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‘Last Night in Soho’ (LFF 2021 reviews); ‘Azor’, ‘Wild Indian’ and ‘Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy’

‘Last Night in Soho’ (LFF 2021 reviews); ‘Azor’, ‘Wild Indian’ and ‘Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy’

We saw latest release at London Film Festival and here are some more reviews…

1960s London nostalgia reverie (mostly) delivers…

Anya Taylor-Joy stars as Sandie and Matt Smith as Jack in ‘Last Night in Soho’, Pic: Parisa Taghizadeh / Focus Features

Last Night in Soho
Director: Edgar Wright
1 hour 56 minutes

GO SEE THIS just to pay homage to the late Diana Rigg – though she comes quite late on in this film.
The principle issue with all this is that it is neither one genre nor the other really and will leave fans of either disappointed.
Yet if you are looking for entertainment and a nostalgia ride back into Soho, London in the 1960s – this is really very watchable.
The horror element is not great – in that it is hardly jump out of your seat material or being frightened to look at what happens next when you know, just know, something horrible is going to occur. It isn’t anywhere on that level.
As for the psychological part, that is much stronger though without being too overbearing or difficult to follow.
That our delightful young fashion student Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie) is a little overwhelmed by moving from the countryside to London is hardly surprising.
Throw in a late mother who clearly had a troubled past in the same part of London and died quite young – you can kind of see where this is all going.
Director Edgar Wright keeps things on track and it is both an ode and a lament to 1960s London.
If you don’t go in with high expectations of what to expect, you should enjoy it because it is stylishly done and the actors are good – and the 1960s soundtrack gives the film real character. There are nods to the diverse nature of London now. Enjoy. (SR)
Acv rating: *** (out of five)

‘Last Night in Soho’ is on general release in the UK now

Stylish yet unassuming drama


Dir: Andreas Fontana
1hr 40 mins

A QUIET and unassuming drama, ‘Azor’ follows the travels of Swiss banker Yvan (Fabrizio Rongione) across Argentina in 1980, a trip he takes to get acquainted with his clients; the wealthy business elite of Buenos Aires whose wealth is under threat following political instability in the country. Disappearances are rife and amidst whispers and conspiracy theories, Yvan is tasked with making decisions that will impact on the future of the bank. Stylishly shot, ‘Azor’ has much appeal but it falls short in its pacing. The soundtrack is over menacing, building up to what should be moments of tension, only to end in burst bubbles and conversations, rather than action. The overall twist is worth the wait though and ‘Azor’ redeems itself quickly, almost too quickly: more exploration at the end and less time storytelling in the middle would have made for a stronger movie. (MBH)
ACV rating: ***½

Dark and mysterious, will keep you transfixed

‘Wild Indian’

Wild Indian
Dir: Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr.
1hr 30 minutes

THE TWISTS in this dark drama drop early, keeping you transfixed by its folklore inspired message of how your past can come back to haunt you.
Makwa is an outsider, a Native American teenager who is abused at home and bullied at school until a freak event turns him from innocent victim to evil villain. The film swiftly switches from this key moment during his youth, to present day adulthood where he’s changed from being a lawless kid to a successful, respected colleague and family man, who harbours sinister secrets. The highlight of the film is the brooding presence of the protagonist played by Michael Greyeyes who portrays his troubled, mysterious role with mesmerising ease, but his character’s motives remain unclear which leaves an unsatisfactory taste when the credits roll. (MBH)
ACV rating: ***

Charming chemistry but too long

‘Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy

Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
Dir: Ryusuke Hamaguchi
2hrs 1 min

THERE’S A HINT of the Amazon Prime TV series ‘Modern Love’, which reimagines real-life essays printed in the New York Times in this quiet, unassuming Japanese film comprising three distinct tales of love. First, we meet a separated couple who are re-acquainted by destiny, followed by an erotic connection that develops between a student and a university professor and finally, two old friends reminisce about their past.
There are charming moments in each story, particularly the dialogue and chemistry between the pairs but the pace remains slow and it’s easy to become disengaged. There’s no connection between the triptych of tales and they would be stronger as individual shorts on an OTT platform rather than watching this as a cinema movie, giving you a chance to pause and reflect on the individual themes of fate and destiny, without getting distracted by their length. (MBH)
ACV rating: ***

Writers: (SR) Sailesh Ram; MBH Momtaz Begum-Hossain

LFF saw audiences of 139.4K attend physical screenings and a further 152.3K watch virtually. There were 161 films in all, with 21 world premieres, 7 international premieres and 12 European premieres. Some 40 per cent of films screened were by ethnically diverse directors and creatives.

London Film Festival 2021 (October 6-17)

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture