Claire Foy Is Lisbeth Salander In A Brand New ‘The Girl In The Spider’s Web’

“Lisbeth Salander, the cult figure and title character of the acclaimed Millennium book series created by Stieg Larsson, will return to the screen in The Girl in the Spider’s Web: A New Dragon Tattoo Story, a first-time adaptation of the recent global bestseller. Golden Globe winner Claire Foy, the star of “The Crown,” will play the outcast vigilante defender under the direction of Fede Alvarez, the director of 2016’s breakout thriller Don’t Breathe; the screenplay adaptation is by Steven Knight and Fede Alvarez & Jay Basu.”

Directed by: Fede Alvarez

Cast: Claire Foy, Sverrir Gudnason, Lakeith Stanfield, Sylvia Hoeks, Stephen Merchant, Claes Bang, Christopher Convery, Synnøve Macody Lund, Vicky Krieps

Release Date: November 9th, 2018

Advertisements

Sorry To Bother You

 

Year: 2018
Directed by: Boots Riley
Cast: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermain Fowler, Terry Crews, Steven Yeun, Armie Hammer, Omari Hardwick, Danny Glover

Written by Fiona Underhill

When I heard about the cast of this film towards the end of last year, my excitement levels went through the roof. Lakeith Stanfield was an extremely hot property after ‘Atlanta’ and ‘Get Out’, Tessa Thompson’s star had risen in 2017 with ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ (and only increased this year with ‘Annihilation’ and ‘Dirty Computer’) and then there’s Armie Hammer, who was at the height of ‘Call Me By Your Name’ mania when we first heard about ‘Sorry to Bother You’. Debut director and hip-hop star Boots Riley perfectly timed assembling this ultra-cool cast and he came up with an exciting, risk-taking and original idea to complement them. This film has been my most-anticipated of 2018 for six months and it still managed to exceed my expectations. It’s more surprising, crazier, extreme and amazing than you can possibly imagine.

If you CAN go and see it, then run, don’t walk to your nearest cinema!

Cassius ‘Cash’ Green (Lakeith Stanfield) lives with his artist girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson) in his Uncle Serge’s (Terry Crews) garage. He desperately needs a job, so goes to a telemarketing company to  try and work his way up. There he meets Langston (Danny Glover), who tells him that if he puts on a ‘white voice’, his calls will be more successful and he’ll make more money. He also meets Squeeze (a fantastic Steven Yeun), who along with Cash’s old friend Salvador (Jermaine Fowler) wants to unionize the workers at the company and demand benefits. Cash starts to gain success and begins to make his way towards becoming a coveted ‘Power Caller’; someone who gets to ride the gold elevator with a mysterious unnamed character (Omari Hardwick) to the top floor and make sales calls on a completely different level (selling arms and people – literally). He then finds himself torn between the promise of untold riches (and helping his Uncle save his home) and his friends and girlfriend on the bottom floor, trying to keep things real. This plot summary barely scratches the surface of what actually happens and especially the final third of the film goes in a completely unforseen direction. I urge you to try to remain as spoiler-free as you can, going in, because that will only add to the enjoyment.

The visual inventiveness that Riley has achieved on what was presumably a pretty small budget is insane. There are so many brilliant touches; when Cash is making his calls, you see him actually go into the homes of each of his targets and interact with them. When Cash starts to gain success, his new flashy belongings, like his TV set, grow out of his old worn items. The hair, make-up and costumes (particularly of Detroit) are witty, inventive and clever. The scene where Detroit opens her art show in a gallery, with performance art aspects is amazing. Omari Hardwick’s unnamed character is straight out of a Magritte painting with his bowler hat and apple, this time with the addition of an enormous handle bar moustache/beard. Everything about Armie Hammer’s character Steve Lift is bananas. He wears a kind of kilt/sarong, leather boots, a crop and they’ve even given him the subtle touch of David Bowie’s different coloured eyes, adding to his svengali-like status – you believe he could hypnotise you.

There are multiple themes running through the many layers of ‘Sorry to Bother You’ and a review isn’t really the right place to delve into the depths of them. This film will be analysed and picked apart, as it should be and the best people to do that with this film are people of colour (eg. Angelique Jackson, Soraya McDonald, Robert Daniels). This film has much to say about what black people have to face in white spaces and what they have to do to succeed in white-dominated worlds. The changing of register is just one example of how black people are dehumanised and that theme is taken to the extreme by the end. There is a sub-plot involving white people being used as slave labour which could have whole essays written about it in itself. There are parts of this film that will confront and disrupt the comfort of the viewer and there are parts that are hard to watch and listen to. But maybe that should be the case in a film that is revealing and highlighting what some black people have to live every day.

Yes, this film is hilarious and had the audience in hysterics, but it definitely will leave you with much to think about afterwards.

If there were any justice in the world, Stanfield would be in the running for an Oscar-nomination next February. His lead performance here is astounding and Thompson supports him with her incredible magnetism, commanding the screen whenever she is on it. This is one of the best debut feature films from a first time writer-director I’ve ever seen. Riley has been incredibly bold, inventive and has not compromised his unique voice. It’s an extremely well structured and edited film, with creative visual effects that are clever low-budget solutions, making a more interesting film than higher-budget blockbusters. I cannot recommend ‘Sorry to Bother You’ highly enough and I just hope that the international rights are sorted out, so audiences in the UK and beyond can see this film as soon as possible.

