Festival Coverage

London Film Festival 2018: First Look Review – What You Gonna Do When The World’s On Fire?

“You got a couple more years to fight” 14 year old Ronaldo tells his 9 year old half brother Titus, after spending some time teaching him to punch. He wants his younger sibling to know how to fight because, he says, nobody’s going to draw on a 9 year old. It’s just one of many sobering moments in Roberto Minervini’s beautiful and evocative portrait of a black community in Louisiana in the wake of the death of Alton Sterling and...

London Film Festival 2018: First Look Review – Rafiki

I have a longstanding policy at the London Film Festival of trying to discover films from new places, so whenever the chance comes to see something from a country whose cinema is entirely new to me, I try to take it. I believe this is my first Kenyan film, but it’s also something of a first for Kenya; a film about a lesbian relationship from a country where LGBTQ relationships are still punishable by law. Initially, it was banned for...

London Film Festival 2018: First Look Review – Alone In Space

A few days ago, there was a report telling us that we have about 12 years to fundamentally change how we treat our planet, or climate change will be both irreversible and catastrophic. Alone in Space never tells us outright why the Earth was dying, meaning the giant spaceship on which we find 12 year old Gladys (Ella Rae Rappaport) and her six year old brother Keaton (Dante Fleischanderl) was built, but you could certainly fit a message about climate...

London Film Festival 2018: First Look Review U – July 22

“You’ll never understand, just listen to me” says Kaja (Andrea Berntzen), looking into the camera, at the beginning of this real time telling of the story of the Utøya massacre perpetrated by Anders Behring Breivik. Kaja isn’t talking to us but to her mother, but clearly the target of this dialogue is the audience. We arrive on the island as the teens at its political summer camp have just heard about the explosion at the Government buildings in Oslo that...

London Film Festival 2018: First look reviews – Tumbbad and Girl

Tumbbad India’s cinema industry is the biggest in the world, and it often bothers me that I know so little about it, whether that means the Bollywood mainstream or something like Tumbbad, which feels much more independent in spirit. Told across three chapters and thirty years, Tumbbad sets up its backstory early, with the tale of the forgotten god Hastar, who stole all the gold from his mother, who created the world and the other gods. Legend has it that...

London Film Festival 2018: First Look Review – Thunder Road

Expanding his short film, writer, director and actor Jim Cummings plays Jim, a cop who has a meltdown while trying to give a eulogy at his mother’s funeral. From there, he struggles to hold things together in his job and in his personal life, as he tries to bond with his daughter and fight his ex-wife’s request for sole custody. Right from the start, Thunder Road throws you with its tone. We first find a clearly distraught Jim stumbling through...

London Film Festival 2018: First Look Reviews – Selected Shorts 2

PiggyI’ve always been a fan of films and TV series’ that depict the experience of being a teenager through the lens of horror. Being a teenager often sucks, and horror has always existed, at least in part, to help us parse and process parts of our lives we don’t like or don’t want to confront. Piggy starts in this place, with an overweight teenage girl going for a swim, only to be spotted and targeted for some pretty vicious bullying...

London Film Festival: First Look Reviews – Selected short films

CatcallsAfter flashing a couple of teenage girls, a man gets more than he bargained for in this well made horror from Kate Dolan. Like a lot of shorts, Catcalls feels a bit more like a scene from a feature that might be in its director’s future than a truly self-contained eight minute story, but that’s no bad thing in this case. Catcalls fits right in with not just the rising tide of female, and indeed feminist, driven horror but with...

London Film Festival 2018: First Look Review – Mandy

When his beloved wife Mandy (Andrea Riseborough) is murdered in front of him by a gang of ‘Jesus freak’ bikers on industrial strength LSD, Red Miller (Nicolas Cage) goes on a rage, booze and drug fuelled rampage of bloody revenge. Just look at that summary. How cool does that sound? I should love this. I should be shouting from the rooftops that it’s a hallucinatory new exploitation classic that can stand with the best of the recent tributes to the...

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