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Fase 7 (2010)
Amusing, kinda bonkers, apocalyptic movie
So imagine if in Shaun of the Dead, Liz was 7 months pregnant, they'd just done their monthly supermarket shop and instead of going out, they'd decided to hole up in her block of flats. And the zombies don't bother to attack (there are no zombies in Phase 7, but it has the feel of a zombie film). But the rest of the apartment block goes a bit mental. That would kind of be along the lines of this film. It's funny (most the humour is pretty subtle but there are a few real laugh out loud moments) and it is quite bonkers but in a really enjoyable way. It's maybe not fair to compare it to SotD, it's not quite in that league, but it is a really enjoyable film with some great fun performances that's worth checking out if you get the chance.
Quchis dgeebi (2010)
Compelling slice of contemporary Georgian life
Rather than just another depressive movie about the horrors of drug dependency, Street Days examines Georgian's middle aged 'lost generation' who failed to adapt to the post-Soviet age. Checkie emerges as the protagonist in the film and as his attempts to score lead him to get mixed up with a couple of corrupt policemen and the cocky teenage son of an old, now successful, school friend. Checkie's drug dependency, and his lip service to going clean, provides the background as he confronts a series of moral challenges as he tries to be the good guy that everyone remembers him as before he became an addict and as he tries to make things up to his financially struggling ex-wife and son. The actor playing Checkie, in his first film, is utterly compelling as he struggles with impossible dilemmas and the senior cop is deliciously malevolent. The film has a great streak of black humour running through it, and the near farce on occasion, rather than detracting from the drama, helps to keep the characters human and emphasise the hole that Checkie is digging, and being dug, into. All in all, a very interesting first feature and another excellent choice at the Edinburgh International Film Festival
The Puffy Chair (2005)
If only the movies made for 1000x the money were this good.....
I saw this film at the Edinburgh Film Festival, and after the film, the director was asked how much this film cost. His answer $15,000! Well I reckon that works out somewhere near the bargain of $150 per laugh. Now imagine if the next rubbish Hollywood remake of some 70s TV show managed to bring in the entertainment at the same value...... The Puffy Chair is a totally charming, funny road-trip movie. A friend felt that the character Emily was too much of a stereotype of soppy women. I took it to be ironic and loved the weird dynamic of Emily and Josh's relationship. Josh's near-obsessive tight-fistedness and Rhett's just darned weirdness were my favourite aspects of the film. The acting and the comic timing was absolutely brilliant. My only complaint was I was sometimes annoyed by too much zooming in and out since it was hand held characters. If the film makers were trying to go for a documentary feel, I'm not sure this was the best approach to take. However, most of the camera work added to the slightly surreal nature of the journey.
All in all, a highly enjoyable film and the biggest down is that it doesn't have a UK distributor so most my friends will probably never see it.
A gripping, faultless film.
One of the most relentlessly tense, and intense, films I have ever seen. This film was one of a rare power. The atmosphere, a mix of loneliness, malice, fear, passion, is sustained throughout and it is an incredible achievement, one which I don't have the abilities to properly describe. The emotions generated by the characters feelings, desires and fears and the unique circumstance of an asylum are brought home to the viewer using every facet of the film. I honestly cannot recall the last time I was held in such a vice-like grip by a film, unable to look away, but also scarcely able to bear the tension.
This is an amazing achievement by director David MacKenzie. He has allowed and extracted an incredible collection of performances and the film looks beautiful. It is perfectly paced and is never predictable. It is always absorbing.
Natasha Richardson's performance is quite simply breathtaking. She genuinely deserves every award going. Although Stella is not an obviously sympathetic character, I just so strongly wanted her to be safe, I was so deeply concerned by her fate. This is what makes the film so engrossing. Richardson ensures that Stella rises above the bored housewife looking for a bit of passion in her life and conveys her conflicting and ever-changing emotions brilliantly. She is ably backed up by a brilliant cast. Martin Czokas is utterly convincing and intriguing as Edgar. He ensures we understand why Stella falls for a man who killed his wife out of jealousy, but retains the characters danger at the same time. Ian McKellen is wonderfully ambiguous and I could probably spend hours just what his character's role in the whole story or what his motive was. Hugh Bonneville brings a perfect mix of reserve and confused anger to his character; Judy Parfitt is near-regal and even the young lad playing Charlie is excellent.
I honestly cannot find a bad word to say about this incredible film and only wish I was better able to communicate its achievements.
Rag Tale (2005)
One of the most black-hearted films I have seen, this is not one I would recommend to others. If it was trying to be the film equivalent satirical TV comedy such as Absolute Power or Bremner, Bird and Fortune - perhaps with a little of the great State of Play thrown in, then it failed miserably. Firstly, it's just not that funny. There are several laughs to be had, mostly because of Lucy Davis' excellent comic acting; there are not enough for it to be classed as a comedy. There is some moderately good satire on the tabloid press, but the film is just trying too hard to be edgy. The first way it tries to do this is by jumping from camera to camera(all of which are at an unsettling angle) and from normal film quality to CCTV-esquire film. This is continuous throughout the film and is instantly annoying. But it's main attempt to be edgy is through a nasty and quite ludicrous twist which destroys any previous good will toward the film. It appears to be self-consciously trying to shock. The characters are highly unsympathetic and one-dimensional. In their defence, the actors are generally good. But overall this is definitely a film to avoid.