Thunder road

“Just because somebody chooses to leave, that doesn’t mean they didn’t want to be here with you”

Review by Lewis Goodall

Passion. Something that is seriously lacking in Hollywood these days. I’ve expressed it before but pretty I really don’t support most of what is being churned out these days. You’ve got your remakes which no one asked for, you’ve got your Fast and Furious’ that are ridiculous and most sickeningly you have your Marvel films that all go by the same format just with a different skin. What’s lacking is passion, that passion that resonates in a story that is being told from the heart that just adds that new layer to cinema that is missing from the tripe I mentioned before. Thunder Road is the perfect example of passion.

Thunder Road is written, directed and performed by Jim Cummings who plays…. Jim. Jim is a policeman who’s mun recently passed away. Her funeral is the start of his downward spiral as he struggles with his job and broken family life. It’s a tale of a sad man which yes can be pretty cliche but it feels fresh when it’s done with effort like this… can you tell I really like this film yet?

Indie films are just leagues above over films and I’ll debate that to the very end. Yes the mainstream does pump out great films, prime example was my film of the year last year, Joker, fantastic film. So yeah mainstream does pump out incredible films like that every once and a while but I always feel that with indie films theres more heart in it. You can tell that they have more soul, two recent examples are ‘Mid 90’s’ and ‘Eighth Grade’ and I feel that ‘Thunder Road’ fits into that category nicely. Jim Cummings is a tour de force, jack of all trades because he did everything for this film (except boom operator, but I bet he would do that good well too). He wrote, directed and performed this film, he pumps life into every aspect and does it superbly.

The first 10 minutes of this film is Jim performing a eulogy for his mums funeral. I really don’t want to give anything away but this first ten minutes is a perfect introduction to really show off Jim in these 3 aspects. 1. Writing, the writing in this eulogy is incredible as he is tallig about his mum, telling a story of how connected to his mum was through childhood stories. 2. Performance, he smashes it, he truly shows a man that is clearly broken but is trying his hardest to pack down his emotions and stay strong. Everynow and then he will crack and burst into tears and then instantly try and collect himself which felt so real. I sympathised with Jim just cause he clearly just lost the biggest part of his life and you can see how much it crushes him. 3. Directing, this first 10 minutes, is all one take… I LOVE A ONE TAKE!! He is doing this eulogy for ten straight minutes as the camera slowly zooms in closer and closer to his face, and then slowly brings it back and it just emphasised every movement he did.

These 3 aspects stay consistently great throughout the rest of the film. Another thing to mention in terms of the writing is the humour sprinkled in like water on a flower bed, cute metaphor huh? So this film is a tragedy-comedy, probably leans more towards the tragedy side of things but the comedy is definitely there. There were a few moments that made me laugh out loud, whether it was within the performance or what Jim said but it was a great amount to split up the parts of the film that are the tragedies.

Obviously Jim isnt the only character in the film, there are plenty others but one I want to mention is his daughter as I feel she plays the most important cog that keeps his life together. His daughter is one who does prefer the company of her mum who lives across town. She doesnt really like staying at home but Jim does his very best to be the best dad for her and it’s the most endearing portrayal of a dad I have seen on screen for a while. One part I found so sweet I had to pause it to let it sink in (I’m not going to say because you have to watch it). Which again is all credit to Jim, real life Jim and his ability to effectively show his story. There are just some many tiny scenes that have way more effort in there that wont get noticed, for example, there is a scene in which two characters fight in a puddle. Now this doesnt sound oscar worthy but it’s another long take, alot happens in this scene so if they had to start again, they wouldve had to of changed clothes, set it all up again, its just small behind the scenes stuff like they that I love and that’s the sort of effort is needed.

Overall I’m very very fond of this film. I probably would say that maybe at times there feels like there is a lot of tragedy that happens throughout the film which may put people off but honestly it’s all worth it, that’s all I’m saying. Its these sorts of films that need to be made more, the sort of films where people actually want to tell a story rather than Marvel that just finds another way to juice the audience with the same crap every 6 months. I know Disney wouldnt make as much money but maybe they could add a few more moustached fathers, that’s all I’m saying.

8.5 Ripped Panties out of 10

Marriage Story

“Life with you was joyless”

Review by Lily Taylor

I loved this film and I don’t say that lightly. It’s one of those movies where you could say nothing much happens but the characters are so well developed that you fall in love with their performance. Marriage Story follows an American couple going through a divorce under the masterful direction of Noah Baumbach, it’s as simple as that. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson star as Charlie and Nicole Barber, he is New York theatre company director and she is the star of his show. The pair live in New York with their young son Henry (Azhy Robertson) and initially plan to have an amicable, lawyer-free divorce.

Nicole moves to Los Angeles with Henry to be near her family and star in a television pilot, while Charlie remains behind in New York as his play is moving to Broadway. Despite previous agreements Nicole hires a pretty cut-throat divorce lawyer, Nora (Laura Dern), which forces Charlie to do the same if he wants any chance of retaining shared custody of Henry. As you can imagine, Charlie and Nicole’s relationship suffers greatly during divorce proceedings and Charlie in particular struggles to protect his relationship with Henry.

I think I could watch Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson inhabit these characters forever. They both put in absolutely perfect performances in this film. You can see the respect they have for each other dissolves as the film goes on. What stuck with me most is how raw the emotion was in this film. The pair fight with such bitterness that at one point Charlie wishes Nicole would die before he breaks down on his hands and knees. I watched this scene with my jaw hanging open because Adam Driver’s performance, in particular, felt so real and so wrought with emotion that I couldn’t look away. He also performs a song near the end of the divorce in front of his theatre group and I reckon it was done in just one take because the song isn’t at all perfect but is so emotive.

