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by Stephen Mayne

12 Sep 2016

Anne Hathaway in Colossal (2016)

We have a lot of ground to cover, but before launching into day 2 of Toronto International Film Festival, there’s a little business from day 1 to finish off. So let’s head to Anne Hathaway and her monster with a brief detour in the forests of Norway.

Colossal is about as high concept a film as you can manage. That it makes little sense were you to think about it for more than ten seconds is just part of the charm. Hathaway plays a burnt out New York writer who spends her nights drinking and days crashing at her boyfriend’s apartment. Given she’s not contributing to the rent after a year of unemployment, he understandably has enough, kicks her out, and she’s back to the small town she grew up in.

by Stephen Mayne

9 Sep 2016

Casey Affleck and Kyle Chandler in Manchester by
the Sea

When the Toronto International Film Festival kicks off, so, at least to a certain extent, does the annual awards race. A mix of Hollywood favorites and the best from world cinema, TIFF usually contains future nominees within its massive program. Boasting a smattering of world premieres and a round-up of festival highlights from earlier in 2016, this year will likely prove no different.

Over the next week and a half, I’m not going to attempt to pick winners but I will watch a lot of films. Besides, winning awards isn’t everything, or even all that much compared to making a good film. Luckily, day one of the festival got things off to a strong start on the quality front.

by Valeriy Kolyadych

9 May 2016

A female-only boarding school is the setting of The Blackcoat’s Daughter. Covered, positively blanketed in snow, it’s isolated, the nights an unrelenting pitch black. Inside are two girls, Kat (Kiernan Shipka) and Rose (Lucy Boynton), both left behind during a February break, waiting for their parents. They wander through empty hallways, but the subtle noises—screeching creaks and low groans—betray the assumption that they’re alone here.

by Alex Ramon

16 Sep 2015

The 12 months since last year’s memorable Gdynia Film Festival have been hugely successful ones for Polish cinema, especially on the international stage. The awarding of the 2014 Best Foreign Language Film BAFTA and Oscars to Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida (the latter a win predicted here last year), plus documentary Oscar nominations for Aneta Kopaz’s Joanna and Tomasz Śliwiński’s Our Curse, must count as the most significant events.

In addition, the recent scooping of the Best Direction prize by Andrzej Zuławski for his long-awaited Witold Gombrowicz adaptation, Kosmos at Locarno and the awarding of the Silver Bear to Małgorzata Szumowska for Body/Ciało at Berlin also testify to a renewed interest in Polish cinematography abroad. So, too, does the extended Kinoteka Festival held in London over April and May.

by Stephen Mayne

15 Sep 2015

Now we really are all done. Finito, le fin, kaput. The awards ceremony for the 72nd Venice International Film Festival brought another year to a close with the usual collection of leftfield decisions. I swear festival juries, particularly in Venice, go out of their way to be controversial. But hey, at least it’s never dull.

Before we started, the Golden Lion seemed destined to be a fight between Alexander Sokurov’s Francofonia, Amos Gitai’s Rabin, the Last Day, Marco Bellocchio’s Blood of My Blood and Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s Anomalisa. In the end, only Anomalisa walked away with anything, picking up the Grand Jury Prize, essentially second place. The others headed home empty-handed as Alfonso Cuarón and his jury sent the Golden Lion to From Afar (Desde Allá), the first Venezuelan film to win the prize, and the first Venezuelan film to even compete for it.

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