Boyz in the Wood (2019)

Boyz in the Wood (aka Get Duked!)
Director: Ninian Doff
Writer: Ninian Doff
Cast: Samuel Bottomley, Viraj Juneja, Rian Gordon, Lewis Gribben, Jonathan Aris, Eddie Izzard, Kate Dickie, James Cosmo, Kevin Guthrie, Brian Pettifer, Alice Lowe, Georgie Glen
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 28.9.2019

Ian (Samuel Bottomley) has signed up for the Duke of Edinburgh trek that leads through the wilderness of the highlands. He wants to pad his resume with the experience to better his college applications. With him are DJ Beatroot (Viraj Juneja), Dean (Rian Gordon), and Duncan (Lewis Gribben) whose motivation couldn’t be much more different: they were mostly forced to complete the trek to avoid juvie. What all four have in common is that they don’t have a clue about the outdoors. As they make their way across the highlands regardless, they realize that it’s not the camping that is the real danger. They are being hunted and it really is about all of their survival.

Boyz in the Wood is a fantastically fun film with a serious class critique at its heart. I felt absolutely energized when I left the cinema.

The film poster showing the heads of DJ Beatroot (Viraj Juneja), Dean (Rian Gordon), Ian (Samuel Bottomley) and Duncan (Lewis Gribben) mounted on a wall like hunting trophies.
Continue reading

Urban Ghost Story (1998)

Urban Ghost Story
Director: Geneviève Jolliffe
Writer: Geneviève Jolliffe, Chris Jones
Cast: Jason Connery, Stephanie Buttle, Heather Ann Foster, Nicola Stapleton, James Cosmo, Elizabeth Berrington, Siri Neal, Andreas Wisniewski, Billy Boyd
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 24.9.2019

Lizzie (Heather Ann Foster) only barely survived a car crash. She actually died for three minutes, but was reanimated. Only something seems to have followed her back to the world of the living. Her mother Kate (Stephanie Buttle) is more than disconcerted by the weird things happening around her daughter, and since she doesn’t get any other help, she turns to journalist John (Jason Connery) who uses their problems to write sensationalist news stories. In the ensuing chaos of their lives, Lizzie is struggling to hold everything together.

Urban Ghost Story works as a horror film, but even more than that it works as a character study of Lizzie and her environment shaped by poverty. It’s a beautiful, emotional and political film that should be much better known than it is.

The film poster showing mostly unfocused faces in red.
Continue reading

The Hole in the Ground (2019)

The Hole in the Ground
Director: Lee Cronin
Writer: Lee Cronin, Stephen Shields
Cast: Seána Kerslake, James Quinn Markey, Kati Outinen, David Crowley, Simone Kirby, Steve Wall, Eoin Macken, James Cosmo
Part of: /slash Filmfestival 1/2
Seen on: 5.5.2019

Sarah (Seána Kerslake) and her son Chris (James Quinn Markey) move to the countryside for a fresh start. But their remote home becomes less of a refuge for them and more of a constant source of paranoia for Sarah when Christ starts to act stranger and stranger. His behavior seems somehow connected to the sinkhole in the woods behind their house and Sarah is soon convinced that more is going on than just a difficult transition into a new life.

The Hole in the Ground starts well enough and does have some creepy moments, but unfortunately the longer it goes on, the less it manages to keep the story together.

The film poster showing Chris (James Quinn Markey) with a spider crawling over his face.
Continue reading

Wonder Woman (2017)

Wonder Woman
Director: Patty Jenkins
Writer: Allan Heinberg
Based on: William Moulton Marston‘s comics character
Cast: Gal GadotChris PineConnie NielsenRobin WrightDanny HustonDavid ThewlisSaïd TaghmaouiEwen BremnerEugene Brave RockLucy DavisElena AnayaJames Cosmo
Part of: DC movies
Seen on: 20.6.2017

Diana (Gal Gadot) grew up on the isolated island Themyscira populated only by women. But not any women: Amazons, warriors with an amazing lifespan from a time where gods still walked the earth regularly. Taught by her mother, Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and her aunt Antiope (Robin Wright), commander of the guard, Diana grows up with a strong sense of right and wrong. So when the world outside literally crashes into hers in the shape of World War II pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), Diana is sure she is meant to help to end the war, even if it means going against the wishes of her mother.