The film makes an interesting commentary on how biased courts are against fathers in a divorce with Charlie having to move to LA in attempt to share custody, despite the fact that the family had been living in New York together before the divorce. He is also forced to cover part of Nicole’s legal fees as well as his own and has to use his MacArthur grant money to cover this, instead of investing it in the theatre company. The couple remain largely civil outside of court but their lawyers seem to fight increasingly dirty going after both money and more time with Henry.

At the start of the film the pair are asked by a relationship mediator to write about what they like about each other, Charlie reads his out in therapy but doesn’t get to read Nicole’s until a year after their divorce when Henry finds the paper in her room. Hearing the pair talk about the small features that they’d fallen in love with and how happy they’d once made each other and then watching a relationship that was once special, devolve into spite and bitterness at the hands of their divorce is heartbreaking. Having said that, although the pair have parted, they do succeed in keeping their family together. I loved that this film didn’t take sides, there was no one person to blame and even though Charlie had cheated it was seen as a symptom of their relationship breaking down, not the cause of it. The ending is so bittersweet as the couple manage to remain friends, in a sense, but the viewer has been privy to their darkest moments along the way.

Marriage Story is fantastic and I think both Driver and Johansson have exceeded themselves in their best performances to date.

I would give Marriage Story 9 Tiny Frankenstein Costumes out of 10.

Le Mans 66

“Learn to drive you pillock!”

Review by Lily Taylor

If you like motor sport or good movies then you’ll like Le Mans ‘66. Matt Damon plays American born racing driver and designer Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale is British driver Ken Miles; and I don’t mean he plays Ken Miles I mean he literally metamorphosed to become Ken Miles. The film is titled ‘Ford v Ferrari’ in the US because it follows Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) as he brings the fight to ever dominant Enzo Ferrari (Remo Girone) on the track at the 24 hours of Le Mans. Shelby won Le Mans in ‘59 but was forced to retire from racing due to a heart condition; who better to head up Ford’s Le Mans team. Shelby hires Ken Miles to help him test and eventually race the record breaking Ford GT40. The pair face their fair share of adversity, mainly in the form of Ford’s senior executive Vice President and resident arsehole, Leo Beebe (Josh Lucas), but still go on to make history with Miles behind the wheel of the GT40.

I have to say I didn’t know a whole lot about the battle between Ford and Ferrari at Le Mans but having seen it, Ken Miles’ Story is one that deserved to be told. Christian Bale makes the movie with perfectly timed dry British humour and a depth of character that leaves you fully invested in his racing career. Ken Miles was a World War II veteran, a professional racing driver and a loving husband and father. I found myself really liking the character and rooting for him, even if Ford didn’t feel the same! Similarly, Matt Damon put in a great performance as Shelby and the relationship between to two makes the film much more than just cars driving round a track. The team struggle with dangerous break failure, a door that won’t close and some very dirty looks from some sinister Italians but still manage to bring the fight to Ferrari at Le Mans.

The cinematography in this movie was a really pleasant surprise, it’s not easy to film a GT40 travelling at 218 mph down the Mulsanne straight. Race scenes were filmed and edited brilliantly to give a polished viewing experience. For fans of motor sport I’m sure the racing content alone would have been enough to make a cracking film but Le Mans ‘66 is so much more than that. Miles’ backstory and relationship with Shelby adds a human element to the story, the hard core racing is expertly balanced with the drama and emotion of Miles’ personal life, particularly his relationship with his wife and son. You really don’t need to know a thing about racing to enjoy this film.

Although not quite a perfect film I think Le Man’s ‘66 does a brilliant job of coming exceedingly close. It’s a combination of dramatic story telling and good old fashioned motor sport. Ive heard a few complaints about the length of the film and I suppose I could concede to it being lengthy but I was so invested in Ken Miles’ Le Mans career that I just didn’t care!

I would give Le Mans ‘66 9 Llama Bites out of 10.

Neds

“Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I think i’ll go eat worms”

Review by Lewis Goodall

Hes got the whoooole world, in his hands. Hes got the whole wide world, in his hands. Hes got the whoooole world, in his hands. Hes got the world world in his hands.
So god had the whole world and made beautiful places like Bora Bora and Switzerland but also decided to make Scotland??? Doesn’t make sense to me.

Aside from suggesting that Scotland is an ugly place, I’m also here to review Neds so let’s get to that. Neds (2010), Written and Directed by Peter Mullan, is the Scottish tale of a young man, John McGill (Conor McCarron). John is a wee little lad whose top of his class. Showing such great potential with his intellect, he slowly works his way up to being in the top class in school with all the other brainy Scottish kids. Living in a home with a drunk, abusive father, a good for nothing brother and a mum whose just kind of there, John finds companionship through a group of delinquents. As john hangs out with his new friends, he slowly self destructs into a lifestyle of violence and crime.

I’ve mentioned enough times that this is in fact a Scottish film filled with Scottish people, a lot of which are newcomers to the acting scene which was actually quite impressive. The Scottish accents on pretty much everyone in the film was so heavy that I was genuinely considering putting on the subtitles because I had absolutely no idea what they were saying. Apart from maybe the odd cuss word I could work out, a lot of it was so heavy I had to just smile and give along with it. From the dialogue I picked it, the actors within the film all felt very real and gritty. I’ve said it before but I just feel that English films just have that extra bit of realism that you don’t really get in American films, and this film certainly follows that theme with depicting a harsh, 1970’s version of Scotland.

