A fired-up Shia LaBeouf tries and fails to salvage this muddled war drama.
An assembly of soldiers wade through the shallows of the sea, approaching the forested coast with guns in hand. One laughs as he takes in the scenery. “Fucking beautiful!” he says. Yet the image Man Down presents is of a world drained of colour – the film’s pallid hue inspiring lethargy rather than awe. It could be that Dito Montiel’s ambitious psychological thriller is not what it thinks it is.
Read the full review at Little White Lies
“Bullshit”. That’s what David Lynch thinks about product placement. Yet the American filmmaker has shot more than 30 commercials over the course of his career, from perfume ads to public service announcements. “I do commercials to make money,” he remarked in a 2008 interview, “but I always say, every time I learn something: efficiency of saying something, and new technologies.” With that in mind, here are the best of the bunch.
An extraordinary new film called Dear Angelica sees the young medium take a giant leap forward.
A girl’s bedroom at night. Jessica lies on her bed, a pen in her hand, writing a letter. Her TV glows, almost floating near the end of her bed, and the night sky outside tints everything in a tranquil blue sheen. Crickets croak in the undergrowth outside.
A sublime virtual reality film called Dear Angelica, by Saschka Unseld, takes the viewer on a journey through dreams, thoughts and fantasies. It’s an animated work made up of still images given life and motion by the fluidity of the art. Brushstrokes drift as if they are breathing with young Jessica, who is in the depths of slumber.
A hostile situation on a deep sea sub off the coast of North Korea – it’s sadly not as fun as it sounds.
The world is teetering on the edge of doom. So says a montage of real-life footage that plays over the opening passages of Ben Parker’s The Chamber, highlighting the fragility of international relations. The precarious global situation even impacts a small submarine as it surveys the Yellow Sea on behalf of a private company looking to establish oil rigs in the area.
The question of how to make a great sequel, especially over two decades later, is one that is often asked but rarely answered satisfactorily. With legacy sequels, you have a wide range of uses of nostalgia. There’s Harrison Ford’s, “Chewie, we’re home,” that made people cry simply watching a trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and on the other end of the spectrum there’s Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, looking out of place in his own franchise. T2 Trainspotting faces the cultural significance of the original film straight on, with the characters as obsessed with their past adventures as its fans are.
Read the full review here →
Here are a list of my favourite articles and video essays from in 2016. I made the list as I was going along, and like last year, most of this – if not all – is related to film. I still have plenty of bookmarks to read, which will be added to this over time. I will also likely be writing a longer post on the films I saw in 2016 in the vein of last year’s, but that will probably be here nearer the end of the month.
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A number of people have this year pledged to at least attempt to watch one female-directed film for every week of 2016 (I believe it started with a campaign by Women In Film Los Angeles). I was one of these people, and have been surprised how difficult it was to keep it up. It’s not because I don’t watch enough films – as I’ve watched close to 300 films this year; around 5 films a week. The problem is that if I were to simply watch films paying no attention to the gender of the director, the number of films directed by women would be less than the 20% needed with those stats. The actual number of women directing films in the industry is closer to 7%.
So, I ended up spending quite a while creating lists. I scoured “Best female filmmakers” lists online, added personal recommendations, checked the IMDb credits for the films I came across… rest assured I got pretty sick of seeing the smiling publicity photos of white dudes. I then checked where these films were available – specifically whether I could access them through on-demand services I use like Amazon Prime, Netflix and Sky Cinema. Still, it was difficult, and often the films that I found the most were indie dramas and documentaries. Nothing inherently wrong with them, but after a hard day’s work, sometimes I don’t want to start watching a film about a school shooting or fraught human relationships. I started running behind, but managed to catch up during December, which happened to give me a number of fantastic films I had never heard of before.
I may have made this more difficult for myself by assuming the rule that it couldn’t be a film I had ever seen before, and eventually decided to not count short films or the segment Allison Anders directed for Four Rooms either.
In the end I logged 53 films; two were short films, 12 were documentaries.
You can find the full list, ranked from favourite to least favourite, here