Film Review: Suspiria

Luca Guadagnino’s remake of Suspiria is a sway which builds to a cacophony. It is quite the cinematic experience.

American student Susie Bannion travels to Berlin to audition at a famous dance company. But not everything is quite what it seems, with Susie taking the room of a girl who was seeing a psychotherapist about her delusions…

After the success of Call Me By Your Name, director Luca Guadagnino’s latest project is an interesting one. A remake of Dario Argento’s 1977 Giallo classic Suspiria, it certainly piques the interest. This is heightened by the choice of cast and the addition of music by Thom Yorke.

The film itself projects itself as a fever dream. And in a sense it is. Guadagnino creates a picture with a mesmeric quality. Suspiria feels restrained at times, which makes the more frenzied sequences even more startling. The narrative is divided into six acts, with the descent into delirium increasing as the film progresses. 

The introduction of Patricia talking to the psychiatrist works well. It sets the scene nicely, giving audience an insight into what is going on at the dance school as well as the socio-political climate of the time. A theme running along the duration is the Lufthansa hijacking crisis. It gives a sense of the upheaval at the time. The decision to set the film in 1977 (not just as a homage to the original) is smart. Witchcraft is perhaps an allegory then for liberation in a time of restriction.

The film relies on an understated fear rather than going for the jugular. The macabre is uneasy rather than horrifying here. There is gore to be had; Suspiria dishes this out in spades, but restricts it to a handful of sequences. Guadagnino’s film has the hallmarks of body horror. It differs in a number of ways from the original; these changes are welcome in distinguishing the film. The different kind of agency given to Susie, for example, is a nice touch.

Dakota Johnson delivers a good performance as Susie. Tilda Swinton is as bewitching as ever, and Mia Goth provides solid support. Art direction, special effects, and choreography are all superb. Yorke’s score works well overall. The addition of song in the climactic scene seems a bit jarring, but this is presumably what Guadagnino was aiming for.

Suspiria distinguishes itself enough from the original, whilst retaining the essence of the story. It is hard not to get caught up in the film’s turbulent rhythm.

Suspiria is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2018.

Film Review: A Cure For Wellness

A Cure for Wellness is a weird and wonderful gothic thriller. Gore Verbinski relies on audience familiarity with the tropes of genre in order to bewilder and beguile. 

Corporate rising star Lockhart is tasked with a mission to retrieve his company’s CEO from a “wellness centre” in the Swiss Alps. When he arrives, things do not appear to be all they seem, despite the calm atmosphere…

Directed by Gore Verbinski and scripted by Justin Haythe (based on a story by the pair), A Cure for Wellness is a gothic gem. The film offers a premise with enough of a hook to reel viewers in. Little is revealed about the protagonist; the mystery initially centres on Pembroke, the CEO Lockhart is tasked with bringing back. As the film progresses, there are various levels of intrigue, from the constantly updated history of the place, to the background and whereabouts of characters. 

From the outset, it is clear that there is something awry with the “wellness centre”. Verbinski tempts with some common genre tropes, and allows viewers to ponder these. The film unfolds at its own pace, offering both visual substance and mystery to keep the audience entertained. Verbinski builds layers on these tropes, dropping hints but keeping viewers guessing over final outcome. The psychological aspects of the genre are writ large in this film. Furthermore, the imagery is striking and memorable. The film’s use of iconography borrows heavily from gothic texts. Fans of this genre will likely enjoy spotting the influences.

From an early shot of the winding road to the centre, the cinematography indicates that the film will be a visual feast. There are some great shots, as well as a restricted colour palette to give a distinctive look. Art direction in the film is fantastic. The score is used appropriately, and the sound design highly effective. Dane DeHaan offers a solid performance as Lockhart. Mia Goth is striking as Hannah, whilst Jason Isaacs makes a decent antagonist.

A Cure for Wellness is a salve for those wanting delicious gothic excess in a contemporary setting. The film is peculiar and outlandish, and very entertaining for this.

Super Bowl 2017 Trailers Ranked

Last night the Super Bowl took place. But more relevantly, some of the most anticipated movie trailers aired during the broadcast. Here are the Super Bowl 2017 trailers, ranked in the most subjective of manners…

Super Bowl 2017 Trailers No.10: Fast & Furious 8

This spot for Fast & Furious 8 displays the all-star cast of this sequel, but may give viewers a sense of déjà vu. The fast cars, the big set pieces; Fast & Furious 8 is definitely in the same mold as its many predecessors. The film is out on UK screens on 14th April 2017.

Super Bowl 2017 Trailers No.9: Ghost in the Shell

This Super Bowl spot for Ghost in the Shell was released a few days ago, so offers little in the way of surprise. The spot is swift and to the point, giving an indication of the style of the film and the setting. Ghost in the Shell hits UK screens on 31st March 2017.

Super Bowl 2017 Trailers No.8: Transformers: The Last Knight

This extended spot for Transformers: The Last Knight begins with the same voiceover as previous trailers for the film. This spot focuses on the spectacle of wide-scale destruction, images of Transformers only feature in the last few seconds. Transformers: The Last Knight hits the big screen in June 2017.

