Monday, November 25, 2013

Film Review: Big Bad Wolves (Aharon Keshales & Navot Papushado) 2013

Big Bad Wolves

The second film from Israeli writer-director duo Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado is a brutal, yet undeniably funny, horror-thriller and is looking to make an impact in cinemas this week (6th December 2013).  It has already caught the attention of Quentin Tarantino who described it as “the best film of the year”.

The film begins with a thuggish but ultimately inept detective beating a tied-up suspect in a multiple child murder case in the face repeatedly with a phone book.  The suspect is a weedy religious studies teacher who is accused of kidnapping girls and removing their heads.

Unbeknownst to anyone at the time, this brutal (yet ludicrous) interrogation is recorded by a terrified child with a mobile phone who puts the footage online for the country to see.  Due to this embarrassment, the police chief is forced to release the suspect and suspend the detective.  The detective, now working outside of the law, manages to serendipitously team up with a vengeful parent of one of the previous victims who has bought a house (with a basement) in the middle of nowhere so that he can take the law into his own hands…

A Crispy Sharp Competition! WHEN THE DRAGON SWALLOWED THE SUN DVD Giveaway

Earlier in the year I wrote a review of When The Dragon Swallowed The Sun, a documentary highlighting the continuing injustices surrounding the relationship between Tibet and China.  The film looks beautiful and has a great soundtrack featuring Thom Yorke, Philip Glass and Damien Rice.

We have two copies of the DVD to give away (in association with AR-PR) before its official release date of the 9th December.

For a chance to win simply follow Crispy Sharp on Twitter and tweet a message with #CrispySharpCompetition and #Dragon and we will announce a winner at 20:00 on December 8th.

The DVD is available now at Amazon

The winner will be announced on Sunday the 8th of December at 20:00 and will be decided by random.
Winners will be sent an email after the announcements

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Crispy Sharp Competition! LOVE TOMORROW DVD Giveaway

To celebrate the release of the new romantic film from writer/director Chistopher Payne, Crispy Sharp (in collaboration with AR-PR) has 2 copies of the DVD to give away.

"Set in present day London, LOVE TOMORROW is the story of an ex-ballet dancer whose life is turned upside down after receiving devastating news about her fiancé, Dominic.  Wandering the underground in a torment of pain and confusion, a chance encounter with a charismatic Cuban dancer, Oriel offers a temporary distraction. Oriel overlooks her engagement ring and suggests she spends some time with him.

Why she follows this insistent stranger is unclear, and why he tolerates her reserve, mood swings and outright hostility is also unclear. But as the night lengthens and turns into day, the frustrations, secrets and wounds of both their lives begin to emerge, and a fragile friendship promises to turn into something more profound."

All you need to do is Like our page on Facebook and reply to one of the messages about this film with "Crispy Sharp Competition" - two winners will be announced on Wednesday 3rd of December.

Love Tomorrow – is available to pre-order on Amazon now

The winner will be announced on Wednesday the 3rd of December at 22:00 and will be decided by random.  Information will be sent via Facebook inbox after the announcements

Friday, November 15, 2013

Film Review: Utopia (John Pilger) 2013


If there is one political documentary filmmaker that has remained unambiguously ideologically consistent over their career in the (quasi)mainstream then it is John Pilger.  He has fervently been representing and documenting the plight of the oppressed and dispossessed for nearly 4 decades, never sensationalising his subjects but instead listening to them and contextualising their issues and turmoil.

His latest documentary Utopia sees him return to his home country of Australia in order to highlight the persistent and shocking prejudice that is aimed at the Aboriginal communities.  He last focussed on this subject in his film Welcome To Australia (available online it its entirety here) that highlighted the tragic inequality between the native people of the country and their exclusion from the pomp and fanfare of the upcoming Sydney Olympic games.  This film returns to the issue, this time stressing the lack of access to healthcare and employment for the people, the appalling police brutality that they suffer and the psychological damage that is done due to the historical revisionism of the white majority population.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Film Review: Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón) 2013


When rumours started flying that Sandra Bullock was starring in a sci-fi film that was gearing up to be one of the event films of 2013, it seemed logical to assume that it was going to be a big-budget adventure film with plenty of character clichés and genre conventions.  This is not an insult against Bullock, it’s just that she has always suited mainstream popcorn fodder and romantic comedies.  However, the rumours turn out to be true – this is the performance of a lifetime in a film that could dominate critical and popular Top-Ten Sci-Fi lists for years to come…

Friday, November 8, 2013

Film Review: Noah (Patrick Cederberg, Walter Woodman) 2013 [Short]

Short films, as opposed to feature-length cinema, are almost always ‘high-concept’, i.e. possible to sum up as an idea in a single sentence.  For example, what would it be like to wake up over and over again on the same day (Groundhog Day)? Or what if machines had enslaved mankind without us knowing (The Matrix)?  Due to their length and budgets, short films usually use a high-concept idea and explore it in a fun and simple way.
Noah uses a high-concept style to tell a story:  How would a relationship breakdown look from the point-of-view of a computer user?


The film is told entirely through screenshots of Apple software, Facebook, Skype and Chat Roulette and explores the relationships people have with these products, as they maintain the relationships they have with real people… 
Noah is idly browsing porn sites and Wikipedia as he lazily video-calls his girlfriend Amy, who is concerned about their relationship changing as they leave for college.  When the call is interrupted he freaks out and thinks that she is breaking up with him, so he logs into her Facebook account in order to check her messages and interactions with other guys.  It then shows the aftermath of his paranoia
If you can accept that the cinematography of the film is simply watching someone browse Facebook, then the narrative and the message of the film is pure zeitgeist, in a way that no other film I have ever seen has captured a moment in time so beautifully (mid-2012; chat roulette has already disappeared from the cultural conversation).  The film manages to be distanced and voyeuristic and yet intimate, funny and awkward, but not judgmental.  Ultimately this captures how young people interact online more than any teen blockbuster can get close to.


It is the perfect video to go viral online and I hope it gets seen by as many people as possible whilst it still feels fresh, although I also think that it will serve as a snapshot (snapchat?) into online reality for future virtual historians.

Noah is showing at the Bath Film Festival on December 1st 2013

Friday, November 1, 2013

Film Review: How To Survive A Plague (David France) 2013

“In absence of adequate healthcare, we have learned to be our own clinicians, researchers, lobbyists, drug smugglers, pharmacists… We have our own libraries, newspapers, drug stores and laboratories…”

How To Survive A Plague

The ongoing argument about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in America seems to mainly focus on one crucial premise:  Should the wider population be forced to accommodate the healthcare costs of a minority?  Proponents of the law claim that by spreading the cost of coverage around then the overall economic benefits from having a healthy population will outweigh the costs.  Critics of the law claim that it is overreaching (to the point of tyrannical) and that individuals should look after themselves.  This split is mainly drawn down political lines, with Republicans on one side (against) and Democrats on the other (for).  The question of coverage is not necessarily focused on specific aliments and conditions.

Imagine how divisive the argument gets then when (so called) morality is included in the equation.  In the AIDS epidemic of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, one group of people (the mostly gay minority) insisted that more action was taken to prevent a specific disease from spreading; and the other group of people, mostly religious conservatives, wanted to prevent the disease by eradicating ‘sinful’ behaviour.  The argument is essentially the same though; the right-wingers want to combat a disease by enforcing responsibility on the individual, whereas the left-wingers want to encourage collective action to help a disadvantaged minority.