Author Ashley Norris

I'm a twenty year-old film-lover, full-time procrastinator and rambler. There's too little time to accomplish everything.

Film Festival Emelie (dir. Michael Thelin, 2015)

Rarely are films perfectly cast through and through – especially in indies with a limited budget. Slumlord has no such problem with an entirely perfect ensemble, specifically Neville Archambault who plays the utterly engrossing gross landlord. Although the story may seem relatively predictable, it’s told with such confidence and directed to the point that it…

Film Festival Stung (dir. Benni Diez, 2015)

Exploitation horror is fun. Stung isn’t. It’s about as fun as being stung yourself. Its postmodern take on exploitation is not much to be desired with the wit of a thousand punches to the face. An hour goes by with zero care towards the characters nor their future. Although many will argue that you are purposefully not to care about the characters in exploitation…

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Kim Ki-duk’s latest is a twisted tale of incest with the addition of our natural love of genitalia. It feels weird to say that the most absurd thing about this film is its complete lack of dialogue; not the inclusions of castration, cannibalism, incest, masturbation, voyeurism and rape. Its extremism says a lot about humanity’s condition …

Film Festival Pollyanna McIntosh stars as Sarah in Simeon Halligan's White Settlers (2014)

Advertised on IMDb as a neon-noir revenge thriller-horror is misleading. A femme fatale and night-time cityscapes do not make it a neon-noir. Aside from the mislabelling, this is a twisted revenge thriller for the most part. It belongs to the rape revenge subgenre, which can be uncomfortable for those to watch. Revenge through violence is stooping to the same violent…

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Michael Bay is an auteur. An auteur who is a couple of million shy from grossing $5bn worldwide. Although that my detract many of you, making you recoil in film theory horror at the thought of someone putting Michael Bay in the same ring as Akira Kurosawa, Jean-Luc Godard and Stanley Kubrick, it is indeed true. He could be one who …

Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema is_2-2

Martin Scorsese knows his stuff. He has seen more films than seems humanly possible for such a prolific filmmaker. Innocent Sorcerers is one of his recommendations from Andrzej Wajda’s collection, a romance film which has been beautifully photographed and now restored to show all its detailed creative camerawork. You can see that this is a stepping stone to the Before… trilogy by Richard Linklater and many other simple, character-driven romance pieces. Wajda is aided by the screenplay written by Jerzy Andrzejewski and Jerzy Skolimowski which has created two intriguing, dynamic characters that blend but also clash in scenes that are bleeding sexual tension.

Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema matka joanna

Often films delve into religion but it feels like most delve into its salvation, its hope, its faith and its goodness. Mother Joan of the Angels is much more complicated than that. It may help promote the selfless sacrifice that religion strives for but it certainly doesn’t entirely condone religion either. Nor does it promote atheism either. The villagers who are outside of the church are tempters who are there to stir the pot, laugh at their rules and seem like heretics. The film seems to want a discussion with Christianity especially but it does dance around the topics of living a careless life too. Satan and bad impulses are equally destructive temptations.

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A problem arises early on in Sex After Kids because of its instant quality of shooting. Digital may be the future but cinematographers often speak about how they have to use filters to dim down the quality of the shots otherwise they look too colourful, too crude, almost cartoonish. That problem is apparent here. The camera’s cleanliness and all too polished look makes it seem amateur, with no colour palette used for a consistency throughout the shoot. There seems to be no colouring, no grading, instead the lights are on full and every detail is on show in a sadly distracting fashion.

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Studio Ghibli is renowned for its crazy yet captivating stories that spin everything on its head, creating entire playful, intricate universes for each of their stories, only linked by their visual style and thematic attachment to innocence. Porco Rosso is much the same in the canon but where the others promote strong female characters that aren’t traditional, this is lead by a anthropomorphic pig pilot who fights air pirates that threaten the sea and air, and is sometimes a bit uncomfortable to the women of the story. Many moments revolve around Fio’s “bum” which is “bigger-than-it-looks”, feeling uncomfortably sexualised, as Porco says that them alone on an island isn’t safe because he’s a man which hints towards rape and also by her being ashamed of her gender and youth. Whether it’s all purposeful because of its 1930 period setting is another thing but it may be ignorance or just downright offensive, causing the audience to waver; it’s uncomfortable, unexpected.

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