This was originally published on March 18th, 2021.

Contains spoilers for I Care a Lot

J. Blakeson’s third feature film, I Care a Lot, follows the life and crimes of Marla Grayson (Rosamund Pike) — a sociopathic con artist who makes her living ripping off old people. It’s an intriguing focus for a film, but one that makes us ask “what’s the real message here?” Marla charms the oblivious Judge Lomax (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) to appoint her as legal guardian over elderly people, under the guise that they can no longer look after themselves. She does none of the actual…


This was originally published on November 25th, 2020.

Christmas is a time for love, family, warmth… and this Letterboxd list of Christmas films featuring heterosexual couples wearing red and green. While the list plays for laughs, it highlights how manufactured straight Christmas films are and how inundated audiences have become with them. LGBTQ+ stories that take place over the holidays are few and far between, even though we’re in dire need of comforting seasonal films because it’s arguably one of the most difficult times of year for those who were rejected by their families. Luckily, Clea DuVall’s Happiest Season (co-written…


This was originally published on November 16th, 2020.

In loving memory of Nika McGuigan.

Set on the fractious Irish border, Cathy Brady establishes the tone of her feature-length debut, Wildfire, by opening with archival footage of the conflict and terrorism linked to The Troubles, and more recently, the divide caused by Brexit. The social and political unrest simmers in the background of the film’s main story, as the small town suffers from old wounds that its residents won’t let heal — including the suicide of a mentally ill woman who left behind two young children.

Wildfire is about those two…


This was originally published on November 2nd, 2020.

In Jennifer Sheridan’s original debut feature, Rose: A Love Story, husband Sam (screenwriter Matt Stokoe) and wife Rose (Sophie Rundle) live a secluded life together in England’s snowy woods. Sam spends his days in the freezing cold gathering wood, setting rabbit traps, and looking after them both, whereas Rose stays inside writing novels, on a typewriter like she’s Jack Nicholson in The Shining, and managing her mysterious blood condition. As time goes on, their quaint existence is interrupted by Amber (Olive Gray), a young runaway who threatens to cause the very tragedy…


This was originally published on October 11th, 2020.

Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting of Hill House, based on Shirley Jackson’s novel of the same name, was an absolute masterclass in emotive storytelling, story adaptation, and filmmaking. This time, Flanagan continues to reinvent great stories of the past as the second installment of The Haunting explores Henry James’ “The Turn of the Screw”. The Haunting of Bly Manor doesn’t quite live up to Hill House, but it’s still one hell of an experience.

Our story begins in 1987 with Dani Clayton (Victoria Pedretti), a young American teacher who responds to an ad…


This was originally published on September 18th, 2020.

We were first introduced to the terrifying and tyrannical Nurse Mildred Ratched in Ken Kesey’s book “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” — but her character was brought to life by Louise Fletcher in Miloš Forman’s film adaptation, which earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1976. Nurse Ratched manipulated her patients in order to maintain the order she liked, despite it causing them more psychological distress. In addition to her distinctive bone-chilling stare, she spoke in a polite tone when explaining her rules, as though everything she said was…


This was originally published on August 31st, 2020.

Since the beginning, we’ve always wondered whether Killing Eve — the title — means that Villanelle (Jodie Comer) will eventually kill Eve (Sandra Oh) as part of their intoxicating game of cat and mouse. But what if the title isn’t literal and instead possesses a deeper meaning? At its core, Killing Eve is really about Eve and the changes she goes through when she becomes captivated by Villanelle — a psychopathic assassin who turns her whole life upside down. …


This was originally published on August 28th, 2020.

After receiving a series of panicked messages from her older brother Richie (Heston Horwin), young nursing student Becca (Jillian Harris) rushes over to his apartment to check on him. When she gets there, her worst fears come true: she finds Richie’s dead body after a successful suicide attempt. While she’s in distress, Richie suddenly appears, stark naked, and holding a bowl of cereal. It turns out that each time Richie kills himself, he is reborn through a pulsating, vagina-like hole in his bedroom wall. …


This was originally published on August 25th, 2020.

At its surface, Bring It On is a fun teen rom-com about cheerleading that perfectly sets up its tongue-in-cheek tone with its opening dream sequence. Featuring the “I’m sexy, I’m cute, I’m popular to boot” cheer, it pokes fun at how people typically view cheerleading as nothing more than a bitchy popularity contest, but the film also shines a light on Black culture by providing a smart commentary on the serious issues of economic and racial inequality — namely cultural theft.

Torrance Shipman (Kirsten Dunst) is handed five-time National winning cheerleading squad…


This was originally published on August 3rd, 2020.

Most teenage sexual awakenings explored in cinema are told through the male lens, but Yes, God, Yes not only explores this through the female lens, but through a religious one as well. Loosely based on writer-director Karen Maine’s experience growing up Catholic in the Midwest, the film follows 16-year-old Alice (Natalie Dyer) as she begins to explore her sexuality, which was initially piqued by the steamy sex scenes that she rewinds to on her VHS tape of Titanic. To make things worse, young and hip Father Murphy’s (Timothy Simons) class on Catholic…

Toni Stanger

A freelance film and tv writer from England, who enjoys horror films, cats and middle-aged actresses.

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