Specifically within this town is John like I’ve mentioned. Luckily his accent isn’t too heavy so you can keep up with what he says and does but he plays his part wonderfully to really convey this kids struggle with choosing whether to be a grade A student or a grade A youth. John slowly descends into a life of throwing bottles at policeman with the help of his friends. All his friends are bad influences but only because they all follow Benny who is actually John’s brother. John looks to follow in the footsteps of his brother and looks to become someone who is feared by all the rival gangs in the local area. John gets no love from his teachers at school, his parents at home so naturally his love comes from his gang and transforms him. You get it by now, good guy turns bad.

It’s pretty clear that it’s his friends that are the Influence for the decisions that John makes to change him from this perfect child but a lot of the decisions that John makes seem very out of place and out of nowhere. He changes very quickly from a man that wouldn’t say boo to a goose to a man that’ll rob a kid and stab someone with a knife they stole. It seemed to me that a lot of the decisions that John made seemed without purpose. There’s no obvious motive that would make him change as much as he did. A lot of what he does is to fit in with his gang but there are some decisions that seem WAY over the top of for the situation. The guy just turns into a massive unlikable prick to the point where I didn’t really mind what happened to him and wasn’t really hoping for his redemption. I wont spoil the end but there is a moment which to me seemed like a major turning point for John but then it all suddenly changes again for no reason and just made a lot of it seem questionable and confused me about who this John character is meant to be. Maybe at the same time that’s the whole point, were discovering who John truly is at the same time John is GAAAAAAASP, I’VE CRACKED IT!! also not really because the character development still feels all over the place to me.

Although there was a lot of decisions of his I didn’t quite understand, I did go along with then and the way each decision is played out does end up with some gruesome moments. One in particular that I wasn’t expecting at all and changed the whole tone of the film in an instant which is really enjoyed. A lot of the violence depicted In the film wasn’t over the top and felt very real which was fantastic and really did create some unpredictable moments. Let’s be honest, they’re Scottish, of course they’re going to be unpredictable.

Overall I did enjoy my trip into 1970’s Scotland. There wasn’t really anything that blew my wee mind and the story felt very much as though it was a Scottish remake of ‘This Is England’, but there were some genuinely shocking moments that helped transform a cute ginger kid into a twat ginger man.

7 Jesus Scuffles out of 10

Eighth Grade

“But it’s like, being yourself is, like, not changing yourself to impress someone else”

Review by Lewis Goodall

Gonna say right off the bat, not the biggest fan of Bo Burham. I never really watched his vines and his stand up wasn’t really my flavour, which is strange because I love nonsense but it didn’t hit home. I guess I’m just jealous, im jealous that my vine account didnt take off. I guess people pretending to be half owl wasnt what people found funny, maybe i shouldve sung a song about being half owl then i wouldve been Bo Burnham, just with a rotating head and appitete for mice. In case this just seems like a random rant on Bo Burham, he actually directed this film and if you dont know who he is then the best way to explain him is that he does a stand up routine of him pretending to masturbate. Now I ACTAULLY masturbate and I haven’t directed a film!? What the hell??

Eighth Grade is the coming of age story for today’s generation. Kayla (Elsie Fisher), is trying to survive the final week of, you’ve guessed it, eighth grade. Being a teenager in today’s generation, Kayla makes YouTube videos to offer advice and tips on how to get through life. The subject of her videos surround the idea of being confident and being yourself but finds it hard to implement her own tips and tricks into the real world.

Although I’m not a fan of Bo Burnham’s stand up, I was still intrigued to see his style of filmmaking, I’m always up for seeing peoples first films because usually you can just tell more love goes into it, its usually filled with a lot of raw emotion and you can certainly see that here. Now this film is definitely geared towards today’s generation with its references and general attitude. Being set during Kaylas last week of eighth grade, which is apparently the last year of middle school, it’s all based on life in 2017 when memes were hot and the start of people not using Facebook anymore. A lot of the film Is surrounded around being relatable to millennials and it definitely hits hard in that aspect.

I feel this is a film anyone can get on board with but where this films shines would be for people whose faces are stuck to their phone. I would go are far as saying that this film is pretty important for anyone who spends most of their time online. Kayla struggles with a lot of cliche teenage struggles like crushing on a boy out of her league or being the nerd of the school, but these fall under the umbrella of her lack of confidence and anxiety. Kayla is confident whilst filming her YouTube videos but in the real life she is overshadowed in groups of people, having her attempts at conversations shot down. Her awkwardness comes across, if anything too well. I felt secondhand embarrassment watching her trying to include herself in a group of people but in a way I felt annoyingly related to. Watching Kayla display her poor social skills is something I feel a lot of kids can relate to and it Is just portrayed perfectly. Of course there are those kids in schools who somehow have thousands of followers because they’re the popular ones but this film shows the side of the generation that are also trying to make a name for themselves online which is why I feel this film will hit hard with a lot of people who are in the same rickety boat, but ‘Eigth Grade’ tell those kids “you be yourself, you keep doing you and be proud of yourself in what you pursue. Dont care what other people think, fuck em”.

