LFF 2018: Suspiria (2018)

Directed by: Luca Guadagnino
Cast: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Doris Hick, Chloë Grace Moretz

UK Release Date: November 16th, 2018

Written by Dave Curtis

For a person that had never seen Dario Argento’s 1977 horror classic (or so I’m told) Suspiria, a viewing of the remake at the London Film Festival seemed like a good idea. I decided not to watch the original beforehand. I didn’t want to compare it. I wanted to see it with fresh eyes.

Right from the start I just want to say this is a film that will divide opinion. Its one of those you are going to love or hate!

Director Luca Guadagnino is a man with vision, that is very clear. He is also a man who has his own ideas. Suspira is achievement of sorts. It has a slow build up and then goes hell for leather in its final act. It’s able to be shocking and tedious all at the same time.  Gone are the flashing red lights that everyone was expecting from the original. Suspiria 2018 uses colours from the darker end of the spectrum. There are some splashes of colour, Dakota Johnson’s red hair sticks out making her the stand out from the crowd and the rest of the dance troupe.

Johnson takes on the role of Susan Bannion a talented dancer who is auditioning in Berlin (a city she is drawn to) at a famous dance company. The company is led by Tilda Swinton’s Madame Blanc. She impresses at her audition and is invited to join. She is even given a room rent free above the rehearsal studio because Patricia (Chloe Grace Moretz) another dancer has disappeared (they are told she has quit). Patricia has been visiting a psychoanalyst in the name of Dr Klemperer. He has concerns that the dance school is hiding something.

I can’t work out what to make of Johnson’s performance. It borders on the edge of greatness, but every time she does some heavy breathing (and there is a lot of that) I’m taken back to her awful performances from the 50-shade trilogy. I try to remember that this is the same actress from Guadagnino’s ‘A Bigger Splash’.  Her use of her body through dance is great. It is clear she is a very talented dancer. Tilda Swinton is as strong as you could imagine, brimming with confidence in every role she inhabits. The support cast are also good. Mia Goth performance is her strongest and Chloe Grace Moretz gives the film a strong opening which the whole film is built on.

The film does have a growing sense that everything is just not right. Over the two hours and 30 minutes (an hour longer than the original), everything is made to unsettle and unnerve you. From the sound effects to the music, it a makes an uneasy feeling. It also seems to never stop raining!

This isn’t a convention horror, there are no jump scares. It depends heavily on the mood and the atmosphere through the use of sound effects, cinematography and the music (Thom Yorke’s first film score). A dance routine paired with a horrible attack on one of the students is Suspiria at its best. It is bone-crunching and eerily beautiful at the same time, an odd mixture for any film to get right. The hardcore third act does rack up the stakes and the gore. Maybe, in this case, less would have been more. It all gets a bit OTT.

Honestly, I was expecting something a little bit out there and trippy. The overly long runtime really does weigh down the film. Technically Suspiria is a spectacle but overall it just lacks that degree of awe from a story that had so much promise. Will it stand the test of time like the original,? Only time will tell. All I know is that I’m still not sure if I liked it. It stays with you, constantly at the back of your mind. That can’t be a bad thing, can it?

Dave’s Verdict:

2-5

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The Headliners & Hidden Gems At The 62nd BFI London Film Festival

Yesterday saw the announcement of the full line-up of films for the 62nd BFI London Film Festival (LFF), and boy is there a ton to get your teeth stuck into! But this year we have even more reason to be excited as JUMPCUT will attending and covering the festival for the first time ever!

We’ll be covering a whole range of films screening at the festival, including some of the headliners and hidden gems! JUMPCUT’s LFF Queen Sarah has kindly picked out just some of the films she thinks you are going to want to keep your eye on!

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The Headliners

Widows
Directed by: Steve McQueen
Starring: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell, Daniel Kaluuya

Why it is worth a watch: I mean that cast list alone is worth the admission price, but this female-fronted action thriller is also helmed by the man who brought us 12 Years a Slave, a film which previously enjoyed awards success. But the talent doesn’t end there, Widows is penned by Gone Girl writer Gillian Flynn and Hans Zimmer provides the score. This is an action movie of the highest calibre and one that will be well worth your time and money.

