This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith (Severance) takes a bracingly inventive approach to telling the story. The result is a film that pulls us in and challenges us with ideas and emotions that are deeply resonant, even as the plot builds a gripping sense of tension. And in addition to the twisty, tricky filmmaking style, the performances carry a striking emotional kick.
It opens in Los Angeles, where law student Harper (Tye Sheridan) is convinced that his stepfather Vincent (Stephen Moyer) is a monster. Not only might be be responsible for the car crash that put Harper's mother in a coma, but he's planning a dirty weekend in Las Vegas with a waitress. Then as Harper hatches a plan to do something about this, he meets the mercurial thug Johnny (Emory Cohen), and convinces him to drive to Nevada with him to give Vincent the comeuppance he deserves. But their trip is complicated when Johnny brings his stripper girlfriend Cherry (Bel Powley) along, especially since Harper is clearly smitten. And while all of this is happening, Harper is imagining how he might also handle this on his own.
These flickering internalised scenes give the film a kind of Sliding Doors-style tone, showing both what is and what might have been. But Smith has a surprise in store in the way he brings these strands together, redefining both the plot and the characters to pull us in even more deeply. It helps that the three central actors deliver hugely compelling performances. In another riveting turn, Sheridan anchors the film with a beautifully layered performance that's powerfully sympathetic even when Harper does something nasty. Cohen is also terrific in a flashier role as the charismatic hothead, while Powley cleverly holds back to bring out Cherry's more intriguing angles later in the story.
Continue reading: Detour Review
J.K. Simmons and Christopher Smith - J.K. Simmons visits the cast of Broadway's 'Amazing Grace' backstage at the Nederlander Theatre at Nederlander Theatre, - New York City, New York, United States - Friday 3rd July 2015
With the recent release of 'Get Santa', actor Jim Broadbent has given the holiday gift of laying out the secret to a perfect Santa Claus.
Merry Christmas to all. It's probably the case that everyone has had to dress up as Santa Claus at least once in their life; stomping around the house, 'Ho Ho Ho'-ing and eating mince pies next to the fireplace, ready to vanish back to bed before you wake the household. But you don't have to be a trained actor to perfect the role of Father Christmas, as actor Jim Broadbent explained - it's all in the costume.
Jim Broadbent stars alongside Warick Davis in 'Get Santa'
"As soon as I got it all on I thought, 'Oh, this is good - it does all my acting for me!'" said Broadbent, who plays St. Nicholas in the recent Christmas hit 'Get Santa'. But for someone with such a storied and impressive career as Broadbent - who has worked on the 'Harry Potter' series and 'Cloud Atlas' amongst many others - just what draws someone to working on a Christmas film?
Continue reading: Jim Broadbent: How To Play Santa Claus
Solidly entertaining Christmas movies are so rare that when one comes along it feels like the best gift ever. Perhaps more horror filmmakers should turn their hand to family-friendly action comedies. This one is written and directed by Christopher Smith, the British filmmaker behind freak-outs like Severance and Triangle. But this movie is a pure joy, deploying a warped sense of humour that will have adults laughing a bit more than the kids, who will be caught up in a terrific wish-fulfilment adventure of their own.
In London, Steve (Rafe Spall) has just been released after two years in prison, and his first priority is to see his 10-year-old son Tom (Kit Connor), who lives with Steve's ex Alison (Jodie Whittaker) and her new husband. That same night, Tom finds a beardy man (Jim Broadbent) in the garage who claims to be Santa Claus and needs Steve's help. Steve is more than a little skeptical, but wants to spend time with Tom so heads off on a rescue mission that gets increasingly complicated with every passing moment. Mainly because Santa gets himself arrested while trying to liberate his reindeer after they were caught roaming around the city streets. Coincidentally housed in Steve's old prison, he gets some help from Steve's former fellow inmates (including Stephen Graham, Warwick Davis and Nonso Anozie), while Steve discovers that maybe something magical is going on after all
This may be one of those "find your childhood love of Christmas" movies, but Smith never pushes the sentimentality. Instead, he keeps the story moving with brisk momentum, piling on some hilariously deranged gags along with madcap action set-pieces that include chases, dress-up silliness and, yes, a prison break. The script is tight and funny, including the requisite poo and fart jokes, as well as some more sophisticated movie sight-gags and clever character detail. These people may be faintly ridiculous, but the actors dive in headlong and bring us with them.
Continue reading: Get Santa Review
In 1348 the many people of England were struck down by the plague that swept the length and breadth of the island. Knight Ulrich was one of the greatest fighters of the time and when he learnt of a small village untouched by the deadly illness, he tasked himself, a band of soldiers and a young monk to discover their secret and hunt down a powerful sorcerer thought to be able to bring the dead back to life.
Continue: Black Death Trailer
Jess (George) is clearly having a bad morning when she joins her friend Greg (Dorman) for a day trip on his gorgeous sailboat with his friends Sally and Downey (Carpani and Nixon), their friend Heather (Lung) and Greg's shipmate Victor (Hemsworth). After a sudden freak storm, they are rescued by an ocean liner that seems to be utterly empty. Except that they start dying one by one.
Sort of. And Jess is the only one who has an inkling that she may be able to stop the cycle of violence.
Continue reading: Triangle Review
In fact, the aspect of the British Office that Severance imitates most in its opening scenes is that show's occasional avoidance of actual satire in favor of invoking general malaise. We find members of the Palisades Defense sales team bussing their way to a team-building retreat; they're vaguely miserable, save for smarmy boss Richard (Tim McInnerny) and his suck-up assistant (Andy Nyman). But echoes of Brent and Gareth aside, this small group of sad-sacks looks like pretty much any other gang of Brit-com misfits: the slacker/stoner (Danny Dyer), the bumbling git (Nyman), the nerdy girl (Claudie Blakley), and the pompous guy (Toby Stephens). There's also a pretty American (Laura Harris) who all of the gents seem to fancy.
Continue reading: Severance Review
This is a prime example of what is common referred to as a geek show. In the olden days, that meant that carnival goers were ushered into a back tent (and usually asked to cough up a few more dimes) to view a geek doing geek things, like biting the heads off chickens or swallowing worms. It was the lowest rung of entertainment, the 20th century equivalent of bear baiting.
Continue reading: Creep Review
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