Author: Liselotte Vanophem


Filmmaker Rishi Pelham and actors Megan Purvis and Yasmin Al-Khudhairi Discuss Their Film “Hilda”

September 26, 2019
Hilda Screenshot

Hilda, the newest film from writer/director Rishi Pelham, recently got its premiere at The Raindance Film Festival. The movie is an incredibly emotional, moving and relatable story about a teenage girl going through a rough phase in her life. We were able to speak with Pelham himself and with leading ladies, Megan Purvis and Yasmin Al-Khudhairi.

Liselotte Vanophem: Welcome to the Raindance Film Festival. Excited to be here?

Rishi Pelham (writer/director): Yes, but also nervous at the same time. It’s our first time here at the festival and this is also a debut film for a lot of people in front but also behind the camera. It’s the first time that we show this movie to an audience, so it will be interesting to see how they will react. The nerves are always slightly high when things like this happen.

LV: Where did the idea for the story come from?

RP: It’s a weird thing. I was on the tube on one point and it was rush hour. There was a line of these people in business suits who all had a horrible expression on their faces. There also was a young schoolgirl who looked like she didn’t have fewer problems than any other person on that train. However, she had her headphones plugged in and it sounded like there was metal music coming out and she was just dancing along on her seat. All she needed was the music and her imagination. I couldn’t get that image out of my head for a very long time. Somehow the story for this film evolved from that.

Writer/Director Rishi Pelham on mic at Raindance Film Festival, with actors Megan Purvis (far right) and Yasmin Al-Khudhairi (far left) (credit: Facebook / HildaTheMovie)
LV: It’s a very emotional story. How did you prepare for a role like that?

Megan Purvis (“Hilda”): We did a lot of build-up as a team before filming. We had loads of workshops and improv sessions in character. We were also getting to know everybody, so then when we arrived on set and when we were doing the emotional scenes, we just played them as a character rather than thinking like “Ok, now this line and then that line”. It was more being in the moment and seeing what that character would do in certain situations. The preparations we did months before shooting, which was also the first time I’ve ever done those, was great because most of the time you don’t get that process. I think it really paid off in this film and especially in the friendship between Hilda and Ayala.

LV: Was this also how you experienced it, Yasmin?

Yasmin Al-Khudhairi (“Ayala”): Yes exactly like that. For me, it was the backstory of my character that was the main methodology that we used. That was new to me as well. We could have made a whole new film with all the backstory for my character that I got. When I was reading the lines, I wasn’t focussing too much on the lines but just wanted to get all the emotions coming out. I had all of that backstory information, and for me, it was all about how my character would feel about Hilda and the relationships she has.

LV: Does that backstory help with processing the verbal abuse in the film and not to take all the [characters] words personally?

YA: Yes definitely. Sometimes it’s hard to separate things and I remember that when we finished a scene that I wasn’t in the same mindset as before for a few moments after that. I guess that’s when I knew whether I did a scene right or not. If I didn’t get the feeling after a scene then I felt like I had to do the scene again. When I felt that I was still angry or upset just like my character for a long time after the scene, I knew that we got it right.

MP: When I felt like I had nothing more to give, I knew that I did Hilda justice. That’s when I felt like I was satisfied. Luckily for me, I’ve never been through the experiences that Hilda has been going through but being in that moment and playing in that way allowed me to let those emotions go when we were offset. They didn’t linger for too long, for me that was nice. It was weird because we worked with a lot of music, especially for Hilda’s scenes, and I kind of adopted that as an actor. The music became the escape or how I got into her mindset. Rishi gave me Hilda’s iPod and we listened to it. All those things were something I took on board as an actress. It was the music that would take me in or take me out off. That was a big help for me for these emotional scenes.

Megan Purvis (left) & Yasmin Al-Khudhairi (right) in Hilda (Credit: Odds On Productions)
LV: How was it for you to see your story come to life every day on set and then to see the finished film?

RP: It felt weird actually. It was a privilege working with these two actresses and also with the other cast and crew. It was a strange thing. We worked on this film for three years. Mainly due to the lack of funds or how long it took to finally being able to shoot the movie. There was also a lot of time during the workshops.

We wanted to throw the audience right from the beginning into the action, into that metal club. At that moment, Hilda is already at a certain threshold in her life. We wanted to spend time to understand how all characters would be feeling at that same moment. There were certain times during the shoot where, after I’ve written something, I didn’t know if it came from certain memories or my subconscious. I would be looking at it afterwards with assistant director Michael Honnah (The Yellow Wallpaper) and then I would remember where that idea for that scene came from.

We became closer together as a team while we were working on this project and we all reached pushed each other the give the best of ourselves.

LV: So you, Yasmin and Rishi, knew each other before making this movie?

YA: Yes, indeed. We’ve known each other since university. I auditioned for one of his plays at university and that’s how we became friends. A lot of people on the team were friends of Manchester University and that was very nice to have. Then Meg came in and at first, she was like “Oh, you’re all friends” but then she auditioned and we became friends as well.

RP: During the auditions, I wanted to cast the main cast first before finding the rest of the crew. Especially the roles for Hilda and Ayala. We didn’t have any money to rent out some audition space so we found a tortilla restaurant and we were inviting actors to come to that restaurant and to do their audition next to the kitchen. I think that might have turned a lot of people away when they saw the context of how we would do our auditions. Megan came in and she just gave a performance that got us locked in. As a result of that, I think we became close friends as well. I think that’s how we all came to know each other.

LV: Was it one of the scenes you had to do in that restaurant?

MP: The first one we did was one that isn’t in the film. It was one where I was in a club and dancing. The second scene was one that I didn’t see before the audition. It was a surprise one and it was the one in the film in which my baby brother is being given water by Ayala and my character gets rather upset with that. I like to have my lines in advance and I like to know them beforehand so that I can forget them during the scenes. When I was being handed the script during the audition, I was like “Oh my god” but I was trying to pretend that I was cool with it. When we were doing it, I noticed that it was quite wordy and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to remember it. I literally threw the script away and just went for it like that. I was thinking about what would be said in a scene like that. Michael was playing the role of Ayala during my audition and I just threw words at him.

When Rishi gave me the script, and I read it, although I’ve never been through what the character was going through, I could see her. I knew what she was thinking. When he gave me that script during my audition, I just put it aside because I knew what she was going through and what she was thinking. I remember that there were a few high fives after my audition and it felt like it was the best audition I’ve ever given.

Megan Purvis as Hilda (Credit: Odds On Productions)
LV: What was the first scene you (Megan and Yasmin) had to do together?

RP: Well, they met for the first time when they were in character.

MP: It wasn’t during a scene. It was during one of those workshops.

RP: But they didn’t speak to each other then.

