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Showing posts from March, 2016

10 Cloverfield Lane

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CONTAINS ONLY MINIMAL PLOT DETAILS AND NO SPOILERS 




2008's Cloverfield was an effective, if somewhat gimmicky, found footage disaster flick that came out of nowhere to surprise audiences with its apocalyptic 9/11 metaphors and impressive effects. 8 years on and we have 10 Cloverfield Lane, a "spiritual sequel" that was revealed with cleverly minimal advertising and few plot details. Converted from a previous project known as "The Cellar" and subjected to extensive re-writes from Whiplash's Damien Chazelle, this is not the successor to the JJ Abrams' produced original that some may have expected. Instead, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a unique and claustrophobic psychological thriller that makes brave steps away from the genre boundaries.

The story centers around Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who, while fleeing from her fiance, is hit by a car. She awakes in a basement where Harold (John Goodman) tells her he rescued her from a nationwide attack by bringing …

Anomalisa

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A list of the most unique and intelligent film-makers working today wouldn't be complete without Charlie Kaufman. The American screenwriter and director has become a well-established figure for standout films such as Synecdoche New York (which I place among the very best films of all time), Adaptation and Being John Malkovich. Add to the list Anomalisa, a stop-motion project that may just be Kaufman's quirkiest project yet. Teaming up with Duke Johnson (who directed the excellent stop-motion christmas Community episode), the crowd-funded film was an intriguing idea that took over 3 years to finish. And if Synecdoche New York was Kaufman's sprawling, expansive masterpiece then Anomalisa is quite the opposite: Compact and simplistic in concept but with a hell of a lot to say.

Customer service expert Michael Stone (voiced by David Thewlis) arrives in Cincinnati to deliver a book talk and checks into a hotel. It is clear that Michael is a troubled character, lacking motivation …

The Witch

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In some ways I regret seeing the Witch. A tinge of paranoia and a slight sickness have haunted me since seeing it, such is the power of Robert Egger's directorial debut. This 1600-set folk tale was a greatly anticipated and much hyped project, attracting a huge buzz at the Sundance Film Festival. And it delivers on every hope and expectation to an incredible degree.
The central family of the film, led by father William (Ralph Ineson), are introduced being expelled from their settlement for implied misdemeanours and religious overzealousness. As the family set out through the harsh and beautifully shot landscape (high praise to Jarin Blaschke for the stunning cinematography), it is instantly made clear that the Witch is not for the faint of heart. A missing family member has disturbingly grisly consequences and it is soon obvious that the settlers are far from alone. 
Much of the Witch's deep rooted tension is down to Ineson's gripping performance, mastering the balance betw…