Freak Show: Film Review

Alex Lawther first came to my attention playing the young Alan Turing in 2014’s The Imitation Game and his subsequent work in Black Mirror, The End of the F***ing, Goodbye Christopher Robin and Ghost Stories proved his ability to play odd, tortured, offbeat characters – but he goes above and beyond all that with Freak Show.

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Abigail Breslin ‘was a dream’ for Trudie Styler to work with on Freak Show

Trudie Styler recently sat down for a Q&A to promote her directorial debut Freak Show at the BFI Southbank, and here’s what she had to say about Abigail Breslin.

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Freak Show: BFI Flare Film Festival Review

Alex Lawther first came to my attention playing the young Alan Turing in 2014’s The Imitation Game and his subsequent work in Black Mirror, The End of the F***ing, Goodbye Christopher Robin and Ghost Stories proved his ability to play odd, tortured, offbeat characters – but he goes above and beyond all that with Freak Show.

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I’m not surprised Scream Queens has been cancelled

Today it was announced that Scream Queens had been cancelled after two seasons. It had kinda been on the horizon for a while and Lea Michele had left to film a new comedy pilot so its prospects never looked good but I’m neither surprised or that disappointed that it’s been axed.

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Scream Queens finale: A disappointing lack of deaths

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As I have previously discussed, I have a serious love/hate relationship with Scream Queens but I have been really enjoying the last few episodes. This week the double-bill finale aired and it was awesome, except for the fact that Lea Michele ruined the identity of the Red Devil on Twitter, and not enough of the main cast were killed off as Ryan Murphy had teased.

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My love/hate relationship with Scream Queens

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I look forward to every episode of Scream Queens because I think it is exciting TV, it is a perfect combination of horror, comedy, cheese and parody and has an amazing cast. Yet, after most episodes, I’m left feeling a bit letdown because it fails on so many fronts.

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Maggie: Film Review

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Maggie had the potential to be a really affecting zombie drama but it comes up incredibly short. In a genre that has been overdone of late, it was always going to be a struggle to bring something new, and this doesn’t add anything we haven’t seen before nor does it leave a lasting impression.

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Hot new trailers to get excited about

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“What fresh hell is this?!”

 

There have been a load of trailers dropping recently, but here are my top three that I have seen this week and am so excited for.

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August: Osage County Film Review

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I was not immediately drawn to this but the Oscars buzz surrounding it made me have a look and I can understand why Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts have nominated. Their performances are amazing and it is a very high quality film but that does not make it enjoyable.

Meryl stars as Violet, the matriarch of the Weston household, who calls on her daughters when their father goes missing and she has nobody to look after her while she is suffering from mouth cancer and self-medicating with a lot of prescription pills. Barbara (Roberts), Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) and Karen (Juliette Lewis) head back to their old house in the middle of nowhere in Oklahoma and the tensions within the family are evident straight away – which makes for an interesting few days.

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There are some films you watch because you want to be entertained and laugh and enjoy it – this does not come under that category. It is very bleak and looks at the harsh realities of a family who have grown apart and no longer know how to deal with each other. They are mean, bitter, spiteful and shield a lot of deep secrets. It markets itself as a black comedy but found it funny very rarely. This is just a drama if you ask me.

The dialogue is amazing and it is very well written, you cannot deny that. It can be witty and funny one moment then hurtful and scathing the next. The cast is incredible – Sam Shepard, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Dylan Mulroney, Benedict Cumberbatch, Margo Martindale and Abigail Breslin also star. It is an ensemble piece yet Violet stands out due to her pill-popping cancer-riddled condition and her feud with Barbara takes centre stage.

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It is a very real, raw look at the interactions between family who have been harbouring unresolved issues which have festered and caused resentments. The characterisations are very good but you will still be shocked at how they speak to one another. It really makes you appreciate how uncomplicated or loving your own family is because these guys are one f**ked-up bunch. They hate themselves, they hate each other and there is just resentment and bitterness in every direction. Like I said, the quality of cast and dialogue is so, so high but the enjoyment factor is not there at all.

The Call: Review

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The concept of this movie intrigued me and I’m so glad I watched it because it was tense, thrilling and I was captivated from start to finish.

Halle Berry plays a 911 call-centre operator and one day, she gets an emergency call from a teenage girl (Abigail Breslin) who has been abducted. She is on a disposable phone so they cannot track her location and she is in the boot of a car, so she can’t tell where she is either. Berry has to keep calm and try every option to save this girl’s life.

You can’t imagine how this concept would be able to sustain a feature-length movie but it does and it manages to stay thrilling and tense throughout. Considering Berry spends the majority of her time on her bum, in an office, on the phone, you really care for her and the girl. Berry has been given a troubled back story which sets up the sympathy straight away and makes you connect with her character from the beginning. Breslin plays a good girl who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and you are hoping that she will be alright in the end.

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Both leads played their roles really well. Breslin must have been exhausted from constantly screaming and being terrified whereas Berry plays her vulnerable operator very well. The stand-out, however, was Michael Eklund, who was the villain. He was so creepy. You don’t realise how mentally unstable he is but, once you do, it becomes scary. I was so tense when Berry went on her own little mission. I was talking out loud, telling her to get help, rather than go by herself! I’m not sure how I feel about the ending, it was definitely unexpected.

Ultimately, it was a very simple kidnapping thriller, in terms of plot. However, I liked that the film focussed on the operator as I thought this was a refreshing take on a stale genre. The pacing is what held the movie together. It moved along at a rapid pace and it kept the interest consistent. The villain was brilliant and this turned out to be more gory and scary than I had anticipated.

I would recommend this for some who wants a thrill that is easy to follow.