Film reviews and more

Day: 4 September 2014

Venice 2014: Sivas review

★★★☆☆ Turkish filmmaker Kaan Mujdeci’s debut feature film and Venice competition entry Sivas (2014) is a well-shot if slight story of a young boy who finds a place for himself in the world as the owner of a fighting dog. Dogan Izci plays Aslan – not the wise lion of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe fame, but […]

Venice 2014: ‘Red Amnesia’ review

★★★☆☆ In a Venice that has been bizarrely bereft of strong female performances and roles – Bechdel tests at the ready – Xiaoshuai Wang’s Red Amnesia (2014) comes as something of a latter-stage relief. Veteran Chinese theatre actress Lü Zhong catches the eye as Deng, an elderly woman recently bereaved. The newly-made widow keeps busy, picking her grandchild up […]

Venice 2014: ‘Pasolini’ review

★★★☆☆ Novelist, scenarist, journalist, political thinker, opinion maker and film director, Pier Paolo Pasolini was and is a huge influence on Italian intellectual life and his murder on the night of 2 November 1975 on a beach near Rome shocked the country and still resonates today. Almost immediately conspiracy theories grew up around the death of a man who […]

Film Review: ‘White Settlers’

★★★☆☆ The most terrifying horror can often be found right on your own doorstep. Director Simeon Halligan’s Scottish chiller White Settlers (2014) proves that man’s most basic fears are often those derived from reality rather than the imaginary. Sarah (Pollyanna McIntosh) and Ed (Lee Williams) have left the rat-race of London for a new life in Scotland. However, what […]

Film Review: ‘Watermark’

★★★☆☆ Water both resists and exists. It’s both the giver of life and the destroyer of futures. The Earth is covered by 71% of water, and it’s this enigmatic fact that renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky looks at in his latest documentary, Watermark (2013). The film alights though differing vignettes from spans continents and dives into the relationship water, the […]

Film Review: ‘They Came Together’

★★☆☆☆ The quest for a new take on the romantic comedy has been a vague Hollywood inclination since Marc Webb’s (500) Days of Summer (2009) ‘reinvented’ the genre by daring to implant a male character in the leading role. David Wain’s Sundance offering They Came Together (2014) exhibits an enthusiasm for the task in this spoof of the genre […]

Film Review: Sex Tape

★★☆☆☆ Sex Tape (2014), the new US comedy from Jake Kasdan, starts off on the front foot with some funny sight gags and its leads fully invested. However, just as it seems the film is going to pick up its pace, it loses its metaphorical erection, and becomes as limp as a Singapore noodle. Newly coupled Jay (Jason Segel) […]

Film Review: ‘M’

★★★★★ There’s a tangible antipathy coasting throughout Fritz Lang’s M (1931), back in UK cinemas this week through the BFI. The mood is unbearable. Its set-pieces’ violent contours are unforgiving; laying their judgement on close-ups of scorned faces. The actors all seem to live in a state of fear. Their voices are either hushed, as if communicating secrets, or […]