Alex Usborne

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We Are the Freaks Review


OK

This offbeat British drama shows real promise for new filmmaker Justin Edgar, although his relentlessly gimmicky filmmaking style is so attention-grabbing that it makes it nearly impossible to engage with the story or characters. But the bright young cast is very watchable, and even if the script never digs beneath the surface, the film's stylish energy holds our interest.

It's set in 1990 Birmingham, where 18-year-old Jack (Jamie Blackley) is desperate to escape from his boring family and annoying job and go to university, although he'll need a government grant to do that. His best pals Parsons (Mike Bailey) and Chunks (Simon Teal) have their own problems, and over the course of a fateful night these three misfits encounter smart-sexy musician Elinor (Amber Anderson), Parson's pushy girlfriend (Rosamund Hanson) and a ruthless thug (Michael Smiley).

The too-clever script opens with a post-modern monologue in which Jack looks at the camera and says, "I hate it when people in movies talk to the camera." Which pretty much explains the film's sparky style. The problem is that filmmaker Edgar is trying far too hard to deconstruct the genre, avoiding any narrative coherence for a series of random mini-adventures that don't quite connect together. Each of these three guys learns some sort of important lesson over the course of the night, but the film remains resolutely superficial in its approach.

Continue reading: We Are the Freaks Review

The Acid House Review


Excellent
The late '90s should be cinematically remembered as the years of the new wave drug movie. In the late '80s and the early '90s, the drug movie was nothing more than a simple comic device... there was no meaning behind the cloud of pot smoke produced by Cheech and Chong. Then, starting in 1996 with the British smash Trainspotting, the drug movie suddenly took on a dual persona of both cautionary tale and comedy of errors. Since Trainspotting, two truly exemplary drug movies have come along... one American and one Scottish. The American is the bizarre Gen-X foray into the surreal, Go. The Scottish is The Acid House.

Although only one part of The Acid House directly deals with LSD, the majority of the movie feels as if it were written and directed the drug. Much like Go gave an accurate portrayal of X, The Acid House gives an accurate portrayal of the Super Mario... um... or so I heard.

Continue reading: The Acid House Review

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