With “The Disappearance of Alice Creed,” screenwriter and first-time director J Blakeson has avoided the numerous pitfalls that befall many fledgling filmmakers by thinking small. Shot in four weeks with a cast of just three actors, Blakeson has evidently concentrated on getting the crucial aspects of successful filmmaking just right; a strong cast, slick direction and an engrossing plot that’s brimming with greed and deceit.
Italian director Giuseppe Picconi’s latest picture is a touching, wonderfully understated tale of boredom, love, deception and ultimately tragedy. It’s a well observed and beautifully shot film that benefits from some fine central performances and — despite its inherently solemn tone — is a fascinating and thoroughly compelling watch. Continue reading
Survival in the face of desperate odds is a theme that Alfonso Cuarón has explored before. His 2006 picture Children of Men is a sumptuous contemplation of the fierce will of humanity to prevail when in a seemingly helpless situation. Whilst Children of Men considered the very existence of mankind, Gravity is a smaller, simpler story on a far grander scale; an examination of the sheer determination to live in an environment where life is inherently impossible. Continue reading
Proponent of the mumblecore movement, Joe Swanberg’s pictures are renowned, revered even for their naturalistic verity. Whilst Drinking Buddies embraces many of the foibles of the genre, chiefly an overtly improvisational tone, it also represents a marked progression in that it features a well-known cast and a more polished veneer than what has come before.
Adapted from his 2008 short of the same name, Destin Cretton’s Short Term 12 is an impressively realised, heart-rending glimpse into the world of the foster care home, the kids who pass through and the carers who guide them on their way.
Director Christopher Smith is slowly emerging as one of the most interesting young filmmakers currently operating in the thriller-horror genre. Having cut his directorial teeth on the superbly spooky London Underground-set “Creep,” Smith changed tack with his follow-up, “Severance,” a grisly horror-comedy. Subverting the genre is clearly something Smith seems particularly comfortable with, even intrigued by, so it should come as no surprise that his latest offering, “Triangle,” ventures rather neatly into psychological thriller territory, albeit with a delicious twist.