This review may contain some minor spoilers as this film is over forty years old. Please also note this film is rated 18 for good reason, so not for those of a sensitive disposition. For context, this is the first time I have watched the film and I watch it at the cinema.
“A Clockwork Orange” is the sort of film you hear a lot about. Everyone says it is grim, even those who haven’t watched it. Therefore, when going to watch it in the cinema, I did so with a feeling of apprehension. Was everyone soft. Would my snowflake millennial mind shatter at what I would see? Within the first ten minutes, I certainly felt uncomfortable. Our lead character Alex (Malcom McDowell) and his droogs commit the most atrocious crimes. Stanley Kubrick spares no details showing us these scenes in a most uncompromising manner.
As this is a recent release, this review will be spoiler free
Whenever you go to a horror film at the cinema, you are faced with a deluge of trailers for all other genre films, whether it be about some devilish murdering alien boy or the latest Stephen King adaptation about a misspelt animal graveyard. These remind me about how much I dislike the genre. Cheap jump scares, no story, character development and boring acting. By the time the BBFC age rating comes up, I feel like I’ve made a mistake coming along today. But I remember how much I enjoyed “Get Out” and am intrigued as to whether Jordan Peele can follow it up with this new film. The short answer is he can.
I like to eat marmite toast for breakfast. It has a distinct taste which I gain pleasure from. But if I have marmite every day, then after a few days the marmite gets boring and loses its pizzazz. However, if I have it once every three days and switch between cheerios, shreddies and marmite, then marmite always packs a punch.
Foxtrot is constant misery. Like marmite toast the sadness is always there. Very rarely does it pack a punch as you’re constantly feeling sadness but not really understanding what for.
Upon walking out of my local cinema, I heard two people discussing the film that I had just watched. “What did you think of that?” said the female in an unsure voice. “I think it was a bit over-baked.” replied the male with equal lack of conviction. “I thought it was under-baked” replied the woman. They chuckled unsure of what to make of this truly strange movie. While not one for such metaphors, I understood their sentiment. When you walk out of a film like Border, you struggle to get your thoughts in order as you have been transported to a far off place. This film is one of the strangest I have seen and will see for a long time.
To understand the tone of this film think about what Guillermo Del Toro does to fairytales in making them more mature. Now think someone does a Del Toro to one of his films and makes in even more so. This is served up in the cinema and is our film for this week.
In the first 15 minutes of The Kindergarten Teacher, one of Lisa Spinelli’s (Maggie Gylenhall) poems is described as derivative. Ironically, that is one of the words I would use to describe this film.
Lisa Spinelli is a Kindergarten teacher who is bored of her life. Her kids are growing up with no creativity, her poetry in her evening class is lame, her job is boring. She feels lost and isolated. This is until she hears five year old student Jimmy murmur a poem.
Anna is beautiful. Beautiful enough for me. The sun hits her yellow house. It’s almost like a sign from God.
From here, she starts to claim his work as her own in her poetry class, with rave reviews. Lisa builds up a connection with poetry teacher Simon. She tries to record more of Jimmy’s poems, teaching him ideas such as perspective. Soon, she starts trying to get his father to support his poetry.
Then Lisa starts to go overboard: Giving Jimmy her phone number, becoming his afternoon carer, taking him to poetry events against his father’s will and more…
Sat in the cinema, you see an old looking and sounding 20th century fox logo and BAM, you’re in another time, exactly 40 years ago to be exact, but being transported to the year 2122. Straight off the bat, you have a dark pan across space as the word ALIEN is slowly revealed across the top of the screen and an ominous drone similar to Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” plays and you know what you’re in for.
Straight off the bat, the scenery is eerie and grey in this futuristic ship which wouldn’t look out of place in Doctor Who (Sigourney Weaver would make a much better Doctor than Jodie Whittaker, but away from the point). Your three crew-members go and explore what is sending a distress call and one of them finds eggs, sticks his face too close to a hatching one and OH SHIT THE ALIEN JUMPS ON HIS FACE!!! The classic jump scare.
Back on the ship, they take alien face to their hospital and find the alien is feeding him oxygen. Weird… Anyway, soon the alien is off his face and dead. Alien-face is ok and they have dinner and BOOM OUT OF NOWHERE!!! STRAIGHT OUT OF THE STOMACH IS THIS WEIRD WORM THING!!! Is it scary? Nahh. Is it funny? Hell yeah.
The crew go to catch this alien and you think is that as scary as it gets? And you are wrong. This guy goes after the resident cat Jones, turns around… AND THERE’S A HUGE EFFING ALIEN!! WHAAAT!!!! It is going to go down from here on out. Can they catch it, will it kill them? Well, I’m probably going to spoil this a bit in the rest of the review, but you’ve had 40 years to watch it and if you haven’t by now…
It’s not very often that I will cry at a movie. It’s less often that I would do so at a cinema, however Capernuam proved the exception as I will admit I shed a tear.
There will be minor plot spoilers in this review. There are also some major plot spoilers, but I have kept them invisible until you press the “Click Here For Major Plot Spoilers” button, so don’t fear.
The English translation of capernaum is chaos and that is something you feel immediately in this film. Set on the streets of Lebanon, you are immediately grabbed by this wall of noise and overhead shots of the city. Whether its traffic, shouting or children crying, this film is constantly throwing things at you. Even on the roof, or at night, you can hear traffic below or see a child in poverty. You will not give you a moments respite.