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Venice 2021 ‘Last Night in Soho’ Review: Nostalgia Takes a Terrifying Turn in Edgar Wright’s Latest Thriller

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Venice 2021 ‘Last Night in Soho’ Review: Nostalgia Takes a Terrifying Turn in Edgar Wright’s Latest Thriller

When someone says, “I was born in the wrong era,” it usually means two things: they’re easily charmed by aesthetics, and they don’t contemplate historical social issues too deeply. Both statements apply to Ellie, the protagonist of Edgar Wright’s Venice-premiering Last Night in Soho. But they also apply to the director himself, who delivers a beautifully stylized portrait of 1960s London that seeks to deconstruct the glamorization of the past while failing to deliver its own strong commentary on the issues of the times.

In his favor is that Wright is a director who clearly has fun playing with genre, as evidenced by his breakthrough zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead, the hipster musical Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and the more recent action-romance Baby Driver. In his latest film, he collides time travel with giallo to tell the story of Ellie (Thomasin McKenzie), a timid present-day fashion student, and Sandy (Anya Taylor-Joy), a bold aspiring diva in late ‘60s Soho. Ellie has just moved from rural Cornwall to London to enroll in fashion school, but with her homemade clothes and introverted personality, she doesn’t quite fit in with her peers. She decides to move out of the student residences and take an old-fashioned room in a house in Goodge Street, hosted by the stern but nostalgic Miss Collins (Diana Rigg in her final performance). What she doesn’t know is that the room used to belong to Sandy, whose presence still haunts it. Every night when Ellie goes to sleep, she steps into the blonde singer’s memories — sometimes shadowing her, sometimes becoming her — and relives the decade she loves through another’s eyes. But history isn’t all appearances, and as Ellie grows closer and closer to Sandy, she grows closer to seeing the truth of what happened to her.

As introduced by her recurring visions of her dead mother, Ellie is an unreliable narrator. Putting the audience into her head — making us see what she sees — is key to the psychological thriller aspect of the film. To this end, Wright goes for maximalism to charm his audience with Sandy and her world. Styled with an iconic Brigitte Bardot bouffant and pink A-line dress, Taylor-Joy is all beauty and ambition, sipping vespers and flirting her way into a career with talent manager Jack (Matt Smith). She’s the kind of woman that every shy girl envies and soon, Ellie is dyeing her hair blonde and buying a white patent leather jacket to replicate the look.

Sandy’s world is rounded out with glamorous production design by Marcus Rowland and costumes by Odile Dicks-Mireaux, while Chung-hoon Chung’s cinematography switches her in and out with Ellie through a sleek series of mirror tricks and transitions. Wright keeps the energy high, dazzling the audience with a spectacle of colored lights, quick editing, music by the likes of Dusty Springfield, Cilla Black, and Sandie Shaw, and names like the Café de Paris and the Rialto Revue Theater.

But Sandy’s apparent rise to stardom is too smooth, and the audience can feel the dream beginning to crack into a nightmare. The surface stays the same, but the meaning changes: Jack slides from manager to pimp, the Rialto from theater to showroom, the audience from spectator to client, and the star from Sandy to Alexandra to Lexie to Alexa, depending on the night. The girl Ellie wants to be doesn’t want to be herself anymore.

Venice International Film Festival

This turn was expected, even anxiously awaited. It’s easy to be Sandy when everything is going well, but who is she when things fall apart? Ellie is never able to touch her or talk to her, even in a heartbreaking scene that features Ellie shattering through a mirror in a bar to hug Sandy, only for the dream to abruptly end. Wright chose to make a film about women and gender exploitation, and so we want to see Sandy’s struggle and Ellie’s empathy; we want to see how Wright uses these dual timelines to dig in on the #MeToo movement, the casting couch, objectification, and women’s solidarity in the face of all this.

What he delivers instead is an army of suited, faceless specters who are so insistent as to become more annoying than frightening; a creepy old man who may or may not be a figure from the past; and a love interest whose innocuous presence leaves the audience neither hot nor cold. In summary, the second we get close enough to Sandy to see a three-dimensional portrait come into view, Wright pulls her away and turns our attention to the men of the story instead. The relationship between these two women is left at the wayside as Ellie runs around London, growing increasingly paranoid as she tries to get to the bottom of her visions of blood and knives.

