Movies and Tea #24 – The Beguiled

Season 3 and our re-evaluation of the Sofia Coppola filmography comes to a close with her remake of The Beguiled.

Using the Civil war as her backdrop Coppola with The Beguiled continued her evolution in style with a remake of Don Siegal’s original 1971 film only this time shot from the women’s point of view than the man’s as the arrival of Colin Farrell’s solider of fortune at a girls school begins to stire feelings in both the students and teacher alike.

The film being viewed by Coppola as a way to cleanse herself after 2013’s The Bling Ring from what she terms was “Such a tacky, ugly world”

We also discuss her use of the “Female Gaze” aswell as the changes that shooting from the girls perspective brings to the story aswell as highlighting our favourite, worst and hidden gem of Coppola’s filmography

Further Viewing

The Virgin Suicides
The Others
Pride and Prejudice
The Guest
Needful Things
Black Narcissus
Stoker

 

Music on this episode

Phoenix – The Beguiled Opening theme
Keith Mansfield – Funky Fanfare

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Top 10 Creative Weapons In Horror

Freddy has his glove, Jason has his Machete and Michael has his knife but sometimes when you just have to get creative especially when there’s oversexed drunk teens to dispatch. So here’s our list of some of the most creative weapon choices in horror history.

Lolipop – The Banana Splits

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While this attempt to give the cult children’s TV favourite a Five Nights At Freddy’s twist might not have set the world on fire but it did give us atleast some memorable deaths which when you consider are essentially being carried out by mascot like characters deserves the film a place on the list alone but this death by lolipop which kicks off their murderous rampage is especially memorable.

Basketball – Deadly Friend

Sure when it comes to exploding heads David Cronenberg’s Scanners might be the first one which comes to mind while no doubt one of the most paused moments in movie history. Of course this much overlooked feature from horror maestro Wes Craven also features another of cinema’s great exploding heads courtesy of a basketball launched with the force of a cannonball by the recently revived girl next door (Kristy Swanson) into the head of the grouch next door (Anne Ramsey)

Yard Stick – Child’s Play 2

Everyone’s favourite serial killer turned killer doll Chucky made a memorable return in this sequel which only built on the fun established by the original film but this time he really pulled out some memorable kills which help make it the best film of the franchise including beating a teacher to death with a yard stick in a scene which is actually surprisingly disturbing to watch especially as most of the action is shown off screen with only the glimpses of the ruler rising and falling past the window and Chucky’s maniacal cackling to leave audience on edge.

Steamroller – Maximum Overdrive

Okay this might be kind of a cheat seeing how it’s a possessed steamroller and hence killing using itself but in a film featuring a killer coke machine killing a baseball coach by shooting cans at his head, a truck with a green goblin faceplate and a healthy dose of AC/DC on the soundtrack as part of a deal Stephen King made when he agreed to direct the film which to date remains his sole directing credit.

While the film might not be fantastic, the scene were a steamroller mows down the unsuspecting kid really is in that warped humour kinda way. Two years later we would get a repeat of this scene when Christopher Lloyd’s demented Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit and his subsequent revival ensured that our childhood’s got a healthy dose of Disney funded childhood trauma.

Lawnmower – Brain Dead aka Dead Alive

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The chainsaw has for years been a mainstay of horror cinema putting in memorable appearences for slasher and hero alike from the classic Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Evil Dead through to providing a standout moment in the underwelming (for those who read the book first) adaptation of American Psycho. However Peter Jackson having already put chainsaw’s to creative use in his gore soaked debut Bad Taste really upped the ante by having bumbling hero clear the zombie horde out of his house using a petrol driven mower in the gore soaked finale. So effective was Jackson’s film that Shawn of the Dead creators Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright openly stated that they couldn’t use any body part humour in the film because Jackson’s film had done it all!

Hook – I Know What You Did Last Summer

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Riding on the success of Scream rebooting modern horror this slasher attempted to introduce it’s own slasher icon with the hook welding fisherman looking to get revenge on the teens who accidently ran him over and left him for dead.