Screening at LFF: 10th, 11th, 12th October
UK Wider Release Date: 6th November 2018

Stan & Ollie
Directed by: Jon S Baird
Starring: Steve Coogan, John C Reilly, Nina Arianda, Shirley Henderson, Danny Huston

Why it is worth a watch: An ode to cinema, entertainment, and with two leading actors known for their brilliance as physical comedians, Stan & Ollie seems like the perfect film to close out London Film Festival. Coogan and Reilly bring beloved comedians Stan Laurel and Ollie Hardy to life on the big screen, focusing on the twilight years of their career. This is set to be a real crowd-pleaser and the most fitting curtain call for the festival.

Screening at LFF: 21st October
UK Wider Release Date: 11th January 2019

The Favourite
Directed by: Yorgos Lanthimos
Starring: Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz

Why it is worth a watch: A divisive filmmaker, but certainly one that gets people talking, Yorgos Lanthimos brings his third English-language film in four years to the London Film Festival. With stand-out performances from Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone, The Favourite promises to be bizarre, bonkers, and brilliant!

Screening at LFF: 18th, 19th, 21st October
UK Wider Release Date: 1st January 2019

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Directed by: Joel and Ethan Coen
Starring: Tim Blake Nelson, Liam Neeson, Tom Waits, Zoe Kazan, Bill Heck

Why it is worth a watch: It’s the Coen Brothers! In all seriousness, the latest from the incomparable Coens promises to be wild (west) entertainment, hilarious, offbeat, and surprisingly melancholic. Dark humour and the trademark Coen brothers flair will be here in abundance

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Screening at LFF: 12th, 13th, 21st October
UK Wider Release Date: TBA

Beautiful Boy
Directed by: Felix Van Groeningen
Starring: Steve Carell, Timothee Chalamet, Maura Tierney, Amy Ryan

Why it is worth a watch: Just try and get through the trailer to this one without crying. Sometimes you just need to let it all out, and this will be the film that gets audiences at LFF reaching for the tissues. Starring man-of-the-moment Timothee Chalamet, hot off the heels of last year’s Call Me By Your Name, and Steve Carell in what is set to be another great dramatic role for him, Beautiful Boy will be the one to watch for those early Best Actor hints…

Screening at LFF: 13th, 14th, 16th October
UK Wider Release Date: 18th January 2019

Suspiria
Directed by: Luca Guadagnino
Starring: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, Jessica Harper, Chloe Grace Moretz

Why it is worth a watch: Full disclaimer, I am a massive horror wuss and will therefore not be seeing this on the big screen, but it would be very remiss of me not to mention it here. There is no denying the trailer is stunning, and the hype levels amongst the JumpCut team have reached fever-pitch for this one. It won’t be for everyone but it’ll certainly be a talking point. And also it has Tilda Swinton in it; you can’t go wrong!

Screening at LFF: 16th, 17th, 19th October
UK Wider Release Date: 16th November 2019

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The Hidden Gems

Wild Rose
Directed by: Tom Harper
Starring: Jessie Buckley, Sophie Okonedo, Julie Walters

Why it is worth a watch: After impressing in Beast, Jessie Buckley stars in what is set to another impressive film. A Glaswegian single mum dreams of being a country singer, how hard could it be?! This is the sort of film that will make your heart soar, and with Julie Walters also appearing, it is hard not to draw comparisons with the underdog story of Billy Elliot. This film is already set to be one of the truly underrated gems of the festival.

