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film features

Though it boasts a cult of stubborn supporters, Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel Prometheus is widely regarded a failure; yet another misstep in a franchise that hasn’t offered us a thoroughly satisfying installment since the 1980s. Like Rob Zombie with his Halloween reboots and George Lucas with his Star Wars prequels, Scott decided the simple concept that made the initial movies such classics wasn’t enough, and retro-fitted a mythology that explained the origins of the series’ iconic extra-terrestrial terrors. It was a backstory most of us didn’t need, nor cared for, and audiences were left checking their watches throughout, wondering when the bloody aliens might show up.... READ ON

In her previous two films, Australian director Cate Shortland notably mined outstanding performances from then unknown young female leads - Abbie Cornish in her 2004 debut Somersault and Saskia Rosendahl in her 2012 sophomore effort Lore, the latter sadly disappearing off the scene soon after. With her third feature, an adaptation of author Melanie Joosten’s novel Berlin Syndrome, her lead is this time an established actress, Hollywood star Teresa Palmer, but with Shortland taking her to places we haven’t seen the Aussie actress venture before, it almost feels like we’re being introduced to a fresh new talent here.... READ ON

Ever wonder what life is like in the life of an Uber driver? Vincent Brue and his wife Eve take you behind-the-scenes at the crazy characters that come in and out of Vincent’s Prius in the web series, Bruber. ... READ ON

Your attitude to filmmaker James Gray probably depends on your geographical location. The French adore him, Americans are ambivalent, and in the UK and Ireland we barely know he exists, as his movies barely get released here (we’ve given up on a release of The Immigrant at this point). I’ve been largely unimpressed by his CV so far (though I’ve yet to see The Immigrant and may have to fork out for an import disc now), but his latest, The Lost City of Z had the same effect on me as Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood, a lauded filmmaker’s work finally clicking with my sensibilities.... READ ON

After delivering one of 2016’s most disappointing releases - his adaptation of JG Ballard’s High-Rise - director Ben Wheatley makes a quick return with an equally ambitious project. But while Free Fire is an improvement on his treatment of Ballard, it’s yet another case of Wheatley biting off more than he can chew.... READ ON

Gritty takes on the vampire mythos are nothing new. Filmmakers like George Romero (Martin), Abel Ferrara (The Addiction) and Larry Fessenden (Habit) have given us downbeat, unromanticized movies that view vampires as victims of disease or addiction. Debut director Michael O’Shea’s The Transfiguration follows this path to some degree, but it’s not short on romance. Indeed, you’re unlikely to see a more romantic movie all year.... READ ON

Babies have long played a role in horror cinema, from the suspect infant growing inside Mia Farrow’s tummy in Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby to the killer rugrats of Larry Cohen’s It’s Alive franchise. In British actress/writer Alice Lowe’s directorial debut, Prevenge (don’t ask me for that title’s correct pronunciation), the nasty nipper hasn’t even left the comfort of the womb, and it’s already causing mayhem.... READ ON

Today the New Jersey Young Filmmakers’ Festival is open for submissions! For 43 years, the festival has created a space where students can share their films with a broad audience, and develop their skills while exploring the medium. In this conversation, we get in to how the festival works, who can enter and what kind of films make it to the top. This interview was conducted via email with Festival Director Jane Steuerwald and Advisory Board Member Chris Corey.... READ ON

The 2017 SOMA Film Festival takes place March 9-12 at South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) in South Orange, NJ. The festival kicks off on Thursday, March 9 at 7:00pm with an opening night party in the Loft at SOPAC. Check out the next few pages for a preview of the films screened this year.... READ ON

Ever since the success of 28 Days Later and Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake back in the early days of the century, we’ve been living in a cinematic zombie apocalypse. Every opportunist low budget filmmaker lacking a creative thought has turned to the zombie genre, filling the horror section of streaming sites with low-grade dross featuring the director’s extended family shambling about in pasty make-up. Mainstream cinema has tried its hand at the trope too, with the screen adaptation of Max Brooks’ cult novel World War Z proving an unexpected hit (and apparently spawning a sequel to be directed by no less than David Fincher). On TV, it seems every night there’s a zombie show broadcast on some channel or other, be it The Walking Dead, Z Nation or French import Les Revenants. At this point it seems the genre has been well and truly exhausted, and new British offering The Girl with All the Gifts has very little to add to this overcrowded market.... READ ON

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