Not that some good jump scares, slasher sequences, and mistaken identities don’t have their place, and Wright does keep the audience guessing up until the end. But it’s halfway through that Wright’s fascination with style trumps his sensibility for the themes he’s introduced. The shadowy men pursuing Ellie are a powerful visualization of the constant threat women feel out in society, yet Wright takes the meaning in another direction that strikes the wrong note. He does the same with Sandy, whose fate as a character is entirely a reaction to what’s happened to her rather than an independent action stemming from her inner strength or thought process.

That being said, Last Night in Soho is a spectacle, the kind of movie that is genuinely fun to see in theaters. Wright plays off the themes of the times more for flavor than otherwise but does so with the style and music of the ‘60s as well. It’s inspiring to see a director have so much fun with the subject matter he’s chosen, using all the tools cinema provides to create the kind of moments that could never happen in real life. But it does leave the lingering question: is it really so hard for a male director to tell a story about women?

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RHOP Recap: Ashley Feuds With Gordon as Mia Shades Her, Plus Gizelle is Dating Again, and Karen Shocks the Ladies With an Epic Invitation

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RHOP Recap: Ashley Feuds With Gordon as Mia Shades Her, Plus Gizelle is Dating Again, and Karen Shocks the Ladies With an Epic Invitation

We are back this week for more of the GVO trip, which really should be titled GO (Get Out)! Let us watch and see what will boil over this episode on the Real Housewives of Potomac first — crabs or Ashley’s patience with Gordon?

Gordon and Ashley are still going back and forth in the van over him waking her up. She is exhausted from having three babies at home, and she just cannot engage with Gordon’s histrionics. How do you distract someone who is annoying someone else? Patrón!

Back at the house, Ashley shares with Wendy that she has lost patience with Gordon and his snide comments. She went on this trip to escape her insolent husband, not to have to deal with another husband who is getting in her crawl.

We are finally here for our Caribbean crab boil! Karen and Ray are going to enjoy every moment of this evening, and they decide to electric slide their way in. The table setting is lovely for this crab feast, and production must zoom in on the salad bowl as if to warn us of its power. Mia appreciates how fancy this crab boil is since she was expecting newspaper and bibs.

Askale thinks it is “romantical,” and Dre just kind of mumbles to himself, which I am translating to say, “When is this sh*tshow going to end?” Wendy, who is suffering from real delusion, plans to keep this final dinner cute since she knows where she stands with Gizelle and Robyn. She is thrilled that Eddie has remained on-script this trip and has been nothing but the doting husband.

Gordon gets chilly, and he heads inside to snag another cocktail and tells Mia to hang out with her friends. Karen then tells everyone to open their invites to their vow renewal while outside. Are there butterflies in these invites? I love the movie Bridesmaids and they do the same thing for the invite.

Ashley with production prodding asks Eddie if he has had any conversations with his parents. Wendy claims to want him to make amends with his parents and is upset they missed their wedding. I am not so sure that is true since she would lose some control of her beloved husband. I agree that Eddie’s parents have missed so much since they have not been talking to their son, but I am sure it is more about their grandchildren than missing their wedding.

Gordon comes back outside, and Ashley is still peeved when he gave her crap about sleeping on the bus. Ashley asks Gordon if he has Alzheimer’s when he feigns innocence about picking on her. Mia does not think that Ashley should act ageist by suggesting Gordon has memory issues since she has an older husband as well. She then very shadily asks Ashley, “Where is your husband?” Ashley spits out that he is home with their children, then Mia snarkily says, “Are you sure?” BOOM, Ms. Mia is definitely up-to-date on Michael’s extracurricular activities.

Candiace is glad that for once she is not entangled in this mess. She is content to just keep her yapper shut by shoving some corn and potatoes in it. Side note: That is one of the things I love about these ladies — they like to eat. EXCEPT, I could forever do without watching Wendy eat.

Mia takes Ashley’s comment as wishing G has Alzheimer’s. My darling, that is such a stretch and just as bad as the assertion that Gizelle was wishing Ray death. Mia also throws in for good measure that Ashley just really needs a big black d*ck. She also thinks Ashley needs to take her tired a*s home to the troll under the bridge Michael.

Ray wants a bachelor party, which I find to be a little suspect or producer-driven. Wendy wants Karen to jump out of the cake to grant Ray’s wish. Ray looks a little disappointed that a naked woman did not jump out. Karen would not dare do that with G’s revolting tongue slithering around.

