Monthly Archives July 2015

Film Review: The Gift

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 07.54.08Directed by Joel Edgerton

Starring Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall & Joel Edgerton

As Blockbuster movie season reaches its crescendo, those seeking escapism from the loud barrage of CGI could do a lot worse than checking out The Gift, a creepy, airport paperback thriller of a movie that harks back to ’90s stalker thrillers like Single White Female, Unlawful Entry, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle and Pacific Heights.

Bateman and Hall star as Simon and Robyn, a newly married Yuppie couple whose life is going just as planned until a chance encounter with Simon’s old high school acquaintance, the awkward Gordo (Edgerton). Robyn feels sorry for the guy and the couple befriend him much to Simon’s annoyance. Gordo is kind of creepy and very clingy and soon things get uncomfortable as the obsessive Gordo starts presenting them with mysterious gifts that hint to a dark secret from Simon’s past. As Robyn learns the unsettling truth about what happened between Simon & Gordo, she is forced to confront just how well she knows the people around her, and are past bygones ever really bygones?

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DVD Review: Still Alice

51Pfez41QUL._SY300_Directed by Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland

Starring Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart

Imagine settling down to watch a DVD with your loved ones. The popcorn’s on the table, the pizza’s in the oven and everyone you care about is assembled in the living room, watching the movie with you. Bliss. Except, you can’t remember what this film is about. And you can’t remember the name of that actress, who was in, oh, what’s that show? So you turn around to ask your partner next to you what she’s called. And you realise – you don’t know who they are. Or who anyone in the room is. Or, in fact, what room you’re in at all.

 

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Film Review: Dear White People

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Directed by Justin Simien

Starring Tessa Thompson, Tyler James Williams & Kylie Gallner

Dear White People is one of the best debuts of recent years and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Although it has been out in the US for nearly a year now, and finally being released in the UK this summer, it’s one of the few films that might get better with each viewing when one considers its representation of racial tension in the Obama era.The film follows several students at Winchester University. One of which is Sam White (Thompson), a film major who causes an uproar by hosting a local campus radio broadcast called ‘Dear White People’ that confronts white people and their pre-conceived notions of black people based on stereotypes and negative portrayals in the media. This does not sit well with many of the students, nor the Dean and the President of Winchester. This leads to a growing amount of racial tension among the students who not only start to challenge how they perceive others but how they view themselves.

Everybody involved, especially the cast, should be on every ‘up and coming’ list. However, the biggest star of the film is writer/director Justin Simien. Many have discussed how well Simien has managed to handle the subject matter, which is rather taboo Hollywood territory, in his debut film. However, very few have commented on how or possibly why he’s been able to achieve such a difficult task that even the most experienced of filmmakers would find hard to explore. Simien’s film does not solely deal with race but rather identity and how one affects the other. Close-ups, direct questions to the audience and literary devices all add up to a good mix of cinematic and theatrical elements while referencing contemporary filmmaking influences.

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