Fargo at 25 – Review

https://www.thefilmagazine.com/fargo-25-movie-review/ SSP

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Hannibal at 20 – Review

https://www.thefilmagazine.com/hannibal-20-anniversary-movie-review/ SSP

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Host Interview with Director Rob Savage

https://www.thefilmagazine.com/host-interview-with-director-rob-savage-it-was-jemmas-fault/ SSP

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The Silence of the Lambs at 30 – Review

https://www.thefilmagazine.com/silence-of-the-lambs-movie-review/ SSP

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Review in Brief: The Dig (2021)

If it wasn’t on Netflix, THE DIG would be destined for Sunday afternoon TV circulation in perpetuity. That’s not to disparage the craft and passion that went into it, from Simon Stone’s steady direction to Mike Eley’s pristine cinematography and beyond, but it’s a romantic and somewhat cosy take on a key event in British history with good performances and added (honestly unneeded) dramatic tension thrown in. Unless you’re a historian you might not be familiar with the unearthing of the Sutton Hoo treasure in Suffolk just before WWII, but it was one of the biggest archaeological finds in British history and the film makes sure you know that from how preposterously shiny the gold is. Ralph Fiennes, Cary Mulligan and Lily James impress, and the whole thing is well-composed and evenly paced. Giving archaeologist Basil Brown long-overdue credit in a glossy drama film is an admirable aim, even if the film itself won’t change your life. SSP

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Malcolm & Marie (2021) Review

https://www.thefilmagazine.com/malcolm-marie-levinson-netflix-movie-review/ SSP

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Review in Brief: Synchronic (2019/20)

Weird sci-fi wunderkinds Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead don’t quite drop the ball with their third feature but it’s certainly a less assured effort than something like THE ENDLESS. Still by no means lacking ideas or visual creativity, but more prone to bad exposition and disjointed storytelling, SYNCHRONIC is flawed but interesting. Surprising absolutely no-one, Benson and Moorhead’s fourth feature film again explores time and perception, with a New Orleans paramedic Steve (Anthony Mackie) experimenting with a designer drug that drops you into a random era of the past for seven minutes. Mackie is good and the budget is stretched hugely creatively, but the themes are lacking the promised deep dive and you keep waiting for an almighty final twist that never comes. SSP

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Review in Brief: Archive (2020/21)

Indie sci-fi ARCHIVE wears its genre influences on its sleeve – MOON, EX MACHINA, SILENT RUNNING an iconic sequence lifted wholesale from GHOST IN THE SHELL. An engineer (Theo James) develops a series of increasingly sophisticated robot bodies to house his deceased wife’s (Stacy Martin) personality and ultimately her consciousness,which is being kept in a degrading hard drive, as well. It all looks good despite the modest budget and it’s by no means short of big ideas. But the film also feels cold, disconnected and too inanimate for you to care much about George or any of his creations, and the perhaps intentional reasons for the way it feels and how information is delivered to you become apparent far too late in the story to make any difference. Archive is a curiosity, but you’d probably be better off rewatching one of the films that inspired it. SSP

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Review in Brief: One Night in Miami… (2020)

In 1964, Malcolm X, Cassius Clay, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown met at a Miami hotel and spent the night in Malcom X’s room. That’s what we know happened – director Regina King and writer Kemp Powers imagine what was said in that room. The colourful quartet quickly split off and the night soon turns into a series of theatrical dialogues between pairs in the group, discussing what place American society found itself at this key turning point in 20th Century history. One of the more fascinating and challenging debates among many centres on Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr) extolling the benefits of white artists covering black artists’ songs. The leads are all excellent – Kingsley Ben-Adir gets the showiest turn as Malcolm X, oratorical cadence tellingly occasionally slipping when upset, and Eli Goree has the right swagger and naivety for Muhammad Ali before he went by the name. ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI… is mesmerising, contemplative, powerful filmmaking and the most confident of calling cards for Regina King as director. SSP

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Review in Brief: Pieces of a Woman (2020)

While some of its speeches might be a little too mannered and stagey (if still gamely performed by the cast) PIECES OF A WOMAN still comes out on the captivating side. How grief corrupts and deforms people is not sugarcoated by writer Katia Wéber and director Kornél Mundruczó, and the opening extended home birth scene couldn’t be more compelling. It’s a prickly film to engage with, bringing to light some difficult truths about human behaviour, but is nonetheless powerful and thoughtful. Vanessa Kirby’s raw and ravaged performance as her character spirals over several months is an understandable awards front-runner, but Ellen Burstyn threatens to steal the show as Martha’s ailing but still formidable mother. Expect a tough watch, but not one entirely lacking in hope. SSP

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