Wendy gets asked by a producer to give herself a grade for her hosting abilities. She gives herself a 10 since she believes she has put the green-eyed bandits in their place. Robyn, in her ITM, thinks that Wendy was a sucky host, and she would have been better off staying home keeping an eye on Juan and Michael.

We now have packages being delivered to all the ladies. Haven’t these ladies ever seen butterflies before? Gizelle and Robyn both think their boxes contain mothballs. No, ladies, mothballs are used to repel pests, not for party invites, but maybe Karen did stick mothballs in their boxes?

Mia and Gordon discuss how Valerie watched the kids when they went out to dinner for their anniversary. She kept calling Mia since she could not figure out what to make for dinner for the kids. Valerie got into an argument with Gordon over this. Mia is troubled that their kids witnessed the argument between Valerie and Gordon. I think this delicate relationship has been on television too soon since it is still in its infancy.

Gizelle talks to her girls about bringing a date to Karen’s vow renewal. She claims to be casually dating but will not share with whom when the producer inquires. Gizelle’s girls want her to have someone special — so she does not die alone. Side note: I loved when the girls said their house was a shack when they moved in. Gizelle thinks her chandeliers with her purple confections sprinkled in make her place an opulent palace.

Gizelle is having casual encounters with whom? Doesn’t that sound nefarious to you all? Grace admits she does not have anyone to look up to or aspire to in relationships. The girls do not even remember their parents being married. Grace compares Gizelle to a vampire. Vampires are undead creatures that can cause mischief or deaths in their neighborhoods. They wear shrouds and were often described as bloated. Hmm, Gizelle’s girls might be on to something here!

Ashley is meeting with her therapist, Dr. Donna, and she brought baby Dylan with her. She admits to having separation anxiety with her kids. Ashley shares that she was able to take a trip away with her friends. She shares that Michael is not interested in having sex right now. Michael claims he does not have a sex drive now. Darling Ashley, he is just not that into you, but others he is very much into…

Ashley is afraid that the past is repeating itself since she is at the same period when Michael cheated after Dean. She has reason to be concerned with that dirty Aussie dog Michael who cannot stay in his own yard.

Wendy is having her Onyi home essentials photoshoot. Eddie has done some additional things behind her back. He created her business plan and figured out how to finance it. Is Wendy inadvertently admitting that Eddie has done some other things besides that behind her back?

Wendy’s mom Susan thinks her process created successful children. She would not change a darn thing in how she raised her kids. Wendy acts like her life would have been so different if she followed her dreams instead of her mom’s. Are we being led to believe that she would have been happier with a life that did not include four degrees and the accolades associated with it? Sorry, dear Wendy, there is no candle line that would give you the bragging rights that you constantly rely upon now with your doctorate title.

Susan gets offended that her daughter wants an apology for how she was raised. She throws on her sunglasses and wants to call an Uber. Susan does not appreciate her daughter trying to shame her for her parental influence. She thinks that Wendy should be glad she is a doctor. I am sorry — this scene was contrived and just fluff.

Ashley decides to get a hotel room to try to seduce Michael. My stomach is already churning just preparing myself for this scene. Michael used to own this Watergate hotel. Ashley discusses the trip, and Michael expresses how he does not want to talk to Candiace and that idiot (Chris). She tells him that Chris wants to try to develop a friendship.

We now get into this scene that is meant to be sexy but comes across as extremely forced and awkward. Ashley tries to give him a lap dance, and it does not appear that these two have any chemistry. Did Michael just mention the buttons on the toilet when they were headed to the bedroom? Michael expresses how he would rather hang out with Juan, and it is creepy how he is almost salivating! #YUCK

Gizelle is now seeing Dr. Ken to discuss what is going on in her life. She is like an emotionless robot. Dr. Ken asks Gizelle, “Why did you reconnect with your ex-husband?” Gizelle claims that Jamal looked at her with respect and drew her in again. Dr. Ken wants Gizelle to have honest conversations with her girls. It is an issue when your kids view you as being cold. He tells her he finally sees some vulnerability — not sure how he concluded with that!

Next week, it is the season finale, and we are attending Karen’s vow renewal. Robyn and Juan have another conversation about expanding their family, and it does not go over well. Have a wonderful week, and let me know your thoughts on the episode in the comments!

