Film Review: A Boy Called SailBoat

Cameron Nugent’s A Boy Called Sailboat is a comedy drama that aims for whimsy. The film charms in places.

Young Sailboat lives with his parents on the outskirts of town. When his sick grandmother asks him to write her a song, Sailboat sets about composing on his little guitar. The impact of his song is quite unexpected…

Written and directed by Cameron Nugent, A Boy Called Sailboat is a curious little tale. The film features a real-world setting, although Nugent makes this as offbeat as can be. There is a reach for the whimsical; this pervades the film through the choice of characters, the dialogue, and the setting. There is a feeling that Nugent is aiming for a similar feel to the films of Wes Anderson or early Tim Burton with this ‘abnormal within the normal’ approach. The filmmaker does not reach these giddy heights, although there enough to admire here.

The narrative unfolds at its own pace, telling viewers as much as they need to know about the characters. A Boy Called Sailboat really kicks off when the protagonist begins to compose. Nugent shows a change in the characters that surround Sailboat through actions rather than words overall. Sometimes this is overt for comedic effect, such as the teacher’s immediate change. The subtler change in Sailboat’s father feels more rewarding. As word spreads about Sailboat’s song, it is not clear how the story will conclude. Ultimately, the ending is in keeping with the film’s style, and is satisfying as a result.

Julian Atocani Sanchez is decent as Sailboat, although some of his delivery is unclear. Perhaps this is to be expected with a protagonist so young. Noel Gugliemi is good as José, while J.K. Simmons is always good value, even in this very minor role. The film features a lot of long shots, which emphasise the small stature of the protagonist. It is an effective technique.

A Boy Called Sailboat is a decent directorial debut from Cameron Nugent. The aspects that work well are very admirable.

A Boy Called Sailboat will be available on Digital Download from Monday 6th May 2019.

What to Watch on Shudder: Black Sunday and More

Looking for something scary to watch? Here is this week’s guide of what to watch on Shudder features Black Sunday, The Canal, and short Consommé

What to Watch on Shudder: Black Sunday

Black Sunday (also known as The Mask of Satan and Revenge of the Vampire) is a bonafide horror classic. Directed by genre royalty Mario Bava, the 1960 film was originally banned in the UK. The film is about a witch who returns from the grave to threaten her lookalike descendant. Bava is pretty near pitch-perfect with Black Sunday. The setting, the lighting, and editing are all on point. Special effects are great for the era, and Bava does not shy away from gore. The film was the breakthrough for horror queen Barbara Steele, who is enchanting in a dual role. The film has influenced filmmakers for decades, including Francis Ford Coppola and Tim Burton. Black Sunday is a paean to gothic exuberance.

What to Watch on Shudder: The Canal

Writer-director Ivan Kavangh’s 2014 film The Canal is a nerve-racking and engaging watch. The film is about an archivist whose life starts to fall apart after viewing old footage of a murder that occurred over a century ago. Kavangh astutely combines supernatural elements with a psychological horror. There is a mystery at the centre of the film, and the director keeps viewers guessing as protagonist David slowly breaks down. The 16mm footage is used exceptionally well. The Canal ramps up tension in the second half, delivering sufficient scares. Unlike so many recent horror films, the conclusion is not a disappointment. After a gentle start, The Canal delivers a frightening and memorable climax.

What to Watch on Shudder: Consommé

Writer-director Catherine Fordham’s short Consommé is an inventive twist on the rape-revenge sub-genre. The 2015 film does not shy away from gore, yet the build up is subtle and well-paced. Actress Monica West (who also stars in Fordham’s Best Thing You’ll Ever Do) is striking in the central role. Consommé is a rewarding five-minute watch.

To find out more and to sign up to Shudder, visit https://www.shudder.com.

Film Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

miss peregrine's home for peculiar children

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is a wonderfully whimsical film. There is a darker edge to the film that balances perfectly with the more fanciful elements.

