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Author: Luke Channell

Film Review: Swimming With Men

Reviewed by Luke Channell

Oliver Parker’s Swimming with Men turns the spotlight on the uncharted world of male synchronised swimming in this amiable yet slightly flimsy British dramedy. The film takes its inspiration from 2010 documentary Men Who Swim which followed a group of middle-aged Swedish men in their pursuit of synchronised swimming glory. But Swimming with Men is most indebted to a tradition of British feel-good films which see melancholic characters finding happiness and purpose through an unlikely source. The Full Monty, Calendar Girls and Kinky Boots are to name just a few, sadly, however, Parker’s film fails to match the sharp scripts and fully-fleshed out characters of these British classics.

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Film Review: Revenge

Reviewed by Luke Channell

The rape-revenge genre is a challenging place to start for any new director, yet Coralie Fargeat knocks it out of the park with her super-stylish, blood-splattered debut feature Revenge. It’s scarcely believable that this is Fargeat’s first film, such is the assurance and distinctiveness of her direction. Fargeat’s confidently approaches the often-maligned rape-revenge genre, making subtle but invigorating changes to its tropes. The result is a taut, visceral experience with a refreshingly feminist perspective.

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Film Review: I Kill Giants

Reviewed by Luke Channell

An alluring strangeness fuels this debut feature from director Anders Walter which combines touching coming-of-age drama with eye-catching magical realism. Based on a graphic novel by Joe Kelly (who also adapts the screenplay), I Kill Giants follows the journey of high-schooler Barbara (Madison Wolfe) who envelops herself in a fantasy world to cope with her upsetting reality. While this premise is hardly thematically ground-breaking (comparisons with J. A. Bayona’s A Monster Calls are inevitable), I Kill Giants maintains a fresh, appealing energy thanks to its focus on almost exclusively female characters.

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Film Review: The Bachelors

Reviewed by Luke Channell

“I can’t stay here anymore” declares a mournful Bill (J. K. Simmons) to his teenage son Wes (Josh Wiggins) at the very beginning of Kurt Voelker’s indie dramedy The Bachelors. Attempting to move on from the sudden death of Bill’s wife, the pair relocate from their family home in San Francisco to a small rental property in Los Angeles. Despite this cookie-cutter premise – plus a host of other indie tropes – the film has its heart in the right place and it’s buoyed by a quartet of affecting performances.

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Film Review: 78/52

One of the most iconic scenes in cinematic history receives a thorough examination and analysis in Alexandre O. Philippe’s intriguing yet overlong documentary 78/52. The film’s title refers to the 78 camera set-ups and 52 cuts which Alfred Hitchcock used to capture the infamous shower scene in Psycho. Assigning a full 7-days of a 30-day schedule to filming the short sequence, Janet Leigh’s brutal murder in the shower at Bates Motel is renowned as one of the most bold, shocking and influential scenes dedicated to film. 78/52 extensively explores every aspect of the sequence from its context, construction, and impact.

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