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Author: Liselotte Vanophem

Editorials

My Favourite Actor: Octavia Spencer

July 15, 2020

‘Who’s your favourite actor?’. Even if you think of a name straight away, you might think of another one not so long after that and another one after that. It’s just an impossible question to answer. Every actor has hits and misses and their range can go from rom-coms to thrillers and everything in between. Many of them were awarded multiple awards. During the lockdown, we’ve re-watched way too many Oscar speeches (admit that you did too!) and one of those that always will get to us is the one from Octavia Spencer.

In 2012, she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her superb role in The Help. After watching it over and over again, we’re still not sure who did she refer to when saying ‘Thank you, Academy, for putting me with the hottest guy in the room’. Is she talking about the Oscar statue or Christian Bale who handed it to her? Anyway, one thing we’re sure off is that that Oscar was incredibly deserved. Not only because of that performance but also for her performances before and after that. That’s why we take a look at five of her best performances (and for once, we’re going to leave out The Help because we already know how stunning she was in that film).

Octavia Spencer with her Academy Award in 2012
Octavia Spencer with her Academy Award in 2012.
Picture by Keystone USA-Zuma / Rex Features

Snowpiercer

Way before Bong Joon Ho ruled the award race with his Parasite, he blew everyone away with his Snowpiercer. Ok, the opinions about this movie go from stunning 10/10 to a mere 1/10. However, they’re sure about one thing: the great acting. While we see strong performances from Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, and Tilda Swinton, the one that touches the audience the most is the one from Spencer. Her Tanya is a mother who goes through an emotional rollercoaster to get her child back. Because of the human and touching aspects, this performance is the most relatable of all, especially because of the sci-fi vibe of the movie. She brings warmth and grief, hope and despair, and the expected and unexpected all together in one performance. A great example of the emotional range she can portray. 

Snowpiercer (Official Trailer)

Hidden Figures

When you put Spencer together with Taraji P. Henson and Janelle Monáe, you know what you’re going to get. Fireworks, dazzling acting, and an amazing movie. If you add the inspiring real-life story of female mathematicians who worked at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) during the Space Race, you know it will be a to-watch movie. Spencer portrays Dorothy Vaughn, one of the female masterminds behind the Project Mercury, and with that, she offers the world one of her best roles. She literary and figuratively brings Henson and Monáe together with an emotional, energetic, and on-point performance. Until Hidden Figures, Spencer only got the chance to shine in a more supporting role. With this powerhouse lead performance, she incredibly showed us that she can carry a film all the way through.

Hidden Figures (Official Trailer)

The Shape of Water

A desperate but loving mother in Snowpiercer, a smart and headstrong mathematician in Hidden Figures and now a wonderful friend, co-worker, and interpreter in The Shape of Water. While Sally Hawkins is the heart and the soul of this movie as Elisa Esposito, Spencer gives the most amazing support. Just as any performance, Spencer and her Zelda Fuller are put right into the action, and this time it’s in a fantasy world. While everyone around Esposito seems to become hurt and everything is about to fall into pieces, Fuller provides the much-needed pause and the time to think things through. Spencer provides a lot of emotions, relatability, and cleverness to this movie with her exuberant performance. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, she mentioned that the role was written for her and she didn’t disappoint at all. No wonder she was nominated for an Oscar for this performance as well.

The Shape of Water (Official Trailer)

Gifted

Ok, if you’re not into a romantic drama, then you might skip this part. However, before you do that, let us convince you that Gifted is a movie you need to see. On one hand, you have the tremendous Chris Evans, on the other, you have the bright, shiny, and amazingly talented star called McKenna Grace. Right in the middle, you will find Spencer. An established and esteemed actor combined with female emotions and delicacy. While her Roberta Taylor was a more supporting role, Spencer made sure that she was presented on the screen strongly, emotionally, and captivatingly. She gives such a fun and heart-warming performance and add the feel-good vibe the movie needs. While this is a drama, it never feels tough and hard to watch. If you want to let some sunshine into your world, then you should put on Gifted.

Gifted (Official Trailer)

Luce

If there’s one film in which both upcoming and stunning talent come together with well-admired and accomplished talent, then it’s Luce from director Julius Onah. Kelvin Harrison Jr., who portrays the intellectual, loving, and popular student, makes the film industry aware of his talent with a massive bang. He knows how to bring different characteristics to the screen. From the happy and confident student to the more shady and unpredictable young man. Casting director Jessica Kelly did an incredible job by putting Spencer in front of him. As usual, her performance is very nuanced. You will get a glimpse of the love and admiration her character, Harriet Wilsoncan, can give but also Wilsoncan’s mysterious and wicked side. Whether or not you’ve foreseen the ending of the movie, it will still come to a shock to you thanks to Spencer her performance.

Luce (Official Trailer)

What’s your favourite Octavia Spencer performance?

Also Read: How Film Changed Me: On Reese Witherspoon

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Editorials

Let’s Celebrate Film: Five Movies With a Special Birthday in 2020

July 3, 2020
The Social Network

That the release of ‘Tenet’ has caused a lot of online discussions became very clear during the last few weeks and months. While the original release date has been postponed, we will still get out ‘Christopher Nolan’ fix because of the re-screenings of Inception. The film, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Ellen Page, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. However, Inception isn’t the only movie whose birthday it is this year. Therefore we would like to line-up five movies that have a reason to celebrate and that also deserve to be screened again on the screen while we await new releases (and after that too).

Hallway Fight Scene, Inception (Credit: Warner Bros.)

The Social Network

On the 1st of October, The Social Network will be ten years old and that’s something we have to celebrate big time. While October is still a few months away, there’s nothing wrong with premature celebrations. The drama about the life of Mark Zuckerberg was being brought to the screen by director David Fincher and actors such as Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, and Justin Timberlake. It wasn’t only the audience that fell in love with this movie but also the film critics were easily convinced that The Social Network was a gem. That’s why this movie was awarded three Oscars, four Golden Globes, and three BAFTAs. Such an awarded and loved film should return to the big screen this year.