Growing up in Florida, Jake’s grandfather told him stories of the magical children’s home he lived in as a boy. Jake decides to visit the home, on an island off the coast of Wales, hoping to find the mysterious inhabitants…

Director Tim Burton’s quiet renaissance seems to be gathering steam with Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. The director’s last film, Big Eyes, was refreshing in that it felt like a departure from the formulaic productions it succeeded. Here, Burton returns to fantasy; a genre that has served him well. Whilst there are definite Burtonesque touches, particularly in the visual elements, Miss Peregrine feels much more original than some of the director’s output in the last decade.

Based on the novel by Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine is a fantasy adventure. The film has sufficient whimsy in its characters and narrative to satisfy a family audience. Yet there is a definite dark undertone to the film, which becomes more prevalent as it continues. The horror is mild for the most part, although some sequences may be frightening for the very young or squeamish. The tone of the film excels; there is a good balance between wonder and terror. Moreover, the film never becomes mawkish.

The narrative of Miss Peregrine moves along at a suitable pace. The main characters are introduced well, and are given enough depth for the audience to feel invested. Jane Goldman’s screenplay is peppered with her trademark style of humour. Art direction and costumes are fantastic, with the imagery capturing the style of the book’s photographs. The score is a great accompaniment. Asa Butterfield makes a decent protagonist as Jake, whilst Eva Green is well cast as the title character. Samuel L. Jackson seems to be having fun in his role.

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children harks back to a golden era of Tim Burton films. Those looking for this brand of fantasy adventure will not be disappointed.

Previews: Allied Trailer, John Wick: Chapter Two, More!

Plenty in this week’s preview of coming attractions including the Allied trailer, Moana, John Wick: Chapter Two and more…

Allied Trailer

Brad Pitt has dominated the entertainment news this week, so in good timing the Allied trailer dropped. The film stars Pitt as an intelligence officer who encounters Marion Cotillard’s Resistance fighter. Set in 1942, the film is directed by Robert Zemeckis. Allied will hit UK screens on 25th November 2016.

Moana Trailer

Here is the latest trailer for Disney’s Moana. It is Disney’s first film set in the South Pacific. Moana will be the first mainly CGI-animated movie from directors Ron Clements and John Musker. Moana is set for release in UK cinemas on 2nd December 2016.

John Wick: Chapter Two Poster

John Wick Chapter Two

Here is the first look at John Wick: Chapter Two. The film is a follow up to 2014’s John Wick.  The hitman is forced out retirement by a former associate in this sequel. Starring Keanu Reeves, John Wick: Chapter Two is scheduled for release on 17th February 2017.

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children Featurette

This featurette for Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children focuses on the vision of director Tim Burton. Stars Eva Green, Samuel L. Jackson, Judi Dench and others talk about working with the director on this film. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is out in UK cinemas on 29th September 2016.

Passengers Trailer

Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt star in sci-fi thriller Passengers. By slightly more important than them, there are robots in this film. Passengers is about two passengers being transported to another planet on a spaceship. The film will be released in UK cinemas on 21st December 2016.

Annabelle 2 Teaser Trailer

This teaser trailer, or trailer announcement trailer, for Annabelle 2 does not reveal much, except for the creepiest doll ever. The film is about the doll-maker who is responsible for the monstrous creation, with a nun and some orphans thrown in for good measure. Horror sequel Annabelle 2 will hit UK screens in May 2017.

Previews: Live By Night Trailer, Doctor Strange, More!

Plenty in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the Live By Night trailer, Doctor Strange poster, and more…

Live By Night Trailer

Here is the new Live By Night trailer. The film is directed and scripted by, and stars Ben Affleck, based on Dennis Lehane’s novel. Set during the 1920s, Live By Night concentrates on gangster Joe Coughlin and the murky world of prohibition Boston. Also starring Elle Fanning, Bendan Gleeson and Zoe Saldana, Live By Night is set for release on 13th January 2016.

Doctor Strange Poster

Doctor Strange Poster

This new poster for Doctor Strange looks wonderful. Benedict Strange stars as the title character in the latest Marvel movie.Cumberbatch plays an injured surgeon who who meets a mentor on his journey to recovery. Also starring Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Rachel McAdams, Doctor Strange hits UK screens on 25th October 2016.

