Award-winning Scottish actor, writer and director Peter Mullan (Top of the Lake, My Name is Joe, Trainspotting) calls in from Auckland where he is appearing at the Big Screen Symposium, Jonathan King (Under the Mountain, Realiti) reports on Fantastic Fest plus Kailey and Dan review Locke and The Lunchbox).
With this year’s festival now a rapidly diminishing memory – and my recovery from that event (plus another magazine published, some “live” podcast recordings, a few Q&A’s, some director interviews and a Big Screen Symposium) almost complete – I return to the commercial cinema and what do I find? Twenty-three new films have been released since my last set of reviews. Twenty-three! I only turned my back for a second. So, bear with me while I try and do some catching up. Some of these films deserve more space than they are going to get here (and some of them don’t) but you can’t have everything, am I right?
[pullquote]R‑rated these days appears to mean lots of unnecessary cursing and comic male nudity.[/pullquote]Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 was a surprise smash-hit in 2009 and his follow-up, Elysium, is what we call ‘eagerly awaited’. Watching it I was reminded of the great strengths of that first film: a vividly created future society, dysfunctional yet plausible; a great plot setup with a genuine dilemma for the central character. Then I remembered the third act of District 9 – one long fight/chase/fight. And so it proves with Elysium. Wasted potential as – like so many films this year – the film is resolved by who can punch harder rather than who can think better. I have lots of other problems with it but that’s the main one.