Every inch of this film oozes cringe sauce but in the most perfect way. It’s in the small details, and one detail that actually was annoying but it was so accurate. Kayla would finish all her YouTube videos with saying ‘Gucci’ and throwing up some weird hand sign. Although it was annoying because its Gucci, it was just so spot on to kids who try make their own cringey content and will say something just horrific because at the time they thought it was cool. It was just too spot on. That’s kind of the whole vibe for the film in general, it was all just annoyingly accurate to today’s life which is why I feels it’s an important coming of age film for anyone whose feels they arent important.

I feel I haven’t really talked about anything else in the film apart from how relatable it is so let’s get on that. This film is just fun to watch, particularly the music which has to be one of my favourite aspects of this film. Whether it’s just great music or perfectly timed, all of it was a pleasure to my ears, they vibrated with joy everytime the soundtrack kicked in. Kudos to the editing for this film, through the music and general transitions, all of it was just fantastic to watch and even though you could say a lot of the story could be considered typical or cliche, just in the way you follow Kayla along her journey is great. You become attached to this character and way genuinely panicking on her behalf during one scene and that shows the mark of when a film hits home.

Bo Burnham being a comedian and all, of course there would have to be some comedy used to fertilise this film flower. I was expecting the comedy to match his stand up but this is a very different style to what I was expecting. I was expecting, super nonsensical jokes but honestly the humour was spot on to fit the situation, with one scene in particular really ticklingthe agile gland of any viewer. It was that good blend in the film of having the funny times in there but not enough to smother the serious times as well, good blend, good time.

Overall the characters are great, a special shout out to Kaylas dad who comes across as creepy in a sense but overly a really sweet, genuine guy, with one moment actually making be Involuntarily going “aaaaw” out loud when he talked about how he has a note page on his phone of things Kalya talks about so he can keep track of her likes and dislikes, I mean c’mon! How can you not aaaaw at that?? He was great, the minor roles were also spot on, plus on a technical stand point this film bursts with love and effort. Only minor hitches in the story being pretty cliche but other than that, not a bad first attempt at writing and directing for someone who mimes masturbating on stage.

8 Cold Nuggets out of 10

The Wrestler

“The only place I get hurt is out there. The world doesn’t give a shit about me”

Review by Lewis Goodall

I’ve already done the wrestling intro gimmick when I wrote my review for catfight, I don’t want to go repeating myself, kinda screwed myself over really with this one, would’ve worked perfectly here. Instead of repeating myself, go ahead and read that intro but replace Sandra Oh with Mickey Rouke and Anne Heche with life and it pretty much works the same. The story of a man battling life, that about sums it up.

Darren Aronofsky back at it again appearing on Critically Ashamed, I’m just obsessed with his films so they need to be talked about more so I wont stop until each of his films have been reviewed, and as you know, this is the one for his 2008 film ‘The Wrestler’. Mickey Rouke plays Randy Robinson, a washed up wrestler with the Alias ‘The Ram’. 20 years back he was on top of the wrestling world with everyone knowing his name, having action figures of him and having posters of him up on the wall where he’s dressed as a free fighter. Nowadays he’s faded but still persists to be known in the wrestling world, doing small gigs and autographs. With his age getting in the way of his lifestyle, he must retire. Outside of the ring is more of a challenge for Randy as he’s tries to be someone he’s not.

Apparently this film is meant to be the male counterpart to ‘Black Swan’. Black swan of course being about a woman, hellbent on being perfect in her selected sport. With The wrestler having essentially the same premise and the fact I would consider black swan perfect, I naturally wanted to jump on this film harder than the big show would if he dived on someone from the ropes. This film came out 2 years before Black Swan and I feel like the wrestler was practise for when Darren made Black Swan as it’s really really good but it lacked the same sharp edges.

Mickey Rouke has a smash performance depicting The Ram. He plays the run down wrestler perfectly, it’s almost as if the character and film itself was written around him which it kind of was, Darren himself said he wrote the part for Mickey. He’s a man, broken by a world who has forgotten about him, now that certain events have brought him back into the real world, he picks up the broken pieces that he’s left behind in his pursuit to be the best. Such things include being a father to his daughter, Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood). Since he walked out on her for his career, let’s just say she was a wee bit pissed when he looked up out of nowhere to try and be her dad again. The relationship between the two, although being volatile is sweet as you can tell that they both would prefer to have each other in their lives. Randy also gets randy for one Cassidy (Marisa Tomei), a local stripper who he sees more as a friend rather than someone who just grinds up against his junk. When I say he also gets randy for Cassidy, I’m not saying he gets randy over his daughter or anything, although actually I don’t know, I didn’t watch the deleted scenes. Anyway, his relationship with Cassidy is sweet as they both grow together whilst also having restrictions against them to get closer.

In general the relationships that Randy tries to build ultimately have barriers and the only true relationship that truly makes Randy feel whole is his relationship with the ring. Even during his new job on the deli counter, he still relates every day tasks to his wrestling career. This Includes one of the finest bits of sound editing I’ve ever seen when he is walking through the back tunnels at this supermarket and as he walks past machines that hum, you can ever so slightly hear a crowd cheering, with every machine he walks past, the cheering gets louder and it was just so cleverly edited in. Good job sound guy.

Expertly acted by everyone involved, I’ve also mentioned about how Darren has a way to make the characters feel real and fleshed out which definitely still applies here. The script feels real and it’s all edited together nicely to tell The Rams story and his fall from glory. It does steadily pick up as he is pulled back into the ring for a rematch of a battle that happened 20 years ago. Randy must decide which path he must follow, be the man that society tells him to be and build upon his relationships or does he try and reclaim his glory and head back into the ring? That’s the part I’ll leave for you to find out.