Losing his hand at the end of the first film the hook would be turned into a captain hook style apendage for the forgettable and ohh so imaginativly titled sequels I Still Know What You Did Last Summer and I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer

Bear Mascot Costume – Girl’s Nite Out aka The Scaremaker

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If your going to be an iconic slasher you need a memorable look with a mask often being the go to choice from the hockey mask for Jason, the Shatner mask for Michael or that weird Owl head the killer in Stagefright wore. Still why settle for a mask when you can wear the whole costume!!

Certainly this is the mindset for the killer of this overlooked slasher whose killer chooses to stalk college cheerleaders while they engage on a scavanger hunt on their campus wearing possibly the goofiest looking bear suit ever while using serrated knife blades for claws to memorable effect if far from the scariest outfit especially with that goofy grimace.

Pick axe – My Bloody Valentine

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Perhaps not the most surprising weapon considering that the killer here is a mining gear clad killer looking to take revenge on the town were the supervisors at the local mine skipped out to a valentine’s day dance instead of checking the methane levels leading to an explosion that trapped many of the miners leaving the sole survivor insane after he was forced to resort to cannibalism to survive.

Here the killer really makes really good use of his pick axe creating some bloody kills as memorable as his getup while the suprisingly decent 3D remake saw the creativity only being added to as it made the most of it’s 3D hook.

Trombone – The Town That Dreaded Sundown

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Another cult favourite here the film based on the Texarkana Moonlight Murders of 1946 which saw an unidentifed masked serial killer known as the Phantom Killer who seems to have borrowed Jason’s sack from Friday the 13th Part 2 aswell as his ability to turn anything into a potential weapon including memorably a party horn to the eye as seen in Part 7: The New Blood.

The standout moment of this film though comes when the phantom straps a knife to the end of a trombone and proceeds to stab his victim while playing the instrumentment to memorable effect.

Shears – The Burning

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Based on the New York legend of the Cropsey Maniac which would also serve as the inspiration for the rather dull Madman released a year later. Here though the crazed former caretaker returns to take revenge on the summer camp were five years previous he was set on fire when a prank went horribly astray.

Here his weapon of choice is a pair of garden shears which are certainly effectivly used throughout the film including a standout raft attack which saw the film being banned under the Video Nasties act under the 1984 Video Recordings Act before finally being released uncut in 2002. Even with the film now finally released uncut it still has the stigma of marking the start of Harvy Weinstein’s history of predatory behavior who served as one of the films script writers.

Scandals aside the film remains a cult favourite for slasher fans with the use of the shears certainly creating some memorable kills in horror history.

So there’s our list but what is your favourite creative weapon choices? Let us know in the comments section.

I Used to Be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl Story


Is there a point were you outgrow boy bands? This is just one of several questions posed by director Jessica Leski in her debut film as she attempt to explore not only the appeal of boy bands but also what sparks such devotion in their fanbases. This she achieves by following four intergenerational women who all consider themselves to be obsessed fans of their chosen boy band.

First up we have Elif who s the youngest of the particpants and an obsessed One Direction fan to the point were she went viral when a video of her breaking down during the announcement of their concert DVD was posted online. Next we have Daria an obsessed Take That fan, we also have Sadia representing the fans of the Backstreet Boys and finally we have Susan who at 64 and still an obsessed Beatles fan even being one of horde of Beatles fans who descended on Southern Cross during their tour of Australia. Each of them bring something different to the table and as their stories unfold especially with what the bands mean to them and the effect they had on their lives.

Starting off with a charming feeling of innocence as each of the women talk about how they discovered their chosen boy band and what it was which sparked their interest which unsurprisingly stems from them finding one of the members cute accompanied by charming animated sequences playing out their fantasies with the members which range from Elif playing tag with Zayn to Sadia being taught how to swim by Nick. How they choose to celebrate their favourite boybands though is were the film really gets interesting especially for the likes of Daria and Sadia whose Xenial fandom antics have a fun nostalgic glow to them with Sadia talking about sending out a Backstreet Boys News letter using the family e-mail or Daria living out in sticks passing time at the weekend obsessionally learning the dance routines off a concert video incase she should ever be called up to stand in for one of the members. Compared to Elif who with the power of the internet can speak to her fellow Directoners all over the world to track their every movement to the point were they refer to them as “Their Boys”