The Social Network (Credit: Columbia Pictures / Sony)

The King’s Speech

 The King’s Speech is ten years old, just like The Social Network. Director Tom Hooper and writer David Seidler brought King George VI back to life. It wasn’t only about his impromptu ascension to the throne but also about his relationship with the speech therapist who helped him. At first, the role of King George VI was written with Paul Bettany in mind but he declined. After that, Firth was cast and his performance was so captivating, on-point, and emotional that he won the Academy Award for “Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role”. Alongside that Oscar, the movie won three Academy Awards. For David Seidler, the evening was even more special as he became the oldest person to win the award for “Best Original Screenplay”. We can’t wait to see that touching “I have a voice” scene in cinemas again.

The King’s Speech (Credit: Momentum Pictures)

Pride & Prejudice

This year, we will celebrate the 15th anniversary of the romantic drama Pride & Prejudice. This movie is based on the same-named novel by Jane Austen and is about Elizabeth Bennet and her Mr. Darcy. Saying that director Joe Wright and casting director Jina Jay did a great job would be a massive understatement. The cast includes strong women such as Keira Knightley, Rosamund Pike, Carey Mulligan, Talulah Riley, and Jena Malone. The audience praised this movie as “the most diverting film”, “Simply unmissable” and “Absolutely Perfect” and the critics predicted a bright future for Wright. They awarded him with awards such as the one for “Most Promising Newcomer”, “Best New Filmmaker” and “British Director of the Year”. The critics were right about that as Wright sat in the director’s chair for films as Darkest Hour and Atonement. Want to experience how it all began for Wright? Then you should watch Pride & Prejudice when it will be screened again.

Pride & Prejudice (Credit: Focus Features)

Chicken Run

Ok, honestly it might not be one of the biggest classic but when it was announced that Chicken Run would get a sequel, people were incredibly excited about that. It’s exactly twenty years since Rocky, Babs and Ginger made their animated appearance. It’s still waiting on confirmation whether original cast members such as Mel Gibson, Timothy Spall, and Imelda Staunton will lend their voice again. Not sure either if we will be able to see Chicken Run 2 on the big screen as the movie is picked up by Netflix. However, during the last few years, many Netflix films such as The Irishman, The King, and Marriage Story were screened in cinemas. We hope that the Chicken Run sequel will get that same treatment. In any case, we can’t wait to re-watch the original film from 2000 on the big screen if possible.

Chicken Run (Credit: Dreamworks)

Goodfellas

30 years! Yep, that’s how long ago Goodfellas was released. It was the first collaboration between Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, and Joe Pesci and it’s probably one of those movies that everyone saw. Thanks to the talent both behind and in front of the screen, you are part of the life of mobster Henry Hill. 146 minutes, you will be surrounded by the intriguing world of the Italian-American crime syndicate and you will get to know more about Hill, his relationship with his wife Karen, and the bond with his mob partners Jimmy Conway and Tommy DeVito. With more than 43 wins and 38 nominations behind its name, Goodfellas is one of those films that needs be screened in cinemas again.

GoodFellas (Credit: Warner Bros)

Which film(s) do you want to see on the big screen again?

Also Read: 30 Years On: The Godfather Part 3

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Editorials

Why We Need To Support Independent Cinemas Now More Than Ever

June 10, 2020
Cinema

It’s been already more than two months since we’ve set foot in a cinema and it feels like an eternity. For the cinema lovers, there might be light at the end of the very dark tunnel as the lockdown is being eased little by little. According to the latest news, the 4th of July would the day cinemas could re-open their doors. While it seems that the multiplex cinemas will be able to open on that day (if still permitted by then), the more independent cinemas might not be as is shown by the recent survey from the Independent Cinema Office (ICO).

Social distancing rule

It’s understandable that the big cinemas want to be ready for a July opening because of the possible release of ‘Tenet’ and ‘Mulan’. Many big chains will likely follow the strategy of Vue which includes giving families the possibility to isolate their seats from others, mandatory online booking, staggering screening times, and enhanced cleaning. This is to make sure that the social distance rule is upheld. Well, it’s exactly that rule that prevents smaller independent cinemas from being able to open their doors in July as well. According to 41% of the venues, they won’t be able to let the audience back in when social distancing measures are still in place. The main reasons for that are the practicalities of the venue and the need for large audience numbers to survive financially.

There are still 59% who think they might be able to open even with social distancing. The most important steps they would undertake is the placement of hand sanitiser stations (91%), face masks for staff (83%) and gloves for staff (80%). However, implementing social distancing rules in cinemas can’t go on forever as it would only work for approximately three months it seems. Why? Because of a 20% increase in costs (additional staffing, PPE and additional cleaning, etc.) and the 50% loss in capacity.

Graph by the Independent Cinema Office
Source: The Independent Cinema Office

Not opening before September

However, even with social distancing, it seems that we will have to wait until the end of the summer to visit independent cinemas. While some venues think they may open in July or August, the majority expect to re-open in September. According to 14% of the respondents, they sadly won’t open until 2021, in the hope that social distancing will be a thing from the past.

It’s no surprise that independent cinemas want to wait until social distancing rules are (almost) non-existent and until the spread is under control. “As a small community cinema run largely with the support of volunteers we have to put the welfare of all those involved first. Social distancing will be difficult to achieve and is unlikely to provide confidence for staff volunteers and audiences to return in the short term.” is a reaction of one of the 497 independent cinema workers (amongst of which were CEOs, directors, and managers) that participated in this survey.

Graph by the Independent Cinema Office
Source: The Independent Cinema Office

Many difficult months ahead

Saying that the upcoming months will be a challenge for the independent cinema is such an understatement. The last few weeks have already proven difficult and the future doesn’t look any brighter (yet). According to the survey, the biggest concerns are the practicalities of reopening with social distancing measures (no surprise there) and the audience’s confidence levels and lack of admissions. In the IOC report was stated that “audience confidence for our elderly demographic is going to be extremely challenging to regain. I fear that it would be better for our long term sustainability if we were to remain dark and furloughed until the need for social distancing is no longer required.

Graph by the Independent Cinema Office
Source: The Independent Cinema Office

How to support independent cinema?

Sadly, we won’t be able to return to independent cinemas soon. However, there are many ways to support them. The majority of the respondents thinks that help from government is much needed and that reduced distributor terms would also help them to survive during and after this pandemic. An extension of the furlough scheme until the end of 2020 and a scheme for PPE would also be extremely helpful.

