Film reviews and more

Month: February 2011

DVD Releases: ‘Cyrus’

Charming, witty, and quintessentially quirky, Cyrus (2010) is a slice of well-worked comedy from plucky lo-fi indie brothers, Jay and Mark Duplass. John C. Reilly plays John, a divorced down-and-out schlub who meanders through life alone and somewhat desperate. Upon the persistent demands from his ex-wife/best-friend (Catherine Keener) to shape-up and move on with his life he agrees to attend […]

DVD Releases: ‘Paranormal Activity 2’

Paranormal Activity (2007) was the infamous movie that spooked Steven Spielberg (who quickly jumped in to help distribute the film), and had audiences jolting out of their seats last year. It centred around the lives of a couple, Katie (Katie Featherstone) and Micah (Micah Stoat), who upon moving into a new apartment begin experiencing a number of terrifying, ‘paranormal’ occurrences. […]

DVD Review: ‘Leap Year’

★☆☆☆☆ A depiction of intense loneliness and psychosexual torture, Michael Rowe’s minimalist debut feature Leap Year (Año bisiesto, 2010) raises many a difficult question with regards to its seemingly complex gender politics. It follows the life of Laura, played with vulnerable perfection by Monica Del Carmen, a lonely freelance journalist who lives alone in a small Mexican apartment. After a series of […]

DVD Review: ‘Due Date’

★★☆☆☆ When it came to co-writing his latest comedy, Due Date (2010), The Hangover (2009) director Todd Phillips took more than a few leaves out of Planes, Trains & Automobiles’ (1987) unblemished book. Perhaps Due Date is a loving homage to that John Hughes classic (which also happens to be one of my favourite films), but the similarities are […]

DVD Releases: ‘Another Year’

Disappointment and regret loom large in Mike Leigh’s latest film, Another Year (2010). From the opening shots of Janet’s (Imelda Staunton) pained expression as she desperately tries to recall a happy moment from her past, you know Leigh will be revisiting familiar territory.As with Leigh’s previous efforts, Another Year once again serves as a showcase for the very best in British […]

Oscars 2011: 83rd Academy Awards winners

As predicted, The King’s Speech was the big success story of this year’s “new look” Academy Awards ceremony, walking away with the Oscars for ‘Best Picture’, ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Actor’. Whilst not quite the whitewash the some had expected, the film’s haul of 4 of its 12 nominations was enough to put it joint top of the winners […]

Oscars 2011: 83rd Academy Awards predictions

It’s time! The 83rd American Academy Awards kick off on Monday morning at 0100 GMT, so to celebrate the return of the world’s most significant film award ceremony we’ve compiled our Oscar predictions across each of the 24 categories. Bafta favourite the King’s Speech (2010) is widely expected to dominate proceedings with 12 nominations but may well find itself […]

Italian Film Festival 2011: Preview

In keeping with the current turmoil and unrest running amok in the world, Italy finds itself in a very confused state. Partly resigned, partly in denial, Italians have looked on as the recent recession has made worse what was a “not-really-thriving” situation already in terms of occupation, education reforms, and the political landscape in general. Things have now somehow […]

Film Review: ‘Animal Kingdom’

★★★★★ Every once in a while, a film comes along that resolutely restores your faith in cinema, which is so often tarnished by predictable genre pieces, boring blockbusters and endless Pirates of the Caribbean sequels. Australian director David Michôd’s debut feature Animal Kingdom (2010) is not only that precise film, but is also arguably the most tense, atmospheric crime […]

Film Review: ‘Howl’

★★☆☆☆ The hybrid Allen Ginsberg biopic/re-enactment/interview/adaptation Howl (2010) is a curious little picture. Written and directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, the film debuted at last year’s Sundance Film Festival to somewhat mixed reviews. Some reviewers praised the imaginative visual treatment of Ginsberg’s infamous poem, while others criticised a rather staid approach to the dramatic content. I wasn’t quite […]

Film Review: ‘Waste Land’

★★★★☆ There’s always a niggling feeling when you watch a film like Lucy Walker’s Waste Land (2010) that you’re going to be guilt tripped into sorting through your rubbish, essentially paying for a feature length advert on the benefits of recycling. Although it’s true that you’ll probably end up being a bit more self-conscious about quite how much you throw […]

Special Feature: On style, taste and formalism

The director of a film is usually the person who is identified as the author (or auteur), because they decide primarily how the film should look. After all, film is a visual medium; the look of it is paramount. While some directors favour particularly noticeable techniques (the heightening artificiality of Todd Haynes, or the lengthy moving camera sequences of […]