Fiona’s Rating:

5

Claire Foy Is Lisbeth Salander In First Trailer For ‘The Girl In The Spider’s Web’

“Lisbeth Salander, the cult figure and title character of the acclaimed Millennium book series created by Stieg Larsson, will return to the screen in The Girl in the Spider’s Web, a first-time adaptation of the recent global bestseller. Golden Globe winner , the star of ‘The Crown’, will play the outcast vigilante defender under the direction of , the director of 2016’s breakout thriller ‘Don’t Breathe’; the screenplay adaptation is by Steven Knight and Fede Alvarez & Jay Basu.”

Directed by: Fede Alvarez

Cast: Claire Foy, Sverrir Gudnason, Lakeith Stanfield, Sylvia Hoeks, Stephen Merchant, Claes Bang, Christopher Convery, Synnøve Macody Lund, Vicky Krieps

Release Date: November 9th, 2018

Watch The Brilliantly Bizarre Trailer For ‘Sorry To Bother You’

“In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success, propelling him into a macabre universe.”

Directed by: Boots Riley

Starring: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Armie Hammer, Patton Oswalt, Steven Yeun, Terry Crews, David Cross, Danny Glover

Release Date: July 6th, 2018

Death Note

Year: 2017
Director: Adam Wingard
Starring: Nat Wolff, Lakeith Stanfield, Margaret Qualley, Willem Dafoe, Jason Liles

Written by Sasha Hornby

When Adam Wingard’s live-action US-set reimagining of ‘Death Note‘ was announced, I had mixed feelings.  Excitement at the prospect of another film from one of my favourite genre directors (The Guest is in my top 10 of all time, a criminally underseen B-movie flick).  But also trepidation.  The incredible source manga of the same name, written by Tsugumi Obha and illustrated by Takeshi Obata, is 2,400 pages long, and was my gateway into manga over 10 years ago.  The best adaptation (and there have been many) thus far, is the wildly popular 37-episode anime series, which is often touted as one of the best anime series, period.  The big question forming in my mind was ‘how on earth do you fit such a rich mythos into 100 minutes?’

And let me tell you now, the answer is, you don’t.  With a simplified plot, Death Note tells the tale of high school student Light Turner (Nat Wolff) who is handed a supernatural notebook, the Death Note, that belongs to Ryuk (voiced by Willem Defoe), a bored Shinigami (God of death).  As owner of the Death Note, Light has the power to kill any person whose name he writes in it.  With his girlfriend, Mia Sutton (Margaret Qualley), he begins a vigilante quest to rid the world of evil, ending the lives of those they deem unworthy of life – criminals, mostly.  As the death toll exceeds 400, he attracts the attention of the mysterious master detective known only as L (Lakeith Stanfield), and a deadly game of cat-and-mouse ensues.

The cast for the most part are adequate, with two stand-outs, who are both, unfortunately, underused: Lekeith Stanfield as L and Willem Defoe as the voice of Ryuk.  L is a curious man, preferring to crouch on chairs rather than sit and eating copious amounts of candy for nutrition.  Stanfield plays the character note-perfectly, never making his quirks a comedic crutch, but rather giving insight to an incredibly intelligent man most likely on the autism spectrum.  L is the voice of reason.  Comparatively, Ryuk is the voice of chaos.  Even though all Defoe lends is his voice to the character, he is at his menacing best.  In an interview with IGN, Defoe describes Ryuk as “half-mentor, half-tormentor”, and Defoe taps into that with ease.  Ryuk’s laugh in this film will stick with me for the rest of my natural-born life.

As a person knocking on 30’s door, my empathy for whiney-ass teenagers has all but gone.  And I think this is why I struggled with the central couple.  Nat Wolff and Margaret Qualley do what they can with the roles they given, but somehow they felt predictable and one-dimensional.  Almost stereotypical.  He, a supposedly intelligent nerd boy, and her, a sassy cheerleader turned bad girl.  There’s a bit of a Bonnie and Clyde vibe, that is never fully realised.

The new setting of Seattle feels grounded, whilst allowing for the more fantastical elements of the story.  Pier 57 on Elliott Bay, adorned with the Seattle Great Wheel, features in two pivotal moments: a moment of love under the bright sunshine, and a moment of despair in deepest night.  It forms a iconic backdrop to the film – much the same as the Coney Island ferris wheel does in The Warriors (1978).

Director Adam Wingard has such a destinctive style that is painted all over Death Note.  From the synth-dreanched 80s-inspired soundtrack (which I absolutely loved – hurry up onto vinyl already), to the pulpy neon colours, to the ultra-violence, to the electric final act, this screams “I am a Wingard movie!”  Unfortunately, none of the elements I adore in Wingard’s work could save the film from it’s own pacing issues.  Plot point after plot point after plot point are fired in such quick succession, it is both jarring and discombobulating.  It took me a solid 40 minutes to aclimatise to the unrelenting speed – I just really wish it had been given a bit of space to breathe.

Death Note could have been a truly great American adaptation of the famous Japanese property, and more to the point, I really wanted it to be.  If given an extra 30 minutes, and stronger leads, perhaps it would have been.  My advice to fans of the source material (I count myself in this group) is to approach the film as though you know nothing, and it is still serviceable.  For everyone else, its an enjoyable, if hurried, mystical thriller.

Sasha’s rating: 5.5 out of 10