Film reviews and more

Month: April 2013


DVD Review: ‘Life of Pi’

★★★★☆ The American Academy recently awarded genre-hopping director Ang Lee the Best Director prize for Life of Pi (2012), and it was well-deserved; Yann Martel’s prize-winning novel, long-thought unfilmable, has been brought to life superbly in a visual masterpiece that won’t soon be outdone. The tale begins with an avid writer (Rafe Spall) […]


DVD Review: ‘The Oranges’

★★☆☆☆ With second film The Oranges (2011), Julian Farino is still a far way off securing any form of distinctive directorial style, his latest a simplistic story of small-town outrage. Nina Ostroff (Leighton Meester) returns home and is quickly introduced to the Walling family’s eligible son Toby (Adam Brody), but the neighbouring families […]

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DVD Review: ‘You Will Be My Son’

★★★☆☆ The third feature from French director Gilles Legrand, You Will Be My Son (Tu seras mon fils, 2011) sees the inimitable Niels Arestrup take the role of Paul de Marseul, a successful winemaker in Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux. With ample support from co-stars Lorànt Deutsch and Nicolas Bridet as his respective son and heir, […]


Blu-ray Review: ‘Baron Blood’

★★★☆☆ Spooky, cavernous castles; rolling, all-engulfing perma-mist; a deranged, deformed aristocrat impaling all the serfs to ease his crippling ennui…Giallo master Mario Bava’s camp schlockfest has more classic Gothic tropes than you can shake a Brontë sister at. Here given a beautiful restoration for Blu-ray and DVD by Arrow Video, Baron Blood (1972) […]


DVD Review: ‘Bait’

★☆☆☆☆ It was perhaps foolish to think that Bait (2012) might recall the raw menace of Stephen Spielberg’s Jaws (1975) or Joe Dante’s B-movie classic Piranha (1978). But Kimble Rendall’s toothless horror is nothing of anything really: an underwater travesty which takes itself far too seriously and comes nowhere close to making the […]

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DVD Review: ‘Trashed’

★★★☆☆ Having, for one reason or another, missed out on the opportunity of a UK theatrical run, British writer-director Candida Brady’s 2012 human waste exposé Trashed makes its way onto DVD this week courtesy of the piece’s producers, Blenheim Films. With the star power of Academy Award-winning narrator and host Jeremy Irons (Dead […]

#Patrick Gamble #Sundance

Sundance 2013: Mud review

★★★★☆ Premièring towards the end of last year’s Cannes Film Festival when the majority of critics had long left the sun and splendour of the Croisette, indie filmmaker Jeff Nichols’ highly anticipated Mud (2012), his follow-up to 2011’s Take Shelter, somehow fell off the cinematic map on both sides of the Atlantic. Almost […]

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Sundance 2013: Blackfish review

★★★★☆ Newly positioned as one of this year’s most anticipated American documentaries following rave reviews at Sundance, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s Blackfish (2013) makes its way to the festival’s London incarnation this week ahead of a late July theatrical release. Cowperthwaite’s slight naïveté as only a second-time feature director (having deputised back in 2010 with […]


Film Review: ‘The Lords of Salem’

★★★☆☆ With The Lords of Salem (2012), musician-turned-director Rob Zombie demonstrates uncharacteristic restraint with a patchy but infrequently inspired picture. After his two entries in the Halloween franchise were drastically re-edited by the Weinsteins, his latest endeavour is the first feature he’s made with total creative control – proving both a blessing and […]


Film Review: ‘The ABCs of Death’

★★☆☆☆ Considering the subject matter of The ABCs of Death (2012), the new compilation horror from producers Ant Timpson and Tim League, it was always going to be – to some degree, at least – controversial. With segments by directors such as Srdjan Spasojevic (A Serbian Film) and Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police), […]

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Film Review: ‘Scarecrow’

★★★★☆ Winner of the Palme d’Or prize at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival, American photographer and filmmaker Jerry Schatzberg’s seldom-seen odd couple dramedy Scarecrow receives a welcome publicity boost this week thanks to a limited Park Circus theatrical rerelease. Starring Hollywood heavyweights Gene Hackman and Al Pacino – around the time both men […]

#Daniel Green #Sundance

Sundance 2013: Programme preview

Following the success of last year’s inaugural outing, actor-director Robert Redford’s Sundance London film and music festival returns to the nation’s capital this month for its second incarnation, which takes place at the O2 Arena from 25-28 April. As with 2012, all 19 feature-length films will be UK premières, with programme highlights this […]

#Ben Nicholson

DocHouse Presents: In the Shadow of a Man review

★★★★☆ Nobody could have possibly imagined the legacy that Mohamed Bouazizi’s desperate act of self-immolation in late 2010 would have. His tragic death inspired the Tunisian revolution, and as such proved a catalyst for the widespread ‘Arab Spring’, which moved next to Egypt. These passionate uprisings in the name of human rights and […]

#Patrick Gamble #Reviews

Film Review: ‘White Elephant’

★★★★☆ Following on from 2010’s Carancho (The Vulture), director Pablo Trapero reunites with actor Ricardo Darín once more for White Elephant (Elefante blanco, 2012), another high-paced examination of systemic Argentine society. The film’s title refers to the dilapidated shell of what was once envisioned as the largest hospital in Latin America. This casualty […]


Film Review: ‘Bernie’

★★★☆☆ Having languished on the festival circuit for the past few years – including a showing at the London Film Festival back in 2011 – Richard Linklater’s Bernie (2011) finally makes its way into UK cinemas this week, reuniting the School of Rock director with ‘hot-cold’ Hollywood star Jack Black. Black plays the […]

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Film Review: ‘In the Fog’

★★★★☆ An incredibly atmospheric Second World War three-hander exploring the notion that the fight against oppression may not necessarily equate to the fight for freedom, Belarusian director Sergei Loznitsa’s In the Fog (V tumane, 2012) won rave reviews upon its Cannes debut in competition last year – and rightly so. Only his second […]

#Adam Lowes #Reviews

Blu-ray Review: ‘Knightriders’

★★★★☆ Renowned horror auteur George A. Romero moved out of his comfort zone with Knightriders, a weirdly touching and wonderfully offbeat drama from 1981, which defies categorisation in many ways. At its heart, there’s an Easy Rider-like study of free-spirited, principled ideals within an increasingly conformist and capitalist society. A youthful-looking Ed Harris […]