Screening at LFF: 15th, 16th, 20th October
UK Wider Release Date: 8th February 2019

The Hate U Give
Directed by: George Tillman Jr
Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, KJ Apa, Common

Why it is worth a watch: Adapted from Angie Thomas’ ‘Black Lives Matter’-inspired Young Adult novel, this film certainly feels like an important one, and one which is sadly still so relevant. Focusing on the young lives affected by the tragic shootings of their peers, the BFI are also offering £5 tickets to see this one for 16 to 25 year olds. Even outside of this age range, this film has a lot to offer, promising to be a powerful and timely watch.

Screening at LFF: 20th, 21st October
UK Wider Release Date: 26th October 2018

Assassination Nation
Directed by: Sam Levinson
Starring: Odessa Young, Suki Waterhouse, Hari Nef, Abra, Bella Thorne

Why it is worth a watch: Don’t let the early trigger warnings put you off, this is a film that bears everything upfront and then unleashes all hell. Assassination Nation is the Salem witch trials meets the digital generation in this thoroughly modern cautionary tale, and one which is poised to join other teen cult classics such as Heathers and Spring Breakers. Subversive and utterly unique, this could be one of the surprise hits of the festival.

Screening at LFF: 19th, 20th, 21st October
UK Wider Release Date: 23rd November 2018

Burning
Directed by: Lee Chang-dong
Starring: Yoo Ah-in, Jeon Jong-seo, Steven Yeun

Why it is worth a watch: This film wowed audiences at Cannes, which is often the mark of a successful festival film! This lean slow-burning thriller promises to have you gripped right from the start, as well as exploring complex themes such as obsession, class-conflict and suppressed male rage. It will be unlikely to have a wide cinema release, so catch this one at the festival whilst you can!

Screening at LFF: 19th, 20th October
UK Wider Release Date: 1st February 2019

Mandy
Directed by: Panos Cosmatos
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache

Why it is worth a watch: Yes, Nicolas Cage. Stop reading now! Just kidding, this synopsis alone is enough to make you want to see it so we’re not even going to add to it: “In a mountain-cabin idyll, lumberjack Red Miller (Nicolas Cage) lives in perfect harmony with his great love Mandy (Andrea Riseborough). But the couple’s blissful utopia is cruelly shattered when a ragtag band of Satanic cultists invade their humble abode and claim Mandy for their own. Traumatised and distraught, Red is left with no option but to exact a bloody revenge.” (Michael Blyth, BFI)

Screening at LFF: 11, 12, 17th
UK Wider Release Date: 12th October 2018

Blaze
Directed by: Ethan Hawke
Starring: Ben Dickey, Alia Shawkat, Sam Rockwell

Why it is worth a watch: Ethan Hawke is having quite the year, and fresh from his acclaimed performance in First Reformed, his latest directorial offering his heading to LFF. This biopic about a little known musician is shot with affection and true passion that is hard to replicate, and quite frankly anything Ethan Hawke is passionate about, we love already!

Screening at LFF: 20th, 21st October
UK Wider Release Date: TBA

First Full Trailer For Luca Guadagnino’s ‘Suspiria’ Has Been Unleashed

“A darkness swirls at the center of a world-renowned dance company, one that will engulf the troupe’s artistic director, an ambitious young dancer, and a grieving psychotherapist. Some will succumb to the nightmare. Others will finally wake up.”

Directed by: Luca Guadagnino

Cast: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, Jessica Harper, Chloe Grace Moretz

Release Date: November 2nd, 2018 (US)

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Year: 2018
Directed by: Desiree Akhavan
Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Jennifer Ehle, Sasha Lane, Forest Goodluck

WRITTEN BY ELENA MORGAN

When Cameron (Chloë Grace Moretz) is discovered making out with a female classmate, she’s sent to a gay conversion therapy center called God’s Promise by her conservative aunt.

‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’ balances the humour and the darkness of Cameron’s situation very well. It is a funny film with teenage characters acting like regular teenagers while having these expectations hanging over them like a dark cloud. Cameron befriends Jane (Sasha Lane) and Adam (Forest Goodluck) two “disciples” who have learned to say what the teachers at God’s Promise want to hear but don’t believe a word of it. They’re more likely to be found growing weed in the woods than reading passages from the bible. The three of them form a connection that allows them to support one another when things get tough, sometimes without saying anything at all.

