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23 October 2014

Blu-ray Review - I Clowns (1970, Masters Of Cinema Release)



Genre:
Documentary
Distributor:
Eureka! Entertainment
BD Release Date:
27th October 2014 (UK)
Rating:U
Director:
Federico Fellini
Cast:
Riccardo Billi, Federico Fellini, Gigi Reder,
buy:I Clowns (The Clowns) [Masters of Cinema] Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) (1970)

Fellini’s work in the 1970s is often overlooked when it comes to his oeuvre but it contains someof his finest and most imaginative films. I Clowns is a prime example of this: it was made for Italian TV in 1970 and is a quasi-documentary about clowns, but to call it “just a documentary” would be hard. It’s more of a mockumentary, not unlike what he later did with Roma well before the concept was in vogue. Fellini is a character in both films, and is this case making a film on circus clowns.

As is the case with pretty much all of Fellini’s films, there is an autobiographical element,and the little boy who was enchanted by the clowns but scared by them in equal measure is clearly a young Fellini. This not unlike how he approaches his female characters in his films, especially some like 8 ½. Fellini shows up later making a documentary on famous circus clowns though Europe and finds them in Paris, among other places.

The film ends with a parade, like Fellini’s finest film 8 ½, and the director returns to themes has done before. Many of the truly great directors, like his most logical successor in cinematic fantasy Terry Gilliam, do this and Hitchcock basically made a film about a wrong man at least a dozen times. It’s indulgent in the way Fellini is, but unlike some of his later films it has enough discipline due to the short running time of 90 minutes since it was a TV movie. The film is full of vibrant colour that the initial TV audience missed due to it premiering in black and white.

It’s a hidden gem in Fellini’s wonderful imaginative body of work that has luckily been re-released by Masters of Cinema. This is a nice HD transfer which brings out the beauty in the grotesque perfectly. It features a video essay along with numerous written essays in the booklet.


★★★★1/2
Ian Schultz

22 October 2014

DVD Review - Treehouse (2014)



Genre:
Horror
Distributor:Signature Entertainment
Rating:15
DVD Release Date:
20th October 2014 (uk)
Director:
Simon Bartlett
Cast:
J. Michael Trautmann,Dana Melanie, Clint James
buy:Treehouse [DVD]

Even if it feels like an episode of X-Files and looks like it was shot by the Home and Away team, Michael Bartlett’s Treehouse is actually pretty interesting. For one thing, setting a large lump of the action in a treehouse is pretty astute: it’s small, claustrophobic, terrifying at night, and seemingly easy to defend from attack. Where many other straight-to-DVD features let budgeting, poor acting, and dubious direction sink the boat of their labours, Treehouse actually manages to execute enough tension and intrigue to surpass all of these things, which it unfortunately has in its own ways.

Killian (J. Michael Trautmann) and his older brother Crawford (Daniel Fredrick) venture into the woods around their town for a night of fireworks and booze, and after discovering a missing girl (Dana Melania) in a treehouse their night is turned into one of terror and murder. Basic premise, but worked with pretty well.

The forest could have been used to better effect, such a close environment is actually horrifyingly confusing in the dead of night, and though there are many stark scenes that almost create the right atmosphere, there’s still not enough to keep the audience as on-edge as they could be. On the other hand there’s a great use of sound that makes some of the house and treehouse stalk-sequences tense as hell. Melania and Trautmann are probably at their best when reacting to the forest threat, helping to induce a palpable dread that the camera work and script can’t quite induce.

The final 10 minutes is a bit of a curve-ball, identifying the threat but really just grabbing it from nowhere. If the attackers (a confusingly nightmarish take on the 3 bullies at the start of the film) had been filtered in, or alluded to it would have felt a bit more coherent. Still, it actually works out just fine with the Deliverance trio cutting a mean silhouette towards the abandoned farmhouse where little Bear and the girl wind up. From then it becomes a game of cat and mouse with breath-taking edge, not least because the stakes all of a sudden get pretty grave.

What Treehouse does is introduce an unmarked threat, something seemingly supernatural that stalks them up in the treetops, then when the Gothic fairy tale atmosphere is fled, it changes the tone and threat to something far closer to home. It’s clever because films frequently can’t execute the switch: bringing the outside in or vice versa, but here it’s almost saying it doesn’t matter what the threat is, we’ll identify one no matter where we are. Of course, it’s not like this film is based exclusively in the victims’ paranoid minds, it’s very much a victimisation from an external threat. 

 Treehouse is so close to being a good feature that it’s almost possible to ignore a lot of its first act boredom. It’s got some great spooks, some dodgy acting, weird timing, but there’s an idea at its heart that shows initiative and scope with the least effort.

★★1/2
Scott Clark

18 October 2014

Watch The Engrossing Similo Sci-fi Short


When it comes to calling films stunning, riveting, engrossing there is very few films that merit that stature, Miguel de Olaso and Bruno Zacarías short film Similo is one we would call engrossing.