MP: No, true. I didn’t know what Yasmin looked like. I was in Manchester and I had never been to Manchester before. Rishi would be like “Ok, she’s standing next to the supermarket at the corner”. I was like “Ok, am I going to greet someone randomly?”. Obviously, I could see where they were filming the workshops and so I thought “Ok, yeah it must be the girl standing in front of the camera”. That’s where we did our first improv.

RP: That workshop went on for about five hours. We ended up in a Jazz club and did Hilda her night out during which the girls discover their love for dance and music. That’s what we wanted to create during that first workshop. We started at that street corner, went to the club and ended up in the park where we played our music.

MP: In terms of filming on set, we did most of it chronologically. I think the first one was the sneaking out of the bedroom one.

LV: Who created the dance routines you have to do in this movie?

RP: That was Justyna (Szymanska) from Manchester. Apart from being a dancer, she’s also studying for her Maths degree. Michael sent me a video of Justyna performing and we’d seen a lot of fantastic dancers around that period and they were always trying to make the dance look very impressive and all about the show. Justyna is one of the best dancers I’ve seen in my life and she was the only person who understood that this wasn’t a dance film and that it wasn’t about the best dancer in the world. It was about someone who just loves dance and was trying to find her style. Justyna took that on and worked tirelessly while also getting a degree in Maths and doing her dance projects. She worked very hard on this film. Megan also had to work incredibly hard to embody these crazy routines Justyna came up with. Justyna really was the brains behind how Hilda expresses herself through dance. Hilda is a character that isn’t very good at talking to people and who can’t vocalize things. Somehow, when the music is playing and when she’s able to dance, she knows how to express her emotions. Without her, this film wouldn’t be what it is today.

YA: The moment where I had the feeling that I understood my character is when I did a workshop with Justyna. It was just a moving workshop and was all about the movements and music. Justyna was doing these different workshops with me and made me understand that’s not all about Hilda and that Ayala also has her own life as well. Ayala isn’t just someone on the sideline. Thanks to those workshops I was able to come to terms with who my character was and how she moved. After that, I found it all so much easier.

LV: Will Hilda have further screenings after its Premiere at Raindance?

RP: Of course we would love for this film to reach as many people as possible. The feedback that we got is that this film is very relatable for people, even if they’re not going through the same difficult time as Hilda. We do believe that the film could have the potential to do that. What we’re going to try to do is, hopefully, have a good festival run with this film and get it seen by as many people as possible. Getting people speaking about it.

LV: What’s next for you guys after this?

RP: When working on this film, someone said to me that before I go to the festivals with this film, that I had to know the next projects I would be working on. This film is the first one of the production company that I and Tomos Roberts founded. We’ve always helped each other during various projects. Sometimes I had to do lighting for a play that he was doing or then he might need to be a gaffer for a play that I was doing. We filled in each other’s roles. Tom did an incredible job producing this film but he also has other projects of his own. I’m thinking about some other projects myself and starting to write my next feature.

YA: For me, it’s just auditioning. I’m quite new to the acting game so I hope this might open some opportunities for me. I’m hoping just to focus on acting soon and do whatever I’m trying to get into. On the lookout for new and interesting roles. Ones that are a bit different and in which I can play the character in the way that other people might not play it.

MJ: I’ve got a couple of films coming out so I’m going to see how those go. I’m waiting to hear back from some auditions. I’m really hoping that this festival will open some doors for us and for people to see what we can create and to see our talent. We can take on projects that we want to do because we want to dedicate our lives to being in the film industry. We’re hoping that Raindance really will help us do that. It’s a festival that celebrates independent filmmaking and it really does do that. We’re excited to get our film and our talent out there and show the world what we can do. 

Hilda (Official Trailer)

Also Read: Hilda (Review)


Review: Ad Astra

September 23, 2019

Life in 2017, First Man in 2018 and now Ad Astra. We can hear you thinking “not another movie about space. Aren’t there enough of these?”. Well, maybe but certainly not like this one from writer/director James Gray (The Lost City of Z, The Immigrant). While his Ad Astra is indeed about an astronaut on a space mission, it’s also about a personal mission to reconnect with a long lost father and coming to terms with life. That intense and emotional story, the marvellous performance from Brad Pitt and the stunning effects created make from Ad Astra a movie you should see.

3,2,1… Go!

Roy McBride (Brad Pitt), who has no parents anymore or a wife and kids, is fully dedicating his life to his missions. Space has no secrets for his anymore… or maybe just one. Due to strange powers coming from an unknown source, the earth is facing distractions destruction, death, and fear. McBride is being called in for a top-secret mission that’s not only going to have a massive impact on his professional life but also on the personal one. He will be sent up again. This time to Neptune to check out where the powers come from. However, Neptune might not be the only thing he encounters on that planet. According to the last intel, his father H. Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones) is still alive after the latest failed assignment.

While having to deal with this very unexpected news, McBride has to prepare himself both mentally and physically for this next mission. During most of the preparations, he has been able to keep his cool but the news about his father might be too hard for him to handle. Due to the death of a fellow astronaut and due to the feeling that he’s being abused by the government, McBride might not be able to stay at focussed as he normally would be. After getting even more disturbing news about his dad, it seems that his mission is becoming in more danger. Will he be able to keep it all together and make from this mission a successful one or will he have to abort his mission for the very first time in his career?

Out-of-this world special effects

It’s for you to find out whether the voyage will be successful or not but at least one thing will have great success: This film! For many different reasons.

The brightest star of this movie is without a doubt the special effects that are being used. The visual effect department delivers out-of-this-world work with Ad Astra. Right from that very first scene, we feel what it should be like when we would be in space. That height and McBride descending the stairs is certainly a scene that will dazzle everyone. People with a fear of heights might need to close their eyes during that breathtaking moment. You feel the natural light but also the darkness of the universe coming your way.

While we all know that director Gray didn’t send it team up to space, the special effects made it look very real. The beautiful twinkling stars, the colourful rings of Neptune and the yellow heat of the sun. It’s all there coming to life thanks to the SFX team. If you’re dreaming of going to the moon yourself or you’ve always wanted to know what it would be like living in a spaceship, the impressive visuals will give you the perfect insight.

Brad Pitt takes Ad Astra to new heights

What Ryan Gosling did for First Man, Pitt (Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood, The Big Short) is doing for Ad Astra. Whether it’s as the dedicated, strong and professional astronaut or as the insecure, lonely and divided man, Pitt gives himself 100% every second. Some might say that his expression is a little bit monotonous but apart from the mission, there’s not much going on in McBride’s life either. Thanks to Pitt’s voice-over, the feeling and emotions from McBride are been highlighted even more.

The fact that Ad Astra is focussing mainly on McBride means that the more supporting roles are being pushed to the background. While Tommy Lee Jones (Just Getting Started, Shock and Awe), Donald Sutherland (American Summer, Basmati Blues) and Ruth Negga (Warcraft: The Beginning, Loving) are all captivating, wonderful and enjoyable to watch as H. Clifford McBride, Thomas Pruitt, and Helen Lantos, they don’t get much time to showcase their expertise which is a shame. Sadly the emotions fall a little bit flat more towards the end and it feels like this movie is dragging on. Some unnecessary and strange moments could have been left out in this film.

