Film reviews and more

Month: August 2013

Venice 2013: ‘Child of God’ review

★★★★☆ Hot on the heels of his previous feature-length offering, Cannes select As I Lay Dying, James Franco made his directorial bow on the Venice Lido with last year’s Child of God (2013), a Gothic tale of violence, perversion and […]

Venice 2013: ‘Why Don’t You Play in Hell?’ review

★★★★☆ Sion Sono returns to the Lido this year with Why Don’t You Play in Hell? (2013), a deliriously silly homage to cinematic violence. Hiroki Hasegawa plays protagonist Hirata, a young indie filmmaker with big ambitions. He roams the streets […]

Venice 2013: ‘The Canyons’ review

★☆☆☆☆ Numerous derelict cinemas litter the opening of Paul Schrader’s now-infamous The Canyons (2013), screening out of competition at this year’s Venice Film Festival; and more may follow this portent omen of things to come. Make no mistake – Schrader’s […]

Venice 2013: ‘Gerontophilia’ review

★★☆☆☆ Canadian auteur Bruce LaBruce opened the Venice Days sidebar of the Biennale’s 70th incarnation with Gerontophilia (2013), a romantic comedy (of sorts) following 18-year-old Lake (Pierre-Gabriel Lajoie), who finds himself increasingly dissatisfied with his girlfriend and at the same […]

Film Review: ‘Bonjour Tristesse’

★★★★☆ This Park Circus rerelease of Otto Preminger’s 1958 classic Bonjour Tristesse, based on the Françoise Saigon novella and starring Deborah Kerr, David Niven and Jean Seberg, feels particularly timely. The frivolity of rich Europeans who party all night, drink […]

Film Review: ‘Upstream Colour’

★★★★★ Shane Carruth, despite having made just two features, can already be labelled a divisive director. His latest think piece, Upstream Colour (2013), is a complex examination of the mutability of identity. Since its debut at the Sundance Film Festival […]

Film Review: ‘Big Bad Wolves’

★★★☆☆ Directing duo Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado returned to Film4 FrightFest this year with Big Bad Wolves (2013), their follow-up to the darkly comic Rabies (2011). Once again blurring the lines between horror and political satire, this genre-savvy thriller […]

Film Review: ‘You’re Next’

★★★☆☆ If A Horrible Way to Die, the hallucinatory 2010 effort from Adam Wingard, was a genre riff on Antonioni’s Red Desert (1965), then his follow-up You’re Next (2013) plays like a horror rendition of Thomas Vinterberg’s Festen (1998) with […]

Film Review: ‘Pain & Gain’

★★★☆☆ While numerous big-budget directors have been busy channelling the spirit of Michael Bay in the summer of 2013, the man himself has made his smallest film yet; and it turns out to be one of the strangest blockbusters in […]

Film Review: ‘The Way, Way Back’

★★★★☆ Cinema loves coming-of-age stories. The examination of how adolescents navigate that period in their lives has and will always make for some excellent stories. After winning an Oscar for penning Alexander Payne’s The Descendants (2011), Nat Faxon and Jim […]

Venice 2013: Venezia 70 programme preview

With the rise of the encroaching Toronto, the domestic competition offered by Rome and a hugely successful Cannes this year, the 70th Venice Film Festival – which begins on 28 August – is facing some pretty stiff competition. The lineup, […]

Venice 2013: ‘Gravity’ preview

Alfonso Cuarón admirers have been waiting patiently for a new feature from the esteemed Mexican filmmaker for seven years now, his last endeavour the positively received dystopian drama Children of Men back in 2006. Near-future sci-fi certainly seems to be […]

Blu-ray Review: ‘The Tarnished Angels’

★★★☆☆ An adaptation of William Faulkner’s 1935 novel Pylon (and considered by Faulkner to be the finest of all screen adaptations of his work), Douglas Sirk’s haunting and inherently sad The Tarnished Angels (1957) has been given the Blu-ray treatment […]

Blu-ray Review: ‘Simon Killer’

★★★★☆ Though you’d be forgiven for initially thinking that ‘Travis Bickle: The Post-College Life’ was playing out in front of you (with a healthy dose of Gaspar Noé thrown in), Antonio Campos’ Simon Killer (2012) soon settles into a unique […]

DVD Review: ‘Beyond the Walls’

★★☆☆☆ Films such as Weekend (2012), Keep the Lights On (2012) and I Want your Love (2012) have all recently hinted at a fast-emerging new wave of queer cinema. All three films possess a naturalistic style and an interest in […]

DVD Review: ‘Nowhere’

★★★★★ Nowhere (1997) follows Totally F***ed Up (1993) and The Doom Generation (1995) as the third and final instalment in renegade filmmaker Gregg Araki’s Teenage Apocalypse trilogy. Jam-packed full of rampant, libidinous teens that exist in a multicultural, pop art, […]

DVD Review: ‘Olympus Has Fallen’

★★★☆☆ The first of two films this year to use the White House as its setting, Olympus Has Fallen (2013) is the latest film to adopt the time-honoured one man army vs. terrorists plot-line, and it accomplishes its task in […]

DVD Review: ‘The Land of Hope’

★★★☆☆ The Land of Hope (2012) is a delicately-paced drama, centring on the lives of a rural farming family who are affected by a nearby environmental catastrophe, set a few years after the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. Sion Sono intended to […]