The audience itself can also play a big part in the survival of independent cinemas. First of all, there’s the UK Cinemas Fund that’s been created by MUBI, the online streaming service, and film distributor. The campaign aims to raise £100,000 to help support independent cinemas and film festivals across the UK, so every penny is vital in the survival of the film industry in the UK. There are also many cinemas for which you can buy memberships and e-vouchers to support them. One thing is for sure: Independent cinemas need our support so that they can come out of this pandemic ready to open and stronger than ever.

Also Read: UK Government Allows Film & TV Productions To Restart Filming, But How Practical Are Their Guidelines?

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Editorials

Breaking The Theatrical Window: What Does Disney & Universal’s Decision Mean For Future Cinema Releases?

May 28, 2020
Movie Posters

A few weeks ago, the film industry was turned upside down due to shocking announcements. AMC Theatres mentioned that they would ban Universal Studios films in America and later it was also announced that Odeon and Cineworld would do the same in the UK. The reason? Universal Studios released Trolls World Tour, which broke digital sales records, directly on “premium” video on demand. After seeing the success of the release they have decided to release more films either directly to Video on Demand or drastically reduce the time movies go from the cinemas to home entertainment platforms. Because of the lockdown, many production companies need to come up with new ways to release their movies and as the audience spends more time indoors, major companies are responding to an increase in Video-on-Demand and streaming platforms subscriptions. They’re sending films now straight to streaming platforms instead of postponing the theatrical release.

While this might be a good solution for now because of the closure of the cinemas, this might not be positive for cinema chains in the long run. If this method seems to be successful for the production companies, then Universal Studios will certainly not be the last production company to “break the theatrical window”. The question remains: will breaking the theatrical window and the success of streaming platforms be the end of cinema-going as we know it?

Industry Adaptation and renegotiating the Cinema Theatrical Window | Vamonos Creative

What is the theatrical window?

Some people jump the first chance they get to watch movies on the big screen while others prefer to watch the new blockbusters from the comfort of their home. Well, in normal circumstances, the cinema-goers would have access to movies three months before others as the theatrical window is three months. However, that time between the end of the cinematic run of a movie and the moment that it will available via digital platforms and video-on-demand platforms has become smaller over the years. One of the reasons is because major companies want to make up for the loss they have to overcome due to the decline in DVD-sales. The other reason is the one we all have to deal with at the moment: The coronavirus.

Impact of COVID-19 on the film industry

That the coronavirus epidemic has had a major impact on film didn’t only become clear because of the postponing of releases, the movie-making itself but also the way movies are shown to the audience now. As mentioned before, people rely on films, even more, these days. Whether it’s to entertain their children, have a nice time with their partner or just to relax, movies are present in every household. This is being proven by the fact that Disney + has now 54.5 million subscribers worldwide since November and the amount of new Netflix subscribers in the globally during the lockdown was more than 15.8 million, double the number forecast. It comes as no surprise that recent movies like The Invisible Man (Universal), Bloodshot (Sony and Columbia Pictures), The Way Back (Warner Bros.), and Onward (Disney) were released almost immediately after the forced termination of their theatrical run.

How will COVID-19 shape the future of the film industry? | The A.V Club

Why would Universal & Disney consider breaking the theatrical window?

Why would big production companies such as Universal Pictures and Disney break the theatrical window? Well, that answer is plain and simple: Money. Due to the lockdown, companies aren’t able to show their movies in the cinema, and instead of pushing them back, they decide to release them anyway. People already liked watching movies from their home, maybe because of the price, the fact that they don’t have to deal with popcorn eating strangers and now even more so with the fact that they can watch movies without having to go outside and put themselves in unnecessary danger, due to the virus.

It might be a while before cinemas are back up and running as usual and before the audience flocks back to the “dark room” to immerse into the stunning movies the industry has to offer. Whether the theatrical window will stay smaller than the usual three months, even when everything is back to normal, is something that we can’t predict.

The future of film releases

Movies will always be a part of society, whether you will see them on the big screen or a smaller one. Production and distribution companies and cinema chains must work together to bring films to the biggest audience possible. On one side, the theatrical window still needs to remain as big as possible. The cinema chains won’t survive if production companies make that window smaller or just skip the cinema entirely. However, cinemas will also have to keep in mind that, despite the smaller window, people still want to watch movies on the big screen so banning movies of certain companies isn’t the right attitude either. There will always be a thirst for watching movies in the cinema and there will always be people who prefer to watch it in their own home with friends and family so why not work together and give both audiences what they want?

New Upcoming Movies 2020 & 2021 | MovieGasm

Also Read: How Coronavirus Has Affected The Film Industry

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Editorials

The Most Important Cinema In The World To Me: Prince Charles Cinema

May 25, 2020

Just a small-town girl livin’ in a lonely world

Many of us have the dream to see the world and to move to another city and so did this small-town girl who was living in Belgium. The dream became a reality at the end of 2016 when I moved to London. An entirely different world welcomed me with open arms, bright lights, and a diverse, entertaining, and mind-blowing culture. Film has always been a passion of mine and moving to London just heightened that love even more. It didn’t take long before I found my local cinema which was one of the big chains. Day in, day out, I was being emerged by stunning, captivating, and glamorous movies.

While the brand-new blockbusters caught my eye instantly, there was also the thirst for seeing more independent or older films that became a classic in their own way. Luckily for me, it didn’t take long before discovering a small, unique and incredible cosy cinema right in the heart of London: The Prince Charles Cinema.

The Home of Cult Film, Prince Charles Cinema
The Home of Cult Film, Prince Charles Cinema

From a tiny theatre to an awesome cinema in the West End

Where now The Prince Charles Cinema is, the site was a theatre back in 1962. After supporting the performing arts for many years, it became a cinema, but maybe not the one you would expect. Knowing that the cinema back then hosted the UK’s longest theatrical runs of “Emmanuelle” and “Caligula”, you can only imagine what kind of cinema it must have been. However, in 1991, the foundations for The Prince Charles Cinema were laid and the rest is cinema history. They describe themselves as one of the most popular independent cinemas in the UK and when attending a screening in The Prince Charles Cinema, it’s not hard to understand why they deserve that title.