Overall, this is typical Darren Aronofsky, I would say however that I felt that this film felt a bit more down to earth than his other films, this one felt a bit more real and didn’t have that same sucker punch feeling with the ending like all his other films have, but ultimately it’s still a thrill ride that’ll make you think “Christ, I wish I looked like Mickey Rouke when I’m his age”. Believe me, the man looks like Zeus, its incredible.

8 Stapler Piercings out of 10

Tall Girl

“I love all 73 inches of myself”

Review by Lewis Goodall

There are countries at war. Thousands of kids die a year because of these wars. Kids all around the globe get bone marrow cancer and may not see their tenth birthday. Kids are shot in the safety of their school. Let’s be real for a minute, all these things are pretty bad, they’re an inconvenience for these kids at most. What is truly horrible though, something that makes me sick to the core when I think about it, to think that there are kids out there that have to wear size 13 shoes….. mens size 13 shoes. Netflix’s new original high school drama ‘Tall Girl’, highlights this issue to all those more privileged kids out there who don’t have to deal with this. It makes them look at their chemotherapy schedule and think “hey, maybe I haven’t got it so bad”.

Tall Girl tells the story of the unfortunate Jodi (Ava Michelle), a 6 foot 1 high school student who battles the constant ‘hows the weather up there’ comments by the more normal sized bullies. She has 2 friends at least, we have Jack (Griffin Gluck), a semi likeable goof who is madly in love with Jodi and has a 7 year plan to steal her heart, then we have Freeda (Anjelika Washington), a friend who’s hardly in the film apart to add a bit of drama when we see Jodi falling apart. Life is pretty standard for Jodi, she tries as hard as she can considering the situation with her height, but her world gets turned upside down when Stig (Luke Eisner) arrives, a Swedish foreign exchange student who is equally as tall. Jodi’s heart draws her to his height and terrible accent but she must remember where she comes from in this pursuit of love

There is just too much to talk about with this film, all aspects bad apart from maybe 2 seconds that I actually found funny in a place where it was meant to be funny. Let’s start with the message of this film, the obvious message her being that it’s okay to be yourself and to embrace who you are which is a good message and actually a message a lot of kids these days should remember. This film just takes that message a presents it in just THE worst way, its as though people at Netflix HQ had a meeting, they got a brainstorm for this film and took all the bad ideas and went with that. It was laughable how bad everything is, from the writing to the acting, it was all just way too funny but in the worst way. Everything that was in there to try and make me laugh didn’t, the rest of the time where there wasn’t a hideous ‘punchline’, was what had me laughing.

The relationship between Jodi and Stig is an odd one. He’s this good looking Swedish foreign exchange student with lovely flowing locks and shes a grumpy dump. Stig is by far the most entertaining character purely due to the fact that I’m pretty sure this very obvious American actor was told to do a Swedish accent but has never heard one before. If it wasn’t for the fact that he mentions he’s from Sweden and the way he goes ‘yah’ after every sentence, I would’ve just thought he was a bit deaf. Stig finds himself dating the most popular girl in school, this disappoints Jodi as she wanted a taste of Swedish delicacy but then they share moment when Jodi discovers Stig playing the piano. Jodi plays also and they commence to have one of the cringest duets I have ever witnessed in life ever. I don’t usually cringe, if anything I enjoy watching cringey stuff but this was painful, it hurt watching them sing.

This then leads to Stig having a bit of a crush on Jodi. Events unfold from there and the tension thickens like a pot of gravy left out on the side. There is a vicious love circle containing 5+ people when they all get with people just to get the person they like jealous. It’s all one big cringey gang bang (not literally) that just includes the laziest writing I have ever witnessed. It’s all horrendously predictable from the get go, I think a 6 year old will be able to guess the plot of the film and how it end purely from the trailer. Along with this plot there are just so many tiny details that are laughable. One notable details comes just after Jodi and Stig kiss for the first time, they peck on a bus and that’s it, nothing more than a juvenile peck. Later on in the film, Stig is talking to Jack about the kiss and tells about how passionate it was and how it made him fall for her more even though it was the most uncomfortable kiss ever. There’s that moment and another one where Jodi’s sister is just randomly practising knife throwing in a public area . Just a lot of things like that to accumulate to one long mess of a film with a conclusion that made me shudder with how cringey it was.

The prize is in those small details because as I mentioned, the overall plot is Incredibly predictable, its definitely one of those cookie cutter movies where everything is picked with the least amount of effort in order to get the film out as soon as possible without anyone thinking about bothering to make a good film. It’s just laughable the whole way through so honestly I should give this 2 different scores, one for it as a film and another for entertainment value because I certainly found it watchable but purely to the fact to see how awful the film could take itself.

All aspects of this film are piss poor, I don’t think there is one redeeming feature to the film itself apart from I guess getting the wrong type of entertainment from it, I guess actually I mentioned that 2 seconds at the beginning so might as well say what that was. Jodi’s sister, Harper, is in a beauty pageant and she is talking about hotel guests being treated well and how they should implement that style of management to the ongoing war in the middle east, then afterwards in the car journey home she randomly breaks an awkward silence with a random outburst, both moments made me slightly smile but other than that… nothing. It’s something that should be ripped out of the Netflix’s server and burned up so that no one is subject to this film. It’s the sort of film that makes me angry because I just don’t understand how something with minimal thought gets made into a film? It makes me think about how I want to write screenplays but why bother writing an in-depth story line with complex characters and creative narrative when I can just write about a sad teenager with big feet.