At the other end of the spectrum Susan and her Beatles obsession provides another interesting angle to the film, especially when looking through her memorabilia collection and seeing how much of it is replicated over the years with band being swapped out for the latest chart topper. However while the boybands might be changed out over the decades Leski skips over the controversy that the bands suffered or how their break up instead choosing to present them in the same perfect light their fans view them in even though it does feel like a missed opportunity to see how Zayn leaving One Direction effected Elif and how Daria was effect by any of the major scandals which rocked her fanbase from Robbie Williams leaving, their controversial image change or her beloved Gary from Take That being caught up with his fellow members in an off shore banking scandal.

Thanks to choosing such fascinating and knowledgable subjects for her film Leski is able to avoid any use of voice over or cut aways to pop culture experts and psychologists and instead lets the quartet compile their stories in their own word soley even having Daria breakdown the boy band formula from what sort of roles the band members have to play and styling requirements which when laid out on the white board is actually kind of surprising to see how they all fall into the template she has just laid out.

Interestingly the film spends the last half hour of the film five years on from when Leski began following the woman and in doing so find many of them having entered into a phase of transition away from the boy band obsessions with a trip on the Backstreet boys cruise…..yes that is actually a thing and Leski has the footage to prove it! However for Sadia it’s almost a wake up call for their biggest fan as faced with a mirror vision of herself x1000 she realises that there is more for to achieve on her own including learning to swim. Elif also finding herself in a similar situation as with her parents refusing to let her pursue music at college also kills her love for One Direction to be replaced with a love for Jazz. Ultimately the documentary ends in a good place for all four of the participants though the same can’t be said for their fan status but despite this the documentary maintains the sweet tone which carries throughout the film as Leski clearly isn’t trying to judge any of the fans but more understand what drives their obsessions.

One of the great things about documentaries is the ability to take a subject and turn it into the most surprisingly engrossing experience and certainly Leski’s film does exactly that as for those of us who were never part of the boyband hysteria are given an insiders view while providing a sense of nostalgia for the devoted. Regardless of if your a boyband fan or not this is a facinating look at fandom in it’s purest form.

Rating: 4 / 5

Friday Film Club – Pitch Perfect + Invasion of the Body Snatchers

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Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where both myself and Kim will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether your choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.

Kim’s Pick – Pitch Perfect (2012)

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There’s no doubt that the success of Glee brought forward an entire new appreciation for acapella music. With that TV series paving the way, Pitch Perfect broke onto the scene in 2012 as a musical comedy that actually also made a reference to Glee and took it much more lighthearted as a film about music and passion bringing to life the internal competitions at Barden University between the Barden Bellas and Treblemakers, an all girl and all boy team respectively. The first was one that struggled to justify its place and was scared to embrace change while the other was a bunch of boys who thought they were more cool than they actually were. However, its these characteristics of the two groups that drives the story especially one focused on the Barden Bellas figuring out their direction and teamwork which brings forth a fantastic group of girls that bring so much life and humor to the film.

There’s no doubt that Pitch Perfect was the beautiful starting point of Anna Kendrick who showed off her musical abilities as well as her unique humor in the role of Beca, a girl who dreams of becoming a music producer and thinks that university of wasting her time. Leading the Bellas was Anna Camp playing Aubrey who suffers with control, self-control as well as controlling others which hinders the potential of Bellas while keeping her in place is Chloe, played by Brittany Snow who has moved on from her teen movies days but also known to do quite well in musicals especially with her previous performance in Hairspray. The new members of the Bellas also include Rebel Wilson who calls herself Fat Amy who sounds rather nutty but is actually the heart of a lot of humor here with her random humorous dialogue while the acapella group having Hana Mae Lee as Lily is the oddest who talks in a whisper constantly and has the darkest remarks. The Barden Bellas are a colorful cast of characters that have layers to discover as they fight to get to the finals and figure out how to work together and push forward.

