On Camera #4: Mistaken For Strangers / Oculus / Her / Community / Sherlock

on Wednesday, July 02, 2014
Words: Saam Das

In Cinemas: 'Mistaken For Strangers' (2013) + Oculus (2014)

US outfit The National have started to receive the wider success that their string of critically acclaimed albums has hinted at. 'Mistaken For Strangers' (★★★½) takes us on tour with the band, but veers far from a standard formula. Directed by frontman Matt Berninger's brother Tom, 'Mistaken For Strangers' transforms into a reflexive documentary that shares a similarly understated ethos to LCD Soundsystem doc 'Shut Up And Play The Hits'.

While it may initially appear that the band are the focus of this documentary, it is Tom who finds himself at its (emotional) centre. When he's not busy faffing around in an amateurish fashion, Tom is left to contemplate his lack of success and drive in relation to his brother. In between these reflective moments, we learn more about both his and the band's creative process as well as seeing intimate footage (performance and otherwise) of the band. Laugh-out-loud funny at times, and poignant at others, 'Mistaken For Strangers' subverts the music documentary in a refreshing fashion. Find a screening near you here.

'Doctor Who' star Karen Gillan stars in supernatural horror, 'Oculus' (★★★½) which Lauren FG reviewed recently. Gillan's character returns to her childhood home to prove that an antique mirror is behind a series of deaths, including members of her family.

Okay, it does sound silly. But Mike Flanagan skilfully crafts the mirror as its own silent witness - using it as a portal to transition between past and present, and the disorientating nature of this approach keeps viewers on the edge of their seat.

At Home: Her (2013) + Murdered By My Boyfriend

Visionary writer-director Spike Jonze won Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars earlier in the year for his AI-based romantic drama 'Her' (★★★★). An introverted copywriter (Joaquin Phoenix), struggling to deal with his impending divorce, purchases a new form of operating system - one that has the ability to evolve. Voiced by Scarlett Johansson, Samantha provides support from Phoenix's Theodore, which soon develops into a deeper and more romantic connection.

Phoenix is wonderful as the tender and vulnerable Theodore, all the more so as his relationship with Samantha develops. Johansson's nuanced vocal performance is similarly worthy of note. Jonze's writing explores the notion of love and heartache in an unusual yet heartfelt fashion that resonates till the slightly underblown ending. 'Her' is out on DVD in the UK now.

Jordan FG recently took the unprecedented step of reviewing a single show, rather than his usual double trouble Telly Text offerings - the show in question being hard-hitting BBC Three drama, 'Murdered By My Boyfriend'. The true story of a teenage girl who falls into love with the wrong man, with disastrous consequences. Jordan described the show as a "draining emotional journey" - one which is still avaialble to view on BBC iPlayer.

TV & Movie News

Perhaps the biggest news in both the TV and film worlds this week came in the form of the renewal of cult modern classic 'Community'. Cancelled by NBC, the comedy will return for your online viewing pleasure on Yahoo Screen. Today's BBC announcement of a new series and a special of 'Sherlock' might be considered (at least) equally as important, although with shooting only scheduled to start in early 2015, there seems to be less buzz.

In movie news, 'Iron Man 3' director Shane Black's next move appears to be a return to the Predator series, having appeared in 1987's series-starting 'Predator'. Black has suggested that the film will be a sequel, rather than a reboot or remake, but speaking of the latter, the terrific Japanese familial drama 'Like Father, Like Son' is set to be remade by Paul and Christopher Weitz. The duo previously made 'American Pie' and 'About A Boy', alongside other individual efforts.

In terms of new trailers and teasers, 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part One' provides us with a more interesting teaser trailer than most - with Donald Sutherland's President Snow delivering a piece of a Capitol propaganda. The most exciting trailer I've caught lately, however, is for wrestling-based true story drama 'Foxcatcher'. Catch it below, with Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, and Steve Carell in leading roles.

Find previous On Camera columns here. Contact film(at)fadedglamour.co.uk to appear in future column.

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