Having ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’ set in 1993 makes the isolation that Cameron, Jane, Adam and the rest of the young people at the center feel all the more poignant. While unfortunately there are still conversion therapy camps, the internet and social media allow the young people to be more informed and to find others who are like them in the world.

Chloë Grace Moretz gives a great yet subtle performance leading the viewer to never really know whether she’s buying into what Dr. Lydia Marsh (Jennifer Ehle) and Reverend Rick (John Gallagher Jr.) are preaching or if she’s still convinced that what she feels isn’t wrong like they say. Dr. Marsh’s explanation for the SSA (same-sex attraction) that Cameron and the others feel, can be convincing and there are times where it appears Cameron doubts her own mind and feelings.

Reverend Rick is a tragic character as he’s someone that has apparently worked past his SSA and is something of a role model for the teenagers. But, he’s just as lost and unsure as the rest of them but must appear to know all the answers. Rick seems like a nice guy, and even though Lydia is overbearing and cold, you can see that she believes in what she’s doing, and that it’s the best for all involved. In reality what Cameron and the rest of the teens experience is emotional abuse, but it’s hard for Cameron to put that feeling into words.

While the subject matter of ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’ can be dark and shocking, it is still a funny, coming-of-age story. It’s about young people supporting one another as they figure out themselves, and when adults won’t listen to them or trust them, they’ll forge their own path.

ELENA’S RATING:

4.5

Let The Nightmare Commence In First Teaser Trailer For ‘Suspiria’

“A darkness swirls at the center of a world-renowned dance company, one that will engulf the troupe’s artistic director, an ambitious young dancer, and a grieving psychotherapist. Some will succumb to the nightmare. Others will finally wake up.”

Directed by: Luca Guadagnino

Cast: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, Jessica Harper, Chloe Grace Moretz

Release Date: November 2nd, 2018

JUMPCUT’s Favourites: (500) Days of Summer

Year: 2009
Directed by: Marc Webb
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend, Chloe Grace Moretz, Matthew Grey Gubler.

WRITTEN BY JESSICA PEÑA

When I first watched 500 Days of Summer, I was a teenager obsessed with the glorious portrayals of love and loss in films. It made me wonder, ‘Are relationships that fragile, or are the people too naive and self indulged to be in one?’ Well, looking back, the answer is kind of both. The trials and tribulations of romance in a modern culture are much too complicated to see it in only one perspective. What is someone’s untouched desire is another’s passing by. Everyone has their own plans for life, and sometimes love gets in the way; and vice versa. Ask me about my favourite film and you’ll be knocked with a list of top ten that include the likes of ‘Ex Machina’, ‘Before Sunset’, and ‘Inglorious Basterds’. Ask me about a favourite film, and sometimes I will respond with the indie gem, ‘500 Days of Summer.’ In it, we meet Tom Hansen, a greeting card copywriter and big romantic, who never stopped looking for what went wrong in his relationship. Like the season, Summer was her name. She doesn’t believe in love, but she managed to capture Tom’s heart, leading to an unrequited love.

This is one of my favourite films, because a) Joseph Gordon-Levitt , and b) Zooey Deschanel. If you know me, you will understand. The main focus is on these characters, and they are my favourite pairing for this movie, because Gordon-Levitt and Deschanel have a history tied to their friendship. They’ve starred in earlier movies together, and the chemistry, when it comes to a romance flick, is everything. Gordon-Levitt’s character first bonds with Summer in an elevator over the classic, “There is A Light that Never Goes Out,” by The Smiths. We witness the start of something right then and there. What Tom thought would be everlasting was only Summer’s short-term spark.