Putting aside the focus on finding yourself and the emphasis of film scores and the ending scene of The Breakfast Club, Pitch Perfect is great because of its musical numbers, whether its Beca’s mixes or the Riff-off competitions or the actual competition scenes with all the different acapella groups and the Treblemakers, the Bellas ultimate group to beat. Pitch Perfect has a great balance between hitting the fun musical elements while despite its obsession of Aubrey’s link of control to throwing up, still manages to make some good comedy with its characters and dialogue.

Elwood’s Pick – Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

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Much like The Stepford Wives there is the feeling that going into this film that you have seen it before you’ve watched it due to being one of those films that is so ingrained in pop culture with the film going on to spawn three remakes with Philip Kaufman’s 1978 remake often viewed as being as good as this original film.

Blending together the usual fun of 50’s scifi horror with a noir undertone which in many ways makes me want to pair it on a double feature with the equally influencial Kiss Me Deadly whose own glowing box would be homaged in both Repo Man and Pulp Fiction. At the same time the film taps into the paranoia of the era of a secret communist invasion aswell as the McCarthy witch hunt

Shot on a small budget this adaptation of the Jack Finney novel was ignored by critics upon it’s originally release, only years later being recognised and given the credit it deserved with many critics quick to draw the comparisons to the political climate of the time despite no one on the production thinking they were making anything other than a thriller.

Subtle in it’s portrayal of this secret invasion there are no major set pieces with Siegel instead choosing to focus on a small group consisting of the doctor, his ex-girlfriend Becky, best friend Jack and his wife Teddy as they uncover the mysterious pods which turn into identical clones of the humans they are slowly replacing. The tension slowly cranked up as the number of people they can trust continues to dwindle and with connections outside of the town disconnected Siegel really does a great job of closely closing in the walls as paranoia and fear about whose actually still human runs rampant.

Thanks to the meddling of the studio who turned out to be their own group of mindless pod people with their demands for changes meaning that the film does loose some of it’s power thanks to Siegel being forced to add a prologue / epilogue to remove some of the films hopelessness and sheer pessimism which when edited out only makes the film stronger as we close on a broken and paranoid Miles running down the highway attempting to warn the rest of humanity of the alien theat which lurks in their midst all the while being seen as some kind of mad man. However despite these enforced changes the film still manages to be effective while also featuring some great special effects for the hatching (or should that be popping) pod sequence in the greenhouse.

Even if you think you know the story this is a film still well worth giving a look even if I didn’t vibe with it as much other people it would seem looking at Letterboxd.

So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

 

Let us know in the comments section below.

Friday Film Club – Anna and the Apocalypse + Rollercoaster

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Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where both myself and Kim will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether your choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.

Elwood’s Pick – Rollercoaster (1977)

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A film probably best known for its rather spectacular opening roller coaster crash than the film the footage was actually taken from this would be one of the few feature films that James Goldstone directed spending most of his career directing TV Pilots for Ironside and the original Star Trek were his work was not only noted for its momentum but also the “fifteen-minute cliffhangers” he brought to them. This is a film equally noteworthy for being one of the four films which Universal presented in “Sensurround” were selected theatres were low-frequency bass speakers were used to create vibrations at key moments, which ultimately proved to be so successful that it cracked the plaster of some of the theatres which choose to use it.

Despite the impressive opening crash this is surprisingly a much more subtle film than you might expect as Goldstone instead here chooses to craft a tense thriller with the rest of the film plays off the tension of not knowing were the bomber has hidden his next device let alone the mind games between Timothy Bottoms unnamed bomber and George Segal’s Safety inspector Harry. Bottoms however was criticised for being too boring as a villain in reviews for the film when it was originally released but here he gives a performance reminisant of Kevin Spacey’s John Doe in Seven which here really works for the film, especially when he is spending the majority of the film taunting Harry over the phone or a walkie talkie, all the time knowing that he holds the power in this situation with Harry left to play the unwilling puppet in the proceedings.