TELL US —  THOUGHTS ON THE LATEST RHOP EPISODE?

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Jesus, Take The Wheel! Obsessed & ‘In Love’ Professor Sentenced For Brutally Beating And Torturing Black Colleague

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Jesus, Take The Wheel! Obsessed & ‘In Love’ Professor Sentenced For Brutally Beating And Torturing Black Colleague

Source: Hill Street Studios / Getty

On Wednesday, Mount Holyoke College art professor Rie Hachiyanagi was sentenced to 10 – 12 years at a state prison in Massachusetts. New York Post reports that she was arrested for brutally attacking Professor Lauret Savoy just after midnight on Dec. 24, 2019. Hachiyanagi arrived at the victim’s house uninvited and talked her way in by saying that she wanted to talk about her feelings” after a break-up, according to a police report. Once inside, Hachiyanagi bludgeoned her with a rock and then savagely beat her with a fireplace poker and garden shears.

Hachiyanagi confessed to her colleague that she “loved her for many years” while nearly beating her to death. Savoy played along to save her own life, telling her attacker that she had the same feelings and convincing her to call 911. After four hours of torture, she did call for medical help, telling police she found the victim “in a pool of blood,” “semi-conscious and with a head injury,” and “barely breathing.” Savoy was rushed to a nearby hospital with lacerations, puncture wounds, and broken bones in her face and head. Despite her severe injuries, she was able to identify Hachiyanagi as her attacker.

The handmade paper crafts and performance art expert eventually told police that she was in love with Savoy and had no memory of the attack due to a history of head injuries. She was found with the victim’s keys, cell phone, and other personal items. Hachiyanagi was arrested on nine charges, including attempted murder, mayhem, and three counts of armed assault with intent to murder a person over the age of 60.

Savoy made a victim impact statement about the sick and twisted attack that left her with permanent injuries. “For four hours I experienced literal torture of body and of mind, not knowing if I would survive the next minute — yet needing to find some way to save my life,” she said in court. “The emotional, physical, financial, and professional impacts of this crime have been huge and they continue.”

Hachiyanagi finally pled guilty and is has a sentencing hearing scheduled for January 2022.

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Paris Hilton Rocks A Dress Made Out Of Toilet Paper For Backyard Bridal Brunch — Photo

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The pre-wedding celebrations continued for Paris Hilton on Oct. 23. The socialite had a bridal brunch at her home where her friends dressed her up in an outfit that was designed strictly from toilet paper!

Paris Hilton can make just about anything fashionable — even toilet paper. The bride-to-be was honored with a bridal brunch, hosted by Revolve, which was held in her backyard on Oct. 23. The event consisted of a game where guests had to split into two teams and dress Paris and her sister-in-law, Tessa Hilton, up using only toilet paper. The results were pretty epic!

Paris Hilton and her sister-in-law, Tessa, at her bridal brunch. (Shutterstock)

Paris’s team went all-out to put together her look. They wrapped her entire body up in toilet paper and were able to make thick shoulder pads to add to the look. The ensemble was complete with a crown, which was also made out of the toilet tissue. Paris was all smiles as she posed in the bizarre outfit. Meanwhile, Tessa’s look was a longer, straight gown, which had gloves and a more Bohemian-style headpiece.

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Paris HIlton unraveling from her toilet paper dress at her bridal brunch. (Shutterstock)

The tissue paper outfits didn’t last long, as Paris’s dogs eventually rushed in and began destroying the outfits. Underneath, Paris rocked a white mini dress with a cutout at the center of her chest. The long-sleeved mini had a ruffled pattern in the front, and Paris rocked white heels with the outfit. She pulled her hair up into a high ponytail with bangs flipped to one side, as well, and wore bejeweled gloves.

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Paris Hilton stuns in white at her bridal brunch. (Shutterstock)

The last few weeks have been filled with pre-wedding fun for Paris. She and her fiance, Carter Reum, had a joint bachelor and bachelorette party in Las Vegas at the beginning of October. Then, she was celebrated with an Alice in Wonderland-themed bridal shower just one week later. The star-studded event was quite an affair, and Paris was the woman of the hour.

Paris and Carter got engaged in Feb. 2021, after just over a year of dating. Their wedding date has not been confirmed, but based on all of the wedding-themed activities and events that Paris has attended in recent weeks, all signs point to the big day quickly approaching!

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