Oh, heartbreak. You replay the times and the memories you once shared with someone and you look for those glitches that turned things upside down. The story here is told marking certain days in which Tom knew Summer, and it goes back and forth. In past relationships you once cherished, you seem to recollect first the good times; those unforgettable memories, and that’s how Webb decided to arrange the film. Tom’s infatuation with the idea of having Summer grows into an unhealthy self love. I love this film, because not every story has a happy ending, and ‘500 Days of Summer’ lets us know from the beginning. “This is not a love story. This is a story about love.” The narrative is bluntly familiar. Tom meets this girl, falls in love with her, and would do anything to be with her and prove that they belong with one another. The problem is that she doesn’t believe in love and this sudden commitment that Tom is yearning for. She’s out here living for the now and taking her happiness into consideration first.

The pair seem to hit it off effortlessly in the beginning until their futures don’t align. More than anything, Tom wants to fulfil his fantasies of a happy life with Summer. You really begin to feel for him and this anguish she is deliberately or non-deliberately putting him through. There’s a rather thick line between reality and expectation, as shown in a sequence of double shots of what Tom wishes for versus his sad reality. Sometimes, our vision is skewed by our infatuation with a fantasy. “Just because she likes the same bizzaro crap you do, doesn’t mean she’s your soulmate,” explains his friend Paul. That quote alone teaches us a thing or two about independence and young ignorance when it comes to the subject of romance.

‘500 Days of Summer’ is quirky, different, and closer to the reality of love than many other romance movies.There’s a karaoke session, IKEA shopping, a musical number, some architectural arm drawing, and the inevitable wreckage of young love. It goes without saying, “People change. Feelings change. It doesn’t mean that the love once shared wasn’t true or real. It simply means that sometimes when people grow, they grow apart.” This film speaks volumes to the scarring a relationship can leave, but it also understands how one learns to grow and heal from it.

It’s one of my favourites because it lets one look back on love in friendly retrospect and mature as a person. It’s graceful enough to not let Summer be seen as the enemy, as manipulative as she may seem at first. Truth be told, she isn’t perfect, and it’s her side of the relationship we don’t see. After multiple rewatches, I’ve learned that she was never in the wrong for wanting what she wants, when she wants it. She’s an open book with Tom from the beginning, and it plays with our hearts, but helps the film become a cultural impact. ‘500 Days of Summer’ could be any one of our coming-of-age stories. Someone’s day “(1)” could be the beginning of the best chapters of their life, for any number of reasons. Marc Webb’s film flourishes in the way it presents the discovery, growth, tarnish, and new hope for life from a love that once existed for our two characters. Ask me about love and I will always reference and admire this film.

Dave Vescio

Dave Vescio is a criminal turned actor who, since leaving prison, has gone on to work alongside the likes of Eddie Redmayne, Chloe Grace Moretz and Kate Beckinsale. Dave has mastered the art of playing the villain, but he’s actually a really nice guy, and here’s the proof.

