Peterloo Trailer: Mike Leigh Recreates the 1819 Massacre

Down with the Corn Laws!

After his 2014 masterpiece Mister Turner, low-fi leftist legend Mike Leigh is back with what looks like another masterful re-creation of early 19th-century Britain. His new subject is the 1819 Peterloo Massacre in Manchester, in which local authorities called for a cavalry charge to disperse radical reformers protesting undemocratic representation and widespread famine caused by the infamous Corn Laws. At least ten people were killed, with hundreds more injured, and the event soon became a rallying cry in the campaign to bring the vote to the working class. If you didn’t learn about this in school, it’s because they don’t want you to know [ . . . ]

Continue reading at THE VULTURE: Peterloo Trailer: Mike Leigh Recreates the 1819 Massacre


The Primal Attraction of ‘Beast’

Arresting lead performances give this British psychological thriller an alluringly dangerous sexual energy.

At first it comes on like a grim version of Sixteen Candles: a young, flame-haired woman flees her house after being upstaged at her own birthday party (where her older sister makes a happy announcement, with perfect malicious timing), then gets tipsy at a club and ends up with a dodgy boy who turns out to be a creep. Life is almost comically frustrating for Moll (Jessie Buckley), but Beast is no John Hughes scenario. Moll’s not a teenager anymore, and her stunted existence—she lives with her parents and helps tend a father with dementia—is shadowed by a troubling incident from her past.

Beast, which played during the first week of SIFF, is Michael Pearce’s feature writing/directing debut. The beast stalking the Isle of Jersey—that small enclave of Englishness just off the coast of France—has already killed a handful of people, including a victim slain the night of Moll’s birthday. Pearce rolls out the story as a whodunit, scattering a few viable suspects around—but Moll’s family, and the police, think the main candidate is Pascal Renouf (Johnny Flynn), the rough, scar-faced young man who came to Moll’s rescue the night she ran away. Moll and Pascal, both cast out by society, rush toward each other as though magnetized. She knows he could be the killer, but after having been surrounded by dullards on a small island all her life, the intoxication of their chemistry overwhelms her. When an insinuating police officer (Trystan Gravelle) interrogates Moll and asks whether her sex life with Pascal has been out of the ordinary, she contemptuously replies, “It’s not ordinary. It’s amazing.”

This is mad love, always rich turf for the movies. We see Moll taking dangerous risks on Pascal’s account, and we worry about her, but we also sense her exhilaration. The premise is a little like Nicholas Ray’s great film noir In a Lonely Place (1950), where we watch Humphrey Bogart begin a romance with Gloria Grahame while he’s under suspicion for murder—except that Beast shows us the dynamic from the female perspective. Pearce adds a sinister undercurrent: Moll, after all, must herself be considered one of the suspects.

I wish Beast fulfilled all its early promise, but it stumbles toward the end, and its caricature of domestic asphyxiation seems a little canned—did Moll’s mother (ably played by Geraldine James) have to be quite such a brittle harridan? The movie is memorable, though, because of the two lead performances. The Irish-born Buckley has seen success in longform TV shows like Taboo and BBC’s War and Peace, while Flynn is a musician and actor, perhaps best known as the youthful version of Albert Einstein in Genius. They’re mesmerizing. When movie stars are cast as misfits, it can produce unconvincing results (see Michelle Pfeiffer in Frankie and Johnny). No such problem here. Buckley and Flynn are both arresting—and it’ll be surprising if their careers don’t take off—but they don’t come across like stars. They look as though they’d stepped out of the pages of an old folk tale hatched from an insular island culture like Jersey’s: two phantom spirits, not entirely to be trusted.

Source: SEATTLE TIMES The Primal Attraction of ‘Beast’ | Seattle Weekly

Liverpool: ‘Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool’ review: A tale of love between an ill-matched bohemian couple 

It’s astonishing to see the control that the director Paul McGuigan exercises over the overtly sentimental drama.

So if you get the impression that is a film about an ill-matched bohemian couple indulging in a scandalous affair, then banish the thought.

“Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool” (at least the one in this film doesn’t) is a deeply tragic tale of star-crossed love, almost like a “Romeo and Juliet” whose Juliet is, in the words of Liverpool’s Romeo old enough to play Juliet’s nurse.

If you are looking for a film about a fading femme-fatale fornicating with her toy-boy then [ . . . ]  Read more at: Liverpool: ‘Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool’ review: A tale of love between an ill-matched bohemian couple – The Economic Times

Movie Review: Ghost Stories 

Adapted from a play first performed in 2010 and since toured around the UK and worldwide, Ghost Stories is the brainchild of Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson, long-time collaborator of Derren Brown and the unseen quarter of the League of Gentlemen respectively. Appropriately, the experience of watching Ghost Stories is like riding a funfair ghost train: rattling along, bursting through doors, watching creepy scene after creepy scene until a loop-the-loop finale that leaves you on a spectre induced high

Ghost Stories follows Professor Phillip Goodman (Andy Nyman), a TV sceptic, as he tries to solve three cases with ties to the supernatural. These include a night watchman (Paul Whitehouse) working in a former asylum, a teenager (Alex Lawther) whose car breaks down in the middle of nowhere and a businessman (Martin Freeman) awaiting the birth of his first child. Professor Goodman maintains that every ostensibly paranormal encounter has a rational explanation, but the more he learns about the unresolved incidents, the more his beliefs are tested.

Set against the milieu of a faded seaside town and the grey skied isolation of countryside living, the locations and landscapes in which Ghost Storiestakes place are as much of a character as any of the cast. It’s a very cold and decaying world that’s created by the camera, one that successfully helps grow the unease of the audience. One of the creepiest scenes in the movie takes place in a shadowy and oppressive suburban family home with the uncanny image of two figures, completely motionless with their backs to the camera, made all the worse by the claustrophobic atmosphere of the house [ . . . ]

Read Full Review: Ghost Stories review | Den of Geek