3 Milk Crates out of 10

Gosford Park

“He was a hard-hearted randy old sod”

Review by Lewis Goodall

Tallyho, pip pip, spiffing core blimey crumpets. Care for a spot of tea and polo on the lawn before we hunt foxes. Right well that about does it for all the posh words I know, well all the woody sounding words anyway (if you get that reference then we can be friends). That little bit I did there essentially sums up the trip I took to Gosford Park. I wrote that so you dont have to waste 2 hours of your life. Yep, one of those reviews again.

Gosford Park, directed by Robert Altman, Is the location where a hunting party takes place. Upper class ponces arrive from all over with their valets to spend a weekend at this grand establishment. As the festivities unfold, tensions rise as the paths of the upper class and the lower class cross. Worlds collide as the party turns into a game of Cluedo where an inspector comes in to investigate a grisly murder.

First off let me apologise for that previous paragraph because although that is essentially what happens, it certainly doesn’t play out as good as it sounds. I’m a big lover of mystery films, especially whodunits, have it set in one location, even better. With that formula you have 3 of my favourite films of all time, ‘Rear window’, ‘The Hateful 8’ and ‘The Thing’. I guess ‘The Thing’ isn’t really a whodunit but it’s still a mystery that plays with characters and guessing who’s who. I need to stop talking about that film and get back onto the original film which i should be talking about, although I would much rather talk about ‘The Thing’ in fact I would rather talk about anything else than Gosford park. I don’t mean that, I love ripping into films I don’t like.

So let’s start with the cast because the cast is Incredible and perfectly cast to play the upper class. We have Stephen Fry, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, the list goes on. So with such a great cast I was getting pumped. Whodunit with this cast, yes please……. those 3 people there are the only ones that stand out and the rest of the cast is pretty dire with a script that could’ve been something special. I’m not really going over the events of the film as the way I described it are pretty much the only points to talk about that have any significance everything else is disposable. There are just so many cogs to this machine that it all becomes a bit of a boring mess. I feel with a mystery film like this or like this film claims to be should really focus on characters so that you can build an opinion on each person so it makes the mystery interesting as you try and work out who did it. Everything just gets a bit lost and there’s no way to latch onto a particular suspect. There are a few moments thrown in that you can grab hold of but ultimately there no one character that you can build with which I feel Is pretty essential.

The majority of this film is build up to a horrifically unsatisfying climax. An hour and forty minutes of foreplay to finishing prematurely if you want an analogy. This film won the Oscar for best original screenplay and I can sort of see where they are coming from but I feel it’s all let down with poor directing and even poorer acting. As I mentioned before, there are a lot of moving cogs to this so the screenplay must’ve been very complex to be able to try and capture all the characters but it fails in the final product, it’s like someone is trying to put together a 1000 piece puzzle where each piece is from a completely different puzzle. Events happen that don’t add to the story at all and seemed thrown in when they could’ve been focusing on something that would actually make this film watchable. I envy blind people as they don’t have to experience this bore train.

This film prides itself on being a whodunit so let’s talks about that. So the murder doesn’t happen until the last maybe 40 minutes of the films so the interesting part doesn’t happen until you’ve already died of boredom, god this film was boring. The murder itself is a typical stab to the chest and people screaming for a second when they discover the body. Although having a complex screenplay, it seems they forgot to write in that any of the characters have any emotion because it seems to be that once the initial shock of the murder happens, no one cares that one of them was murdered. They brush it off the same way you would if someone dropped a glass on the floor and someone cleaned it up, when it happens everyone looks, but once its cleaned up everyone forgets about it. When the Inspector comes in to investigate, they are there for around 10 minutes and don’t look into vital clues and then leave without doing a full on investigation and doesn’t care who murdered this Upper Class white male which you think back then in the 30’s they would stop at nothing to find out what happened but apparently not. It seems as though the most important aspect of the film is a side thought. Now I know that people will just say that this film if more of a character study and it’s about learning about all the characters there and the roles they play, but my argument would be…. why? Why when the characters have no motive, no backstory, no personality to want to look at. If you want a perfect film on character study then watch ’12 Angry Men’. All of the characters are so uninspiring so its pretty difficult to sit through a 2 hour long film when the only thing these people can talk about is what clothes they should wear while their staff just go “Yes my lord”. Its hard to care about who the murderer is when the murder itself is so overlooked so why should I care that one person looks more like a suspect than the rest.

God it was bad, I cant understand why people like it, maybe its just not my type of film but in general it was just very slow and had nothing to it, a lot happened with no umpf, I didn’t get attached and I feel that’s what a mystery needs but apparently it’s not a mystery so what is this film?? Just a glimpse into rich people in the 30’s, I would just watch Downton Abbey as I feel that’s a more I depth look at this life, plus it still has Maggie Smith in it.

Overall this is just a film that had a lot of potential but is let down with overcrowding with no outcome. I love a film that leaves you with questions but this film leave you with questions with answers I cant comprehend. An example of that before I score this, there is a Scottish character who is the valet to an American film maker (who in the film is talking about making a film that is a murder mystery that takes place In a house that looks like the one they’re in and in the film you’re trying to guess who the murderer is…. he’s making Gosford Park in the film? Just poor writing if you ask me, it didn’t add anything and just looked self-indulgent… I’m going off topic, end bracket). So this Scottish valet goes sleeping around with the upper class ladies the whole film and at the end you learn that he’s actually an American actor who’s been putting on a voice? I guess you’re meant to suspect its him but… hang on, spoiler warning, you can skip to the next paragraph if you want to watch this for someone reason… so it’s not him that did it, so why did he put on a voice for the whole film, it’s made no sense.

