In a world where recent surprises have tended to be a bit scary, Paddington was a shot of joy. That famous little bear was adapted for the modern world and it turned out that he was maybe what we all needed. Of course, such success could only mean one thing. A sequel. Suddenly, the worries were setting in. Could that magic be captured twice? Or would Paddington’s beauty be twisted into a corporate cash cow?
The Killing of a Sacred Deer is the cinematic equivalent of being slowly choked out. At the start it’s uncomfortable, but tinged with a degree of humour at the ridiculousness of the situation. The clipped dialogue that is becoming Yorgos Lantihmos’s trademark makes regular conversations awkward. However, it also makes them funny. The matter of fact way that Colin Farrell’s Steven Murphy tells his colleague that his daughter has started menstruating catches you off guard and the laugh escapes your lips before you can stop it.
Mike Flanagan is quietly making a name for himself. Hush got a bit of internet buzz when it was released on Netflix in 2016, and while Before I Wake didn’t pick up anywhere near the same momentum, there were hints of his growing talent. It was enough to convince Netflix to put faith in him and fund his passion project, Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game – a book he used to take to meetings just in case he could convince someone to let him make it.
A film where Casey Affleck spends 90% of the running time dressed like a last-minute Halloween costume and in which a camera sits and focuses on Rooney Mara for nine minutes as she devours a pie could have gone, well, any number of ways to be honest but most of them would be bad. However, if you can stomach the long lingering shots and the Terrence Malick feel to this dreamy reflection on grief, then there is something here. I’m not quite sure what, but it’s there.
If you were judging solely by the marketing, then you’d be forgiving for believing that It Comes At Night was a pretty straight forward horror film. The type with plenty of jump scares for groups of teenagers to scream at in delight. Sadly, for them, we can only imagine a few of those groups have gone home unhappy.
Romeo and Juliet but instead of Montagues and Capulets we’ve got emos and Christians. Instead of fair Verona, we have a clique filled school in Australia. Oh, and it’s a musical. That’s the elevator pitch for Emo The Musical, adapted by writer and director Neil Triffett from his short of the same name, and the end results are even more ridiculous than it sounds.
Freak Show takes a well-worn plot and decides to give it a bit of a twisting. Billy Bloom (Alex Lawther) is forced to leave the big city and his beloved Muv (his flamboyant mother played by Bette Midler) behind when he moves in with his dad who he hasn’t seen for seven years. Now living in the Red States, he suddenly finds that being gay with a penchant for drag isn’t the best way to fit in and in fact attracts violence. Billy ain’t no wilting flower, however, and he strikes back by letting his freak flag fly and running for homecoming queen.
Capturing childhood on film is tough. Oh, it’s easy to put up something that kind of resembles it and passes for it in the glossy world of cinema, but putting kids on screen that actually act and feel like children? That’s difficult.
If Black Christmas brings slashing to the holiday season then Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale brings Guillermo Del Toro. A Finnish horror film that was released in 2010 it gives you a Santa that is very different to the Jolly Old Saint Nick we are all used to.
There is something great about the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony. It invites new fans to discover legends of the past and with the WWE Network actually go out and watch their matches. This year was no different, as several men who should have been enshrined in that hall long before finally made their way into it.