like a good old-fashioned, bland domestic melo-drama...well, there's nothing bland nor mellow in this home invasion thrilling thriller.

The amount of twists and turns is dizzying...but, always believable...think of doing a jigsaw puzzle without seeing the picture first, bit-by-bit the darkness is revealed. This is dark...so very dark played against the idyll of sweet suburbia...as the rot sets in and takes over.

Jumping to conclusions will only get you outsmarted...few films leave you with a lasting impression...you'll be checking your cupboards and garages, lofts and sheds...who's watching you!?!

Chilling, thrilling stuff.

Them-That-Follow@EIF2019

Them That Follow
By Britt Poulton & Dan Madison Savage

Religion gets a [predictable] pounding!

 

 

 

 

Arent-You-Happy@EIFF2019

Aren't You Happy? [Das melancholische Mädchen]
By Susanne Heinrich

I don't get your humour...

That's a quote from the film...talk about hitting the nail precisely on the head! Really, seriously, unabashedly...there are not enough [respectable & repeatable] words to accurately describe how [truly] awful this film is!

It's really only 70 minutes [too] long...with 9 minutes of end credits [yes, we timed them!].

So...not to be a total malcontent...here are the positives, there are quite a few willies on show [one being particularly impressive]. That's it, that's all.


Day 9...

Synonyms@EIFF2019

Synonyms [Synonymes]
By Nadav Lapid

Winner of Berlinale's Golden Bear...seriously, did they watch the same film!?!

Well, we can think of quite a few 'synonymes' to describe this utter mess/shambles/mishmash/ of a self-indulgent/cacophonous/thread-bare/pretentious film. Where to start...

...with the story, of course...wait a minute...what story? It all centres around Yoav, a young man who likes to show off his manly tackle and [oooh your poor ears] hasn't mastered the art of speaking at a normal [and acceptable] level...in other words, he shouts...throughout the entire film!

Yoav has 'escaped' his native [and despised] Israel...decanting to Paris. Within a matter of minutes, he ends up in a stunning [but bare] apartment, being robbed [while showering] of his entire possessions...leaving him, in the cold heart of Winter...bare-butt-dick-dangling-naked!

Then...everything goes all Jules et Jim [sans la magnificence de Truffaut]...a young, wealthy couple rescue him from a hypothermic bath-tub...warm him, clothe him, feed him and hand over [without the blink of a smitten eye] a wad of cash. As if!

Admittedly...it all sounds rather interesting and there are certainly some eye-pleasing moments...but, that's just the first 15 minutes...the remaining 105 minutes are a fanatical assault to the senses [and to Israel]! Now, this all might be [a bit] semi-autobiographical and Nadav Lapid just wanted to get a load off of his chest...well, he certainly did that...and, forgot about the audience [there were quite a few walk-outs at the press screening]...it's all about communication m'dear!

There are better ways to rant and rave...rather than [actually] ranting and raving for nearly 2 exhausting, ear-splitting hours. Synonyms is a scathing critique on [a very pervasive] Israel...perhaps that was the point. Why be subtle...when you can just throw it out there - unrelentlessly - at the top of your [screeching] voice, taking no prisoners whatsoever!

Indeed...food for thought!

Skin@EIFF2019

Skin
By Guy Nattiv

A mighty performance from Jamie Bell...

 

 

 

 


Day 10...

Masters-of-Love@EIFF2019

Masters of Love
By Matt Roberts

It all centres around an up-coming [obviously, on-and-off] lesbian wedding...it's ensemble, it's low-budget...and, it's a little bit wordy!

Everything is told...nothing is shown, this could have been - quite easily - a radio play! And, perhaps, it would have worked better on the old wireless...watching these - most unlikable - characters is a chore too far.

The grossly irritating vlogger is punchable, the crappy-stand-up-comedian is [for want of a better word] crappy...as for the lesbian couple, one half high-maintenance, the other..bordering on the apathetic.

The conflicts [of which there are many] are all self-made and resolved quickly...it's all very dizzying how readily the 'forgivenesses' are dished out.

Look...this is a debut feature and it does creak under the weight of inexperience...obviously, the intention was...to produce a Richard Curtis-ish quirky little rom-com. Here's a little bit of advice: Start off by creating characters the audience will like, relate to, take into their hearts. Otherwise, like this bunch...no-one will care a jot what happens to them. And, as for lasting impressions...well, all forgotten, soon after.

Carmilla@EIFF2019

Carmilla
By Emily Harris

Over the years, Sheridan Le Fanu's novella has been done to death...with varying degrees of success and failure.

Emily Harris decided - for some unknown reason - that she would have a bash at telling this familiar tale...well, she certainly gave it a bash and a bashing...hey, everyone has the right to free interpretation!

The problem with this Carmilla is...it's too safe. It's not Gothic enough, not - by a long shot - lesbian enough...and, no-where-near vampiric enough...even the nasty governess is not nasty enough...but, that's probably the fault of the casting director! Enough with the enoughs!

More biting, more blood, more sweaty, seething Sapphism...more horror! Less of the insects...why all the shots of creepy-crawlies? Yes, the film should have been creepy...a few bug shots do not constitute creepiness!

