Film reviews and more

Month: September 2013

DVD Review: ‘The Rise’

★★☆☆☆  The rollicking heist movie is one of those genres that can easily feel redundant nowadays. With elaborate plot machinations its central tenet, this specialist variety of thriller relies on having an original way to dupe its audience who will […]

DVD Review: ‘Ikarie XB-1’

★★★★☆ It’s the year 2163, and the spaceship Ikarie XB-1 is off to explore life on the ‘white planet’ orbiting the Alpha Centauri. Like the Greek mythological figure Icarus, whose name christens the spaceship, we follow the mixed crew as […]

DVD Review: ‘Citadel’

★★☆☆☆ Council estates are gradually replacing graveyards as the setting of choice for contemporary horrors, whilst hooded teenagers are now the zombies of the 21st century. In Ciaran Foy’s Citadel (2012), the soaring concrete highrise is presented not as the […]

DVD Review: ‘The Iceman’

★★★☆☆ Richard Kuklinski was an infamous contract killer doing the dirty work of various New York crime organisations throughout the sixties and seventies. Estimates of how many lives he ended during his career vary from 100 to 250 according to […]

DVD Review: ‘The Walking Dead: Season 3’

★★★★☆ Having seemingly taken on board the various criticisms levelled at season two for its lack of action and, at times, pedestrian pacing, AMC’s The Walking Dead returns with its most gripping, expansive and ambitious outing to date, as Rick […]

DVD Review: ‘The Kings of Summer’

★★★☆☆ Coming-of-age yarns are a dime a dozen and it takes an awful lot to make one stand out from the crowd. Jordan Vogt-Roberts accepts the challenge with gusto in his sun-kissed feature debut, The Kings of Summer (2013), which […]

DVD Review: ‘A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III’

★★☆☆☆ Roman Coppola, the oldest heir to the family filmmaking dynasty, ventures back into the directing chair, following his debut from over a decade back (2001’s little-seen kitsch sci-fi homage, CQ). Unfortunately, on the strength of this follow-up, little sister […]

Film Review: ‘Bring Me the Head of Machine Gun Woman’

★★☆☆☆ Jean-Luc Godard once remarked that “all you need for a movie is a gun and a girl”, and the director of this tired grindhouse pastiche seems to have taken that advice on board verbatim, offering a sketchy, lifeless shoot […]

Film Review: ‘Greedy Lying Bastards’

★★☆☆☆ An obnoxious, Michael Moore-aping battle cry against big industry and its ties to climate change denial, Craig Scott Rosebraugh’s subtly titled Greedy Lying Bastards (2012) may have the very best of intentions, but fails to hold interest due to […]

Film Review: ‘Runner Runner’

★★★☆☆ A swift glance at the UK poster for Brad Furman thriller Runner Runner (2013) – with its triumvirate of ridiculously good-looking stars, air-brushed to glimmering perfection – offers the perfect summary of the film itself. It’s a glossy, well-shot […]

Film Review: ‘Mister John’

★★★★☆ Elusive, nuanced and poignant, Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy’s second feature together, Mister John (2013), fathoms the depths of masculine identity in crisis, with an emotionally resonant tale given additional flavour by its exotic locale. We first meet Gerry […]

Film Review: ‘Girl Most Likely’

★★☆☆☆ Kristen Wiig’s performance in Girl Most Likely (2012) is oddly reminiscent of Tina Fey’s turn in 2010’s Date Night. Here is a natural comedienne with a successful background in comedy writing and acting lumbered with a terrible screenplay, crushing […]

Film Review: ‘Prisoners’

★★☆☆☆ Incendies (2010) director Denis Villeneuve was once quoted as saying “In contradiction and paradox, you can find truth.” However, in the case of his English-language debut Prisoners (2013), it’s hard to comprehend where Villeneuve stands on the validity of […]

Film Review: ‘In the Name Of’

★★★☆☆ Catholicism and homosexuality is hardly a taboo partnership in modern Western cinema, but it is subject matter that retains the potential to be incendiary if mishandled. Thankfully, director Malgorzata Szumowska approaches the topic with apposite sensitivity in new film […]

Film Review: ‘Blue Jasmine’

★★★★★ The best Woody Allen films of the past decade have invariably been minor frivolities. As wonderful as his 2011 effort Midnight in Paris was, it is undeniably frothy and lightweight when held up against some of his masterpieces. His […]

Film Review: ‘Austenland’

★★☆☆☆ When you think of Jane Austen, the typical image that immediately springs to mind is of dashing gents emerging from lakes in billowing white shirts. However, in Jerusha Hess’ Austenland (2013), the first-time director attempts to contemporise the queen […]

DVD Review: ‘CFF: Scary Stories’

★★★☆☆ Ahead of Halloween, this week the BFI rerelease three spooky stories for children from legendary British production company The Children’s Film Foundation. The Man from Nowhere (1976) is a Victorian age tale focusing on orphan Alice (Sarah Hollis-Andrews) who, […]

Blu-ray Review: ‘Sleepwalker’

★★☆☆☆ Every now and then you suspect that a film gains cult status simply because it’s seldom been seen. Take for instance Saxon Logan’s Sleepwalker (1984). So few people have sampled this bizarre horror-thriller since its initial release that it […]