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Film Review: Mansfield 66/67

Reviewed by Lee Hill

After Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield is the other mythic blonde bombshell that haunts Hollywood’s past and present. Her fame mainly rests on her comedic roles in two Frank Tashlin films, The Girl Can’t Help It (1956), arguably the first truly visionary rock n’ roll movie, and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter (1957). Typecast as a well-endowed bimbo, Mansfield tried to do more serious work, but earned most of her wealth as a nightclub performer and in many cases, for simply showing up to be Jayne Mansfield. She was married four times and her third and fourth husbands, Mickey Hargity, a former Mr. Universe and father of Law and Order regular Marisa Hargity, and Matt Cimber, an Actors Studio veteran and film director, are worthy of documentary treatment themselves.

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Film Review: Entebbe

Reviewed by Lee Hill

A glance at the Wikipedia entry for Operation Entebbe, the 4 July 1976 raid by Israeli commandos into Uganda to rescue 106 passengers of a hijacked Air France flight from Tel Aviv to Paris, reveals a depressing number of near forgotten films, made-for-TV movies, documentaries and other fictions inspired-by. The historical record somehow remains unsullied by these attempts at a greater truth (read: mega-box office success and maybe an Emmy or Oscar). Viewers of a certain age – old enough to remember the news reports of the time as well as Hollywood’s unseemly haste to release Victory at Entebbe with Burt Lancaster, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Dreyfuss before the year was out – are forgiven for rolling their eyes at another docudrama about these events.

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Film Review: New Town Utopia

Reviewed by Lee Hill

Christopher Ian Smith’s lyrical documentary looks at Basildon, one of 10 new towns approved and developed to provide innovative as well as affordable housing solutions after the Second World War. In September 1948 MP Lewis Silkin. Minister of Town and Country Planning in Prime Minister Clement Attlee’s government said: “Basildon will become a City which people from all over the world will want to visit. It will be a place where all classes of community can meet freely together on equal terms and enjoy common cultural recreational facilities.” These and other homilies by Silken to a brighter future are spoken by actor Jim Broadbent and provide a poignant contrast to the tracking shots of the worn and faded concrete facades of homes and streets that have seen better days.

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Film Review: ANON

Reviewed by Zoe Margolis

Shot in a monochromatic, desaturated style, ANON offers a dulled vision of a near-future where no one has any secrets, or privacy. Unlike now, where people voluntarily upload personal information to social media platforms (or involuntarily, as is the case with Cambridge Analytica’s exploitation of Facebook content), citizens of this society appear to have no choice as to how their data is accessed. Instead of mobile devices capturing events, human beings have biological computer implants – a “Mind’s Eye” – which work as personal video recorders, enabling others to witness their point of view (POV), similar to Strange Days’ S.Q.U.I.Ds. In ANON this happens without the use of external equipment: the brain itself has become a shareable hard drive. Whilst this means people can return to any moment of their life that they wish to, the recording of every millisecond is downloaded to a vast grid called The Ether which law enforcement can access, so nothing anyone does or says is private.

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LFF 2017: Redoubtable

One of the unofficial laws surrounding biopics is the more complex and rich the subject, the more reductive and superficial the treatment of the life. Redoubtable is ostensibly about a great cinema revolutionary, Jean-Luc Godard, but his life and art are alas interpreted by Michel Hazanavicius, a director who wears his slim talent for pastiche heavily.

Hazanavicius is best known for The Artist, one of the least deserving Best Picture Winners in recent times. The Artist was an amusing idea for a short film inflated into a bland caricature of silent film comedy. Before The Artist, he was best known in France for the OSS117 films, the kind of James Bond parodies that make a rainy Sunday afternoon bearable when there are no real James Bond films on TV. After The Artist, Hazanvicius reached for the stars and fell from his stepladder with an unwieldy remake of Fred Zinnemann’s The Search. Not without ambition (or humility) he now gives the world his take on Godard’s mid-sixties period and marriage to actress Anna Wiazemsky with a few rear-view glances of the political ferment of France in 1967/68.

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Film Review: Beast

Reviewed by Lee Hill

Francois Truffaut will never be entirely forgiven by some of the country’s film buffs for saying that British cinema was a contradiction in terms. For every bold visionary like Michael Powell, Nicolas Roeg, Derek Jarman or Lynne Ramsay, there are countless directors whose plodding efficiency and middle brow choice of subject can make one long for the personal signature of a Richard Donner (yes, he did churn out those Lethal Weapon films, but we did get The Omen and Superman). In recent years, the London Film Festival, doubtlessly for a complex of political reasons, often opens and closes its otherwise eclectic programme with the latest paint-by-numbers example of a homegrown literary adaptation, docudrama or biopic that is often the filmic equivalent of “please stand for the national anthem.”

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Film Review: The Ciambra

Reviewed by Lee Hill

Against a timeless backdrop of mountain and foothills, a simply dressed yet elegant looking young man with a mustache tends to a horse and his encampment. This image will be a rare moment of calm and reflection before the chaotic narrative that follows. Where the opening shot of The Ciambra suggests timeless, romantic tradition, the remainder of the film will immerse us in a deracinated sub-culture surviving through petty crime and graft.

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Review: Every Day

Reviewed by Linda Marric

Michael Sucsy’s film about a teenage girl who falls in love with someone who transforms into someone else every day, is a charming, beautifully crafted and hugely engaging millennial love story with a twist.

Based on David Levithan’s novel of the same name and from a screenplay by Jesse Andrews, Every Day offers a heart-warming tale of love, acceptance and teenage angst without ever falling into the overly saccharine.

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Trailer: Hereditary

Check out the new trailer for the upcoming Horror sensation Hereditary. The film is release on June 15th and stars Toni Collette as a mother whose family begins to unravel when cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry are revealed. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited as it slowly destroys everything around them. Making his feature debut, writer-director Ari Aster unleashes a nightmare vision of a domestic breakdown that exhibits the craft and precision of a nascent auteur, transforming a familial tragedy into something ominous and deeply disquieting, and pushing the horror movie into chilling new terrain with its shattering portrait of heritage gone to hell.

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