Super Bowl 2017 Trailers No.7: Baywatch

This spot for the Baywatch movie gives the briefest look at the characters in this remake of the television show. Wisely, the focus is on Dwayne Johnson, who plays Mitch Buchanan. Fans of the original show will be hoping for an affectionate but humorous tribute. Baywatch is out in UK cinemas on 31st May 2017.

Super Bowl 2017 Trailers No.6: Logan

This spot for the upcoming Logan shows viewers much of what has already been seen in previous trailers. However, as with previous trailers, the soundtrack game is strong, and the clips look interesting. With Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart reprising their roles, Logan launches on to UK screens on 3rd March 2017.

Super Bowl 2017 Trailers No.5: Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge

This extended spot for Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (known as Dead Men Tell No Tales in the US) focuses on supporting characters and spectacle, with Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow only making an appearance in the final few seconds. This is a smart move; with the exposure of the actor’s private life, and indeed backlash against recent performances, it is probably best to downplay his role. Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge is released in UK cinemas on 26th May 2017.

Super Bowl 2017 Trailers No.4: John Wick: Chapter Two

This spot for John Wick: Chapter Two riffs on its release date competition, Fifty Shades Darker. The focus of this trailer is rapid-fire action, unsurprisingly. It works very well. John Wick: Chapter Two is out on 17th February, with previews on Valentine’s Day.

Super Bowl 2017 Trailers No.3: Life

The tv spot that aired during the Super Bowl 2017 can be seen here. Above is the full international trailer for Life, a sci-fi thriller, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, and Ryan Reynolds. The full trailer lulls viewers into a false sense of security, but it seems that Life is a pretty serious film. UK viewers see for themselves when the film hits UK screens on 24th February 2017.

Super Bowl 2017 Trailers No.2: A Cure For Wellness

A Cure for Wellness‘ TV spot takes the form of an American pharmaceutical advert. Given the premise of the film, it is most fitting. Gore Verbinski’s film looks aesthetically pleasing and narratively intriguing. Starring Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs and Mia Goth, A Cure for Wellness is released in UK cinemas on 24th February 2017.

Super Bowl 2017 Trailers No.1: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

This extended spot for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has everything viewers would hope for from a preview of this film. A great soundtrack, wonderful visuals, a look at the film’s main characters, and sufficient humour. Baby Groot and co will return to UK screens on 28th April 2017.

Super Bowl 2017 Trailers Bonus: Stranger Things

Ok so Stranger Things is not a film, but it is so fantastic that I had to feature it. The first season was a glorious homage to Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, David Cronenberg (and much more besides), and the second season seems to continue this tradition. This spot does not reveal much about the plot, but the kids are dressed as Ghostbusters. Stranger Things season 2 will be available on Netflix from Halloween.

Previews: Baywatch Poster, Logan, More!

Plenty in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including a moving Baywatch poster, The Eyes of My Mother, A Cure for Wellness, and more…

Baywatch Poster

Zac Efron promotes his new film in this moving Baywatch poster. The film, based on the 1990s television show, the film stars Efron, alongside Dwayne Johnson, Priyanka Chopra, and Alexandra Daddario. Baywatch hits the big screen on 31st May 2017.

The Eyes of My Mother

Gothic horror The Eyes of My Mother looks intriguing. The directorial debut of Nicolas Pesce, the film is about a young women whose dark curiosities are triggered following a tragedy in her life. Starring Kika Magalhaes, Will Brill, and Clara Wong, The Eyes of My Mother will be released in UK cinemas on 24th march 2017.

A Cure for Wellness Clip

A Cure for Wellness looks rather creepy, if the above clip is anything to go by. The film stars Dane DeHaan as a young executive sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from a remote wellness centre. Directed by Gore Verbinski, the film also stars Oscar Isaacs and Mia Goth. A Cure for Wellness will hit UK cinemas on 24th February 2017.

Certain Women Poster

Following Meek’s Cutoff and Night Moves, director Kelly Reichardt’s latest film is Certain Women. The film stars Michelle Williams, Kristen Stewart as three women trying to forge there own paths in the plains of the American Northwest. Certain Women is out at UK cinemas on 3rd March 2017.

The Great Wall Featurette

Matt Damon describes The Great Wall as a “full-on battle monster movie” in the above featurette. He also speaks about his character, and the plot of the film. The Great Wall also stars Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, and Willem Dafoe. Directed by Zhang Yimou, the film is out at UK cinemas on 17th February 2017.

Logan Trailer

Wolverine has turned babysitter in this latest X-Men movie. The film sees Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart reprise their roles in a dystopian road movie. James Mangold directs, and the film also stars Dafne Keen. Logan launches onto UK screens on 1st March 2017.

Beauty and the Beast Poster

Emma Watson looks very much the part of Belle in this latest Beauty and the Beast poster. From the images and clips revealed so far, this live-action remake is keeping the visual style of the original animated film. Also starring Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, and Ian McKellan, Beauty and the Beast is out on UK screens on 17th March 2017.