Segal meanwhile is an engaging leading man as the frustrated safety inspector he works in humorous subtle digs at his incompitant bosses while also having to work with the local police chief and Richard Widmark’s tough FBI agent. While it might seem that his talents are perhaps alittle wasted here seeing how he spends most of the film talking to the Bomber over the walkie talkie while moving through a variety of amusement rides which for theme park fans provides its own enjoyment with the film being shot on location at Ocean View Park, Kings Dominion and Six Flags.

The Cinematography throughout is extremely impressive especially with the rollercoaster footage were large portions are shot from the front of the carriage creating that simulator feel of being on the ride which is a nice touch especially when Goldstone isn’t planning on giving the audience any more crashes. The fact that they are shot from so many angles including some impressive profile shots is really add to the excitement, especially during the finale were the cat and mouse games are played out on the opening of the six flags Revolution the world’s first coaster to use a clothoid-shaped vertical loop and more fun against the backdrop of a Sparks concert a gig which had rumoured to had been offered to both the Bay City Rollers and KISS the later turning it down in favour of doing KISS Meet The Phantom of the Park. Sparks would later recall doing the film as one of the worst things they have ever done which I had to wonder if this was before or after they did their 2006’s album Hello Young Lovers. Despite what they feel about it, the high energy performance here really play well against the tension of this final game between the bomber and police.

While it might initially be a little disappointing to see what seems to be setup as another disaster movie dissolve into a thriller it ultimately proves to be the right move here, especially with Segal’s performance certainly able to carry the film so that such shocks are never required even though the film had originally been planned to be a lot more gruesome with both the opening crash and how the bomber ultimately meets his demise, a plaque for which can still be found on the rollercoaster at Six Flags. While perhaps not a film that rewards repeat viewing it’s one still worth checking out especially for the opening crash as you wonder just how they pulled it off.

Kim’s Pick – Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)

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Mixing genres is a lot of fun and nothing quite sells like the idea of mashing zombies, musical and a Christmas setting together and its one of the reasons that 2017’s Scottish film Anna and the Apocalypse first landed on anyone’s radar during its festival circuit. While the idea sounds a bit odd, just like Shaun of the Dead worked out, Anna and the Apocalypse is very much a teen horror comedy musical. Its not very scary but does offer a lot of alternate Christmas and zombies elements.

Starring a fairly unknown young cast, Anna and the Apocalypse works because it does what it needs well. The first is the musical numbers. The music itself is a lot of fun, probably more for people who like musicals but there’s a lot of entertaining moments in the songs and the background. There are some downright ridiculous moments and yet because it’s a musical, it does work. Second, the friendship element and character bonding here also delivers. The characters really are known more through how they react and are and gives space for them to grow. Third, the pacing and execution is pretty fast-paced because of its compact run time that gives time for things to just keep happening and not spend a lot of time on the dramatic things like dwelling on past issues.

Overall, Anna and the Apocalypse is a movie suitable for Halloween and Christmas and is surprising entertaining with some very addictive songs and fun numbers. The characters are few but all are quite endearing especially with their different personalities. Its rare that the “bad boy” Nick, played by Ben Wiggins is not repulsive but while he starts that way, he also has quite a nice presence here along with main lead Anna, played by Ella Hunt (who suitably is now part of the Apple TV show Dickinson) as well as the fairly awkward presence of their friend, Steph, played by Sarah Swire, who is really witty and a great character in the film as a whole. Catchy tunes, fun characters and zombie apocalypse breakout during Christmas is a really great mashup that’s well worth a watch.

So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

Let us know in the comments section below.

Movies and Tea #23 -The Bling Ring

“The Bling Ring” saw Sofia Coppola drawing inspiration from the Vanity Fair article The Suspects Wore Louboutins here as Coppola joined the mini-trend of movies based of magazine articles alongside Michael Bay’s “Pain and Gain”. The film would also mark Coppola’s first experiment with shooting on digitial as she charts the crime spree of a group of teens who broke into and robbed the homes of thier favourite celebrities.

Norman from Flick Hunter joins us once again to the discuss the film aswell as question Emma Watson’s rumoured Oscar nod, reveal our favourite Coppola soundtracks aswell as a voicemail from The Vern (Cinema Recall Podcast )plus much more!!

