Category Archives: Simon Roger Key

T-U-R-T-L-E flounder: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles leave their past behind in the new reinvention

It has been seven years since the last Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle film, the underrated CGI affair from Kevin Munroe, TMNT (Munroe, 2007). And, it’s 21 years since the last live-action Turtle film – the disastrous and rightfully maligned, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 (Gillard, 1993), often incorrectly referred to as Turtles in Time.

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Spring defies expectation at the BFI London Film Festival (review)

Spring (Benson & Moorhead, 2014) is an interesting proposition, it’s a film that attempts and succeeds to defy expectations. Like the directors previous film, Resolution (Benson & Moorhead, 2012), it provides a unique take on the horror genre but also encompasses tropes we associate with others.

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Imitation Game: faultless start to the BFI London Film Festival

As the 54th BFI London Film Festival kicks-off the weather might be predictably dreary, but Clare Stewart, festival director, has lined-up an eclectic mix of films that make visiting the cinema – if you’re in London – a necessity.

The festival’s opening film is the UK/USA production, Imitation Game (Tyldum, 2014) and Stewart and her team of film programmers have picked a corker to open this year’s festival.

Imitation Game is a biopic about the life of Alan Turing; the British mathematician and cryptanalyst whose innovative machine (Christopher) broke the German Enigma code and helped to save millions of lives. The film focuses upon three specific points in Turing’s life: a founding friendship at school with a boy named Christopher; WW2 itself i.e. how Turing came to be involved in the top-secret, government project to decrypt the ‘unbreakable’ code; and finally, Turing’s arrest for indecency in the ‘50s – Turing’s only crime being gay and performing an ‘indecent’ act in public. Continue reading Imitation Game: faultless start to the BFI London Film Festival

My Stuff shakes off the consumerist shackles of ‘stuff’ to look for something deeper (review)

My Stuff

My Stuff, the debut feature from Finnish director, Petri Luukkainen, is a quasi-documentary and we join Petri – director and subject – as he embarks upon his experiment to forgo his possessions for one year.

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Frances Ha: Greta Gerwig shines

Frances Ha

Frances Ha is the tale of Frances (Greta Gerwig), a 27 year old who has drifted through life and isn’t really sure who she is. However, she’s getting to a point in her life when things are beginning to change – not least her friendship with her flatmate, Sophy (Mickey Sumner). When Sophy decides to move in with another friend, it sets about a period of self-discovery and we’re fortunate enough to be along for the ride.

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12 Years A Slave: powerful performance in this Steve McQueen film

12 years a slave

12 Years A Slave is Steve McQueen’s adaptation of Solomon Nothup’s gruelling memoir. Its story revolves around Solomon, played by the excellent British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor in a career highlight. A free man and an accomplished violinist living in New York, Solomon is tricked into to joining a travelling show and promptly sold into slavery.

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All Cheerleaders Die: a ‘subversive’ teen horror

All Cheerleaders Die

All Cheerleaders Die is a ‘subversive’ horror film based upon a decade-old project between the film’s directors Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson. Its stars are relatively unknown with the exception of an un-credited and brief cameo from Michael Bowen – who was most recently seen terrorising Jesse Pinkman and Walter White as white supremacist Uncle Jack in Vince Gilligan’s, Breaking Bad.

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Heli: gruelling, beautiful and violent with great performances

Heli

Amat Escalante’s Heli won him the Best Director gong at this year’s Cannes. Heli depicts a working class family thrown into the Mexican drug world, a dangerous place of police corruption and violent criminals – notably, it features a very graphic torture sequence not for the faint-hearted.

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Hide Your Smiling Faces marks out Daniel Patrick Carbone as a director to watch

Hide Your Smiling Faces

Hide Your Smiling Faces marks the début of Daniel Patrick Carbone. It’s a bold take on childhood, growing-up, loss and a film that shies away from sentimentality; in short it’s no Stand By Me.

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Simon Roger Key reluctantly picks his top 10 films of 2012…

Walkies
What could possibly be number 1

I’m always reluctant to compile a ‘best of the year’ list, because around this festive time of year we’re always inundated with countless articles, all competing for our attention with their best of everything in this particular year. Basically, there are plenty of other distractions, so who wants to read a stupid, subjective list of things that I liked in 2012? It’s just so pointless; who really gives two hoots if I don’t think The Master is the best film of 2012? However, after reading some of the frankly astounding lists already out there, *coughs*, The Guardian’s, I decided to do just that.

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Amour

Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva both deliver stunning performances in Amour

The ever provocative, Austrian director, Michael Haneke, returns to our cinemas with his newest film, Amour. But is Haneke’s Palme d’Or winning film up to scratch?

Haneke has never been one to shy away from the cruel realities of ‘real life’ and his new film opens with a flash-forward which ultimately signposts the film’s ending (which isn’t a criticism). By doing so it informs how the film is to be viewed and adds greater poignancy to his examination of love, old-age and illness – and considering the age of the characters, it’s not an unexpected conclusion. Amour is a fairly bleak film, but if you’re familiar with the director’s other films e.g. The White RibbonCache and Funny Games, that won’t be particularly surprising.

Amour is the story of two elderly, retired music teachers, Anne and Georges, who are both in their 80s. The couple are fairly active and do not have the passivity, which is typically forced upon elderly characters in cinema e.g. the film begins with them attending a concert and returning home via the bus, where they debate the concert’s finer points. But from here on in, we see the devastating effects of illness in old-age, Anne suffers multiple strokes before the onset of dementia, which in no time at all, renders Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) bedridden and completely dependent upon her husband, Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant).

One motif, which worked particularly well, was the sense of dread from an ominous, external menace e.g. burglars/strangers. This subtle reference, alluding to the actual menace upon the horizon, but that menace isn’t an external one, Anne and Georges’ threat comes from within – and from those that they let into their home. At one point, Georges reprimands a care worker for treating his wife poorly – somebody he hired. In general, society expectantly, has little do with Anne and Georges, their daughter – played by Isabelle Huppert – barely visits and their only other visitors are some kindly neighbours, who purchase their shopping but offer no other form of support. As with death, it seems in old age we are also on our own, abandoned by almost everybody.

The film builds towards an obvious crescendo, but one of the most disarming features of Haneke’s film is in its depiction of amour, of love, but not the folly of youthful, romantic love, which typifies cinema. The love depicted in Haneke’s film is one which is centred upon two people who have been together for a very long-time, which isn’t to say the romance between them has fizzled, just that the film centres upon a deeper, less shallow depiction of love.

Amour is a hauntingly beautiful and challenging film, with some outstanding acting from Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant, and Haneke continues to be one of the most thought provoking directors at work today – cinema salutes you, sir!

Kristen Stewart and co. return for the final entry in the Twilight Saga

Robert Pattinson Kirsten Stewert, Twilight Breaking Dawn 2
Twilight’s happy couple…

Trying to write an entertaining synopsis of Twilight’s events, thus far, seems fairly pointless. If you’ve not tuned into the adaptations of Stephenie Meyer’s novels by this point, well, you’re a little too late to the party.

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