From films shot on 35mm to 70mm presentations and from cult classics to the most recent movies. Don’t forget the sing-a-longs or the all-nighters! Yep, The Prince Charles Cinema has it all. 

The Prince Charles Cinema
The Prince Charles Cinema (credit: Time Out)

Only two screens but thousands of memories

Like most of the independent cinemas, The Prince Charles Cinema offers multiple types of memberships. You can either go for an annual membership (£10) or a lifetime membership (£60). You get discounts on tickets and snacks and there are even films you get to see for £1. When I discovered The Prince Charles Cinema for the first time, I decided to go for an annual membership. London is already expensive enough and I wasn’t sure how many times I would use the membership, especially because I have another for one of the bigger cinema chains already. But boy, was I wrong for not going for a lifetime membership?!

Whether it was seeing the great chemistry between Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson in Lost in Translation, falling in love with Christian Slater in True Romance or being astonished by Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale dazzling performances in The Prestige, it was all a marvellous experience. Even that massive headache from all the spinning in Inception was worth it! It didn’t take long before that annual membership turned into a lifetime one.

The most memorable evening at the Prince Charles Cinema was one that happened very recently during the screening of The Room. Yep, the movie from writer/director/actor Tommy Wiseau. After seeing The Disaster Artist a few years ago, it was time to check out the real deal. Wiseau visiting The Prince Charles Cinema, a full house, and plastic spoons at hand. Yep, it became an evening I will never forget, even more so because I ended up in a Salsa club in Soho with fellow cinemagoers after that.

Tommy Wiseau presenting a screening of “The Room”

They will be back and so will I!

At the moment, The Prince Charles Cinema is closed but the “We’ll be back” banner gives me hope that the days of movies, excitement, having a great time, and meeting up with friends aren’t gone completely. I hope that I will be able to walk through the doors of The Prince Charles Cinema soon, sit back in one of those chair, and (re-)discover the great movies this wonderful cinema has to offer.

To find out more about The Prince Charles Cinema (and to buy memberships) visit their website here.

The Prince Charles Cinema (Credit: Alamy)

Also Read: The Most Important Cinema In The World (To Me)

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Editorials

What Happens To Your Brain When Watching A Horror Movie?

May 4, 2020
Us Movie Jordan Peele

Whether it’s the classics such as The Shining or The Excorcist or more recent horror films such as Us and The Invisible Man, they all have a pull and push effect on us. There are moments we look away from the screen with fear and disgust but seconds later, we’re drawn to the picture with excitement and joy. Yep, there’s definitely a love/hate relationship between the audience and horror. It should come as no surprise then that this so intriguing situation was researched by Front Psychol, the peer-reviewed open-access academic journal that focusses on Psychology. According to their “(Why) Do You Like Scary Movies? A Review of the Empirical Research on Psychological Responses to Horror Films” there are many factors that have an impact on our brain while watching a horror movie which can explain our love for horror.

Why Certain Brains Love Horror Movies (USA Today)

The psychological element

There are many different descriptions of ‘horror’ but they all agree on the same: it’s a genre that makes people shiver and shudder and that it’s both frightening and fascinating at the same time. According to the study from Front Psychol, horror is also the only fiction genre that’s specifically created to inflict fear consistently. If that’s done excellently then this has the right impact on our brains. It makes us want to look away, closing our eyes, stopping with breathing for a moment or screaming your lungs out. Alongside those elements, there’s also the increasing amount of (temporary) anxiety, disgust, and fear.

That anxiety and fear is the most common reaction to horror but according to some studies, such as the one from Ballon and Leszcz (“Horror films: tales to master terror or shapers of trauma?”) and Bozzuto (“Cinematic neurosis following “The Exorcist”. Report of four cases.”), exposure to horror films can also lead to an increase of stress and distress. These can come in the forms of insomnia, excitability, hyperactivity, irritability, disturbed sleep, and decreased appetite. However, luckily for us, those symptoms don’t last very long. In their study, Front Psychol mentioned that the panic and fear that was evoked by the horror have no significant long-term consequences on the mental and physical state of the audience.

The screeching sound

The feelings of fear and anxiety aren’t only created by the stunning visual or intriguing dialogue but also (and mostly) because of the sound and audio. The musical score is always from vital importance but for a horror movie that significance increase immensely. Normally we wouldn’t jump out of our seat when hearing an owl, a cat, or a phone ringing but when these happenings occur in a horror movie, they have a completely different impact. They’re specially designed to create fear and suspense. According to Front Psychol, nothing can beat the so-called “jump scare. A loud bang after a long moment of silence seems to be able to do the trick as “jump scare” is the most used and successful sound effect in a horror movie. Yes, think about a strange figure pop-up out of nowhere or a sudden reflection in the mirror that shouldn’t be there.

When it comes to audio in a horror movie, the music and soundtrack are equally as important as the sound effect you hear. We all know that music has an undeniable emotional impact on the viewer. In a horror movie, the sound is designed to be troublesome, to create tension, and to raise a vibe of negativity on the screen. This increases the level of fear and unpleasantness even more.

How Sound Effects For Horror Movies Are Made (Insider)

Why do we like horror so much?

Suspense and resolution of suspense are the two main components of horror and those are the ones the audience reacts to the most. When it comes to suspense, this mostly means the build-up of tensions, the increasing level of threat, or reaching a potential climax. It’s also exactly that suspense that makes from the horror such a lovable genre as the feeling of suspense is something we undeniably enjoy. No matter how gruesome the images are. According to Front Psychol, enjoyment must come from a ‘degree of negative effect built up during exposure to the horror film and from the positive effect/reaction that results from the resolution of the threat’.

What’s next for horror movies?

Well, pretty sure that horror films aren’t going anywhere any time soon and that’s not so bad at all. Hopefully, we will be able to enjoy upcoming movies such as A Quiet Place Part II, Last Night in Soho and Candyman and if in the meantime, you want your fix of horror films, then Shudder will do the trick beautifully (or should we say ‘horrifically’).