Ad Astra is a shooting star

It wasn’t so long ago that this film got its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival. Since then it’s been loved by both critics and fans. Due to the dragging feeling at the end and some strange events happening throughout the film, this film lost some light. However, it still gets three and a half very bright stars because of the captivating emotional scenes, stunning visual and top-notch Brad Pitt.

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

Ad Astra (Official Trailer)

Also Read: How Sci-Fi Imagined The Future


Review: Hilda

Life can be great: Wonderful friends and a loving family to spend time with, doing whatever you want and just having amazing moments. However, it can also be the total opposite. You’re going through a very rough time and you don’t have much to look forward to. Hilda has to deal with that hard and difficult life. Her emotional and gripping story is being told by writer/director Rishi Pelham (Tape) and this results in a moving, captivating but also sweet and vibrant film.

Dancing through an incredibly difficult time

Hilda (Megan Purvis), a teenage girl living in London, is going through some troublesome moments. Insecure about who she is and uncertain about her future. Her family is falling apart every day a little bit more. Her mum and dad are verbally abusing each other and also Hilda has to deal with that. She’s about to become a big sister for the second time and so it looks like her life won’t become any easier.

However, there’s something that keeps her going: dancing. Whether it’s at the club, at school or just in her room. Dance is her way to express herself. Luckily for Hilda, her life is about to become much better after meeting her best friend Ayala (Yasmin Al-Khudhairi). The two girls come from two totally different backgrounds but there’s instant chemistry between them as they share the love for dancing. Finally, there’s some light in Hilda’s life but after the birth of her little brother, darkness comes again…

Unique and personal story

During our talk with the director, he mentioned that the story for this film came from a ride on the tube during rush hour. A young teenage girl had her headphones plugged in and it sounded like there was metal music coming out and she was just dancing along on her seat. All she needed was the music and her imagination. It’s a very unique and personal story and that’s certainly visible in this movie.

That personal connection isn’t only present in the storyline but also the cast and crew themselves have a special bond. Director Pelham and Al-Khudhairi, who plays Ayala, knew each other before making this film as they both studied in Manchester, just like some other crew members. Even if there would be no friendship to begin with, we would understand why Pelham would cast Al-Khudhairi for his movie. She delightfully brings a bright, open, funny but also sombre and serious element to this film. She’s at the start of her acting career, as Hilda is her debut film, but we’re sure she will be gracing our screens very soon with more work.

Opposite her and as the main character we see Purvis (Sunset Hill, The Young Cannibals) who gives a special, moving and captivating performance. Pelham organized multiple workshops before shooting the film so that everyone could get used to the harsh words and poignant script. The actors saw each other multiple times before shooting whether it was in character or not and that paid off for this movie.

Where there’s darkness, there’s also some light

Hilda her life might be full of darkness but she still finds some light during her dances so the dance cinematography for this movie was as important as the acting performances. Luckily for Pelham, he could count on a very talented dancer called Justyna Szymanska. She and Purvis had numerous practices and thanks to their cooperation, the dance routines came to life. Another crucial aspect of this film is the combination of sound and light. Right from the very first scene, you notice that it’s spot on. Upbeat music combined with flashing and colourful light during the club scenes and more black and light colours and slower music during her dance practices.

Catch it when you can

Hilda recently got its premiere at the Raindance Film Festival and so far this is the only festival where this film will be screened. However, we hope that this film will reach more film festivals soon because it’s a beautiful, passionate and genuine film made with a lot of love and dedication.

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

HILDA (Official Trailer)

Also Read: The Formula For A Successful Film

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Review: Driven to Abstraction

September 20, 2019

Are you an art collector who’s on the lookout for an authentic Pollock, an expressive Monet or a fabulous Motherwell or are you a lover of fine artwork? Then you should check out the thought-provoking and interesting documentary from director Daria Price (Out on a Limb, Survival of the Fittest). You will be (re)introduced to one of the most intriguing, well-known and unbelievable cases of forgery fraud the art industry has ever known: The Ann Freedman case.

Was it greed or naivety?

It all started in 2011 when the highly regarded art gallery Knoedler announced that after being in the art business for 165 years, it would close its doors. Most people in the art world were very astonished when that news hit the papers apart from some who knew what was going on: Knoedler and its president Ann Freedman were sued for art forgery.  After literally trying to buy her way out of this, Freedman’s case got even more attention but not in the most positive way. Art dealers and advisors but also journalists and buyers start keeping an extremely close eye on Knoedler and Freedman.

When there are no shipping papers, no contracts with the buyers or no exhibition records of the paintings, then you know something is off. But how much did Ann Freedman know? Was she aware that the painting she sold for a multi-dollar budget were fake or was she victim of a con artist just like the buyers themselves? Did she handle out of greed or out of naivety?

The destruction of Knoedler in every way possible

In this documentary we get to know what happened (and what not happened) from the people who followed this case from incredibly close by. Whether it’s Michael Shnayerson (Contributing editor for Vanity Fair), Patricia Cohen (reporter of The New York Times), different artists or even Freedman’s attorney Luke Nikas, you’ll get a 360-degree angle of what went on between the uprising of the prestigious new art gallery to its destruction. It doesn’t matter whether you knew about this story beforehand or not, you will certainly gain new, unique and fascinating insides from those first-hand sources.

Because of the worldwide attention this case got, a lot of different and divergent opinions were formed. Which events took place and which were fake just for the sake of attention? Director Price wanted to represent all those different points of view in as many ways as possible and decided to use multiple coverage images. Most of them are interviews with important and respected people so it can feel a little bit repetitive. However, because they all have some exciting and entertaining things to say, Driven to Abstraction is able to keep your attention all the way. Price also used official documents, historic pictures, and newspapers to make sure that there’s a lot of diversity in her latest work. If you into a crime/documentary feature then you will love Driven to Abstraction as this is exactly how it should be.

Did she or did she not know? Get the answer at the Raindance Film Festival

Did the painter who forged the paintings know what was going on? Was Ann Freedman in on the $80 million forgery scandal that shook the art world? What happened to the people who became the victims of Knoedler. Driven to Abstraction will allow you to form your answers to all of these questions. Pretty sure you will be discussing this documentary with your friends and colleagues next time you go for a pint. First, you should stop at the Raindance Film Festival where this fascinating and well-made documentary will be screened on the Saturday 21st of September and Monday the 23rd of September.

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

(This review was written for the Raindance Film Festival)

Driven To Abstraction (Official Trailer)

Also Read: Five Great Films About Filmmaking

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Review: Hustlers

September 17, 2019

Think about it: What’s the destruction of the businessmen of Wall Street? The recession, a brand new and more successful competitor or the market collapsing like a house of cards? Well, writer/director Lorene Scafaria (The Meddler, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World) provides you with her “Hustlers” the most intriguing answer to that question. Led by the astonishing Jennifer Lopez, this movie becomes an incredibly entertaining, vibrant and amusing one.