Hidden Figures Featurette

Here is a featurette on the upcoming Hidden Figures. Producer Pharrell Williams talks about why he had to get on board with the film, which is about the black female scientists behind NASA’s space race. The film stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe. Hidden Figures is scheduled for release in 2017.

Collateral Beauty Trailer

Here is the trailer for Collateral Beauty, an ensemble drama. The film is about an advertising executive who experiences a tragedy, and the colleagues who attempt to help him. With a cast that includes Will Smith, Kate Winslet, and Keira Knightley, Collateral Beauty is out in cinemas on Boxing Day, 26th December 2016.

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children Clip

This clip from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children reveals a little more about the film’s antagonist. Director Tim Burton’s latest film is based on the best-selling novel. Starring Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, and Samuel L. Jackson, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children hits UK screens on 30th September 2016.

Nocturnal Animals Poster

Nocturnal Animals Poster

These Nocturnal Animals posters certainly are striking. Tom Ford writes and directs the film, based on Austin Wright’s Tony and Susan. The film stars Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Michael Shannon. After Ford’s magnificent A Single Man,  hopes are high for this feature. Nocturnal Animals will screen at the BFI London Film Festival in October, and will be released in UK cinemas on 4th November 2016.

Amanda Knox Trailer

Here is a trailer for Netflix’s upcoming documentary Amanda Knox. The film focus on the prime suspect in the murder of British student Meredith Kercher. Knox has been convicted and acquitted of the crime twice, and this documentary explores events around the case. Amanda Knox will launch globally on Netflix on 30th September 2016.

Previews: Rules Don’t Apply Trailer, Morgan and More!

Lots of trailers, posters and clips this week, including the Rules Don’t Apply trailer, a clip from Morgan, Same Kind of Different trailer and more…

Rules Don’t Apply Trailer

Here is the Rules Don’t Apply Trailer. Warren Beatty writes, directs, and stars in the Golden Era-set film. With Alden Ehrenreich in the cast, the film is instantly reminiscent of this year’s Hail, Cesar!. Ehrenreich stars as the driver to Beatty’s Howard Hughes. The film features a stellar cast, that includes Lily Collins, Alec Baldwin, and Matthew Broderick. Rules Don’t Apply is coming soon to cinemas.

Morgan Clip

This clip from the upcoming Morgan gives a bit of insight into the title character. The film stars Kate Mara as a troubleshooter sent to a remote location to investigate an accident. Also starring Paul Giamatti and Jennifer Jason Leigh, the film is produced by Ridley Scott. Morgan is out in UK cinemas on 2nd September 2016.

Arrival Poster

Arrival PosterThis is one of a series of posters for new ski-fi thriller Arrival. The film is about a mystery spacecraft that arrives on Earth, and the team who are sent to investigate. Denis Villeneuve directs the film, which stars Amy Adams, Forest Whitaker and Jeremy Renner. Arrival lands in UK cinemas on 11th November 2016.

War on Everyone Trailer

The Guard director John Michael McDonagh’s latest film combines dark humour with a buddy cop movie. War on Everyone stars Alexander Skarsgård and Michael Peña as New Mexican cops who set out to blackmail every criminal that crosses their paths. War on Everyone will hit UK screens on 7th October 2016.

Moana Trailer

Disney latest animation Moana is about a South Pacific teenager who sails on a daring mission to save her people. The film features the voice of Dwayne Johnson, and songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Moana is directed by Disney dream-team Ron Clements and John Musker. UK cinemagoers will have to wait until 2nd December 2016 to see if the pair can recreate their earlier magic.

Hell or High Water Trailer

Hell or High Water is a new crime thriller from the writer of Sicario, Taylor Sheridan.  The film stars Chris Pine and Ben Foster as robbers who meet their match in Texas Ranger Jeff Bridges. Hell or High Water hits UK screens on 9th September 2016.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Poster

Miss Peregrine Poster

This poster is a visual feast. Director Tim Burton always delivers on the imagery front. Based on the book by Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children looks like it will be weird and wonderful. Starring Eva Green, Asa Butterfield and Samuel L. Jackson, the film will be released in UK cinemas on 30th September 2016.

