How witchploitation cinema cast its spell on the counter-culture

Secret Rites could have been just a witchcraft tinged addition to Ford’s other saucy work such as Groupie Girl, The Wife Swappers and Suburban Wives. The film’s aesthetic alone is replete with dated pleasures, all miniskirts, dodgy hip dialogue and a wonderful, heady score by Catweazel composer Ted Dicks. Even if the Chelsea mob did eventually retire to their parents’ manors to indulge, its vibe was still something closer to popular rather than underground culture. Austin himself was really a television director and Virgin Witch was only one of his…

Lamb

Lamb’s premise is intriguing too – a pleasing twist on the familiar horror trope of monstrous motherhood. Have we reached peak A24 “elevated horror”? Visually engrossing but a tad too languid. It’s to Rapace’s credit that the film works at all – she is its heart and soul, and is capable of portraying great tenderness one moment and cold brutality the next. Lamb Review by Hannah Strong @thethirdhan Share this Directed by Valdimar Jóhannsson Starring Björn Hlynur Haraldsson Hilmir Snær Guðnason Noomi Rapace Anticipation. With its glacial pace and sparse…

Don’t Look Up

Published 8 Dec 2021 Share this But what do you do when celebrities are friends with the business execs who ravage the dwindling resources we have left to line their bank accounts? A romance between her character and Chalamet’s is cringe-inducing in how forced it feels, while Meryl Streep, for all her many talents, is just not a natural comedian. Vice was a mess; the bar is low. But can a star-studded satire about imminent planetary death lead to material change, or does it land in the same way as…

A checkout clerk gets Jokerfied in this German grocery store’s parody advert

This being a commercial, the ending doesn’t head in the direction of pitch-black darkness staked out by its inspiration, instead going for a comic button in which a normal couple winds up in the checkout lane of our demented hero, who then throws a wink in the direction of the camera. We are referring instead to Batman’s constant nemesis The Joker, whose 2019 vehicle in the form of Joaquin Phoenix provides the basis for this strange, memorable TV spot. German chain store Lidl has unveiled a new advert for the…

Being the Ricardos

She’s given period-appropriate arched eyebrows and prosthetics to round out her face, which to be fair to the makeup department, aren’t nearly as eerie as the trailer suggests, but still feel superfluous. Set in the antiquated world of cosy American sitcoms and 1960s gender politics, Aaron Sorkin’s Being the Ricardos explores the relationship between small-screen legends Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, creators and stars of I Love Lucy. While ostensibly Being the Ricardos gives Desi his dues, Sorkin presents us with a complex and flawed man, one whose heritage was…

Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It

Mariem Pérez Riera’s film offers insight into the casting practices of Old Hollywood that saw Moreno emulate Elizabeth Taylor in a bid to impress MGM mogul Louis B Mayer. Clips are not relied on but help to illustrate Moreno’s impact as a versatile film, stage and television performer. “I can’t think of anybody I’ve ever met in the business who lived the American dream more than Rita Moreno,” says Norman Lear at the start of this documentary, which takes a linear approach to Moreno’s long list of achievements (she is…

Discover the film that helped kickstart the found footage phenomenon

Most of the cast members here are genuine non-professionals, appearing in this film for their first and only on-screen role. The Last Broadcast is released on Blu-ray from 6 December via 101 Films. The Blair Witch Project was famously one of the first films to promote itself with a highly successful online viral campaign. While this might lend the denouement a semblance of objectivity, it is also notable that it expressly takes place on the 1 April, 1997 – April Fool’s Day. Share this Words Anton Bitel @AntBit Share this…

George MacKay staves off World War Two in the Munich: The Edge of War trailer

A summit was convened in Munich to hash out an agreement between Hitler and his westward opposition, with a goal of finding a resolution that would appease the fascists while stemming their expansion. Legat is tasked with retrieving a crucial document exposing Hitler’s true intentions – not to establish peace, but rather conquer the world – from von Hartmann, who shares his old university mate’s wish to avert catastrophe despite the Führer’s wishes. George MacKay staves off World War Two in the Munich: The Edge of War trailer The latter…

Encounter

The question hangs over the film as to whether his premonitions are real or a symptom of mental illness; it’s a beautiful, haunting end-of-days drama that regularly springs to mind whenever I have a nightmare, or see a particularly overcast sky. It’s a deeply unpleasant and reactionary film that even compelling central performances can’t save. The film becomes so concerned with action scenes that it fails to challenge this preconception, and the sci-fi plot is dropped entirely once Malick’s psychosis is revealed, leading to frustrating a lack of ambiguity. But…

There is No Evil

There is No Evil Review by Marina Ashioti Share this Directed by Mohammad Rasoulof Starring Baran Rasoulof Mohammad Seddighimehr Zhila Shahi Anticipation. Despite an excessive 150-minute runtime, a fair share of abrupt tonal shifts and a somewhat heavy-handed execution of metaphors threatening to rob the anthology of power and cohesion, the dramatically consistent depictions of contempt, grief and rage bring an adequate sense of uniformity. Rather than being caught between poetry and censorship, Rasoulof strays from the stronghold of allegorical aesthetics and instead adopts a necessary and uncompromising antagonism against…

Blue Bayou

Enjoyment. In Retrospect. Chon gives a strong performance as Antonio, and the supporting players are equally charming, but the script is weak and often clichéd, featuring a tangle of subplots which don’t quite mesh. Share this Share this Justin Chon’s melodramatic tale of immigration and injustice in present-day America is undermined by a clichéd script.There’s no doubt that the subject matter at the heart of Justin Chon’s Blue Bayou is compelling and prescient – it focuses on the injustice of foreign-born adoptees in the United States being deported due to…

Ari Wegner on how she created The Power of the Dog’s visual identity

Jane’s quite an outdoorsy person, she grew up around horses and cattle, so she has some kind of idea that when the scene says ‘thousands of cattle go over the ridge’ it’s easier said than done. Then we started doing storyboards, and as Jane was drawing she kept going off the edges of the rectangular board templates. How a director likes to work infuses into the film and I really enjoy as I’m getting to know someone beginning to understand not only how they want the film to look, but…

West Side Story

The individual performances are all fine, but there’s no dynamism and connectivity. Sorry to be maudlin, but it’s a fact. Zegler is decent – clearly on the level with the fairytale aspects of the material. With three quarters of a century in the bank, and a workhorse ethic that has resulted in roughly a film every other year, we’re eking ever closer to the end zone of one of cinema’s most illustrious careers. Individual elements work, but just flat and stiff in the main. In the history of dramatic art,…

Christmas gift guide 2021 – Great ideas for film lovers

Say no more – there’s plenty of great options out there to rep a film you love, whether it’s on your coat lapel above the mantelpiece. ’Lil cinephile – A is for Auteur The team behind Cinephile, the card game with endless playing possibilities, is back with a beautifully designed alphabet book. You can also become a member of LWLies for additional perks. Be immersed in Fassbinder’s strange and vast cinematic world with high definition digital restorations that range from Ali: Fear Eats the Soul to The Marriage Of Maria…

Discover the digital film festival where you’re on the jury

Call Me Marianna is Karolina Bielwka’s first feature-length documentary, and it swept four awards at Krakow before winning the Zonta Club Prize at Locarno. Astute explorations of adolescence are to be found in LOMO: The Language of Many Others by Julia Langhof, a portrait of online coming of age and computerised teenage angst, as well as Ivan Ikić’s Oasis, where an unanticipated love triangle forms between three teenagers navigating feelings of desire and envy in a special needs institution. For more info visit artekinofestival.arte.tv Published 1 Dec 2021 Share this…