Money, money, money. It’s a rich man’s world

Meet Destiny (Constance Wu). A very classy woman living in an upstate neighbourhood in a fancy house. It seems like she has it all but your eyes deceive you. Being questioned by an interviewer (Cate Smit), we get the feeling that her life wasn’t always this glamorous. Let us tell you what happened. It wasn’t so long that Destiny worked in one of the most lucrative bars in New York. Sadly, due to not being an expert in dancing and the fierce competition, she’s still in the need of money. Especially because she has to take care of her grandmother. However, the salvation is near and comes in the stunning form of Ramona (Jennifer Lopez). She’s the hottest act in town and earns more money than any Wall Street guy can ever count. Destiny knows that you can always learn from the best and after grabbing together all her confidence, she approaches Ramona. The rest is history!

Destiny is now part of the hustlers’ elite: Ruling over men and their money, swimming in champagne and buying everything her heart desires. The dream life is happening right then and there! As Ramona would say: “They’re hurricanes!”. What a shame that the depression of Wall Street affects the whole economy, including their business. The women now need to be more creative to make sure that the money keeps on coming. They find the perfect solution: Starting to work on their own and just use the bar as their base. It seems like a very dangerous game to play but the hustlers aren’t afraid to take risks. For Destiny, there’s even more at stake now that she became a mother. How long before this game becomes too risky? How long before their dream turns into a nightmare?

Who runs the world? Girls!

A film about strong women, gracious and dedicated women need exactly that kind of actors to bring the story perfect to live. The casting team made sure that that was exactly was “Hustlers” got. The very first Hustler we meet is Destiny, played by the pleasant Constance Wu (“Crazy Rich Asians”, “All the Creatures Were Stirring”). Wu brings out the emotional, loving but also devoted and insecure side of her character beautifully. When Destiny is introduced to Ramona, she really gets that “waaaw!” vibe and that’s exactly what we got thanks to the stunning Jennifer Lopez (“Shades of Blue”, “Lila & Eve”). There’s no denying that Lopez oozes confidence, glamour, and determination and she certainly elevates her co-star performances to a much higher level.

Who wants to watch this film to see Cardi B and Lizzo might be disappointed. They’re prominently used in both the trailer and poster but you can count their scenes in the actual film on one hand. Another tiny negative point when it comes to the characters is the nudity used in this movie. Yes, we’re aware that “Hustlers” is about women putting their bodies on display to please men and to get money but a little less flesh certainly wouldn’t have hurt this film.

The fast and furious

What do Wall Street and the Hustlers’ business have in common, apart from the men in fancy suits? A lot of money is going around in an immense fast-paced environment. It’s exactly that kind of vibe that the editing team of this film craftily and skilfully made with fast and abrupt transitions. Sometimes it goes a little bit too fast but that certainly didn’t stop us from enjoying the film. Just like the movie itself, the music and cinematography are vibrant, upbeat and exciting. There’s always something interesting happen in “Hustlers” that will keep you drawn to the screen. What a shame that in the last part of the film that bubbly vibe is decreasing and that the emotions aren’t fully there. Your attention might decrease a little bit towards the end of the film.

Academy Award-Worthy?

During the opening weekend, “Hustlers” made a $33 million debut and we’re sure that that number is just a small amount of what the movie will earn around the world. Some predict that Jennifer Lopez will be nominated in the “Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role” during the Academy Awards. We’re not 100% sure if we can agree with that but something we can agree on is that “Hustlers” is a movie you need to watch! It’s an incredibly entertaining, colourful and exciting film with captivating performances and a retro look.

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

Hustlers (Official Trailer)

Also Read: Breaking Through The Box Office


Review: 7 Reasons to Run Away (From Society)

September 16, 2019

An unwanted son, a businessman and a groom walk on-set… It sounds like the beginning of a joke but it couldn’t be any further from the truth. They’re all part of a dysfunctional society created by directors Gerard Quinto (“Interior. Family”, “Fotógrafo”), Esteve Soler (“Interior. Family”) and David Torras (“Interior. Family”). The three directors already worked on the same project and decided to come together for one more and we’re incredibly lucky they did. Their newest collaboration turns out to be a stunning, bizarre (but in a good way), amusing and one-of-a-kind film.

A society like no other

Think that your parents are crazy, annoying and unfair? Well, pretty sure that the ‘Family’ chapter of “7 Reasons to Run Away (from Society)” will change your mind. “El fill” (Pol Lópe) is being verbally abused by his parents and gets to know terrible things about his life: He was an unwanted child, got sexually abused by his grandfather and he’s nothing but a failure in his parents’ eyes. How will he cope with confessions about his ‘lovely’ family? From one psychologically disturbed family to an old couple who are spending their days watching television. There seems nothing on the TV, apart from programs about solidarity (yes, that’s the name of the second chapter of this film) and charities. However, one stranger from an unexpected place is changing the wife (Vicky Peña) and her husband’s (Ramon Fontserè) ordinary evening into an extraordinary one.

They’re not the only ones whose lives are about to change but also for ‘The Wife’ (Emma Suárez) is something about to happen. While we learned to count numbers from primary school, it seems that that wasn’t the case for her. After being awake by a mystery man (Sergi López) who asks her what comes after six, she becomes paralysed by the thought of which number that could be. She’s been living on the sixth floor herself and the floor above her seems scary, dark and hellish. What will the worried, anxious and scared ‘The Wife’ find when she heads upstairs? A black hole, the Devil or just… nothing? She might or she might not have to face death but who certainly has to do that is ‘The Woman’ (Àgata Roca) in the fourth chapter called ‘Property’. While looking for a fitting property, she’s being told that multiple suicides have taken place in the apartment she’s looking at. Most of us would run away as far away as possible from that place but she doesn’t. She gets intrigued and stays for the entire viewing. Will she buy it or not?

The story continues

We’re halfway through the film and things get even crazier than they were before. In ‘Work’, we’re being confronted again with inequalities. ‘The Wife’ (Lola Dueñas) has everything she could ever wish for (glamorous clothing, a loving husband, a fancy property) but still, she’s feeling incredibly unhappy. There’s the need for more exuberant things. If you think that the story is about a rich woman wanting more than she already has, well, you couldn’t be more wrong. After hearing a loud noise from her basement, she opens the door to see what’s going on. What will she find and what does it have to do with work?

