Film reviews and more

Month: March 2012

Cannes 2012: Lineup rumours

Although the official lineup for the 2012 Cannes Film Festival (16-27 May) won’t actually be announced until 19 April, speculation has already begun about which films might screen at the world’s premiere new cinema showcase. First of all, we know that Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom (2012) will open the festival. Starring Edward Norton and Bruce Willis alongside Anderson regulars […]

Human Rights Watch Festival 2012: ‘The Island President’

★★★★☆ Jon Shenk’s The Island President (2011) traces one man’s extraordinary journey from political prisoner to head of state. Mohamed Nasheed was democratically elected president of the Maldives in October 2008; previously, the archipelago of 1,200 tropical islands in the Indian Ocean – popular with tourists – had been under the despotic rule of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.Nasheed, affectionately known […]

Special Feature: Nuclear Film Festival roundup

If the sight of apocalyptic atomic explosions, cholera-infested city streets, rats being hunted and eaten and a woman chewing off her own umbilical chord aren’t enough to throw you into the depths of despair, then rest assured – the sight of a post-nuclear 1980s Sheffield will surely do the trick. Shown as part of The Tricycle Theatre’s Nuclear Film […]

Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2012: ‘The Price of Sex’

★★★★☆ Many of us may know men who have at one time or another paid for sex. They don’t shout about it, nor do they go into detail, but it occasionally comes up in conversation that they went to Amsterdam or Thailand and slept with a prostitute. Yet many of these individuals would think twice about paying for that […]

Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2012: ‘Black Block’

★★★☆☆ G8 Summits have become synonymous with political protest, civil unrest and running battles between activists and police. The 2001 Genoa summit was a particularly dramatic affair, involving around 200,000 protesters and an army of officers whose violent handling of the situation led to a number of individuals being charged. The most heinous example of police brutality – the […]

Jameson Cult Film Club: Morten Tyldum’s ‘Headhunters’

There’s been a slew of themed film events cropping up in the past decade: quirky, unique evenings filling the void left by soulless, sticky-carpeted multiplexes, one of the most prominent being the Jameson Cult Film Club (JCFC). The Irish whiskey brand have made it their mission to be a friend to cinemagoers, sponsoring the Dublin International Film Festival and […]

Film Review: ‘Bonsái’

★★★★☆  Bonsái (2011), Chilean director and writer Cristián Jiménez‘s follow up to 2009’s Optical Illusions realises the tale of a handsome and philosophical literary student, first love and fact vs. fiction. his latest effort still bears some of the postmodern leanings of his debut, but this precise and beautifully photographed (by cinematographer Inti Briones) adaptation of Alejandro Zambra’s celebrated […]

Film Review: ‘The Island President’

★★★★☆ How do you win a war against the ocean? That’s the question posed in The Island President (2011), an astonishingly intimate account of a world leader fighting – quite literally – for his country’s survival. Jon Shenk’s documentary paints a vivid and powerful picture, enjoying extensive access to the Maldives’ first democratically elected leader, President Mohamed Nasheed, as […]

Film Review: ‘Corpo Celeste’

★★★★☆ Italian writer/director Alice Rohrwacher’s debut feature Corpo Celeste (2011) is a hugely confident examination of faith and rebellious youth with an assured central performance from relative newcomer Yle Vianello. She stars as the 13-year-old Marta, whose impending confirmation clashes with her own physical passage into womanhood and forces her to question and consider all she has previously accepted.Rohrwacher’s […]

Film Review: ‘StreetDance 2’

★★★☆☆ Generally speaking, dancing’s depiction in films and the media has tended to be aimed towards the older generation. Then shows like Strictly Come Dancing and Britain’s Got Talent came along and suddenly it was hip, no matter what your age, to strut your stuff. It’s the audiences of those shows that StreetDance 2 (2012), starring Falk Hentschel, Tom […]

Film Review: ‘Babycall’

★★★★☆ Pål Sletaune’s Norwegian horror/thriller Babycall (2011) may be one of the less-known of this week’s new releases, yet features the superb star of the original The Girl With the Dragoon Tattoo film series and Ridley Scott’s eagerly-awaited Prometheus (2012) Noomi Rapace. It’s also a gripping story in it’s own right, and you’ll certainly be rewarded for tracking it […]

Film Review: ‘This is Not a Film’

★★★☆☆ A late addition to the Cannes 2011 programme after being smuggled into France inside a cake (strange but true), Iranian director Jafar Panahi’s This is Not a Film (2011) is by no means your average political documentary. The 75-minute piece, shot partially on an iPhone, captures the day-to-day life of Panahi during a state-imposed house arrest in his […]

Film Review: ‘Tiny Furniture’

★★★★☆ Written, directed and starring Lena Dunham, Tiny Furniture (2010) is a delightfully twee, existential comedy which takes a wildly imaginative approach to romance, family and the confusion which surrounds graduating. Also starring Dunham’s own mother and sister, and shot within their family home, Tiny Furniture is a prime example of micro budget filmmaking at its very best.Aura (Lena […]

Film Review: ‘Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, a Tale of Life’

★★★☆☆ Prolific German filmmaker Werner Herzog returns to UK cinemas this week with his latest effort Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, a Tale of Life (2011), a Tale of Death. Revisiting Herzogian existentialist themes such as the fragility of life and the inevitability of our own mortality, Into the Abyss focuses upon the American capital punishment system, […]

Film Review: ‘Wrath of the Titans’

★★★☆☆ Louis Leterrier’s Clash of the Titans (2010) was a bloated, passionless picture let down by a poor 3D retro-fit, uninspired direction and ridiculous dialogue. Innocent audiences stumbled into cinemas believing they were about to experience a sweeping mythological epic, but after the credits rolled hordes of them hit the forums to forewarn others and express their disappointment. Yet […]

Film Review: ‘Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists’

★★★★☆ From Britain’s Aardman Animations (the Oscar-winning team behind Wallace & Gromit and 2000 hit Chicken Run) comes The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists (2012), a brand new claymation escapade based on the off-the-wall book series by Gideon Defoe. Featuring the voice talents of Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, Brendan Gleeson, David Tennant and Imelda Staunton, Aardman and director […]

DVD Review: ‘The Living Wake’

★☆☆☆☆ On occasion, a film sneaks out on release which really leaves you wondering why it even exists. Sol Tryon’s The Last Wake (2007) – starring Mike O’Connell and Jesse Eisenberg – an (apparently) darkly comic chronicle of a young man’s last day before he dies, is one such film. Frankly, after watching it, if you’re not already dying […]

DVD Review: ‘Kill Keith’

★☆☆☆☆ With a ‘celebrity’ lineup comprising of such TV icons as Joe Pasquale, Russell Grant, Tony Blackburn and – of course – Keith ‘Cheggers’ Chegwin, it genuinely defies belief that Andy Thompson’s Kill Keith (2011) ever managed to see the light of day. There is no greater example of just how misguided, achingly desperate and painfully unfunny this cinematic […]