Interview by Jakob Lewis Barnes
Q. You’ve had quite the journey into the world of acting. At what moment did you realize that performing was the way to go?
A. I was always taught to follow my heart, no matter what.  And I’ve had the privilege to work with some of the best people on this planet, or at least be mentored by them. From my childhood, during my time in the infantry and in prison, learning culinary arts and TV photojournalism, to where I am today, and these people were the best of the best at what they did. They taught me that you’ll know when you love your job because you’ll want to do it every single day of your life, and if by chance you can’t do it, you’ll be depressed as hell.  And let me tell you, it does feel like hell when you can’t do it. So, that’s when I knew that acting was my one true love, and I knew that the very first day I walked into my first acting class.
Q. Is there times when you find that your experiences as a criminal have actually benefited your acting career?
A. For sure! First off, I specialise at playing movie villains, so I can always bring real life experiences into each and every single one of my roles, either from my own personal crimes or by having the privilege of being caged up with these kinds of twisted villains at Fort Leavenworth Maximum Prison. I have actually met a lot of criminals since then too, and I’m always researching them in their environments as well. It’s my job to bring the hard truths to the world, that’s what professional art actually is. So that’s what I do, or try to do, with every one of my antagonistic roles. Plus, I get to release my skeletons and confront them, because the truth will definitely set you free, it always has, and it always will. 
Q. You’ve been involved in projects with some huge names, including Chloe Grace Moretz and Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne, how did you find working alongside these actors?
A. I LOVE working with the best of the best! It’s the best way to truly learn how to be a better actor. And every single one of my directors has made me a better actor as well. I have been very, very privileged to work along side Oscar winners, Golden Globe winners, Primetime Emmy winners; there’s been a lot of them so far!
Q. Which actors inspire you the most? And who would you love to work with in the future?
A. Since I’m a villain actor, I am mostly inspired by actors who play great villains on the big screen. Such as Ted Levine in ‘The Silence Of The Lambs’, Anthony Perkins in ‘Psycho’, Ralph Fiennes in ‘Schindler’s List’, and Michael Douglas in ‘Wall Street’. Those were phenomenal performances that will rock the world for decades to come!
As for who I would like to work with, honestly, any major award-winning or nominee actor, or any veteran actor. If I had to pick, then I would love to work opposite Daniel Day Lewis. He’s the most method actor there is and he’s going to beat Katherine Hepburn’s record of winning the most Best Actor/Actress Academy Awards. So Daniel, for sure!
Q. Of all the acting roles in your catalogue, which has been your favourite?
A. So, far it’s what I have on my current acting reel right now: the stranger character in ‘Hick’ starring Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne & Chloe Grace Moretz, the salesman in ‘The Odd Way Home’ starring Rumer Willis & Chris Marquette, and Eddie in ‘The Millionaire Tour’ starring Dominic Monaghan. But, I also loved my role as the sign man in ‘The Trials Of Cate McCall’ starring Kate Beckinsale & Nick Nolte. But, since the movie was sold to Lifetime Television, my scenes had to be cut out due to violence. But, that’s fine; it was great working opposite of Kate & Nick. They definitely taught me a lot!
But, I’m also looking forward to being Bobby in ‘Wolf Mother’ starring Golden Globe nominee Tom Sizemore. It’s a villain role I’ve definitely played before, but not like this. This is new territory for me, so I’m excited to start shooting.
Q. If you could play any movie character, who would it be and why?
A. I love indie films, and honestly, indie film is brand new territory for movies. They tend to be storylines that are so different from any ever told before, or the direction and editing of them is totally brand new. We just don’t do remakes in indie films, only studio movies do that, and I’m just not a fan of most studio films. I also see myself as an artist who is trying to bring the hard truths to the world, and studio films rarely do that nowadays. That wasn’t always the case, but it is nowadays. So, I would rather stick to original characters in original storylines in the indie film world, because that’s what I love most!
Q. Can you tell us anything about your upcoming projects?
A. From August 28th, AMC Theatres  give you the chance to see my lead villain role in the movie ‘Going To America’ starring Eddie Griffin, Josh Meyers, Najarra Townsend, Mindy Robinson, & Penny Marshall. It’s a hilarious story about two crazy guys who break out of a mental asylum, because one of them (Eddie Griffin) thinks he’s a prince on a mission to save a princess. Well, let’s just say that ‘princess’ is my prostitute. So, my character is not happy about that at all! So, if you get the chance, definitely check it out. We won fifteen different awards in the film festival circuit this past year for this film.
Q. What is the best piece of advice you can pass on to aspiring actors?
A. That’s a tough question. There’s so much advice to be given. If I had to sum it up in one neat soundbite, I would say that the only thing stopping you from making your dreams come true is applied knowledge. That’s it. So, go out there in the world and find that knowledge and start applying it to your daily habits. And the ones who have this knowledge are the ones who actually make their dreams come true; only they know how to get there, because everyone else is just guessing and assuming, and we all know what making assumptions truly means: making an ass out of you and me. Only study the best of the best, they will always teach you the way!

Learn more about Dave by following him on Twitter @DaveVescio and on his IMDb page. Dave’s next project, ‘Going To America’, is released in selected US theatres from August 28th.