Candyman (Official Trailer)

Also Read: The Greatest Horror Villain of Each Decade

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Editorials

Five Stunning Short Films You Wouldn’t Believe Were Shot On An iPhone 11

April 17, 2020
iPhone Pro 11

The time that you needed a huge camera to shoot the perfect film is long gone. With the increase of mobile phones came the rise of small and enormously technologically advanced cameras. Now, everyone can feel what’s like to be a filmmaker. Many of the videos are probably only watched during drunk parties with friends or hilarious meetings with family members but there are also a few that made a name for themselves in the online world. Here are five stunning and vibrant films that you won’t believe were shot on an iPhone 11.

Paris 9/19

An ordinary holiday video about life in romantic Paris? No, not when acclaimed director Rian Johnson is behind the camera. His Paris 9/19 transport you right to the heart of the French capital. Discover the old streets, the wonderful monuments and have a delicious dinner at a charming French restaurant. All you need to do is watching this short film.

Paris 9/19

Daughter

Thanks to the celebrated director Theodore Melfi and Daughter, we can re-live the Chinese New Year celebrations. His short film follows a devoted mother with her adorable daughter living a difficult life. Life isn’t easy as the mother is a single mom who’s trying to make ends meet as a taxi driver but still, they have each other and that’s what matters for them. That family has always been important becomes clear during the flashbacks showing us the mom when she was a young girl. How she grew up with her mother, what was expected from a woman during that time and how life in China was. We see Chinese New Year celebrations through the eyes of three generations of Chinese women.

Their stories are coming spectacularly to life thanks to cinematographer Lawrence Sher who brought us Joker last year. The three leading ladies on-screen each put on an emotional and captivating performance that feels very relatable.

Daughter (Short Film)

Holding

It could have been a short film that could have been included in our ‘COVID-19 in movies’ list as Holding is about a woman living in LA during the current terrible times. She comes out of the house to do grocery shopping, which is in her case, going to her garden. During the movie, we hear that she’s not alone during this lockdown as a male voice is coming from somewhere in the house. While we don’t see the man, we certainly know how he feels: Locked up, angry, and agitated. As if the real-life feeling isn’t complete yet, we also see a video call between the leading woman and a person close to her. One she loves dressing up for… That surprise as well as ‘who’s the man shouting from across the house’ element is being highlighted wonderfully by the use of zoom-ins and tense music.

Holding (Short Film)

The Movie Star

Do you want to be next Meryl Streep or Leonardo DiCaprio? Then the audition room is the perfect place to start according to director Blake Calhoun. In his The Movie Star, a security guard has an unexpected encounter with a female wanna-be movie star. It will certainly be a meeting he will never forget. Not only because the actress refuses to leave the set unless the guard helps her with her audition but also because of what follows next. There’s an immense theatrical element to this movie, especially because of the lady leading portrayed captivatingly by Susana Gibb. The cinematography might be a little bit too flashy or too over-the-top but that’s part of the acting world, isn’t it?

The Movie Star (Short Film)

Cold Wave

Surfing the waves can be joyful, especially during this sunny weather. However, mastering the surfing board isn’t something everyone can do. That becomes clear from watching Cold Wave by Matt Allen. The short movie, that was filmed over two days at the Mountain Wave in Kananaskis in Alberta, shows us that surfing is clearly not for everybody. For those who can tame the board, surfing is the most liberating sport that exists. That delightfulness is perfectly captured in a lively and entertaining way.

Cold Wave (Short Film)

If you can’t get enough of the stunning movies shot via iPhone, then catch the iPhone Cinema on Vimeo.

Also Read: COVID-19 In Movies: Five Films About The Virus That Shook The Earth

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Editorials

COVID-19 In Movies: Five Films About The Virus That Shook The Earth

April 8, 2020
Breaking Social Distancing - COVID-19 Film

Re-watching our favourites via Amazon Prime, discovering new movies via Disney+ and organizing Netflix watching parties seem to be our everyday life now. While we’re in the grip of the Coronavirus, it seems that we’re looking for comfort in movies. However, people also look at it the other way around. Filmmakers use the current social climate as an inspiration for the next movie. Here are five movies about the virus that’s making the world coming to a temporary standstill.

Breaking Social Distancing

These days wanting to spend time with friends and family means that you have to come up with an enormous creative way of communicating. Whether it’s setting up a Zoom meet up with ten friends, a Whatsapp video call with your parents or a Messenger call with brothers and sisters, technology has never come handier then now. Friends Michelle (Lauren Compton) and Jason (Joe Daru) decided to go old school and to make a regular phone call. One that doesn’t only end with them reconnecting over the phone but also in real-life. What follows is an evening that can hopefully only happen during a lockdown.

Axia wasn’t only the director of this movie but also the cameraman, director of photography, editor, etc. He did a marvellous job as this short film oozes that typical Hollywood vibe: Colourful, witty, funny and over-the-top. The colours might seem a little bit too fabricated but for some reason, they fit perfectly with the storyline. A story that’s becoming more fun thanks to the entertaining performance of Daru and the uplifting acting of Compton.

Breaking Social Distancing

Left Behind

Saying goodbye is never easy but when you’re surrounded by the people you love, it might be a little bit easier. Sadly, that latest isn’t possible due to the virus. However, that didn’t stop Diogo Caramujo to speak his boy and his wife one more time. In the short sci-fi film Left Behind, we hear his final goodbye. After sacrificing himself so that his loved ones could go to a non-contagious place, he’s speaking to his family and the public. He hopes that his sacrifices will be for nothing. The most important lesson we can get from this short film is without a doubt that we can’t take this planet for granted. Surely that’s something we all realize by now.

If not, then director Diogo Caramujo (yep, that name sounds familiar, right?) will make you aware of it with this captivating and intriguing “Left Behind”. For some of us, our lives feel like a sci-fi story right now but let’s hope we will never become as estranged and isolated as the man in this movie.

Left Behind (Short Film)

Corona Movie

Being stuck in a crowded elevator is never pleasant. There’s always the fear, uncertainty, and anger. If you add Coronavirus to that, you don’t only get an even more agitated situation but also the latest film from writer/director/producer Mostafa Keshvari. His Corona Movie tells the story of six people stepping into the same elevator, that gets stuck. At first, there’s the disbelief and slight panic and when coughing comes in and the word ‘Corona’ is mentioned, things are getting worse. What started as a normal elevator ride will turn into something else. In what? Well, that’s for you to discover in this gripping and extraordinary film. The fact that this film was shot in one take brings that tense and heated element to life.

