THE LITTLE THINGS
This terrific crime thriller, written and directed by John Lee Hancock, demands attention from its very first sequence, in which a distressed woman is chased on the highway by a mysterious man in his car. This uneasy scene sets the tone for this hugely atmospheric thriller most effectively. The action then continues with Kern County Deputy Sherriff Joe Deke (Denzel Washington) who is sent to Los Angeles for a quick assignment but once he gets there he soon gets involved in a cat and mouse search for a serial killer…
Hancock directs his intelligent script with urgency and style while the acting is of the highest order. All three Oscar winning protagonists are on superb form – Washington is at his finest as the discredited but expert officer still haunted by events from his past. He shares an effortless chemistry with Rami Malek (in his first major role since his triumph in BOHEMIAN RAPSODY) as L.A Sheriff Department Sergeant Jim Baxter. In the middle of their intense investigation hoping to catch the killer Deke advises Baxter “it is the little things that get you caught. It is the little things that rip you apart.”
Scene stealer Jared Leto is suitably creepy and utterly mesmerising as the Manson like suspect for the horrific murders. A sophisticated, satisfying thriller that does not take its audience for granted!
International pop star Sia makes an amazing directorial debut with this enjoyable film which is also co-written by her. She tells the story of Music (Maddie Ziegler), a teenager on the autism spectrum, who lives under the loving care of her grandmother Millie (Mary Kay Pace). But when Millie suddenly dies Maddie is left all alone in the world until her estranged half sister Zu (Kate Hudson) enters the scene. But the only problem Is that Zu is a recovering drug addict, who needs looking after herself…
Sia directs with sensitivity and great panache especially those colourful dance sequences, where Maddie’s fragile mind often escapes to. Hudson delivers her best performance since her breakthrough in ALMOST FAMOUS and deserves her recent Golden Globe nomination. Perfect combination of imagination, heart-warming drama, and colourful escapism!
Charlene Favier makes an impressive feature film debut with this sensitive study of a young girl’s determination to enter the cruel world of competitive skiing. 15-year-old Lyz Lopez (Noee Abita) is taken under the wing of Fred (Jeremie Renier), a strict ex-champion who begins an intense training that requires nerves of steel and immense commitment…
Newcomer Abita delivers a luminous performance and shares a strong chemistry with Renier, known for his rebellious youth roles in such films as CRIMINAL LOVERS and THE CHILD. A mature work from a promising new talent worth discovering!
Jack (Peter Vack) lives in New York City but spends most of his life gambling on the internet. And to make matters even worse he is also addicted to cam sex. His new obsession is Scarlet (Julia Fox), a dominatrix who lives in San Francisco but seems to be able to control Jack’s every whim and desire…
Writer/director Ben Hozie paints a clear picture on one man’s escalating addiction to internet gambling and sex. His sexually explicit opening sequence gives a fair warning of what’s to come which is certainly not for the easily offended.
If you are expecting family friendly entertainment you will be deeply disappointed but on the other hand if you enjoy seeing Nicolas Cage going berserk and raging without uttering a single word, this may be for you. He plays The Janitor, a mysterious man stranded in a remote town when his car breaks down. He has no cash to pay for repairs and agrees to spend the night cleaning an old theme park full of animatronic characters…
The premise may lack conviction especially when the animatronics inexplicably come to life and are hungry for blood, but the biggest disappointment is that it lacks thrills and chills.
A NIGHTMARE WAKES
The story of Mary Shelley and Percy visiting Lord Byron in his country mansion is told in numerous plays and films probably most memorably in Ken Russell’s GOTHIC. Writer/director Nora Unkel makes her feature film debut with yet another version of this story where Mary (Alix Wilton Regan) is struggling to exorcise her own demons while giving birth to her “Frankenstein” monster…
It is an assured debut with a committed lead performance but overall, it is repetitive with an overfamiliar feel. (SHUDDER)
FOR THE TIME BEING: An impressive first feature from Salka Tiziana, who sets the action of her mesmerising film during a long hot summer in the Andalusian mountains. The story of a German family as they wait patiently for the Spanish father to join their holiday while the 9-year-old twin boys are playing leisurely in the sun…TIziana shoots the beautiful, sleepy landscape most effectively in perfectly framed compositions. (MUBI)
MEETING THE MAN-JAMES BALDWIN IN PARIS: It take a while for celebrated writer and activist James Baldwin to warm up and open his heart in Terence Dixon’s documentary made in 1970. “I am not a revolutionary writer, I just write during revolutionary times” Baldwin says, “I moved to Paris in 1950 otherwise I would have been a dead man”. A superb, rare short about a remarkable man not to be missed” (MUBI)
CENOTE: Kaori Ode’s hypnotic documentary examines Mayan mythology and traditions in Northern Yucatan, Mexico, where cenotes were used for ritual sacrifices. These natural sinkholes filled with freshwater are wide underground rivers of a mystical, magical world captured perfectly by superb underwater photography and eerie sounds. (MUBI)
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