It’s clear the directors are intrigued by death and dying and that’s why they invented the sixth of “7 Reasons to Run Away (from Society)”. In ‘Progress’, they tell the story of a man (Borja Espinosa) who’s on the verge of dying but who can still be saved by the woman (Aina Clotet) who found him bleeding next to the road. He’s on the journey from life to death but how far will things progress? Will he see light at the end of the tunnel or will the light go out right before his eyes? From death to a wedding, it’s only a small step in this film. A bride (Núria Gago) and a groom (David Verdaguer) are about to say their vowels to each other in front of the church and their friends and family when doubt is filling their minds. After stepping aside to talk about their feelings, future, and commitment to each other, they made a decision. Will we hear the wedding bells ring after all?

Every chapter has a unique story to tell

Remember The Ballad of Buster Scruggs from the acclaimed directors Ethan Coen and Joel Coen? Well, 7 Reasons to Run Away (from Society) is just like that but this time all the craziness is taking place in a (modern) crazy society instead of the Old West. Whether it’s that elderly couple in their small home, the happy bride and groom in the wedding church or the lonely woman in a shambolic apartment, every short film has a unique story to tell. You can see this movie as seven shorter ones without making the connection between them but there’s something that connects them: They’re all about a dark, troubled and mysterious society.

Darkness and greatness rule

Don’t expect too much colour in 7 Reasons to Run Away (from Society). There’s a obscure side to every story and that comes with black, gloomy and shady colours. When we think about a socially impaired society we might think about murder, death and a lot of action and while we get some of that in this film, it’s mostly about the witty, clever and funny conversations between the characters. Conversations that are brought perfectly by the great cast!

An entertaining, peculiar and psychedelic movie

After premiering at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival earlier this year and making stops in Spain during the Málaga Film Festival and South Korea for the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival, 7 Reasons to Run Away (from Society) is now coming to London for its UK premiere. While you probably don’t want to be part of the film’s broken society, hearing and seeing all the odd stories will be an absolute eclectic, unique and psychedelic thrill. You can watch “7 Reasons to Run Away (from Society)” during the Raindance Film Festival on Thursday 26th of September and Friday 27th of September.

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

This review was written as part of the Raindance Film Festival 2019

7 Reasons To Run Away (From Society) – Official Trailer

Also Read: “A Million Little Pieces” Review


Review: IT: Chapter Two

September 11, 2019
IT Chapter 2

Some collect them, some don’t want to be near them. Some love them and some are trying to stay away from them as far away as possible. But what is “them”? Clowns, of course. Depending on which category you find yourself in, you’ll either love the news we’re about to give you or you will run away instantly: Pennywise is back! After success with “IT” in 2017, director Andy Muschietti (“Mama”, “IT”) thought that there was still a lot of Pennywise’s spirit left in the Stephen King novel. The result? IT: Chapter Two, a dark, spooky and visually stunning film, lead by the impeccable Bill Skarsgård.

Welcome home, losers

Are you a newbie when it comes to “IT” and the horrifying Pennywise? Well, allow us to bring you up-to-speed. Meet the group of ‘losers’, a group of bullied children who became close friends through their youth. After being confronted with the death of young children, the losers tried to find the man who’s behind all the gruesome events. Little did they know that this “man” was Pennywise, a frightening clown. The friends decided to take control and to get rid of it once and for all. Convinced that they succeeded in that, their worst nightmare is now becoming reality: Pennywise is still alive and ready to spread fear and destruction again. “IT: Chapter Two” was born!

A class reunion should be fun and relaxing but it’s everything but for the grown-up losers. Beverly Marsh (Jessica Chastain), Bill Denbrough (James McAvoy), Richie Tozier (Bill Hader), Ben Hanscom (Jay Ryan) and Eddie Kaspbrak (James Ransone) get together after a disturbing call from friend and fellow loser Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa) to finish what they start 27 years ago: Kill Pennywise who’s causing dead and carnage in their town Derry. To succeed in that, the losers need to stick together again but when confronted with loss, terror and horrendous memories from the past, this might not be as easy as they thought. Will gruesome events, angst, and panic take over their lives too much or will Pennywise be defeated for good?

Give the casting director an Academy Award!

Normally we would keep the ‘acting performances’ bit for further in a review but due to Bill Skarsgård (“Atomic Blonde”, “Deadpool 2”) marvellous performance as Pennywise, we’re forced to start with it this time. We don’t only see him being astonishing underneath all the makeup but we also see a few fascinating glimpses of him as a person. Doesn’t matter if it’s as Pennywise or just as a mad man, Skarsgård stays into character the whole time. If there would be a category for Best Casting Director in the Academy Award, then casting director Rich Delia wouldn’t only be nominated but he would also be crowned as the winner. He wasn’t only able to choose the right actors for their performances but also for the impeccable resemblance with their younger-selves. Especially Hader (“Barry”, “Saturday Night Live”) and Finn Wolfhard (“The Goldfinch”, “Dog Days”) who are both funny, witty but also serious and clever as Richie. Just like him, every ‘loser’ puts on an entertaining, exciting and on-point performance. Even Stephen King makes a wonderful cameo as the shopkeeper who’s selling Bill’s old bicycle. We also want to congratulate the editing team for making such perfectly timed scenes in which the young losers and the adult ones are being crossed-over in an excellent way.

A chapter divided into two

While watching a horror film, you expect scare jumps, thrilling and dark scenes and mysterious moments. Luckily, there are many occasions like that present in IT: Chapter Two. Although you have to wait quite a while to see those. The very first scene is certainly one that fits in this type of film: bloody, violent and Pennywise. For a long time after that, the movie is more a thriller (which is not a bad thing) than horror. Still, the intimidating and electrifying scenes will keep you on your toes until the real horror sets in. The first part of the film feels like a coherent one while sadly the second part feels more like six shorts films in one movie that lead to an apocalypse.

Just like the balloon of Pennywise, the red colour is very present during this film. Whether it’s as blood, as a representation of the approaching enemy or as the typical eyes of the feared clown, it’s visible in most of the scenes. Combine this with a darker and shady intensity and you get the perfect vibe for a horror film. IT: Chapter Two isn’t only gloom and doom but there are also some colourful and exciting scenes… in which evil is lurking around the corner. One negative element of this movie is the quality of the GCI. More towards the end the quality decreased a lot which gives just a very sloppy, rushed and unfinished vibe to the film. Fortunate for us is the score what it needs to be: bombastic, creepy and over-the-top sometimes.

Almost perfect

IT: Chapter Two is not perfect due to the clumsy special effects, the hasty ending and the almost three hours running time. It’s a phenomenal thing then that the astonishing casting, the strong acting performances (with the one from Bill Skarsgård as the front-runner), the skillfully made cinematography and the grandiose music make up for that.