Corona Movie (Short Film)

End of the world?

It was announced that air pollution declined massively because of the Coronavirus. It seems that the virus is the cure to the sickness of the Earth, right? Well, according to Dushyant Kapoor and his latest short film, that’s the case. In End of the World?, he shows us two extremely eye-opening instances in which it’s clear that humans might be indeed the reasons why nature suffers and how that (indirect) affects future generations. Whether it’s not having access to basic needs or monumental buildings being torn apart by the force of nature, the people aren’t entirely as innocent as we seem.

Corona: End Of The World? (Short Films)

Coronavirus: The Movie

Last but not least, there’s Coronavirus: The Movie, a short film by director Blake Ridder. We follow the story of Steven Ping, a man living in the UK who travelled to Wuhan to celebrate Chinese New Year. Sadly, for him, there wasn’t a cause for celebration when he got back. What started with him having a fever ended in getting the confirmation that no one wanted to hear: He tested positive for COVID-19. Will he be able to beat the disease or will he become one of the terrible statistics? If there’s one film that might make you even more paranoid, anxious or panicky about the virus, then it’s this one, especially because of all the coughing.

Coronavirus: The Movie (Short Film)

Also Read: Coronavirus: How It Has Affected The Film Industry

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Reviews

Review: Vivarium

March 27, 2020
Vivarium

When you’re in a relationship, there are some milestones you will reach as a couple. Whether it’s being together for one month, one year or even celebrating being five years together. For the loving couple Tom and Gemma, it’s going to live together and buying a house. Finding the right place is never easy but little did they know that it was going to be this hard? Probably not and neither do you. Not unless you’ve seen Vivarium, the immensely unique, cleverly written and stunningly performed film by director Lorcan Finnegan (Without Name).

Nothing is what it seems

Gardner, Tom (Jesse Eisenberg) and schoolteacher, Gemma (Imogen Poots) are a lovely living an ordinary life. They’re ready for the next big step and want to move in with each other. On the lookout for the perfect house, they’re meeting up with the next estate agent. The very exciting Martin (Jonathan Aris) is taking them to Yonder, the perfect residence for a young couple. However, strange things happen right from the start the couple sets foot in Yonder. Martin vanishes unexpectedly, many attempts to leave Yonder fall and after technical car difficulties, the couple has no choice but to spend the night in Yonder. A night that will change their life forever and not in a good way.

First, they discover that the food has no taste whatsoever, that the house is too perfect and that there’s no one in Yonder. It gets worse when a baby boy (Senan Jennings) is dropped off at their door. Taking care of him might be the way out. Just like everything else, the boy isn’t ordinary. We don’t want to say too much but let us tell you: He makes the life of Tom and Gemma extremely hard. The couple is being torn apart by the way they want or better-said need to raise him. How will this impact their relationship and their chances of escaping Yonder?

Jesse Eisenberg as Tom, Jonathan Aris as Martin and Imogen Poots as Gemma in Vivarium.
Jesse Eisenberg as Tom, Jonathan Aris as Martin and Imogen Poots as Gemma in Vivarium.
(Source: IMDb)

Everything is connected in one way or another

There’s so much happening in this movie and it was very difficult for us to not mention even more of the plot. It might seem that there’s too much going on but even so, Vivarium is definitely worth the watch.

The main reason is the incredible unique story. Vivarium slaps you from left to right in unseen ways. At first, things might seem to happen by accident and seem to be unrelated but by the end of the film, it turns out that everything is connected.

An eclectic and heartbreaking story wouldn’t come to life perfectly if it wasn’t for the immensely strong cast. He’s probably the most unknown castmember but Jennings (Brute) excels in this movie. Whether it’s by screaming, mimicking his on-screen parents or just staring right into the camera, he gives us the chills every single time. He gets on our nerves more than once but in an extremely good way. We don’t want to say what the relationship is between Jennings and Eanna Hardwicke (Krypton), who will also appear in this movie, cause then the fun might be gone but rest assure that also Hardwicke’s performance is a compelling and unique one.

Senan Jennings as the boy and Imogen Poots as Gemma in Vivarium.
(Source: IMDb)

Poots and Eisenberg are as stunning as Jennings and Hardwicke. Poots (Black Christmas) puts on an extremely versatile performance. One moment she brings out that sweetness of being a schoolteacher to the forefront while a moment later she becomes the more determined mother fighting for her life. No matter which emotion or situation her character has to deal with, Poots portrays it in a beautiful and captivating way. Eisenberg (Zombieland: Double Tap) his Tom has been rough though type from the beginning and because of that, Eisenberg’s performance is big on both emotional and physical levels. His performance is certainly one that keeps us mesmerized. Last but not least, there’s Jonathan Aris (Boyz in the Wood) who makes such an unforgettable and witty appearance as Martin.

What makes from Vivarium a film that will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time is the awesome combination of the cinematic elements. The cinematography from MacGregor (Snake Bite) is crazy and vibrant when the couple is in Yonder but more ordinary and ‘average’ when they’re in the real world. The editing by Tony Cranstoun (Good Favour) adds that sinister element to this movie, especially when multiple shots are interwoven into each other. The setting? Well, what can we say about it? All the greenhouses which are the same and too perfect just set the tone for this eccentric psychedelic film instantly.

Discover a whole new dark world

After getting its UK premiere at the BFI London Film Festival last year, Vivarium is returning to the UK from the 27th of March on digital platforms. Thanks to Finnegan, you have to chance to watch a gripping, stunningly performed and visually captivating movie and you should take it.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

More: Read our interview with director Lorcan Finnegan.

