“A jumble of themes and ideas jostle for space in an audacious, but often messy, film that takes a familiar alien invasion set-up and goes for broke
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Buried somewhere underneath the wreckage, theres a smart little sci-fi film pulsing at the centre of Captive State, a scrappy, unwieldy curio with plenty on its mind, coherence not necessarily included. Shot over two years ago and pushed around the release schedule, its a troubled project that feels troubled, with confused editing and clear structural issues clueing us in on its difficult journey to the screen. Its a frustrating experience but one that remains worthwhile because theres just enough of a glimmer of the film it could have been to make it worth watching the film it turned into instead.
Were presented with a familiar set-up: aliens have invaded Earth leading to destruction, division and plenty of dust. But unlike the majority of similar films that have come before, were then presented with an idea of what comes after. What if aliens stuck around? What if an uneasy arrangement was made with Earths governing bodies? And what if the invaders were now seen as the main legislative force whose presence had actually led to a statistically safer society? Its a fascinating conceit and one that raises a string of intriguing questions, some of which the film answers with skill.
Pitched somewhere between District 9 and The Purge, writer-director Rupert Wyatt, whose 2011 prequel Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a surprisingly urgent and necessary blockbuster, focuses the action on Chicago and how the new world order affects a city already struggling with crime and economic disparity. His lead is Gabriel, played by Moonlights Ashton Sanders, existing in one of the poorer districts and working in a factory tasked with wiping data from digital devices, which have been outlawed. His brother Rafe (Jonathan Majors, a rising star after his charming turn in Sundance darling The Last Black Man in San Francisco) was leading a resistance against the state but after his death, Gabriel finds himself scrambling for an escape………………………………………………………………”
Stranger Things Season 3 receives Rave Reviews from Critics
Midsommar Review – 5 Stars!
Florence Pugh is plunged into a terrifying pagan bacchanal in a magnificent folk-horror tale from Hereditary director Ari Aster
“There’s nothing cosy about these midsummer murders, and Midsommar could turn out to be folk-horror for the Fyre festival age. Ari Aster is the film-maker who made his feature debut just last year with the chiller Hereditary, and now presents us with this fantastically sinister and self-aware Euro-bacchanal, clearly inspired by the 1973 classic The Wicker Man. And that is not the only riff. When Hereditary came out, I guessed (correctly, as it turned out) that the director was thinking about Bergman’s Cries and Whispers. I’m now going to bet 20p that before shooting Midsommar, Aster took another look at Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice.
Midsommar is an outrageous black-comic carnival of agony, starring charismatic Florence Pugh in a comely robe and floral headdress. It features funny-tasting pies and chorally assisted ritual sex, with pagan celebrants gazing into the middle distance and warbling as solemnly as the young dudes in the Coca-Cola TV ad about teaching the world to sing. It’s all set in an eerily beautiful sunlit plain, bounded by forests and lakes. This is supposed to be somewhere in northern Sweden, but was filmed in Hungary, and Aster, cinematographer Pawel Pogorzelski and production designer Henrik Svensson have collaborated on what are surely digitally assisted images: the sky and fields becoming a bouquet of vivid and beautiful blues and greens. The music from British composer Bobby Krlic (AKA the Haxan Cloak) is sensually creepy………………………”
What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali review – from prodigy to legend
Part one of Antoine Fuqua’s film shows the transformation within a decade from 12-year-old boxing novice Cassius Clay into the heavyweight champion of the world
“I asked my mother when I went to church on Sunday: ‘Why is everything white? What happened to all the black angels?’”
So Muhammad Ali told an interviewer, before giving a knowing look and – boom! – the punchline. “Black angels are in the kitchen preparing milk and honey.”