Kid-Thing sees 10-year-old Annie (Sydney Aguirre) left to her own devices by her father and unsurprisingly using this time to destroy anything she can get close to. Her rebellious streak ranges from making crank calls to stealing from the local convenience store, while her father has a less productive time with goat farming.
Festival made Easy
Features and Reviews
This latest animated feature from Pixar / Disney takes the adventure to the Scottish highlands, an ancient place of feisty princesses, magic spells and many a kilt gag. The 13th consecutive Pixar film to open at no.1 at the US box office, it arrives on these shores riding on high expectations.
Calling Wu Xia (Dragon) a martial arts film is like calling The Big Lebowski a bowling film. This excellent release from director Peter Chan and actor / choreographer Donnie Yen, which draws strong parallels with David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence, is at heart a psychological drama that uses stunning fight scenes in essential ways while addressing big questions about identity and redemption.
Based in rural Poland, It Looks Pretty from a Distance shows show’s a small scattered group of neighbours’ daily lives and limited interactions. With almost no dialogue, the plot and characters are difficult to follow and I struggled to find the storyline in this film.
Rose is a harrowing tale of one woman’s struggle to survive and protect those around her. Not for the faint hearted, this brutal story shows hardship can build trust between those with common ground.
Tokyo Drifter is director Tetsuaki Matsue’s follow-up to his 2009 film Live Tape, and follows the same singer, Kenta Maeno, during one night in Tokyo.
All artists have a time when a blank canvas fills them with a certain feeling of dread. But how many have considered enlisting a sleepwalking cannibal as a convenient muse and solution to their painter’s block? This oddball black comedy from director Boris Rodriguez explores the extent to which an artist is prepared to (make other people) suffer for his art.
This British / Irish spy film by acclaimed documentary maker James Marsh (Project Nim, Man on Wire), shows than it is possible to make a thrilling movie about espionage and terrorism without the need for convoluted plotlines or endless action scenes. Rather, this is a well-crafted family drama that uses the political context to explore personal conflict, while gaining tension from a clever story based on Tom Bradby’s novel of the same name.
Gakurya Ishii is the hugely respected Japanese director of works such as The Crazy Family and Angel Dust, and I had a high level of expectation for this film. I was not disappointed.
A beautiful woman, Ava (Neda Amiri), is disfigured suddenly, and launches into a series of dialogues with friends, family and strangers who all have opinions about her altered face. The stand out positive of One.Two.One is in the simplicity of its camera work. Rather than watching what can sometimes feel like false interaction between actors, the film feels more like you are watching small snapshots of people’s lives rather than a performance. It is entirely filmed in close-ups and characters sometimes talk to people off camera that you never see - it’s an interesting concept.
Considering that this film does not necessarily have a particularly unique plot, Grabbers is surprisingly refreshing and engaging. The Island of Erin off Ireland’s mainland is unexpectedly attacked by bloodsucking creatures and with tongue very firmly in cheek, the only way the islanders can avoid being eaten is to get very, very drunk!
There are a number of things that British cinema does particularly well: lush period dramas, romantic comedies where people with floppy hair swear a lot, and low-budget dramas about the trials of everyday people. Unconditional is most akin to the last of those three, but with an added dose of psychological menace.
Two sisters, one a passionate socialist, the other an airheaded fashionista, steal their father’s ashes to prevent him being turned into a golf trophy by their bourgeois stepmother and decide to scatter them in Cuba, where he’d first fallen in love with their mother. So far, so much mileage for your typical British black comedy, right? Wrong.
Dragon is a kung fu film that also has an engaging plot. A forensic detective goes to a small village to investigate the killing of two robbers, and using his Sherlock-like abilities he starts to suspect that the hero might secretly be a kung fu master. As the story unfolds you are drawn in by the relationships between these main characters.
Imagine that Sacha Baron Cohen assumed the role of a flamboyant diplomat in order to have a shot at diamond smuggling. This may give you some idea of Mads Brügger’s The Ambassador (Ambassadøren), a comical documentary adventure that exposes aspects of corruption in Africa while dealing with some of the hard truths of life and politics in these areas.
In the tradition of claustrophobic stress-thrillers such as Phone Booth, Buried and Saw, Brake sees a man trapped in the boot of a car while his captors attempt to extort him for information. The film is intense from start to finish, but suffers from a weak script and certain plot twists that are beyond ridiculous.
“Today, simply, we have become addicted to all images of destruction.” Narrator Arsinée Khanjian’s opening comments suggest that No Man’s Zone (Mujin Chitai) will be no straightforward documentary on the aftermath of the Fukushima tsunami and nuclear disaster. Rather, this evocative and visually entrancing film touches on some interesting and troubling questions about modern society, journalism and the flawed power of images.
Jackpot (Arme Riddere) is a Norwegian black comic caper about a football pools win turned deadly. It has just the right balance of quirky characters, amusing dialogue, action-packed plot twists and severed limb gags. Based on a story by the bestselling crime writer Jo Nesbø, the film begins with a premise straight from The Usual Suspects: eight people are found murdered and the sole survivor, Oscar Svendson (Kyrre Hellum), is at the police station being interrogated by Detective Solør (Henrik Mestad). The question for Solør (and the audience) is whether Oscar is a suspect or a witness.
“If this was a work of fiction you would not believe it.” These are director Bart Layton’s comments on his first feature-length documentary film, The Imposter, which he describes as a “thriller”. And the film is certainly as thrilling, compelling and puzzling as any good fictionalised film.
Opening with a shot of a naked white woman on a nudist beach, The Invader (L'envahisseur) plays with expectations, panning across to reveal a number of African men washing up onto the sand like debris. This striking scene introduces the theme of light vs. dark skin and the physicality with which ‘clandestines’, ie illegal immigrants, may be treated, either as cheap labour or for sex. However, despite many visually emotive scenes, like the main character, Amadou / Obama (Isaka Sawadogo), once the film has arrived it begins to drift without direction.
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