Film reviews and more

Month: December 2013

Film Review: ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’

★★☆☆☆ Ben Stiller directs and stars in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013), this festive season’s family-friendly dramedy. Based on a short story by James Thurber – already adapted for the big screen by Norman Z. McLeod back in 1947 – this romanticised wish fulfilment adventure attempts to reconfigure the idealist spirit and creativity of Thurber’s prose and […]

Film Review: ‘All Is Lost’

★★★★☆ J.C. Chandor follows up 2011’s talky but tense Margin Call with polar opposite All Is Lost (2013), a near-silent survival procedural that celebrates humanity’s psychological and physical resilience when faced with insurmountable odds. Stranded 1,700 miles off the Sumatran Straits after colliding with a misplaced shipping container, a nameless man (Robert Redford) finds himself caught in a futile […]

Blu-ray Review: ‘Jurassic Park’

★★★★★ Sixty-five million years in the making, Steven Spielberg’s spectacular 1993 dinosaur romp Jurassic Park returns to Blu-ray this week thanks to a brand new digital restoration, with the addition of 3D. Whilst certainly a lighter, family-friendly adaptation of the late Michael Crichton’s darkly satirical, gene-splicing bestseller, Spielberg’s blockbuster spawned two sequels (with Jurassic World also on they way) […]

DVD Review: ‘We’re the Millers’

★★☆☆☆ There are drawbacks to acting alongside Jennifer Aniston – mainly the fact that you have to take second-billing to everyone’s favourite Friend. Rawson Marshall Thurber’s We’re the Millers (2013) may co-star Jason Sudeikis, Emma Roberts and Will Poulter, but they’re soon forgotten once Aniston makes her entrance. David Clark (Sudeikis) has a problem. A small time drug dealer, […]

DVD Review: ‘Lovelace’

★★★☆☆ In 1972, Linda Lovelace shot to stardom as a sexually frustrated woman with an oral clitoris in the controversial porno Deep Throat (1972). The first mainstream pornographic film of its kind went on to become a phenomenal success and garnered international interest in its lead actress. Lovelace went on to write three autobiographies claiming that her role in […]

DVD Review: ‘Killing Oswald’

★★★★☆ It’s over fifty years since the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy on 22 November and over recent months we have seen articles, documentaries and fictionalised accounts all offering a different take on the events of that fateful day in Dallas. Shane O’Sullivan’s Killing Oswald (2013) is unique in that it focuses solely on the alleged assassin, […]

DVD Review: ‘In the Shadow of the Sun’

★★★★☆ Western society’s love affair with superstition has quelled in recent decades. We no longer take solace in the extermination of those deemed ‘different. Yet Harry Freeland’s devastatingly moving documentary In the Shadow of the Sun (2012) encapsulates the immoral villainy practiced even today by nature of our inhumane prejudices. Africa’s Tanzania houses life for some 170,000 albinos. Prisoners […]

DVD Review: ‘Child’s Pose’

★★★★★ A worthy winner of Berlin’s Golden Bear and a strong contender for Best Foreign Language Film at next year’s Academy Awards, Child’s Pose (2013) provides a fascinating insight into Romania’s affluent society and ubiquitous corruption. Calin Peter Netzer focuses on one middle-class family and the troubled relationship of a domineering mother Cornelia and her privileged son Barbu. The […]

Film Review: ‘The Innocents’

★★★★★ A menacing adaptation of Henry James novella The Turn of the Screw, Jack Clayton’s 1961 chiller The Innocents is rereleased this week as part of the BFI’s long-running Gothic season. A sinister and deeply unnerving ghost story, Clayton’s horror carefully constructs its foreboding ambiance by coalescing artefacts of subjection, religious iconography and sexual repression to craft a terrifying […]

Film Review: ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’

★★★★☆ After a slightly mixed response to the first instalment, Peter Jackson’s return to Middle-earth for the second part of his Hobbit trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug (2013), should hopefully set fans and critics’ qualms aside, offering a rollicking adventure tale full of the Kiwi director’s signature attention to detail. We open before the events of An Unexpected Journey, […]

Film Review: ‘Fill the Void’

★★★☆☆ New York-born, Jerusalem-raised director Rama Burshtein’s feature debut, Fill the Void (2012), is an accomplished social drama with potential appeal for international audiences. Set in contemporary Tel Aviv, where the local orthodox Jewish community continues the traditional practice of matchmaking, we begin with 28-year-old Esther (Renana Raz), married to Yochay (Yiftach Klein), dying during childbirth, delaying Esther’s younger […]

Film Review: ‘Aroused’

★★★☆☆ Recognised for her work as a multimedia artist and candid photographer of A-list celebrities, Deborah Anderson follows up her renowned art books Room 23 and Paper Thin with her first feature documentary: the intimate, provocative Aroused (2013), an inquisitive study of a selection of women in the adult film industry. Arranging snippets of interviews she shares with sixteen […]