Spling reviews Running with the Devil: The Wild World of John McAfee, Last Night in Soho and Inside the Mind of a Cat as broadcast on Talking Movies, Fine Music Radio. Listen to podcast.
Good morning – welcome to Talking Movies, I’m Spling…
This week, we’re talking about a crime documentary, a horror thriller drama and a documentary.
Starting off with a documentary now on Netflix…
RUNNING WITH THE DEVIL: THE WILD WORLD OF JOHN MCAFEE
An unhinged series of misadventures with eccentric antivirus software pioneer John McAfee.
Director: Charlie Russell
– Known for starting multi-billion dollar computer security company, McAfee, the founder intimates that he stumbled upon many secrets and created enemies in the cartel and upper echelons of government.
– After being implicated in the murder of a neighbour in the Caribbean, McAfee’s altercation, intoxication, livewire personality and man-on-the-run status make it seem more than just a coincidence.
– McAfee documents his world headline-making misadventure exclusive with the help of a Vice journalist and former war photographer.
– This documentary shares its name with a Nicolas Cage film, whose rare talents could capture the essence of McAfee’s devil-may-care exploits, hedonistic lifestyle and ability to twist the truth as a crazed entertainer.
– Living like a rock star fugitive, the madness, money, excess, guns and drugs recall The Wolf of Wall Street, straddling between true crime and pulp fiction.
– Running with the Devil also latches onto the tabloid fodder, illusionary empire-building and jet-setting vibrations of The Tinder Swindler.
– While entertaining in its wild, attention-grabbing and unpredictable nature – this documentary is equally messy and frustrating in the slow-creep feeling of taking two steps forward and one step back.
– A mirage, the documentary provides enough momentum to suggest greater focus only to realise another horizon.
– Edited to offer a comedic slant and leaning on the eye witness account of a man in dungarees, this film is compelling and intriguing, yet its limitations make it vapid, moving from introspective and gutsy guerilla documentary to the point of facade.
– Running with the Devil is so evasive it barely leaves an impression, ending on an equally frustrating Elvis ellipsis.
A satisfactory 6 on the splingometer!
Moving on to a film now on Showmax…
LAST NIGHT IN SOHO
An aspiring fashion designer finds she’s able to peer into the 1960s where she encounters a dazzling wannabe singer.
Director: Edgar Wright
Stars: Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy and Matt Smith
– Edgar Wright is the creative force behind Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim vs The World.
– Tending towards horror and comedy, he’s gone for a more serious horror thriller with Stephen King vibrations, echoing Carrie and The Shining.
– Centred on a freshman at a London fashion school, suspense builds as she uncovers a way to step back in time, not unlike Midnight in Paris.
– Entranced by blonde beauty who claims to be the next Cilla Black, she discovers a toxic night club scene and behind-the-scenes secrets.
– Influenced by the fashion of the age, the out-of-towner struggles to fit in at school as her night terrors start to drive a psychological wedge.
– Leaning on knowledge gleaned from her window into the ’60s, she tries to keep it all together as she pieces the puzzle.
– Wright’s elegant and showy coming-of-age drama turned horror thriller features solid performances from a promising next-generation cast.
– Cleverly switching worlds, tension mounts as timely social commentary and the past catches up with the present.
– While Last Night in Soho has flair and some quirk, it misses Wright’s trademark sense of humour and comic relief.
– It’s a finely-crafted drama horror thriller but its concept’s familiarity and dull echoes fall short of its grand influences.
A solid 7 on the splingometer!
And finally another documentary on Netflix…
INSIDE THE MIND OF A CAT
Experts reveal the true capabilities of cats.
Director: Andy Mitchell
– Cats have been pets for over 4,000 years with evidence suggesting this has been the case for even longer.
– While the cats versus dogs debate rages on, feline research is at least 15 years behind the curve.
– Inside the Mind of a Cat attempts to unlock some of the mysteries behind a creature that has ingratiated itself into domestic situations and pop culture.
– Still used to hunt mice in distilleries and produce barns, the documentary explores the animal’s physiological and psychological make up with a focus on the US and Japan.
– Interviewing cat experts and phenomenal trainers whose real-life cat talents made the quarter finals at America’s Got Talent, the film balances entertainment against insights.
– Delving into why humans are drawn to cats and answering age-old questions like do they really love us, exuberant interviewees showcase their findings through commentary, experiential learning and live experiments.
– Cat lovers will be amused by the wide array of kittens and cats on display, servicing our endless fascination with what they’re really thinking – a curiousity that has led the explosion of videos, memes and stars.
– While you may have a sense for what you’re learning, much of our intuition is validated and given a handle in watching this cute, funny and fascinating documentary.
– Not overstaying its welcome, it’s delightful mix of amazing footage and findings make for a breezy and infotaining documentary.
A solid 7 on the splingometer!
So just to wrap up…
RUNNING WITH THE DEVIL: THE WILD WORLD OF JOHN MCAFEE… an intriguing, swirling and ultimately frustrating crime documentary about the illusionary life of a debauched software rock star turned fugitive… A satisfactory 6!
LAST NIGHT IN SOHO… a fine cast and elegant filmmaking compel this familiar yet tense psychological horror thriller… A solid 7!
INSIDE THE MIND OF A CAT… a breezy, entertaining, fun, informative and delightful documentary geared towards cat people… A solid 7!
For more movie reviews and previous Talking Movies podcasts visit splingmovies.com.
And remember, Don’t WING it, SPL!NG it!