I maybe wasn’t quite as enthusiastic about Wonder Woman as I would have liked to be (as it’s a female superhero in a film directed by a woman), but I did enjoy it a lot. Definitely the best of the DC movies so far.

Continue reading

T2 Trainspotting (2017)

T2 Trainspotting
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: John Hodge
Based on: Irvine Welsh’s Porno
Sequel to: Trainspotting
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, Kelly Macdonald, Peter Mullan, Shirley Henderson, James Cosmo, Irvine Welsh
Seen on: 13.3.2017

Twenty years after the events of Trainspotting, the now clean Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) returns to Scotland for the first time. He wants to see his family and to catch up with Spud (Ewen Bremner) and Simon (Jonny Lee Miller), though he’d rather not see Begbie (Robert Carlyle). He suspects that Begbie is still very angry with him from when he left. Simon is angry, too, but once they get over the inital anger, they are back to making plans of how to make their lives more than it is. But the past can’t be left behind that easily.

T2 Trainspotting captured most of the mood of Trainspotting perfectly, although it does lack some of the inescapable energy of the first one. That being said, I’m very content with this sequel so many years later.

Continue reading

Re-Watch: Trainspotting (1996)

Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: John Hodge
Based on: Irvine Welsh’s novel
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, Robert Carlyle, Kelly Macdonald, Peter Mullan, Shirley HendersonJames Cosmo, Irvine Welsh
Seen on: 12.3.2017

Renton (Ewan McGregor), Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), Tommie (Kevin McKidd) and Spud (Ewen Bremner) are friends. At least as much as you can be friends with anybody you share a heroin addiction with. And don’t necessarily like each other all that much. As they tumble through Edinburgh, alternatively looking to buy the next hit and to kick the habit altogether, their paths cross with the same people over and over again, people like the violent Begbie (Robert Carlyle). They all struggle with their own problems but at least they are not stuck in the wheel of capitalism. Or that’s what Renton tells himself.

It’s been many years since I saw the film (although some images have burned themselves into my retina, they are that present in my head). Re-watching it now, I’m still very much taken with it. It’s a really great film, despite a couple of weaknesses.

Continue reading

Citadel (2012)

Director: Ciaran Foy
Writer: Ciaran Foy
Cast: Aneurin Barnard, James Cosmo, Wunmi Mosaku, Jake Wilson, Amy Shiels
Part of: /slash Filmfestival

Tommy (Aneurin Barnard) was happily married to Joanne (Amy Shiels). They were expecting a baby and about to move out of a run-down apartment complex when Joanne is murdered by hooded children. This leaves Tommy with a baby and agoraphobia. Months late,. he is barely coping when those children show up again and seem to be coming for his baby.

Citadel started off great – tense, moody and with a wonderful lead. And while Aneurin Barnard stays good through the entirety of the film, the film itself doesn’t, instead descends into a conservative’s nightmare (by that I mean of a conservative, not for a conservative. I’d probably enjoy the hell out of a nightmare for a conservative).


Continue reading

Re-Watch: Emma (1996)

[We’re nearing the end of my EmmaComparisonProject. So, if you’re tired of reading about this, it’s only Clueless tomorrow and we’re done. :)]

Emma is Douglas McGrath‘s adaptation of Jane Austen‘s novel, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeremy Northam, Alan Cumming, Toni Collette, Ewan McGregor, Greta Scacchi, Polly Walker, Sophie Thompson and Juliet Stevenson.

Emma Woodhouse (Gwyneth Paltrow) is “handsome, clever, and rich” and also very interested in matching the people around her. She credits herself with matching up her former governess Miss Taylor (now Mrs Weston) (Greta Scacchi) and Mr Weston (James Cosmo) and encouraged by that success, sets about her next “victim”, naive and unrefined Harriet Smith (Toni Collette). Despite the warnings of her friend Mr Knightley (Jeremy Northam), Emma wants to match Harriet with the local vicar, Mr Elton (Alan Cumming). For herself, Emma has no plans – other than Mr Weston’s son Frank Churchill (Ewan McGregor) (who she has never met) excites her curiosity.

It’s been a while since I have seen this film and I think that memory has slightly exaggerated its awesomeness. Especially the script and Gwyneth Paltrow didn’t impress that much this time round as they did before. But it’s still a wonderful movie and does have the best Mr Knightley, hands down.

Continue reading