It’s just a boring experience, boring boring boring, atleast have an explosion, dramatic death of a shape shifting alien that takes the appearance of its victims In order to blend in with the crowd!! I’m going onto ‘The Thing’ again…. dont watch Godford Park, I did it so you dont have to. Unless you like watching people act as though they are a kids school production where they are all trying to sound posh.

Oh yeah and i guessed the murderer as well, there wasnt even a great twist because it was an easy guess so I cant even latch onto that as a good thing.

2 Hot Glasses Of Milk out of 10

Requiem for a Dream

“It’s a reason to smile. It makes tomorrow all right”

Review by Lewis Goodall

*pours a sachet of cocaine on a table, draw lines with my debit card, roll up a tenner and snorts the line* Wooooooooooooah okay right, let’s get this review going let’s do this *claps hands and sniffs*.

Requiem for a dream is Darren Aronofsky’s depiction of Coney Island, inhabited by drug dealers and and drug takers. We specifically follow 4 residents whose lives are transformed and twisted as each of their addictions slowly take control. We have Harry Goldfarb (Jared Leto), a low-life cracker who will do anything for his next hit, mainly continuously stealing his mum’s TV and flogging it to the local pawn shop. Harry’s Mum, Sara (Ellen Burstyn), Learns that she has won the opportunity to be on her favourite TV show to be a contestant. We have Harry’s best friend and business partner, Tyrone (Marlon Wayans), whose very much the same as Harry but strives to be a better man. Lastly we have Harry’s girlfriend, Marion (Jennifer Connelly), an integral part to keeping Harry grounded and working alongside him so that she can open up her own shoe shop. All of them must continue to keep control as each of their separate addiction consume them as they go to any length to fill the voids in life.

Evidently there’s a lot going on her in this story so excuse me for a second *applies tourniquet and hotlines heroin to the veins* WOOOOOAH right boom let’s do this okay. Something I’ve learnt from Darren Aronofsky’s films is that he definitely has a knack for creating an insanely fleshed out story that visually crescendo’s to end with an experience that’s very hard to forget. We’ve seen that here with ‘Black Swan‘ (a film I consider perfect, please watch it) and also ‘Mother!‘. Each of these both are unforgettable so I assumed that Requiem for a dream would be exactly the same and….. yeah it’s the same, still cant get it out of my *sniff* head.

So if you feel uncomfortable when you see the ‘Drug misuse’ warning on the back of a case then this film probably isn’t for you, even though I would still recommend it because it’s a fantastic film, maybe just cover your eyes when there’s drugs on screen, if you do that then you can still probably see 3 minutes of this film. The story deals a lot with the way that addictions can take you life and contort it. The addictions explored within this film certainly do contain drugs as a foundation but it’s more about the way that every day life and the goals you strive to achieve can become your addictions. This is explored 4 different ways within our characters. So we have Harry, typical looking junkie who works along side Tyrone, dealing drugs to strive for the high life of being able to retire early surrounded by babes and sand, this is just the subtext I’m taking from this, it’s never explicitly mentioned but isn’t that what everyone wants when they retire?? So as a way of starting out they steal Harry’s mums TV. The mum is fairly used to this as she’s on first name terms with the owner of the pawn shop. As Harry and Tyrone do everything they can to achieve infinite wealth, Harry’s mum strives to fit into a red dress she’s had for years for when she appears on TV. Starting on a diet consisting of half a grapefruit and an egg, she starts craving food more and more but still wants to lose weight. Her friend advises her to see her doctor for appetite suppressors, which leads to her being controlled by these pills that make her hallucinate to the point where she believes her fridge is alive (Sounds goofy but it works, trust me). Lastly we have Marion who yes is a junkie who loves a hit of the good stuff but ultimately strives for human connection.

All of these stories are told incredibly well as you see of them slowly becoming corrupt by their new found addictions. The way they portray the characters taking hits from their designated drugs is interesting because I actually don’t think they show them explicitly using. Every time someone takes a hit it has a montage of close up shots consisting of blood cells reacting, syringes and pupils dilating and it’s all incredibly satisfying *Snorts another line*. Just the way that all these stories are told as they weave in and out of each other, I found each different vein as interesting as the next, although being slow at the beginning, as you learn more and more about the characters, you learn more about their addictions and how they are affecting them. I will admit though that I found the mums story the most enjoyable at the beginning as you could really see these suppressors taking over, not just mentally but physically. Ellen who plays her lost 40lbs over the course of shooting which is dedication to the roll and made it that much more real and certainly packs a punch.

Of course the story tells the story, that’s the whole point of having a story, but what was interesting was how the film is cut, there is a ridiculous amount of cuts within this film and it felt very erratic which really supported the uncontrollable feeling that you get throughout the film (and before you think I’m being pretentious, I looked it up and Darren Aronofsky did it on purpose so take that). Down to the cutting and the music, this film is a impeccable with its design.

The end of this film is one that’s going to stick with me because it’s just down right disturbing but honestly I knew what I was getting into from seeing his other films. It’s one of those experiences that needs to be experienced (It’s late, don’t judge my writing) so I wont spoil it all what happens, I wont even have a spoilers section, I’m not giving that up so easily as I urge everyone to see this film as I feel it is an essential film and can be appreciated by everyone, not just junkies. The end, although can be hard to watch, really shows the limits that all these people have gone to to achieve their high and their ultimate downfall.