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

IT: Chapter 2 – Official Trailer (Warner Bros)

Also Read: IT – A Recap


Review: A Million Little Pieces

September 3, 2019
A Million Little Pieces

Whether it’s drugs, alcohol or gambling, having to deal with an addiction is hard as hell, both mentally and psychically. It doesn’t only affect you but also the people around you. Normally you don’t want to get your loved ones involved in the battle against addiction but director Sam Taylor-Johnson (“Nowhere Boy”, “Love You More”) thought otherwise. Or at least when it comes to the booze and drugs addiction in her latest film. Together with husband Aaron Taylor-Johnson (“Outlaw King”, “Avengers: Age of Ultron”), she brings the story (half memoir-half fiction) of James Frey to life. A story about addiction, troubled life and the possibility to change can only result in an emotional and heartbreaking film. Sadly, this movie didn’t leave us in a million little pieces afterwards.

When addiction ruins your life

Before the movie takes a very dark turn, it starts in a lively way: James (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is having a party with the usual loud music and the necessary drugs and drinks. Sadly, the celebration ends up abruptly. After a terrible accident and an even worse flight to Chicago, James is entering a rehabilitation clinic. Not of his own free will but because he’s being pressured by his brother Bob (Charlie Hunnam). The withdrawal symptoms set in rapidly and James tries to do everything to escape the clinic as soon as possible. However, after seeing fellow addicts during their worst times, he decides to go for it.

Thanks to spending more and more time in the clinic, things are getting better for him. Of course, there are the usual ups and downs but with the support from others and even from his new love Lilly (Odessa Young), he seems to have found the right path. However, one moment of weakness can change things in a heartbeat, especially when Lilly is reaching an incredibly low point. Will the love between her and James survive or will the addiction take back the upper hand over their lives with possibly catastrophic consequences?

Predictability is never good

“A Million Little Pieces” is surely different than Taylor-Johnson’s “Fifty Shades of Grey” but sadly the script of also this film lacks uniqueness, personality, and originality, just like that one about the kinky adventures of Mr. Grey. We all know that booze and pills are disastrous for your health especially when they lead to an addiction and that every passing by a pub, bar or grocery store can be the trigger of an unwanted relapse. Yes, we’re aware that “A Million Little Pieces” is an adaption of the same-named book but it certainly wouldn’t have hurt if there was a fresh take on the story or a one-of-a-kind point-of-view.

Great performances but lack of depth

While the story itself lacks some balls, the performances certainly don’t, especially the one from Aaron Taylor-Johnson. The anxiety, the confusion, and stubbornness but also the capability of loving, caring and giving friendship of his character are beautifully and emotionally brought to life by him. He would have been even more impressive if his character had a more in-depth background story. That’s true for every character in this film. The rehabilitation sessions are all about sharing your fears and stories and so then why do we know so little about the people in this movie?

She only joins this film from toward the middle but Young (“Assassination Nation”, “High Life”) makes a splendid entrance as Lilly, a young woman who’s lost but who’s kept alive by the love for and from others. In a more supporting role, we see Charlie Hunnam (“Papillon”, “Sons of Anarchy”) and while he doesn’t make a lasting impression, he’s still very convincing as the loving and supportive big brother.

Music and cinematography keep it alive

During the party scene, that very first scene, you don’t only get a glimpse of the acting capabilities of Taylor-Johnson but also of the gorgeous visual and the perfectly chosen music. Whether it’s an experimental (and even almost dreamy) sequence or a very serious one about fears and addictions, the incredible fitting cinematography (light versus dark, lively versus sombre) and the music (upbeat versus subtle, popular versus classical) keep the scenes alive. Alongside the performance of Taylor-Johnson of course.

Not great but certainly not bad

The story itself lacks personality and creativity and the characters aren’t as strong as they could have been but the technicality, the music, the performances and the “will he give in to his addiction or not” question keep you in your seat during the entire film.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

A Million Little Pieces (Official Trailer)

Also Read: Five Great Films ABout Filmmaking


Review: Hail Satan?

August 28, 2019
Hail Satan? Movie Banner

Evil One. Beelzebub. Lucifer. Satan is known by its many names. A lot of people see him as the devil, the dark side of religion or just an abomination. His followers are being described as “freaky”, “peculiar” or “losers”. Well, those prejudices might be about to change thanks to “Hail Satan?” from director Penny Lane (yes, her parents probably had a great taste in music). With her fifth feature, she (“Nuts!”, “Our Nixon”) shows us in a funny, clever and unique way that the worshippers of Satan aren’t as “evil”, “stupid”, or “awful” as people think.

Welcome to The Satanic Temple

Meet Lucien Greaves. The brains and co-founder behind The Satanic Temple. The what? The Satanic Temple! It all started in 2013 as a group of friends who wanted to show that in America, there’s a lot of misplaced belief in the fact that Christianity is the only true religion and that others religions have no place in the USA whatsoever. The goal: To end the authority of Christianity and to strive for a separation of church and state.  They also want equal representation of multiple religions. Their ultimate way to show that is to place a statue of Baphomet, who represent their belief, next to the statue of the first ten amendments on the capitol grounds.

While black is their colour, the intentions are everything but dark. Sadly, the actions of the Satanist cause a lot of controversies, especially in America. People start questioning whether The Satanic Temple is just a hoax, whether there’s a place for them in society or whether their aims are real. Despite all the hatred from others, The Satanic Temple keeps on fighting for what they believe in: free will, democracy, and diversity. Will they succeed in that and will their Baphomet rise from the ground or will the conservative Americans send the Devil back to hell?

You’ve got to fight for your right!

You’ve probably already noticed. “Hail Satan?” isn’t about the worship of Satan but about American democracy. If democracy stands for the equality between people, then why can one religion (Christianity) publicly express itself in every way possible and why can’t other (maybe underground and not so well-known) religions do the same?

This documentary isn’t only about the Satanists trying to put their Baphomet statue up or to prove that things can and need to change. They also want to make sure that people got the individual right to form their opinion about crucial topics such as abortion, education and the society in general without being questioned, laughed at or punished for. Image how bleak the world would look like if we would all dress, act and think in the same way?

Diversity is key

Not only the people from The Satanic Temple, their values or backgrounds are immensely divers but also the footage that is used in “Hail Satan?” couldn’t be more diversified. It goes from very intimate shot videos by the members of The Satanic Temple to children’s cartoons and from snippets from older movies to news footage. They have all a few things in common (apart from the topic): They bring a lot of humour, wittiness, and cleverness to this film. If you question the American authority then you better do it with tons of banter and sarcasm.

Hail Satan? Hell yeah!

No, we’re certainly not going to join The Satanic Temple ourselves but we do get why other people do it. Their darker side is brighter than we initially thought. Thanks to Lane her “Hail Satan?” we know now that Satanists want equality, justice, and diversity between all the people and religions. This documentary will stick with you because of its unique topic, the humour, the personal and up-close stories and the clever use of extraordinary footage. We say “Hell Yeah” to “Hail Satan?” and you probably will do the same.

