Fri July 4th, 6:30pm, Paradiso & Sun July 6th, 6:30pm, Luna
A Scandinavian co-production that features the year’s most striking cinematography, stunning visually poetic monochrome reminiscent of Francis Ford Coppola’s Rumble Fish; a portrait of adolescent angst that is both tender and raw, a muse on fraternity and the spectre of loneliness, again reminiscent of Rumble Fish. Johannes Brotherus is superb in the lead role as fourteen-year-old Simo, struggling to find his rightful place alongside his distant mother and his criminal brother, living in a cramped public housing apartment block in Helsinki, quietly aching for adventure, danger even. Concrete Night drifts with a dreamlike sombre tone, a hypnotic slow burn of coil and release.
Sat July 5th, 6:30pm, Paradiso, Mon July 7th, 8:30pm, SX, & Fri July 11th, 8:45pm, Luna
This is Nicolas Cage’s best movie in years, playing Joe, an ex-con trying to keep his head above water, still fighting his demons. He meets 15-year-old Gary (newcomer Tye Sheridan in an extraordinary performance), a tough lad with an even tougher father, a violent drunkard (non-professional Gary Poulter, a talented street bum who died shortly after shooting was completed), who is jealous of the bond his son makes with surrogate father Joe. This is one of those tales you know from the opening scenes is going to end frayed and torn, but just how the tragedy unfolds makes for compelling viewing. Director David Gordon Green and screenwriter Gary Hawkins (based on a novel by Larry Brown) have created a deeply moody (some of the scenes are as dark in palette as they are in tone) study of crooked redemption.
Sat July 5th, 8:45pm, Paradiso, Sun July 6th, 2pm, SX, Thur July 10th, 9pm, Luna, & Sun July 13th, 6pm, Luna
The ridiculously talented James Franco published a book of inter-linked short stories about teenagers in the Californian township of Palo Alto (south of San Fran, north of San Jose). It’s the first feature directed and adapted by Gia Coppola (the daughter of Francis Coppola’s eldest son Gian-Carlo, who was killed aged 22, leaving a pregnant wife). Although there is nothing really knew on display, there is still a freshness, a deliciously listless atmosphere, similar to that of Bellflower, that lifts this rambling narrative above most others of its kind. It’s the three superb central performances from thoughtful Jack Kilmer (son of Val and Joanne Whalley), ingenue Emma Roberts, and volatile Nat Wolff that really drive this movie. Franco plays a support role (he couldn’t help himself) as a cradle-snatching soccer coach, whilst Val (whose actual home was used as one of the key interiors) makes a cameo as a stoned step-dad. Dazed and Confused for the hipsters.
Fri July 4th, 8:30pm, Paradiso, Mon July 7th, 8:15pm, Paradiso, Wed July 9th, 8:45pm, Paradiso, Fri July 11th, 6:30pm, Luna, Sat July 12th, 9pm, Luna, & Sun July 13th, 6pm, SX
From the director of Combat Girls comes this astonishing celebration of bodily fluids as metaphor for psychological issues. Well, at the very least, it's a wild hybrid black comedy-romance-drama, based on the bestseller novel by Charlotte Roche. The story of Helen (Carla Juri), a young woman with an obsession with her sexuality in all its beauty and ugliness. But what it’s really about is Helen’s preoccupation with her parents broken relationship, and the effect it has had on her psyche. Filmed with the same kind of dynamically creative verve as Danny Boyle did with Trainspotting, it’s a circus of true ick and unexpected splendour, and simply unlike anything you’ve ever seen – or experienced – before. Taking the trophy for brazen originality, indeed, this is the kind of movie only the Germans could make, it’s brilliant in its outrageousness. Carla Juri is utterly fearless and utterly amazing. Wetlands soaks hard: an instant transgressive cult classic, but, please be warned, it’s NOT everyone’s cup of excretion! You will probably be put off pizza and avocado for a while,but hey, it's crazy, filthy fun!
Who Took Johnny
Fri July 4th, 6:15pm, Luna, Sun July 6th, 12.30pm, Paradiso, & Mon July 7th, 8:15pm, Luna
A disturbing reminder that the most powerful nightmare movies are often documentaries that delve into the hideous inhumanity that seethes below the surface of society. This riveting true crime story exposes (hell, we all knew it anyway) the truly heinous monster that is human trafficking. It’s an American horror story, but the bigger picture is indeed international in scope. Thirty years ago fourteen-year-old Johnny Gosch was abducted whilst on his paper route. The culprits have never been caught. Local police continue to insist the boy ran away from home and he is still listed as a missing person. Johnny’s mother has been on a crusade ever since, inexorably uncovering corruption and conspiracy every step of the way. This is a truly insidious darkness that stretches far and wide, and continues to be “covered” because many of the super-wealthy are evil. Who Took Johnny is an exceptional documentary; a hard, hard truth about the darkness that surrounds us.