Overall. *pops 8 PCP’s*. BRrRrRR this film, this film is fantastic, I would go as far as to say the best film about drugs I have seen. What I liked about this film that’s different to normal drug infused films is that it’s not just about the drugs, it’s about the real addictions that play on their minds and what ultimately takes over that leads them to do anything they can to get their fix. It’s not necessarily something where I can say that everyone can relate to this in a way (unless you’re a lean mean user), but I feel it’s a very creative way of showing that anything can be an addiction, whether that’s coffee, dieting, Mexican black tar heroin, there’s something out there for everyone, so you go out there and find what works best for you to fill that void.

9 Florida Oranges out of 10

Hustlers

“Drain the clock, not the cock”

Review by Lewis Goodall

If there was ever a film that would give out an STD then this film would be it. Right, onto the description.

Hustlers is based on a viral article written for the New York Magazine where a group of strippers conned Wall Street businessmen out of thousands of dollars by manipulating and drugging them. The film follows Destiny (Constance Wu), a new fish in the big pond of stripping. She starts at a new club where she is tutored by Ramoma (Jennifer Lopez) to become a master of the stripper pole. As the two work their way up to becoming the top mest to look at, a financial crash means that they are forced into a new path of hustling money from wall street prey in order to support their growing families.

I’m putting this film up against what I will call ‘The Vice Effect’. ‘Vice’ is an incredible film based on what Is a pretty dull story which is brought to life through incredible directing and editing (Lily reviewed ‘Vice’ here so I recommend giving that a read). The reason I mention this is because of course ‘Hustlers’ is also based on a true story. Vice took a boring story and made it fun, hustlers took an interesting story and made it dull. Where Vice used editing to make the story so naturally cool, hustlers tried so hard to replicate this same method of storytelling but it just came off incredibly weak and uninteresting.

The original story actually has some potential but the Hollywood storytelling nonsense sprinkled all over it was just sickening. Its incredibly cliche with its storyline and writing where I was predicting everything that is going to happen and it only went and did exactly what was I though was going to happen. They made it a typical underdog story who rises to the top, loses everything and then comes back on top again but included a buffet of poorly written characters, garnished in trashy acting and with a side order of unoriginality.

The characters themselves are just unlikeable, not at one point did I find myself onboard with what the characters were going through and I didnt feel emotionally attached to them at all. So as mentioned we follow Destiny, an orphan who takes care of her aging grandmother who is in debt. Destiny takes the job of a stripper and makes friends with all the other eye candy there. Some of these Include j-lo as mentioned, who is Destinys stipper version of Mr Miyagi. We have some other who I actually dont remember because they were all so dull and uninteresting that I dont want to waste my energy talking about them. I do have to mention Lizzo and Cardi B as they are plastered all over the posters. Lizzo is in the film for less than a minute, not even exaggerating, and Cardi B is there being her trashy self, I honestly dont think she was acting, I believe that they just had a camera pointed at her and let her be herself because it was all just trashy and uncomfortable. I know this film is based on strippers but they somehow managed to make the stripping scenes gross, not at one point did my blood cells trip take a vacation to boner town. I’m not saying that that is what I’m basing this film on, whether it excited me or not but my point is is that this film is supposed to be glamourising these women but it was just uncomfortable, I cant imagine anyone going ‘CORE YEAH BABY GIMME MORE OF THAT POLE WORK YEEEEEAH’ because all of the glamorous scenes came off as gross . I’m getting sidetracked but the characters are just unlikeable so it made the whole experience pointless because there was no rooting along with anyone to strive for them to achieve because what they are doing was just plain wrong which I’ll get into in a minute because its gonna get political. So I’ll talk about the editing first.


So as I mentioned literally 1 second ago, I’ll talk about the editing. Now the editing in this film was the only semi redeeming aspect of this film. There were moments of some pretty slick transitions which I was a fan of but other than those moments, the film came off as the nerdy kid who would wear what all the cool kids wears and then tries to fit in. It took a lot of inspiration from other films to attempted to implant a joke with quick cuts or attempt to make these women look like badasses when it just comes across as try-hard.

Now the political stuff that i have a problem with in terms of this film. So the whole story In general, the original story is pretty gritty with women drugging men a stealing their money. which is what brings me onto the film that attempts to glamourise this by making the characters seem as though they are independent women who are badass by drugging people. It felt uncomfortable that what they were doing was suppose to make you sympathise with what they did. A big problem I have with hollywood is the way it is towards women in the business. It confuses me that they talk so much about objectifying women but then go and make films like this which makes women objectifying themselves. This film was directed by a women which confuses me because at this point im trying to decide whether or not they are praising these women for being independent and drugging men, but then they get j-lo wearing an outfit where her anus was pretty much on show and having her dance for 5 minutes. I guess what I’m trying to get at with this is that I dont understand what they were going for with this film, I dont understand who the audience is suppose to be, are you justifying women drugging men? Do you want me to care about these characters who are unlikeable? The whole experience confused me and just adds to it feeling uncomfortable the whole way through.

Overall I feel as though you know where I’m going with this. This whole film is just the woman on the street corner in a leopard print skirt with withdrawal shakes. It the trashiest film I have every seen, not just in terms of the subject matter but in every aspect. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and pick myself up a self chlamydia test.

3 Starry Nips out of 10