'Less is more' is a mantra that many filmmakers - wisely - follow...unfortunately, in this unusual case...a wee bit 'more' would have paid dividends...the atmosphere and cinematography were major stakeholders...sadly, the 'stake' missed the heart!

Acute-Misfortune@EIFF2019

Acute Misfortune
By Thomas M. Wright

Not a pleasant man...but, a superlative [and stylish] bio-pic.

Adam Cullen's art is bold, brash and immature...like the man himself. He was the archetypal suffering artist...alcohol and substance abuse helped put him into an early grave...aged 46. However, he had the wherewithal to recruit a young biographer before his untimely demise...insuring his name and his art's longevity.

This is Thomas M. Wright's [impressive] first film...unlike his chosen subject's art, Mr Wright has defined his own style with an acute eye for detail...he has [wisely] surrounded himself with cinematic technicians who know their craft and shared his vision. The music is a magnificence. The editing, award-deserving...and, the cinematography is aesthetically distinctive. But...it is the writing that catapults this into the stratospehere.

Erik Jensen was young, inexperienced, grappling with his sexuality when he was thrown into the lion's den...as Adam Cullen wrestled with his [many] demons...the dynamic between them is electrifying as they tussle with their own respective vulnerabilities...trying to make sense of what is happening. This is - fundamentally - an abusive relationship...with an even darker twist. The image of Mr Cullen standing naked in the doorway of his young sleeping biographer is an ode to his darkness and a subtextual howler!

Yes...it's easy to dislike Mr Cullen, Daniel Henshall's mighty portrayal doesn't do his legacy any favours whatsoever...until! That's when his real demon is exposed...a strikingly realised goose-bump moment.

Man, situation and film...all unique. Masterful work.


Day 11...

End-of-Sentence@EIFF2019

End of Sentence
By Elfar Adalsteins

Character arcs aplenty...

 

 

 

 

Good-Omens@EIFF2019

Good Omens
By Douglas Mackinnon

 

 

 

 

 

 


Day 12...

Before You Know It
By Hannah Pearl Utt

...still no poster, even though this film has been shown at quite a few festivals! The PR team - most certainly - are not doing their job!

What an oddly framed film...it starts off lesbian, ends lesbian and there's nothing lesbian in-between!

So...rather than this being [solely] about a lesbian...it's much more, it's a slightly goofy look at three generations of womanhood...men - as you would expect - get a rum deal. There's the lying, feckless, controlling father and the cheating, incompetent, smarmy therapist...other than these two [brief] appearances, men don't get a look in.

Before You Know It rattles along at such a pace and - hey, before you know it - it's over. That's a compliment...as daft as the story is, Hannah Pearl Utt runs with it, full pelt...there are a few stumbles along the way but nothing too jarring. Seriously, this is light-hearted fayre...with the odd poke at the male-dominated establishment...

And then...in walks Judith Light as the caked-in-make-up daytime soap star, somewhat reminiscent of Norma Desmond...just a little less fearsome...oooh how this film could have exploded if there had been a generous serving of unbridled ferocity! The situation - most definitely - warranted it!

Being lied to all your life...no, not just a piddling little lie...but, a god-almighty whopper...Before You Know It should have gone down the route of outrage and been outrageous in doing so...alas, 'safe' was the way it went...resulting in a safe and chirpy little film, enjoyable...but, sometimes, you want to be left with a kick in the teeth rather than a smile on your face! Or, do you?!?

Mrs-Lowry-&-Son@EIFF2019

Mrs Lowry & Son
By Adrian Noble

A bagatelle of words and emotions...

 

 

 

 


  
  

   
 

    

A BIGGER SPLASH [Official Trailer]...

Here's the new trailer for the 4K re-release of Jack Hazan's doc A Bigger Splash.

An intimate and innovative film about English-born, often California-based artist David Hockney and his work, honoring its subject through creative risk-taking. Hazan creates an improvisatory narrative-nonfiction hybrid featuring Hockney, a wary participant, as well his circle of friends, capturing the agonized end of the lingering affair between Hockney and his muse, an American named Peter Schlesinger. The result is at once a time capsule of hedonistic gay life in the 1970s, an honest-yet-tender depiction of gay male romance that dispenses with the then-current narratives of self-hatred and self-pity, an invaluable view of art history in action, and a record of artistic creation that is itself a work of art.

Good Boys - Official Trailer...

Just how bad can one day get? The creative minds behind Superbad, Pineapple Express and Sausage Party take on sixth grade hard in the outrageous comedy, Good Boys.

After being invited to his first kissing party, 12-year-old Max (Room’s Jacob Tremblay) is panicking because he doesn’t know how to kiss. Eager for some pointers, Max and his best friends Thor (Brady Noon, HBO’s Boardwalk Empire) and Lucas (Keith L. Williams, Fox’s The Last Man On Earth) decide to use Max’s dad’s drone – which Max is forbidden to touch – to spy (they think) on a teenage couple making out next door.

But when things go ridiculously wrong, the drone is destroyed. Desperate to replace it before Max’s dad (Will Forte, The Last Man on Earth) gets home, the boys skip school and set off on an odyssey of epically bad decisions involving some accidentally stolen drugs, frat-house paintball, and running from both the cops and terrifying teenage girls (Life of the Party’s Molly Gordon and Ocean’s Eight’s Midori Francis).

In Theaters August 16

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