The Screen Critic: Taylor Swift’s immersive concert experience, a high finance comedy and a Swedish slasher

Oct 20, 2023
Join our entertainment bloggers as he explores the latest from Taylor Swift's concert experience, a cracking financial comedy and a satirical Swedish horror. Source: Supplied.

Those in search of a much-needed beacon of hope in these dark times can take comfort in the arrival of Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour, a splendid concert film in which the mega-pop star takes her fans – and isn’t that everybody? – on a dazzling journey through her musical life.

Running at just under three hours the concert, filmed over three sold-out nights at the 70,000-seat SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, takes place on a giant stage and features some truly epic production numbers, with precision lighting, huge theatrical sets, visual effects, and giant screens.

Coverage from dozens of cameras keeps you immersed, with wide shots showing the sheer scale of the spectacle and close-ups bringing Swift up close and personal. For a show so big Swift pulls off some remarkable moments of intimacy, including one golden moment when she connects with a young fan. It’s magic.

The film, which Swift self-produced outside the studio system to keep costs down and control distribution – she’s a smart businesswoman as well as a world-consuming pop star – is being presented as a special event at cinemas.

This means screenings are mainly over weekends and ticket prices are locked, so no concessions. Rest assured, however, that it’s great value for money compared to the cost of actual concert tickets, which won’t give you as great a seat as you get here.

The mind-bending craziness of the business world is perfectly captured in Dumb Money, a fast, somewhat frightening fact-based comedy-drama about the 2021 online phenomenon that turned Wall Street logic on its head.

Working from his rickety home studio, self- styled stock market podcaster Keith Gill (Paul Dano) ignites a grass-roots movement to invest in GameStop, a failing computer games company.

His audience loyally follows his lead, making the stock price skyrocket. This is contrary to the expectations of fund managers who face losing billions because the stock is not dropping like it’s supposed to. High school students and young parents buy up shares on their phones, largely as a protest to big business.

Also starring Seth Rogen, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Shailene Woodley, the film moves at a cracking pace and drives home the point that no rule in business is protected from the collective determination of people who barely know what they’re doing. Terrific stuff. Opens next week (26 October).

For a deviously good time head over to the arthouse circuit and check out the captivating slow-burn French mystery drama The Origin of Evil.

Set chiefly in a ravishing coastal mansion, Laure Calamy plays Stéphane, a financially strapped worker at a fish cannery who reconnects with her long lost father Serge (Jacques Weber), who happens to be stinking rich.

She hasn’t seen him since childhood, but while Serge embraces his long lost daughter there are suspicions from other family members about Stephane. Why has she suddenly appeared out of nowhere and why are they having such difficulty getting her to show some ID?

Playing its cards close to its chest, the film cleverly builds some sharp twists into the mystery of what exactly is going on and who is up to what as the love of family collides with the overpowering love of money. What fun.

A terrific little jaunt to get you into the Halloween spirit is The Conference, a very enjoyable Swedish slasher film that will make you think twice about corporate team-building exercises.

On the eve of a ground breaking ceremony for a new mall, the municipal clerks from a small town gather at a retreat to bond and go over the details of their triumph, which promises to bring prosperity to the area.

There’s one snag, though. A person dressed as the mascot for the venture turns up and begins dispatching the officials in very gory fashion.

As far as slice’n’dice horror-comedy films go it’s very well done, with some neat satirical touches about unethical business practices and how cheating hard-working people can invite a very graphic kind of karma. Catch it on Netflix.

For more visit and @jimschembri on X for updates.

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