Film Reviews Venezia74 Special by Adam Ray Palmer

As one festival ends, another begins so they say! Well, someone says it at least… or maybe just me. In a few days’ time, I’ll be heading off to the London Film Festival, but this edition is not about the LFF; this is a Venezia74 special!
I have three early reviews below, I have some pictures I captured and exclusive quotes that the A-listers shared with me… let’s get to it!
Venezia74 opened with an ambitious movie from Alexander Payne starring an ensemble cast including Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, Jason Sudeikis and Neil Patrick Harris. Downsizing follows Paul Safranek (Damon) as he is ‘downsizes’ his body to a mere five inches as the world proposes a 200-year global transition from big to small through a Norwegian scientific discovery – what a mouthful. The struggle I have with this movie is the indecision of what type of film Payne wants it to be. Is it a serious, thought-provoking reminder to the world we’re in trouble, or is it light-hearted take on science gone-mad planet? To me, it’s a mixture of both and it loses its way. Thank the lord for Waltz though, he’s a breath of fresh air in everything he graces.
Out in the UK on 22nd December 2017
The Shape of Water
Hands down, the best film of the festival for me was The Shape of Water. It also picked up the Golden Lion award so we can’t all be wrong! Guillermo del Toro’s latest flick is stuff of beauty. It’s hypnotic, enchanting and cinematic genius. Think an adult version of Beauty and the Beast with political messages weaved in. It’s expertly layered, directed to perfection and the acting on show throughout is exquisite. The Shape of Water follows the lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) who is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment in the hidden high-security government laboratory where they both work. This fairytale is captivating from start to finish. Del Toro even makes the simplest of sequences involving water droplets poetically seducing each other on a bus window to be breathtakingly beautiful. Get this man an Oscar.
Out in the UK on 16th February 2018
Brawl in Cell Block 99
S. Craig Zahler follows up his highly impressive debut Bone Tomahawk with another hard-hitting and brutal film, Brawl in Cell Block 99. This time around, Vince Vaughn plays the troubled lead role with notable skill. We all know he’s more at home in a Ben Stiller comedy but make no mistake, Vince can cut it in the rough. Cell Block tells the story of a former boxer-turned-drug runner (Vaughn) who lands himself in a prison battleground after a big deal ends deadly. He must work is way up to high security in block 99 to complete a mission to save his wife and unborn child. Cell Block is over two hours of entertainment that climaxes with an enormously satisfying finale. Zahler loves to include vicious violence in his movies and he doesn’t disappoint here. Catch this where you can.
Out in the UK later this year
Interview snippets
Me to KRISTEN WIIG: How do you think this film (Downsizing) will land in the mainstream?
WIIG: Well, in essence, it’s a love story. However, it is so much more than that. It’s making huge statements about the world and politics whilst being wrapped with little bits of humour and romance.
Me to MATT DAMON: What’s your interpretation of the ending to Downsizing?
DAMON: To be honest, it’s open for discussion. But to me I think I am in love with Lan rather than anything else. My character has changed his surroundings once and it was very difficult, so he didn’t want to do it again. It could also be taken more deeply than that, so each to their own.
Me to MATT DAMON: I must ask, what did you think of Ben Affleck’s Batman?
DAMON: Make’s you appreciated Christian Bale doesn’t it? (laughs) Only kidding! I gave him a call and congratulated him – it’s a big deal.
Me to RICHARD JENKINS: What was it like working with Sally Hawkins for the first time in The Shape of Water?
JENKINS: She was a dream. Whether she likes it or not, she has a friend in me for life. She is perfect in this film and she was a pleasure to work with. Truth be told, I would love her as a daughter – I respect her that much.

Adam Ray Palmer
Editor-in-chief of CineroomTwitter: @AdamRayPalmer and @CineroomTweets
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