Energetic, confident, assured, charismatic, ambitious, witty, funny. All qualities that Joseph Gordon-Levitt exhibited on stage when introducing his new film Don Jon as part of the Laugh gala in association with Empire on Wednesday evening. Clearly immensely proud to be presenting his debut film as writer-director to the Odeon West End audience, he exuded enthusiasm and charm in his brief but winning introduction.
Tuesday night a team of DCM crew were in attendance for the glitzy BFI Centrepiece Gala Premiere of Inside Llewyn Davis, the Coen Brothers’ hotly anticipated film following the huge success of their last collaboration, True Grit.
Director Jonathan Glazer is a man responsible for some of the greatest music videos of all time and his two features to date, Sexy Beast and Birth demonstrate that his formidable talent extends to longer narratives too. With his latest film, Under The Skin, he has undertaken something else entirely. It’s less a narrative and more a sensory experience that contains a host of images that won’t be forgotten any time soon.
What narrative there is follows an alien called Laura, played by Scarlett Johansson with dyed hair and fur coat, who has rather unluckily found herself in Glasgow (of all the places to land). The film documents Laura experiencing the world and interacting with humans for the first time. She drives around in a transit van, visits shopping centres and nightclubs and does scenic coastal and forest walks. For reasons that aren’t explained, or if they were I missed it, she also leads unsuspecting and rather aroused males to their death in a mysterious black liquid that reduces its victims to a chilling husk. There’s also a man on a motorcycle who drives around Scotland interacting with people and locations that Laura has come into contact with. His purpose isn’t clear but it adds to the unsettling and discordant feel of proceedings. From first to last minute, the film successfully conjures, through oppressive sound design and off-kilter visuals an other-worldly and yes, alien atmosphere. I’d say it’s most relatable to the ambience Glazer created in his stunning video for UNKLE’s Rabbit In Your Headlights.
Having played a supporting role in big screen comedies, including Step Brothers, We’re The Millers and Wanderlust, with Afternoon Delight the immensely talented Kathryn Hahn finally gets the chance to show what she can do in a lead role, and she doesn’t disappoint.
Hahn plays Rachel, a housewife and mother who, finding many aspects of her life with her husband Jeff (Josh Radnor) have gone stale, decides to visit a strip club with a group of friends. After a dalliance with lapdancer McKenna (Juno Temple), she engineers a subsequent meeting with her and ends up inviting her to live in the family’s spare room. She wastes little time in inviting McKenna to social engagements and asking her to babysit, whilst trying to lead her away from her life as a stripper and sex worker.
A semi-improvised comedy from one of the creative talents behind the mumblecore movement, set around a craft beer brewery couldn’t be more achingly hip but thankfully Drinking Buddies is superbly cast and surprisingly insightful.
Olivia Wilde plays Kate, a Chicago brewery worker who loves beer and socialising with her colleagues, particularly Jake Johnson’s Luke. Kate is in the relatively early stages of a relationship with the more reserved Chris (Ron Livingson) and Luke has been involved with Jill (Anna Kendrick) for a number of years, however this doesn’t stop either of them indulging flirting at regular opportunities.
An almost dialogue free account of one man on a boat in bad weather. Not perhaps the most tantalising one line summary but when that one man is screen legend Robert Redford, who delivers a genuinely captivating performance, it elevates the film almost into the realm of must-see.
It may be most notable for featuring one of James Gandolfini’s last screen performances but this warm, charming film is also one of the most gently rewarding experiences I’ve had in a cinema this year. It’s a perfectly judged romantic comedy from Nicole Holofcener (Lovely And Amazing, Please Give) that I could have happily continued to watch had it been an hour or two longer.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (TV’s Seinfeld, Veep) plays Eva, a forty something, divorced masseuse who meets also-divorced Albert at a party. Their initial meeting is awkward but the two of them are sufficiently interested in each other to go on a first date. The date is a success, the relationship develops and all is going swimmingly until Eva learns that Albert just so happens to be the ex-husband of one of her clients, Marianne (Catherine Keener). Unaware of their burgeoning relationship, Marianne spends much of her massage sessions bad-mouthing her ex-husband.
All Cheerleaders Die – A playful and comedic affair, providing a spin on the traditional high school comedy
Lucky McKee may sound more like a character from Balamory than a purveyor of cinematic horror but after his brutal last film The Woman shocked audiences with its tale of a feral woman captured and tortured by a successful country lawyer, he joined the likes of Ti West (The Innkeepers) and Adam Wingard (You’re Next) at the forefront of a new horror movement.
McKee’s follow-up may surprise some as although it’s not without horror moments, it is a far more playful and comedic affair, providing a spin on the traditional high school comedy. All the usual tropes are in place, the bitchy cheerleaders, the alpha-male jock, the socially awkward nerds and there’s plenty of slow-motion walking down school corridors. The film opens like a cross between Spring Breakers and Bring It On but McKee and co-director Chris Sivertson introduce supernatural elements with mixed results.
This year’s Palme d’Or winner arrived in London with director Abdellatif Kechiche and young star Adèle Exarchopolous in tow having attracted numerous headlines since its festival bow. Despite wowing the Cannes jury, the film’s graphic sex scenes have split critics and audiences alike, while grumblings surfaced in interviews from both lead actresses about the difficulty of working with Kechiche, to such an extent that they’d never work with him again. Proclaiming that he wanted to cancel the release, Kechiche has evidently been perturbed by this wave of negative press, but the final result is a truly astounding tour-de-force of cinema which deserves as wide an audience as possible.
Last Sunday, the Poole family celebrated their 20th year of ownership of the Pavilion Cinema Galashiels.
The family run independent cinema, which boasts four fully digital screens and two 3D systems, is located on the face of Market Street and serves the population of Galashiels as well as the wider Scottish Borders community.