Further Viewing

Spring Breakers
Marie Antoinette
The Fanatic
The Perks of Being A Wallflower
Mean Creek
Bully

Music on this episode

Sleigh Bells – Crown On The Ground
M.I.A. – Bad Girls
Aphex Twin – Anvil 14
Aphex Twin – jynweythek ylow
Death In Vegas – Girls
Keith Mansfield – Funky Fanfare

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Friday Film Club – Antisocial + Perfect Blue

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Hi folks and welcome to another edition of The Friday Film Club where both myself and Kim will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether your choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.

Kim’s Pick – Antisocial (2013)

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Canadian film company Black Fawn Films is known for its filmography of independent horror films. With a good number of films under their belt, there is no doubt that the team themselves have a great love for horror and in their films, a lot of homage is given to the various subgenres of horror. However, what gives them a unique twist is not only their vision of creating something new of their own while also mixing it up in terms of various subgenres together. While some viewers might view this as “been there done that” and feeling very familiar with its content, especially with the film today, it’s still has some refreshing elements especially paired up how the films are usually executed.

Antisocial is a 2013 horror film set during New Year’s Eve focused on a house with five university students partying it up when an epidemic spreads throughout the world. As they barricade themselves in the house, they also start rummaging around the Internet to find out the cause of the epidemic. Slowly, they each become both scared and filled with paranoia. Taking a bit of the digital world epidemic like Pulse and blending it into a science fiction-esque story and then adding in some zombie elements here, this film is a nicely-paced movie. Its mystery of the epidemic unravels itself. At the same time, while the 5 characters here might not be fully investigated, making them slightly more shallow, the film never forgets its focus is not on all the character drama but rather on the urgent situation at hand. There are some truly tense moments and they do ramp up to a memorable climax. Antisocial is not perfect but its straight forward and not always predictable.

It’s a revisit on our part that has held up a lot of its initial appeal. And if this film is your cup of tea, Antisocial 2 did also happen. While its pacing is different from the first one, its story is set some time after Antisocial ends.

Elwood’s Pick – Perfect Blue (1997)

MoxieStaffPicksPerfectBlueSatoshi Kon’s directorial debut is Hitchcock-esq thriller following Mima , a member of a J-pop group “CHAM!” decides to pursue a career as an actress, displeasing her fans especially her stalker Me-Mania (Okura). Now finding herself the target of threatening fax’s and mail bombs, things only get stranger when she discovers a website call “Mima’s Room” documenting her life if she was still with the band, as Mima finds her world being turned upside down as she is pushed to the brink of her own sanity.

A griping film throughout, the film though is a lot deeper than your usual psychological thriller, as while most thrillers would be content to just play off the mystery of “Mima’s Room”, here Kon’s focus on the changing personality from Virginal pop idol to driven actress willing to do more and more to ensure that she makes it as an actress, even if it means shattering the image her fans about her as she inturn starts to slowly reveal her much darker side.

 

At the same time Kon shows equal attention to the supporting characters who all provide their own piece of the puzzle, from Mima’s office Manger Tadokoro (Tsuji) who pushes Mima into increasingly risque situations which he convinces is for the good of her career regardless of the pressure it puts on her already fragile psyche through to the obsessed  and grotesque stalker Me-Mania who plasters his walls with images of Mima’s pop idol form which in one memorable scene even speak to him. Kon though is equally mindful of the smaller details which often prove as a result to be just as memorable, such as an actor involved in filming the rape scene apologising to Mima during a break between takes.

The animation is crisp and clean throughout, with Kon choosing to avoid the more traditional large eyed anime style, instead for a more realistic style as seen with the wide range of character designs and while it might not have the wow factor that many have come to expect thanks to the releases of Studio Ghibli this is still visually a nice anime to look at, with the movement of the characters being especially spot on as especially highlighted during the ice pick murder sequence involving a length chase around the victims apartment.

A benchmark in Japanese animation aswell as also providing the inspiration for Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, as it’s slowly earned the same recognition as the likes of the legendry Akira or Ghost In The Shell.

So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

Let us know in the comments section below.

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