Similo is an 23 minute sci-fi film set in the future where humans live in Antarctic cities all thanks to the global climate changes. Hebe and Ciro are back together again however one is looking for love another their identity.

Similo is essentially an love story set in the back drop of climate changes with the concentration of wealth, consumerism ironically in cities created by big coroperations. Similo has a big sense of realism to it which makes a wonderful 23 minutes you would gladly give up.



source:QuietEarth

18 October 2014

Film Review - Art of Darkness (2014) - Raindance Film Festival


18 October 2014

The Truth Will Be Revealed In Daniel Simpson's Hangar 10 Official Trailer


From the producer of Creep, Severance and Triangle, Hangar 10 aka The Rendlesham UFO Incident is a British sci-fi horror thriller and today we get our first look at the film's official trailer which suggests Horror will come from the sky!

Hangar 10 does believe it or not has a true story behind it based around the Rendlesham Forest UFO incident in which 3 metal detector enthusiasts go search for Saxon Gold.Whilst filming their findings what they capture on camera is an invading Alien armada of ships leading the threesome to a night of terror as the newly arrived 'visitors' stalk them.


Ok Hangar 10 is an found footage and it's been done a million times however we give our thumbs up to the production team attempting to spice things up trying something a little different. Plenty of scares, shady government officials and creatures vying for your blood and if they take some of the scares from the likes of creep got an exciting brainless fun flick on her hands.

Bloody Disgusting have unleashed this trailer on the masses as Hangar 10 is been released 7th November in USA by IFC Midnight VOD/limited cinema release, however UK release is early 2015 are we looking at a potential 2015 Film 4 Frightfest Glasgow film?

33 years after the infamous Rendlesham Forest UFO incident, three metal detector enthusiasts hunting for Saxon gold in the same region capture incredible footage of UFOs whilst filming their expedition. As night falls – and with their navigation equipment failing – the trio finds themselves facing a terrifying encounter with an unforgiving alien presence


17 October 2014

LFF 2014 - London Film Festival Cinehouse Highlights


Away from the red carpets, A-List actors and star directors there was still plenty going on at the 58th London Film Festival to attract the most discerning of cinema fan. While the glitzy premieres massed together much of the media attention, huddling under umbrellas to catch a glimpse, a photo and a few words from talent including the likes of Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Adam Sandler and Jennifer Lawrence there were hundreds of other films showing in 15 venues spread out across the nation’s capital.

The LFF’s timely positioning towards the end of the year often allows it to soak up some of the big hitters from earlier festivals such as Cannes, Venice or Toronto. This year these included Mr. Turner, Whiplash, Foxcatcher and Hungry Hearts among others. Outside of these though and away from the guaranteed hits, what were the films that, if viewers were brave enough to gamble on, really paid off?

Here are just 5 of films that may not have garnered many headlines but certainly proved a hit at the festival.

A GIRL WALKS HOME AT NIGHT
It isn’t everyday that a black and white Iranian vampire film comes along so it’s safe to say that this is, without question, the best one around. Ana Lily Amirpour’s debut feature is an incredibly stylish and wonderfully photographed film that calls to mind early Jim Jarmusch films while simultaneously being completely unique. Its blend of genres, considered soundtrack and impressive cinematography ensured this was a film completely of its own, and completely fascinating.


10,000KM
By the time it was shown at LFF, there was unfortunate news that this lo-fi gem of a Spanish film had not been chosen to represent the country as their entry into the Academy Awards. While you can see why voters opted against the play-like structure and modern conceit you cannot help but feel they missed a trick. Simply told it is a story of a couple trying to maintain their relationship over the enforced 10,000km distance of the title but its success is the tenderness, believability of the performances and the use of modern technology that ensures we are behind them 100% throughout.


MOMMY
It may be a slight cheat including Mommy on this list as its prodigiously young director, Xavier Dolan, already has four acclaimed films under his belt but his latest topped them all. It’s expertly told tale of a violently troubled teen and his testing relationship with his widowed Mum could, and deservedly should, be the one to push the 25 year-old further into the limelight.


EDEN
Before Daft Punk became everyone’s favourite disco-revelling, Nile Rogers-featuring, family friendly band, they were electronic pioneers of Parisian house music. Mia Hansen-Love’s Eden traces the fictional account of aspiring DJ Paul from the burgeoning French dance scene of the 90’s to the global phenomenon it became, uncovering the robotic duo amongst others. This thumping musical love letter takes in clubs, drugs and relationship woes along the way to dizzying effect.


GUEROS
Shot in black-and-white with stylistic overtones and plenty of fourth wall breaking, this Mexican film certainly has an air of French New Wave about it. The backdrop of student protest only furthers its Gallic likeness but Alonso Ruizpalacios’ feature is much more than an imitated knock-off looking for credit by association. When teenage Tomas gets sent to the City to live with his student brother and roommate the three inadvertedly end up on the road in search of a forgotten rock legend and take in the sights and bright lights along the way.

Matthew Walsh

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