Filmed record of Talking Heads live, from the 1983 Speaking in Tongues tour. Shot over four nights, this is perhaps the greatest single concert movie; a project designed by people with cinematic, musical, theatrical and gig awareness. Recommended, even if you don’t care for the Heads‘ nerd-art-funk.
Month: July 2019
Death Trench [AKA Trench 11] (2017, dir. Leo Scherman)
In the last moments of WWI, a team go behind German lines to investigate a mysterious compound where chemical weapons may be being developed. Okay addition to the period military zombie subgenre: the 1918 setting is a bonus. The usual infighting, mad doctor, odd alliances plus marauding infested shenanigans ensue.
Mary Queen of Scots (2018, dir. Josie Rourke)
A dramatisation of the rivalry between Mary of Guise and Elizabeth of England. Goodlooking though talky and obvious historical retelling, neither drama nor straight history lesson. A couple of nice moments, and there’s strength in the visuals and the cast, but the script is the problem here.
Look Away [AKA Behind The Glass) (2018, dir. Assaf Bernstein)
A bullied teen starts to think she has a doppelganger. Low-key and wintry chiller that cribs bits from the genre – Carrie, Damien: Omen II – though offers some pleasures of its own, not least in its Cronenbergian look and some good, if muted, performances.
Mama (2013, dir. Andy Muschietti)
Two girls, feared lost for five years, are found feral in an isolated cabin. Generally effective jumpscare horror, impressive in its first acts, though increasingly awkward in plot event terms and tone as the melodrama develops. Some very neat moments, though.
Predators (2010, dir. Nimrod Antal)
A disparate collection of human killers find themselves prey in an alien game reserve. Efficient series reboot that rings enough engages initially to distinguish itself from the 1987 original, though by the end defaults to remake rather than continuation setting. The best of the sequels though.
Porndemic (2018, dir. Brendan Spookie Daly)
A documentary about AIDS/HIV and the ways in which the Los Angeles porn industry was affected by the issue over time, focusing on an outbreak among performers in 1998. A fascinating doc that’s simultaneously a thriller, an industry expose, a narrative history, a time capsule, and an apologia.
Vice (2018, dir. Adam McKay)
A satirical biopic of GW Bush’s vice-president Dick Cheney. Soberer than The Big Short, this thematic sequel offers an accessible overview of Cheney’s rise to silent power and his ultimate betrayal of himself. The film doesn’t get inside its protagonist, but is revelatory nevertheless.
Captain Marvel (2019, dir. Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck)
An alien warrior works to prevent a rival species from gaining a foothold on 1995 Earth. Slow-starting but generally entertaining superhero origin flick, wisely not overdoing its nostalgic comedy; the film’s hampered somewhat by the low-stakes storyline.
Peelers (2016, dir. Sevé Schelenz)
A strip-club owner has to defend her business and her co-workers against zombies. Awkward horror-comedy that delivers in terms of gore, but manages to mishandle what should be a gleefully tasteless B–movie; the result is too-often tacky and nastily exploitative.