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

Hail Satan? (Official Trailer)

Also Read: 5 Documentaries To Watch On Netflix


Review: Angel Has Fallen

August 25, 2019

We witnessed how Olympus fell in 2013 and in 2016 London was under attack in “London Has Fallen”. We’re now three years later and so what could fall in 2019? Well, it seems that this time it’s the Angel (a.k.a. the protector of the politicians) himself. Director Ric Roman Waugh (“Snitch”, “Felon”) his “Angel Has Fallen” might be the most unnecessary “fallen” film but luckily for us, it doesn’t fall flat.

Welcome back, Mike Banning!

Let’s bring you up to speed as fast as the actions scenes in this movie just in case you haven’t seen the previous two films. Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is the arch-angel and protector of high profiled politicians. In “Olympus Has Fallen”, he had to rescue the former president from kidnappers and in the second instalment, he needed to stop the assassination of the world leaders.

What is it this time? It’s a mix of both. During a trip of president Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), who’s escorted by Banning and his team, an assassination is carried out on Trumbull. The aftermatch of this drone attack: eighteen men killed and both the President and Banning have slipped into a coma. After waking up, Banning’s life is about to change forever. Because he’s the only survivor of the attack and because his hair and skin cells were found on the device that was used, he’s being charged for the attempted assassination of the President.

Banning knows that he’s being framed and wants to prove his innocence. Sadly, this means that he has to leave his wife Leah (Piper Perabo) and their little daughter behind for all their sakes. Banning’s trying to uncover the real threat but at the same time, his agency and the FBI are doing everything they can to nail him down. Will he be able to expose who’s behind the attack or will he be the one who takes the fall?

While their cat-and-mouse game is in full swing, the president is still in a coma and so Vice President Kirby (Tim Blake Nelson) has to step in. However, this leads to hard political allegations and the leak of secret information. It goes from bad to worse when there are rumours of corruption. Which impact will this have on the political landscape and will president Trumbull come out of his coma or not?

Does there need to be more action?

No, absolutely not! If you’re looking for an explosive and fast-paced film, then you should watch “Angel Has Fallen”. The action is present right from the beginning. Banning is his usual self during his active operation: Quick, handy with a gun and ready to kill. That’s just the start of all the stunning action. One of the people you have to thank for that is director/co-writer Ric Roman Waugh. As former stunt man, he knows what’s like to be in the heat of the moment. From drones flying around your ears to multiple shoot-outs with loads of casualties and from extremely “fire-y” explosions to car chases. “Angel Has Fallen” is just packed with entertaining and intense action scenes.

Because one unit wasn’t enough to handle all the action, director Waugh decided to work with Vic Armstrong as his Second Unit Director. Together they made sure that every explosion and every bullet is being captured on screen from as many angles as possible. Whether it’s via steady-cams, handheld camera’s or tracking camera’s, you name it, they use it. While there are a few scenes that are being ruined by the rapidly moving camera (such as the training exercise and nightly ambush scene) or bad CGI effects, the audience is just being immersed into the heart of the action.

Up-close and personal

Both “Olympus Has Fallen” and “London Has Fallen” were about Gerald Butler in action, big explosions, and long and thrilling car rides and less about intimacy and the up-close stories. We’re not saying that this isn’t the case anymore in this movie (Butler has still plenty of screen time to show us his shooting, fighting, and combat skills) but in “Angel Has Fallen”, there’s also room for emotions and very personal moments. However, Waugh does what neither Antoine Fuqua (“Olympus Has Fallen”) nor Babak Najafi (“London Has Fallen”) could accomplish: Making this film about brutality and vulnerability

If you want to achieve that duality, you need to have a cast who can pull it off exactly how you want it. Ok yes, the characters are as predictable as the film itself but that doesn’t mean they’re badly portrayed on the screen. While sometimes overplaying Mike during the action scenes and underplaying him during the more emotional ones, Butler (“Hunter Killer”) still puts on a solid performance. Especially from the moment he comes face-to-face with his on-screen father Clay (played fabulously by Nick Nolte). Humour is making its way into the movie and there’s that personal connection we were looking for. Butler deserves some credits for those scenes but it’s especially Nolte (“Warrior”, “Affliction”) who rocks the screen as the estranged dad. Don’t get us started on that explosive scene right in the middle of the woods.

The director wanted to give this movie also a female touch when hiring Piper Perabo (“Black Butterfly”). With the most emotional ones, Perabo needs to be moving, gripping but also strong and that’s exactly what she’s as Banning’s wife. Starting as just the politician Trumbull in the first film to becoming Vice president in the second one, Morgan Freeman (“Million Dollar Baby”) is back and this time he takes on the role as president. “Angel has fallen” might be the movie in which he has the least dialogue. However, when he has some lines, he makes you listen as no one else can.

They get back up from a strong supporting cast which includes Jada Pinkett Smith (“Girls Trip”) as the secretive but righteous BFI agent Thompson, Lance Reddick (“John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum”) as Secret Service Director David Gentry who put his country before himself and Tim Blake Nelson (“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”) as Vice President Kirby who does everything to gain power.

The end of the franchise is near

After the unsuccessful previous “fallen” films, you’re probably wondering why they made the third one as it would be unnecessary. However, “Angel Has Fallen” has proven to be the best film out of the three. With the new director behind the wheel, a predictable but more balanced (thrilling action versus emotions) storyline, humouristic moments and still some convincing acting performance, the trilogy ends on a high.

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

Angel Has Fallen (Official Trailer)

Also Read: The Internet picks the #BestMovieLineEver


Review: Ibiza: The Silent Movie

August 22, 2019

Ibiza. The ultimate paradise for everyone who wants to escape their daily lives by partying, drinking and having a great time. The cocktails in every colour of the rainbow, the dreamy beach, the heating sun, and the pumping beats will make you forget your ordinary world for a while. But is Ibiza indeed the Walhalla for the party people and luxury holiday seekers? Well, director Julien Temple (“My Life Story”, “Depeche Mode: Video Singles Collection”) tries to give you an answer to that question. Sadly, “Ibiza: The Silent Movie” provides you with more questions than answers and gives you a hangover feeling at the same time.

Welcome to Ibiza!

Sunny beaches, ecstatic people dressed in fewer clothes as possible, luxury yachts and private planes. This might be the most common idea of Ibiza. It seems that according to the beginning of this film, that idea is just pure reality. However, it doesn’t take long before Temple will try to convince us otherwise. Everything you know about Ibiza might not be so true at all and “Ibiza: The Silent Movie” will prove that to you. Opening with the start of Ibiza after continents Africa and Europe came together to the first inhabitants called the Phoenicians. They named the island after their God of the dance, Bes (English translation: Ibiza).

The first few minutes of this movie cover thousands of years of “history” and it gives you a pretty good idea of how this film will develop. Divided into different smaller chapters, each about a unique topic. Every chapter is filled with (fake) historic facts, old footage and more recent videos about the party people of Ibiza. Just like the pictures used in this film, the chapters are immensely diverse:  From the possibility of a UFO on Ibiza, to the World War Two, to the Spanish Civil War and to the rise of the vibrant clubs. While watching “Ibiza: The Silent Movie”, you’ll get to see Ibiza in its entire form. Now you just have to find out what’s real and what’s not.