City of Tiny Lights Trailer

City of Tiny Lights very much evokes the look and feel of a neo-noir of decades past. Liz Ahmed stars as a deadbeat private eye whose services are engaged by a high-class prostitute. Also starring Billie Piper, City of Tiny Lights will be released in UK cinemas on 7th April 2017.

Previews: Rings Trailer, Coco, More!

The first of this year’s previews of coming attractions include the Rings trailer, a new Blade Runner 2049 image, A Cure for Wellness, and more…

Rings Trailer

Here is the latest Rings trailer. The film is a new chapter in the horror franchise. From the synopsis, Rings does not appear to be directly linked to the characters from 2002’s The Ring, or its sequel. The cast includes Matilda Lutz, Jonathan Galecki, and Vincent D’Onofrio. Rings will hit UK screens on 3rd February 2017.

Blade Runner 2049 Image

Above is a new Blade Runner 2049 image. Not much has been revealed about the characters yet – is Ana de Armas’ character a replicant? Is Ryan Gosing’s? Who knows. Also starring Harrison Ford, Robin Wright, and Jared Leto, Blade Runner 2049 is due open in UK cinemas on 6th October 2017.

A Cure for Wellness Trailer

A Cure for Wellness has to be one of this year’s most anticipated movies. This trailer reveals a little more about the plot, which concerns a young executive who is sent to retrieve his CEO from a mysterious “wellness” centre. Directed by Gore Verbinski, the film stars Dane DeHaan, Mia Goth, and Jason Isaacs. A Cure for Wellness is due for release in UK cinemas in early 2017.

Mute Image

Here is a brand new image from Netflix’s upcoming Mute. Directed by Duncan Jones, the film stars Alexander Skarsgård, Paul Rudd, and Justin Theroux. Set in the near future, the film is about a mute bartender and his search for his missing girlfriend. Mute will be released by Netflix in all their territories later this year.

Beauty and the Beast Video

Here is a short video featuring the leads from the upcoming Beauty and the Beast movie. If follows the clip of Emma Watson singing ‘Something There’, which was released a few days ago. Beauty and the Beast also stars Dan Stevens, and features the voices of Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. The film is out in UK cinemas on 17th March 2017.

The LEGO Batman Movie Poster

I am thrilled to see that the upcoming LEGO Batman Movie features Harley Quinn. The film also sees appearances from Robin, The Joker, and Batgirl. Featuring the voices of Will Arnett, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, and Jenny Slate, The LEGO Batman Movie will hit UK screens on 10th February 2017.

Patriots Day Trailer

Patriots Day is the latest film from director Peter Berg (Lone Survivor, Battleship). The film concentrates on the immediate aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Mark Wahlberg heads up a cast that includes John Goodman, Kevin Bacon, and J.K. Simmons. Patriots Day will be released in cinemas on 23rd February 2017.

Coco Image

Here is the first look at Coco, the latest animated film from Disney Pixar. The movie is about  a young boy who sets of a chain of events relating to a centuries-old mystery. Coco is directed by Pixar stalwart Lee Unkrick and Adrian Molina, who also wrote the film. Featuring the voices of Gael García Bernal and Benjamin Bratt, Coco is due to be released in UK cinemas in December 2017.

Previews: Logan Trailer, Loving, and more!

Plenty of great previews this week, including the new Logan trailer, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Loving, and more…

Logan Trailer

Here is the first Logan trailer, the latest film in the X-Men series. The film is set in the future, and sees Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart reprise their roles. Logan is directed by James Mangold, who helmed 2013’s The Wolverine. The film is set for release in cinemas in 2017.

Loving Featurette

Loving tells the true story of the Richard and Mildred Loving, who fought for their right to live as an interracial couple in late 1950s America. This featurette sees the the cast of the film, including Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga, discuss the characters and the wider background. Loving will be released in UK cinemas on 3rd February 2017.

A Cure for Wellness Trailer

This trailer for A Cure for Wellness looks intriguing. The film is a psychological thriller from director Gore Verbinski. A young executive is sent to a remote wellness centre to retrieve his company’s CEO. Starring Dane DeHaan, Mia Goth, and Jason Isaacs, A Cure for Wellness is set for release in early 2017.

Collateral Beauty Poster

Collateral Beauty poster

Here is the latest poster for Collateral Beauty. The film is about an advertising executive, and the group of colleagues who get him to confront his grief. The film features a stellar cast, including Will Smith, Edward Norton, and Helen Mirren. Collateral Beauty will be out in cinemas on 26th December 2016.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Trailer

So for most of this first trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, it seems as if Marvel are withholding Baby Groot. But, have no fear, they deliver at the very end. The eagerly anticipated sequel sees the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy reunite. Brand new footage of James Gunn’s film can be seen at screenings of Doctor Strange (released on the 25th October). Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is scheduled for release in UK cinemas on 28th April 2017.

The Accountant TV Spot

Here is one of the latest TV spots for The Accountant. The film had its European premiere in London’s Leicester Square this week. The Accountant stars Ben Affleck as a freelance accountant for some of the world’s most dangerous organisations. The film hits UK screens on 4th November 2016.