Review: Angels in America Rating 95%

Review: Angels in America

Even experienced from 500 miles away in the local cosiness of the Glasgow Film Theatre, it’s as if an angel has burst through our ceiling and is addressing us with her holy message. Such is the visceral ferocity of the National Theatre’s production of Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer-winning play, Angels In America. It’s wincingly relevant, bar the lack of smartphones and the internet; simply swap the name of the incumbent president and play a short round of spot the difference.

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Review: Romans Rating 82%

Review: Romans

The IMDB synopsis for this film is “An adult victim of childhood sexual abuse confronts the horrors of his past” and having sat looking at blank screen for thirty or so minutes I’m damned if I can better it. Romans is directed by the Shammasian Brothers from a deeply personal Geoff Thompson script that wades through the wreckage left by abuse while exploring the ongoing damage caused by all who are touched by it.

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Review: A Kind of Seeing & LeithLate presents Drifters Rating 91%

Review: A Kind of Seeing & LeithLate presents Drifters

Jason Singh, international beatboxer, was highly impressive as he demonstrated his skills as a one man cinematic score for John Grierson’s 1929 debut documentary, Drifters. As part of a tour along the North Sea, A Kind of Seeing (AKA Shona Thomson) and LeithLate took this ‘trawler’ film to Destiny Church in Leith, which used to be a cinema in the 1920s. 

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Review: In This Corner of the World Rating 100%

Review: In This Corner of the World

Hiroshima is no longer just a place to us. The memory of tragic events still haunt the word like an infection. When we meet Suzu and her family and learn they live in Hiroshima, we know what’s coming at some point. She is married off to a man she hardly knows and moves to the neighbouring town – even through this we sigh with relief as she’s no longer in THAT place. Her family remain there though, while we get lost in the trials and tribulations of her wartime life. We see her struggle and celebrate her successes alongside her but always – always – the calendar marches forward and in the back of your mind the knowledge of Hiroshima lingers whispering the oncoming darkness.

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Shona Thomson: Bringing films home

As we sit down on the terrace just off the food court of Ocean Terminal, the first thing that comes to Shona Thomson’s mind is to check her MarineTraffic app.  I haven’t heard of it, and she pulls out her phone to show me as it checks her location, then proceeds to provide information on the ships we can see moored in the Leith docks in front of us: a Bahamas-registered cruise ship bound for Kirkwall, and a buoy-laying vessel built in 2000.  Shona’s Twitter handle is @urbantwitcher and, whether or not the Leith docks count as urban, there is a sense that these boats are in contention for becoming this moment’s rare birds.

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Review: My Life As A Courgette Rating 97%

Review: My Life As A Courgette

My Life As A Courgette is the multi-award nominated animation from Claude Barras, featuring a script adapted by Céline Sciamma, who made the incredible Girlhood. With a running time of just over an hour, Golden Globe & Oscar nominations and a hundred per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that I also recommend it as one of the films you absolutely must see this year. I have now watched it three times and felt a life-affirming emotional resonance during each viewing.

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Review: Final Portrait, EIFF 2017 Rating 60%

Review: Final Portrait, EIFF 2017

Before watching Stanley Tucci’s Final Portrait, which was screened as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival, I had a the absolute pleasure of attending a Q&A session with the director titled “In Person: Stanley Tucci”. Tucci talked about his incredible body of work and how his directorial style is very simple and intimate. Interestingly, he also spoke about the admiration he garnered for Michael Bay while working alongside him on the new Transformers movie, and how part of the thrill of being involved in such a film is watching how someone like Bay works. Tucci was quick to highlight how little his own style compares to Bay’s while also recognising that it was that same dissonance (along with the substantial paycheck!) that drew him towards working with Bay. 

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Review: Song to Song Rating 68%

Review: Song to Song

Filmed largely in Austin, Texas, SXSW’s and Malick’s home town, Song to Song, is a Malick film in the true regard, as pondering and exploration hold the core of the narrative. Starring Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Natalie Portman and Michael Fassbender, it’s considered a “modern love story set against the Austin music scene, where two entangled couples … chase success through a rock’n’roll landscape of seduction and betrayal”.

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Review: The Seasons in Quincy, Four Portraits of John Berger Rating 63%

Review: The Seasons in Quincy, Four Portraits of John Berger

Split into four parts aptly, The Seasons in Quincy is the result of a five-year project by Tilda Swinton, Colin MacCabe and Christopher Roth to produce a visual portrait of the intellectual and storyteller John Berger. Produced by the Derek Jarman Lab, an audio-visual hub for graduate filmmaking based at Birkbeck, University of London, in collaboration with the composer Simon Fisher Turner, the film focuses on four different aspects of Berger, with its concentration on Quincy, his home and Alpine village.

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