Same Kind of Different as Me Trailer

Uncomfortably reminiscent of The Blind Side, Same Kind of Different as Me is based on the book of the same name. The film stars Renée Zellweger and Greg Kinnear as a couple who befriend a homeless man (played by Djimon Hounsou). Some of what is shown seems risible, but the film will probably appeal to fans of the book. Same Kind of Different as Me is set for release in 2017.

Previews: Pete’s Dragon Trailer, The Accountant and More!

Lots to see in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the new Pete’s Dragon trailer, The Accountant, Wonder Woman and more…

Pete’s Dragon Trailer

Here is the new Pete’s Dragon trailer. The film is a live-action remake of the animated classic. Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, and Wes Bentley are joined by Oakes Fegley as the title character. Pete’s Dragon will be released in UK cinemas on 12th August 2016.

The Accountant Trailer

Here is the latest trailer for The Accountant. The film stars Ben Affleck as a maths savant who works on the books for criminal organisations. Also starring Anna Kendrick and J.K. Simmons, The Accountant is out in the UK on 4th November 2016.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Featurette

Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Samuel L. Jackson and others discuss the upcoming Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Directed by Tim Burton, Jane Goldman wrote the screenplay, based on the novel by Ransom Riggs. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children hits UK screens on 30th September 2016.

Office Christmas Party Trailer

Office Christmas Party is a new comedy from Josh Gordon and Will Speck, the directors of The Switch and Blades of Glory. The film is about staff who host an epic Christmas party to impress a potential client. With an ensemble cast that includes  Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, and Courtney B. Vance, Office Christmas Party makes its way onto UK screens on 9th December 2016.

Ben-Hur Trailer

Here is the second trailer for Ben-Hur. The film is an adaptation of the 1880 Christian novel, like the three film versions that have come before. This version stars Jack Huston, Morgan Freeman, and Toby Kebbell. Ben-Hur hits UK screens on 7th September 2016.

T2 Teaser Trailer

This feels like it has come from nowhere. A belated sequel to Trainspotting, T2 reunites director Danny Boyle with the original cast, including Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle and Jonny Lee Miller. T2 is set for release on 27th January 2016.

Blair Witch Trailer

Another unexpected sequel to a 1990s film. Horror movie The Woods was revealed to be Blair Witch, a sequel to The Blair Witch Project. Blair Witch is directed by Adam Winged, who has had recent successes with You’re Next and The Guest. Blair Witch hits UK screens on 16th September 2016.

Nerve Clip

Nerve seems to the correct name for this film, is the above clip is anything to go by. The film is directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, who rose to fame through their film Catfish. Starring Emma Roberts and Dave Franco, Nerve is out in UK cinemas on 11th August 2016.

Kong: Skull Island Poster

Kong: Skull Island Poster

Kong: Skull Island is a reimagining of the cinema stalwart King Kong. The film has a more contemporary setting than the last version of the monster movie. Kong: Skull Island stars Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson and John Goodman. The film is set for release in 2017.

Wonder Woman Trailer

The film many comic book fans have been waiting decades for is almost here. After her appearance in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman finally gets her own film. Gal Gadot is joined by Chris Pine, Connie Nielson, and Robin Wright. Directed by Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman will hit cinemas 2nd June 2017.

The LEGO Batman Movie Trailer

After the character was such a big hit in The LEGO Movie, it is no surprise that Batman gets his own film. The LEGO Batman Movie looks like it will be as amusing as its predecessor, if the trailer is anything to go by. With the voices of Will Arnett, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Cera and Rosario Dawson, The LEGO Batman Movie launches on to UK screens in February 2017.

Suicide Squad Video

This Suicide Squad video concentrates on Harley Quinn from the upcoming movie. The film features a roster of villains who are tasked with completing a mission for a US agent. Starring Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Jared Leto, and Viola Davis, Suicide Squad hits UK cinemas on 5th August 2016.