Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Super Dark Times @ MOTELX Lisbon

I’m away at the moment travelling Southern Europe but that didn’t stop me from sniffing out a film festival during the trip. The film festival was MOTELX, a horror film festival based in Lisbon that was showing films while we were there. Lisbon is a beautiful city, so to not spend too much time in a dark room or annoying my girlfriend, we decided to only catch one film. That film was Super Dark Times. We saw the film in the Tivoli Theatre, a really cool old building that set a great atmosphere for this horror/thriller film.

Super Dark Times feels like it could be categorised into the Stand By Me, E.T and the Stranger Things genre of media. A throwback to the eighties, though it doesn’t wear its inspirations on its sleeve as other recent nostalgic throwbacks have. The film follows a group of friends who find themselves in a dilemma after an accident leaves one of them dead. Young, dumb and scared the remaining friends decide to hide the body and pretend nothing has happened. There’s more to the film than this but it’s better to go into the film blind, as it takes many different routes along the way to its climax. The young cast is made of unknowns (to me anyway) but all are great actors in the making, with excellent chemistry they carry the film along with ease, the main players being Owen Campbell, Charlie Tahan, Elizabeth Cappuccino, Max Talisman and Sawyer Barth.

It’s more of a thriller than a horror film but it also has a lot of teenage angst boiling beneath its surface, making it a great coming of age film as well. It mixes it up a lot, funny, scary, broody and romantic. It mainly takes places from the mindset of one of the friends, Zach, the camera even inhabiting his dreams as he tries to make sense of himself, his friends, his love life and the dead friend he’s covering up. It’s slightly slow in places but allows the audience to breathe and take in the events and enjoy the beautiful cinematography as it broods over a grey and misty in town in America.

I was really taken aback by this one. I really enjoyed it; I had a feeling I might but I didn’t know I would love it so much. I felt it perfectly captured the troubled mind of a teenager, whether through literal actions or dream sequences and it helped me get invested in the characters and their outcomes. When the more ‘horror’ elements come in, its tense and they do scare you because the film has earnt it. It’s a really incredible film for a debut feature from Kevin Phillips and one of my favourites of the year. I’m rating Super Dark Times a 5/5.

I would definitely go back to Lisbon and I would also love to head back to MOTELX when it’s back on; they obviously pick a great selection of films for their festival. I believe the film itself comes out on VOD later this month. I highly recommend it!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 4 September 2017

Quick Reviews #19

I thought it was time for another round of quick reviews, mainly for films I have seen in this year that I never got around to giving full reviews to. Not that this makes them bad, at least one of these is more than likely to make my top ten this year… Read on and enjoy!

Logan Lucky

Logan Lucky is a confident and well-made heist film that plays out with a bunch of characters you wouldn’t usually associate with the genre. It makes a for a low stakes but very funny film, where all threads are tightly woven and come together in a satisfying way in the end. The cast are all great, especially Danial Craig, who plays a role unlike any we’ve seen before, it’s genuinely great seeing him do something completely different to Bond. Also, get ready for the best Game of Thrones joke in a film yet…


Wow, this film lives up to its name! Such nail-biting and visceral experience. It was hard to watch at times but I did not want to avert my eyes from the gorgeous horror that was happening on screen. It was a strangely moving experience that stuck with me for the next few days. A unique coming of age film, unlike anything I’ve seen before, surrealist yet still approachable with a lot of subtext, the obvious ones being sexuality, social norms and femininity, with many more I’m looking forward to reading into. It won’t be for everyone but is an experience of a film that’s very inspiring. An incredible work of art. 

Death Note

Everybody is going on about how bad this film is, and if I had ever seen/read the source material I would probably be upset that it had be turned into a whitewashed, Americanised, one hour forty film - but I haven’t and I kind of enjoyed it. It’s a goofy premise with cheesy characters but it keeps you engaged and I got a kick out of it’s over the top nature and hammy acting. It’s not amazing, the style gets in the way of the substance and the very fast pacing can get in the way of emotional moments, it really could have done with slowing down every now and then to let me readjust. Apart from that, it was fine and it was fun, I understand if you were a fan of the material and hate it though.

Baby Driver

Edgar Wright is back after what feels like way too long! Baby Driver brings the action, the charm, the comedy and the romance as it blasts onto the big screen. It’s a visceral experience as Wright’s camera flair follows the action in an upbeat and unique way, completely choreographed to a kick ass soundtrack, with a dash of Tarantino and Scorsese in the mix. This film is as creative in its premise as it is in its approach, it’s so good to see this style of filmmaking where the camera is being used just as much as the incredible performances are to tell a story. This film is a lot of fun and deserves to be seen in the cinema. My only criticism is the lack of female characters, there’s really only two and they work mainly as extensions of the males they’re coupled with. Apart from that though, great film!

Thanks for reading!