Tuesday 21 June 2016

The Last 5 Films I've Seen (from best to worst)

Child's play: Twin terrors menace their mother in Goodnight Mommy 

1. Goodnight Mommy (2014): Genuinely unsettling Austrian horror about twin boys who become convinced their mother is no longer who she says she is (the poor woman has been in an accident, her face heavily bandaged, her emotional state fragile). Directing duo Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz build the levels of tension, paranoia and nastiness very nicely but I'm not sure the big twist (admittedly foreshadowed early in the film) is entirely necessary. At times it reminded me of Philip Ridley's The Reflecting Skin and that's never a bad thing.
2. The Violators (2015): Hard-hitting British drama whose subject matter – the grooming and abuse of vulnerable young women – could have been ripped from recent newspaper headlines. Lauren McQueen, in her first film role, is entirely convincing as Shelly, a struggling 15-year-old who lives with her two brothers after their abusive father is jailed. The final twist involving Shelly's more affluent but equally damaged friend Rachel just about works. 

Hard knock life: Lauren McQueen in The Violators

3. Tale Of Tales (2015): Matteo Garrone's film features three interwoven stories based on 17th Century Italian fairytales. It boasts sumptuous visuals, a fine cast (including Salma Hayek, Toby Jones and Vincent Cassel) and some wonderfully bizarre ideas – Jones' character keeps a pet flea which grows to the size of a great dane. But the stories quickly start to meander and, ultimately, I wasn't really sure what the point was.
4. 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016): Sort-of sequel to the 2008 found-footage flick which saw a monstrous space creature lay waste to Manhattan. This is a much smaller film with the lion's share of the action confined to an underground bunker, the owner of which is a dangerous survivalist (played with simmering menace by John Goodman). For the first two-thirds it's a decent thriller but falls on its arse in the final act when proceedings move above ground and the silliness begins.
5. Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story) (2015): Another of those French films that purports to be about something VERY IMPORTANT (in this case, teenage ennui and nihilism) but is really just an excuse for an attractive cast to show us their tits and other bits. Writer/director Eva Russon's debut feature gets a bit preachy towards the end, too, when STIs, unwanted pregnancy and True Love Forever rear their ugly heads. Newcomer Marilyn Lima as vulnerable George is its saving grace.

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