Real or not real? That’s the question

That “real or fake” element is what makes from “Ibiza: The Silent Movie” both an interesting as well as an immensely complicated film. Because of the fact it doesn’t matter what happened and what did not (it’s for the audience to figure this out after all), it feels like director Temple and his team just threw everything together what they could find or create about Ibiza. Images, videos and (fake) historic facts, it’s all there. There might be some storyline (due to the usage of time indications) in “Ibiza: The Silent Movie” but the film often feels like an extremely long music video. This is not unexpected as Temple is known for his music video for bands such as Babyshambles, Scissor Sisters, and Blur. However, this time it’s a video that consists of incoherent and randomly chosen footage.

A silent movie? Don’t think so

With “Ibiza: The Silent Movie”, the filmmakers want to go back to the roots of film by using almost no spoken words (apart from the very brief interviews with the residents). Sadly, that homage is being washed away by the Mediterranean Sea. The written words, which have to replace the spoken ones, don’t make sense at all and the usage of modern emotions is just totally out of place and incredibly unnecessary.

Perfect but predictable soundtrack

You might start to wonder if “Ibiza: The Silent Movie” has nothing good to offer. No worries, it has. The music is the most positive element from this movie. Ok yes, surely some might say that the soundtrack is predictable but hey, the makers just want to use the most famous, fitting and upbeat songs that you can hear during every party in Ibiza. Whether it’s dance music, pop, house or techno. Honestly, it’s a big relief to hear other music once in a while as well in this movie such as rock, blues, and hip-hop. If you just listen to this film without watching it, you can have an amazing party on your own. Just grab a beer, put your headphones and you’re ready to go!

A trip to Ibiza we want to relive?

“Whoah! We’re going to Ibiza. Whoah! Back to the island. Whoah! We’re gonna have a party”. Seems Vengaboys were always up for a holiday in Ibiza. Not sure if we are tough. If we would decide to go back to pleasure island, then we hope that we’re going to have a better time than we had while watching this film. “Ibiza: The Silent Movie” might not have been our taste but if you want to see an eclectic film with loads of sunshine, upbeat music, and beautiful people, then this is a stunning movie for you.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

Ibiza – The Silent Movie (Official Trailer)

Ibiza: The Silent Movie” is available on BBC iPlayer until the 1st September 2019.

Also Read: Review: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood


Review: Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood

August 18, 2019

21st of May this year. La Croisette in Cannes became 1960’s Hollywood. Director Quentin Tarantino walked the most famous stairs alongside the “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” stars Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie for the world premiere of his ninth film. Sadly, we weren’t with them to enjoy the glitter, glamour and the film at Cannes but our patience is finally being rewarded. And oh boy, the wait was worth it! “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” is probably more Tarantino-esque than the director probably could have imagined!

Howdy Cowboy?!

Brad Pitt being Leonard DiCaprio’s stunt double? It seems that in the 60’s everything was possible. Meet Rick Dalton (DiCaprio), a once very well respected television cowboy, whose career is now spiralling downward at a rapid speed. After gaining worldwide fame with the Western television series ‘Bounty Law’, Dalton is now becoming one of the oldies on his way to his showbiz grave. Being there to help him out with his professional and personal life is his stunt double/close friend/personal driver Cliff Booth (Pitt). While Dalton is constantly being reminded of the glamourous life he once had, his new next-door neighbour Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) is dreaming of her glorious upcoming acting career. In the city where it’s all about fame, status and being rich, both Dalton and Tate are doing everything they can to keep their fantasy alive. For Tate that means getting to know rich and famous, for Dalton it means going to Italy and making movies that are out of his comfort zone. Of course, as any good friend, Booth is joining Dalton during his Italian voyage.

Six months after they first set foot in Italy, Dalton and Booth return to Hollywood. Dalton got married to actress Francesca and his outstanding life is back on tracks. Booth starts again living his usual Hollywood life. Enjoying the city and its people, the time with his dog and naturally also his on-set work (although that seems to become less and less). When he one day decides to give the rather horny hippie Pussycat (Margaret Qualley) a lift to the Spahn Movie it seems that also his life will be influenced by a woman. Curious to find out what happened to their lovely neighbour Tate? Well, she got married to a rather famous Polish director. It seems that Hollywood is the only thing that connects the three of them. Well, a Tarantino movie wouldn’t be a real one if there wouldn’t be more than what meets the eye…

A brilliant tribute to Hollywood made by outstanding people

“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”. Well, the title says it all. Tarantino is honouring Hollywood most meticulously and nostalgically. TV and movie pastiches, numerous billboards, the typical 60’s cinema theatres, the incredibly recognizable pop tunes, and commercial advertisements are all passing by. However, it’s mostly the film crew that was able to get the right vibe flowing through the film. First of all, there’s the stunning production design from Barbara Ling. She thought of every single detail: whether it’s the interior of the saloons, the neat and clean design of Dalton’s mansion or colourful and dazzling parties, it’s all achieved beautifully.

We also have to applaud the flawless work of Arianne Phillips who was in charge of the massive variety of costumes. From rock ‘n roll cowboy to stylish actor and from just an everyday outfit to multi-coloured, elegant and chic dresses, it seems that no costume was too hard to find or to create for her. If you’re Quentin Tarantino then you know how to choose your cinematographer and with Robbie Richardson, he made a faultless choice. Richardson brings life and colour to this film like no one else can.

Pitt + DiCaprio + Robbie = the perfect trio

Pitt, DiCaprio, and Robbie all in the same film. Do we need to tell you how great that casting was? Probably not but we’re going to do it anyway. One thing is for sure: DiCaprio is not going to have to wait for another Oscar as he did for his first. He’s spot-on as Dalton. One moment he has to deliberately act like a beginning actors while a few seconds later, he has to perform like it’s his last scene ever. DiCaprio does it with an enormous amount of flair, emotions, and craftsmanship.

Having one great actor was not enough for Tarantino as he also added Brad Pitt to the cast. Pitt oozes tranquillity, charisma, and personality as the rough-though, straight-to-the-point but also loving stunt double Booth. It will be an extremely close call who will take home the awards for best leading actor. If you’re looking for a leading actress who performs impeccably a beautiful, full-of-life and determined upcoming actress, then you should go for Robbie. She gives this film the more elegant, colourful and joyful touch.

And the award goes to…

“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” may or may not be Tarantino’s penultimate film and if he decides to fold up his director chairs after his next film, then we hope that that movie will be from the same calibre as this one. “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” is a visually stunning, perfectly performed, while also being a craftily and passionately made homage to Hollywood in the ’60s. It would come as absolutely no surprise if “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”, its director and cast become the front-runner during the following award season.  

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

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (Official Trailer)

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