Happy Endings (aka Winter Passing): when a struggling actress is offered some quick cash for her famous mother and father’s early love letters, she goes back home to weigh up her choices. First-off, this is Ms Deschanel being quirky and indie to the max: the movie opens with her singing at the 2 minute mark, and playing the piano within 15 mins so be prepared for full-on mopey, morose and tedious Zooey. It’s not just her though, every character is defined by their quirks and eccentricities, which makes them all memorable, but annoyingly the film ends up containing more randomness than a green flamingo in a roller-skate carrying a backpack full of iguana-flavoured blancmange. Don’t be fooled though, there’s some good moments of acting in here, particularly Ed Harris and Will Ferrel, who both go beyond their stereotyping and comfort zones. If you love a bit of shoe-gazing solemn quirkiness this will be right up your trendy street.
Cheer up goth!
Kill List: after taking a break from contract killing, money problems force a hitman back into the game, but this list isn’t as simple as it first looks. Never before has a film rattled my cage like this. There’s a very heavy sense of doom heaped upon you, primarily through a clever soundtrack that’s part classic horror and part ultra-modern – white noise & distortion while all digetic (in picture) sounds are muted – a great effect to keep the audience unsettled. I was genuinely scared in parts and had to take deep breaths now and again for no real reason other than it was so tense; very strange for a film to get this reaction. It’s an unbelievable display of what a good director (Wheatley), and good actors (Maskell & Smiley), can put an audience through The story is intriguing from the first frame of the symbol, and plenty of hints dropped through the runtime, without much basil exposition. The only disappointment was several aspects of the ending; after 70 minutes of slow-boiling, grim, ultra realistic, impending danger, the final 20 minutes feel a bit wild, and the scream/costume effects (from the tunnel scene in particular) don’t match the rest of the film. Despite some minor niggles, Kill List is a superb film: tense, unsettling, uneasy, ultra-violent (guns, hammers, knives) – it’s not for everyone, but this is without a doubt one of the best thriller/horror I’ve ever seen.