Film reviews and more

Month: April 2014

Film Review: ‘Paths of Glory’

★★★★☆ The fourth feature of what would later evolve into a glittering directorial career, Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory (1957) is not only a fine extension of the moral concerns towards war raised in his debut, 1953’s Fear and Desire, but a clear precursor to the horrors that would lie in wait with his Vietnam-set Full Metal Jacket (1987). […]

Film Review: Patema Inverted

★★☆☆☆ Here’s a film that Hollywood should be planning to remake; essentially a feature-length version of the zero gravity scenes from Christopher Nolan’s Inception (2010), which shares even closer DNA with the Kirsten Dunst US box office bomb Upside Down (2012). Bold and beautiful, this is a wonderful example of the anime aesthetic, but not its storytelling prowess. Patema […]

Film Review: ‘In Bloom’

★★★★☆ The opening film of this year’s Bird’s Eye View Festival, Georgian director Nana Ekvtimishvili combines with German counterpart Simon Groß for In Bloom (2013), a brilliant coming-of-ager set in the suburbs of Tblisi, circa 1992. Featuring two outstanding lead performances from bright young talents Lika Babluani and Mariam Bokeria, Ekvtimishvili and Groß immerse their audience in the detritus […]

Film Review: ‘Ilo Ilo’

★★★☆☆ East-Asian cinema has long been a leading producer of meditative family dramas, from the quietly profound work of Ozu all the way through to the present day. With his acclaimed debut feature, Singaporean director Anthony Chen looks to follow in that tradition with his semi-autobiographical tale, Ilo Ilo (2013), released in UK cinemas this week through Soda Pictures. […]

Film Review: ‘Brick Mansions’

★★☆☆☆ The latest in a long line of trashy action thrillers spearheaded by French producer extraordinaire Luc Besson, Camille Delamarre’s Brick Mansions (2014) – an American remake of 2004 parkour-driven French adrenaline-pumper District B13 – is just about as mindless as they come. It’s essentially a collection of shoddily edited action sequences, underpinned by a monotonous narrative that has […]

Cannes 2014: ‘Winter Sleep’ preview

Unquestionably one of the most eagerly awaited films set to screen at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Winter Sleep (2014) is also one of those most shrouded in mystery. Very little is known about the new offering from acclaimed Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Uzak, Three Monkeys, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia), who makes his return to the […]

Cannes 2014: ‘Mr. Turner’ preview

Along with fellow British veteran Ken Loach’s Jimmy’s Hall, Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner (2014) will be in the running for the coveted Palme d’Or in the next fortnight. A biopic of Victorian painter J.M.W. Turner, the film stars Timothy Spall as the famed painter alongside Dorothy Atkinson, Marion Bailey and Paul Jesson. Leigh’s previous foray into period drama produced […]

Cannes 2014: ‘Maps to the Stars’ preview

Acolytes of body horror master David Cronenberg will be hoping for a late career revival when his new film, 2014’s Maps to the Stars, has its grand unveiling at Cannes this May, particularly after the joint disappointment of 2011 psychoanalysis drama A Dangerous Method and the overly faithful Cosmopolis (2012). Enlisting A-List stars Mia Wasikowska, Julianne Moore, John Cusack […]

Cannes 2014: ‘Jimmy’s Hall’ preview

Whether or not it turns out to be Ken Loach’s final narrative film, Jimmy’s Hall (2014) looks like being a favourite when it lands on the Croisette in competition at this year’s 67th Cannes Film Festival. Cannes has commonly been a home from home for British director Loach where – despite the glam, the frocks and the yachts – […]

Cannes 2014: ‘The Homesman’ preview

Fresh from the dusty plains, American actor Tommy Lee Jones will present his second directorial offering, The Homesman (2014), in competition at the 67th Cannes Film Festival. Following on from Kelly Reichardt’s Meek’s Cutoff (2011) and anticipating Gavin O’Connor’s much troubled Jane Got a Gun (2015) (both Lynne Ramsay and Michael Fassbender were once attached), The Homesman looks set to […]

Blu-ray Review: ‘Violent Saturday’

★★★★★ With Violent Saturday (1955), the recent Richard Fleischer reappraisal comes full-circle. A brazenly eclectic studio man who directed films as disparate as the Tony Curtis-starring The Boston Strangler (1968) and fantasy epic Conan the Destroyer (1984), Fleischer is near-impossible to pin down. But a few notable European reissues as well as a high- profile retrospective at the 2013 […]

Blu-ray Review: ‘Sisters’

★★★☆☆ Made in 1973, a whole three years before his breakthrough Stephen King adaptation Carrie, Brian De Palma’s Sisters (previously released as Blood Sisters in the UK and now available on DVD and Blu-ray through Arrow Video) begins with a mock quiz show called ‘Peeping Tom’, in which a female participant wins a set of steak knives. Right there, […]