Film reviews and more

Month: November 2013

Interview: Edgar Wright talks ‘The World’s End’

Having migrated from the small to the big screen following the sleeper success of cult TV show Spaced, Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have amassed an enormous army of fervent fans thanks to their high concept – and very British – ‘Cornetto trilogy’, consisting of rom-zom-com Shaun of the Dead (2004), buddy cop comedy Hot Fuzz (2007) […]

Film Review: ‘Saving Santa’

★★☆☆☆ Released just in time for the festive period, Saving Santa (2013) is yet another animation given the cinematic treatment despite being planned as a DTV feature. Directed by Leon Joosen and Aaron Seelman, it’s a fairly watchable jaunt that’s high on Christmas spirit but short on originality. Bernard (Martin Freeman) is a lowly stable elf with aspirations of […]

Film Review: ‘Saving Mr. Banks’

★★★★☆ The tone for John Lee Hancock’s pleasingly sentimental and richly layered Saving Mr. Banks (2013) is effectively set by a well-chosen verse from Disney’s seminal colour musical, Mary Poppins: “Wind’s in the east, mist coming in/Like something is brewing, about to begin.” Emma Thompson dons a frumpy cardigan as the prim, proper and deliciously pompous P.L. Travers, the […]

Film Review: ‘No Fixed Abode’

★★☆☆☆ “What if you woke up homeless?” reads the tagline for low-budget British drama No Fixed Abode (N.F.A., 2012), evoking the kind of vexing slogan you might hear on an advert for a homelessness charity. This may seem like a glib comment but it actually provides some insight into both the strengths and weaknesses of the piece. It’s the […]

Film Review: ‘Leviathan’

★★★★☆ The latest remarkable offering from Harvard University’s Sensory Ethnography Lab (whose additional credits include Sweetgrass, Foreign Parts and the upcoming Manakamana), Lucien Castiang-Taylor and Verena Paravel’s hulking behemoth of a documentary, Leviathan (2012), rightly caught the eye after scooping up the top prize at the Edinburgh Film Festival earlier this year. Unlike any other doc seen this year […]

Film Review: ‘Free Birds’

★★☆☆☆ This year has seen the family animation arena dominated by sequels despicable, monstrous and concerned with a chance of meatballs. The Croods (2013) aside, children’s cinema has had something of a subdued year; for every inventive sugar-high there’ve been a handful of insipid come-downs. Expectations now are generally higher due to Pixar’s stellar run through the noughties and […]

Film Review: ‘Dirty Wars’

★★★★☆ “We were told that the battle for hearts and minds was being won, as soldiers dug wells or drank tea with tribal elders – but I knew I was missing the story.” These are the words of warzone correspondent Jeremy Scahill to describe the niggle that prompted him to take a dangerous trip into rural Afghanistan, the product […]

Film Review: ‘Carrie’

★★★☆☆ Why would a director take it upon themselves to remake a film which has achieved near mythical status? Take Carrie (1976), Brian De Palma’s iconic visualisation of Stephen King’s seminal shocker, which set the standard for the high-school horrors which would saturate the market in the coming decade, as well as launch the careers of Sissy Spacek and […]

Film Review: ‘The Best Man Holiday’

★★★☆☆ Although fourteen years have passed since Malcolm D. Lee’s The Best Man (1999), the characters resonated in such a way that the idea of seeing them together again was an enjoyable one to ponder. It’s been a long time coming but finally the sequel, The Best Man Holiday (2013), has arrived, and thanks to its likeable cast it’s […]

DVD Review: ‘World Cinema Project – Volume One’

★★★★☆ Martin Scorsese has always been a dedicated cinephile as well as a lauded filmmaker. Even his 3D fantasy Hugo (2011) extolled the virtues of film preservation. Looking to champion forgotten gems from around the globe, he has now found a natural home overseeing the work of the World Cinema Foundation (WCF). They are a body equally interested in […]

Blu-ray Review: ‘Heaven’s Gate’

★★★★★ Beginning with a graduation and ending with tears of regret, Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate (1980) is a monumental piece of American cinema; an opulent leviathan that moves to its own strange rhythm. While its troubling conception and destructive aftermath are legendary, the picture now stands proudly as an elegy for New Hollywood. Accused of destroying the movement, it […]

Blu-ray Review: ‘Betty Blue’

★★★★★ One of the most iconic French offerings of the eighties, Jean Jacques Beineix’s Betty Blue (1986) not only filled cinemas and earned itself BAFTA and Oscar attention, but its César Award-winning poster found itself adorning the bedroom walls of those mesmerised by the astounding central performance of Béatrice Dalle. Reissued on Blu-ray in a deluxe box set, this […]