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Reviews

Review: Misbehaviour

March 16, 2020
Misbehaviour Movie

You would think that when living in the 21st Century equal pay for men and women, equal rights and equal respect would just be one of the few cornerstones of society. Well, sadly that’s still not the case at all as the fight for gender equality on all fronts is still going strong. It’s a fight that has been fought for many decades with some lows but with definitely some highs as well. An important milestone in the fight for equal rights was without a doubt the rebellious uprising of the women’s liberation movement and their enormous impactful actions during the Miss World competition in 1970. If you’ve witnessed their extremely important protest live or on television at the time than you know what we’re talking about. If not, then director Philippa Lowthorpe (Sex, the city and me) has the perfect film for you. With her Misbehaviour, you will not only get up to speed with those crucial events in the best way possible but you will also see a beautiful, funny, and eye-opening movie.

You’ve got to fight for your rights

In this film, it’s all about two different sides of society coming together during the most entertaining spectacle of 1970, the Miss World competition. One on hand you have the women’s liberation movement while on the other hand, you have the competition organisers Eric (Rhys Ifans) and Julia Morley (Keeley Hawes).

The women’s liberation movement was found by Jo Robinson (Jessie Buckley) who brought together strong women to fight for equal rights. One of them is Sally Alexander (Keira Knightly) who sadly recently had to endure the prejudices of white men during her college application for the Univesity College of London. Instead of judging her on extensive knowledge and expertise on the matters, the men judged her on beauty and asked her about motherhood and the place of women in society. After that, she decided to join the women’s liberation movement and eventually to become their spokeswoman. She doesn’t want her daughter to grow up in a society that only cares about female beauty and not the intelligence of women.

It becomes clear that that society is indeed about appearance and treating women just as a beautiful piece of meat. The most tremendous example of that is the Miss World competition. No one there seems to care about the dignity of women. No, all what the organisers and their special guest star Bob Hope (Greg Kinnear) can think of is who will be the most beautiful girl in the world. Will it be the favourite Miss Sweden (Clara Rosager) or one of the two black contestants Miss Africa South (Loreece Harrison) and Miss Grenada (Gugu Mbatha-Raw)?

Misbehaviour - The ladies leading of the women's liberation movement
(Source: Pathé)
The ladies leading of the women’s liberation movement
(Source: Pathé)

The important story and strong performances rule

While this story took place in the ’70s, not much has changed. Ok, the equal rights became more equal, there’s free daycare and a woman is allowed to open a bank account without the permission of her husband. However, the standards of beauty remained the same. You can’t have too many curves at the wrong places, you need to have the perfect measurements and heels are the symbol of femininity. Yes, those standards are still present. In some cultures, people do still believe that the place of women is only in the kitchen and bedroom.

Apart from the story, the acting performances are also what keeps this movie very interesting. After showing us her outstanding performances in Wild Rose and Judy, Buckley is again phenomenal. The timing of her cleverly written jokes is just spot on and she lifts the film to an entertaining and spontaneous film. The chemistry between her and Knightley is a wonderful one to witness. This is also because of Knightley (Official Secrets) her remarkable performance.

However, no matter how great they are, Knightley and Buckley are being over classed by Mbatha-Raw (Come Away). She lights up the screen as Hosten, the Miss World competitor who has more to offer than just beauty. Mbatha-Raw shows us a strong performance, that highlights the aesthetics of Miss Grenada but also her maturity and intelligence. The scene between Mbatha-Raw and Knightley is one of the most captivating ones. When it comes to the male cast, it’s Ifans (The Parting Glass) who steals the show with a funny and suave performance. He knows how to bring out that ‘player and female lover’ aspect of Eric tremendously.

Perfect timing

It’s been exactly 50 years since the women’s liberation movement decided to take on the Miss World competition and so it was the right time for Misbehaviour to be released. Not only because of the importance of the topic but also just because it’s an immensely entertaining and charming movie.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Misbehaviour (Official Trailer)

Misbehaviour is out in U.K. cinemas now

Also Read: The Problem with the role of ‘The Wife’ in movies like ‘Dark Waters’

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Interviews

“Vivarium” Director Lorcan Finnegan Discusses Filming Techniques and The Future

March 15, 2020
Vivarium - Lorcan Finnegan

Ahead of the release of his latest film, Liselotte Vanophem sat down with Lorcan Finnegan to talk about Vivarium, filming techniques and the future.

Liselotte Vanophem: Hi Lorcan, how are you?

Lorcan Finnegan: Yeah, I’m fine. Busy with the interviews.

LV: Congratulations on the film. How did you come up with the story for this film?

LF: Well, in 2011 we made a short film called Foxes and it was a supernatural story about a young couple who were trapped in this ghost estate in Ireland that was left abandoned. Apart from them, there was nobody else there. That was more of a supernatural story but the stories and ideas of that film were something that we wanted to expand upon more metaphorically in a sci-fi, ‘twilight zone’ type of film. That’s what we develop into a long feature film. Vivarium is different from Foxes but it has some similar ideas.

LV: The cast consists of big names such as Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots but the actor who’s the most amazing one in this film is without a doubt Senan Jennings who plays the boy. How did you come across him?

LF: Getting the right actor for that part was always going to be challenging. We thought we were never going to find a little child who could do all of the things that we wrote about in the script. We got a bunch of self-tapes coming in and then I saw a lot of the actors as well. We were very lucky that we got Senan cause when he sent in his tape, it was so good. I asked him to do some other parts of the film and then he sent in another tape and again it was brilliant. We were like ‘ok, he got the part’.

He was great to work with. He was seven but when he read the script, he completely understood it. After we told him that he got the part, his mom said that they were going to supermarkets to watch people and copy them. He just loved it.

LV: In this movie, Senan’s character shouts and screams a lot. How was it to make him do that on cue?

LF: Well, he just loved it. At some points, we were just trying to make him stop. I was worried about his throat and that he would lose his voice. He had no problem with it at all and he just went for it. That was another thing that he showed us during his auditioning tape.

LV: During this film, Imogen’s character needs to choose whether to let the boy live or die? What would you have done in that situation?

LF: I would save him as he’s still a living creature after all but it rationally also makes sense to not save him.

LV: How much input did the actors have regarding the lines and the script?

LF: Well, we talked a lot bout the script before shooting and made some changes to dialogue and we also cut some dialogue and scenes. We also wrote a few new scenes. When you’re developing a script, other people are involved and everyone has a few notes here and there and some input. Once we came to shoot it, we all kind of trusted each other and if the scene didn’t feel right then we would just change it and try something different.

LV: What was the first scene that you shot between the couple and the child because that probably must have been a very crucial one?

LF: It would probably have been the bedroom scenes during which the audience sees the boy for this first time. I remember Jesse saying that Senan was exactly as he imagined from the script but he never thought that we could find a kid who could do it.

LV: The houses in Yonder are the same. Green, neat and almost to perfect. How did you film them? Was it a green screen or on-location?

LF: Well, it’s a mixture of things. We’ve build sets with the facades of threes, houses, footpaths, gardens, and roads. Then we shot sets of that same thing to expand it to the back and then the set was scanned and made into 3D. A lot of it was 2D map paintings, sometimes it’s CGI and sometimes it’s 2D plates that are being composed together. It was a lot of different techniques that came together.

LV: What was the hardest part for you to film for this movie cause it’s a very complex movie technical wise it seems?

LF: Yes, it was indeed a very technical film to make and a bit tricky as well. The trickiest scene was probably the one in which they’re trying to drive out of the place. We only had a certain amount of sets and then we had to switch to location as well. Trying to make the lighting the same. The aerial shots were also shot in a different location again. Then we combined all of that to make it feel like one sequence. That was something that we have been working on for a long time.

LV: If you look back on the film now, what’s the scene that still gets you the most?

LF: I think it would be the last scene between Imogen and the boy. I also like the scene very much during which they’re talking about the clouds. Also, all the scenes with Jonathan Aris were so much fun.

LV: What do you hope that people will take away with them after seeing this film?

LF: Well, I hope that they will think it’s the best film they’ve seen in their lives. In this film, there are a lot of metaphors that are wrapped in a sci-fi story. Some people seem to enjoy it as a pure sci-fi movie and other people see parts of their own lives in it. I enjoy getting to know people their interpretations of the story and how they relate to the story. I just hope people will enjoy it.

LV: One last question: What’s next for you?

LF: I’m working on a film called Nocebo which a supernatural revenge thriller about fashion and the exploitation of the east by the west. I’m also working on another project called Goliath which is a reimagining of the story of David and Goliath and is set in the dystopian near future. It’s about creating monsters, starting wars and stealing resources.

Vivarium (Official Trailer)

Also Read: Road Trip to Joker: The Success of Todd Phillips

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Reviews

Review: Escape from Pretoria

March 9, 2020

How apartheid in South Africa changed the lives of many people is undeniably clear. Not only black people but also white people who weren’t afraid of showing their hatred towards the system were locked up, tortured and murdered. Just because they didn’t believe in a society that was just based on race. Now, director Francis Annan (Woyzeckis) is taking the real story of two political captives to the big screen in his Escape from Pretoria.

It’s all about finding the right key

Tim Jenkin (Daniel Radcliffe) and Stephen Lee (Daniel Webber) are two young men and friends living in Africa during the Apartheid. They’re both white and so you might think that their lives’ mission is ruling over the black people in their community. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Jenkin has a black girlfriend and both men release political pamphlets and support for the black society. Sadly, for Tim and Stephen, the law is ruling with an iron fist and due to that, the men are being sentenced to prison for many years just because of their political views.

Their freedom might have been taken away but not their spirit and hunger for justice. From the moment they set foot into jail, they were already planning their escape. There are many locks (too many?) to open, too many guards to hide from and too many unpredictable elements to take into consideration. Luckily for Jenkin and Lee, they get help from their fellow prison mates and soon their ingenious plan is put in motion. Keys are being made, guards are being distracted and inventions are being fabricated. Will their determination, craftsmanship, and lust for freedom be the way out for the two men or will the prison bars be part of their lives forever?

Daniel Radcliffe as Tim Jenkin in Escape from Pretoria
Daniel Radcliffe as Tim Jenkin in Escape from Pretoria
(Source: IMDb)

Not the ordinary escape thriller

This movie is based on the book written by Jenkin himself and because of the Escape from Pretoria feels very personal and up-close. Together with his co-writers L.H. Adams and Karol Griffiths, director Annan certainly preserved that unique touch but also added some very entertaining and wonderful cinematic elements to it.

Not only did the director and writers want to make sure that this movie is an incredible homage to the strong men living in the age of repression, but also the actors themselves certainly wanted to honour their characters in the best and authentic way possible. First up, there Radcliffe (Guns Akimbo) who puts on great and solid performance. He embraces the courageous, determined and intelligent elements of his characters and makes them his own. In a heist film, performances could be big and bold and over the top (most of the time combined with special effects) but not in this film. The subtleness and the ‘small’ acting are Radcliffe’s strengths, even more so during the climax of this film. Also, the scenes with the key and chewing gums were just too brilliant not to mention.

His acting might not be as captivating and emotional as the one of Radcliffe but that doesn’t mean that Webber (The Dirt) can’t delight us. He adds much more emotions to this movie with his compelling and steady performance. 

They get great support from Ian Hart (Mary Queen of Scots) as the social campaigner Denis Goldberg and Mark Leonard Winter (Measure for Measure) as Alex Moumbaris. Hart brings many witty and clever moments to Escape from Pretoria and shows us in a crafty way what happens when you don’t take your life into your own hands. No matter how many obstacles you have to overcome. The most emotional story arc in this movie is Moumbaris’s as it’s about him, his son and the injustice of his family. Winter’s performance is packed with human emotions. From sadness and doubts to determination and happiness in dark times, we all get to feel them thanks to Winter’s moving performance.

While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the performances of the cast, it’s the craftsmanship of the crew that excels in this movie. We certainly want to applaud the great work of cinematographer Geoffrey Hall (Australia Day). The way he uses light, darkness, and shadow is just magnificent and oozes that tense vibe. If you add excellent sound and music of the music department to that, Escape from Pretoria becomes a thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat. Those approaching footsteps, the sound of the creaking wooden floors or the noise of the keys turning in the locks give you the chills many times.

A lively apartheid prison break

Escape from Pretoria deals with topics that are still very present such as equality and justice. It’s certainly not afraid of adding thrilling and entertaining elements to a real-life story. The result is a nail-biting, marvellous and cleverly made thriller.

Escape from Pretoria is out now in UK cinemas

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Escape From Pretoria (Official Trailer)

Also Read: Color Out of Space (Review)

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