Film reviews and more

Month: October 2014

Film Review: ‘The Overnighters’

★★★★★ More American nightmare than American Dream, Jesse Moss’ Sundance award-winning documentary The Overnighters (2013) looks at the crisis at the centre of the economic collapse within the post-Empire confines of contemporary America. Coming at this point through the prism of Lutheran Pastor Jay Reinke, Moss is free to portray many positives within a tirade of negatives. Williston, North […]

Film Review: ‘Nightcrawler’

★★★☆☆ The inaugural directorial effort of The Bourne Legacy (2012) screenwriter Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler (2014) is a nocturnal exploration of media sensationalism and the individualistic entrepreneurialism that is so often perceived as an attainable escape route from social inequality. Boasting a noteworthy performance from Jake Gyllenhaal, Gilroy’s debut finds itself lost in an inescapable maze of sound and rhythm, […]

Film Review: ‘Mr. Turner’

★★★★★ We see a long shot of two maids, rapt in their whispers, walking down the length of an embankment. The first flickers of dawn are in the air; the promise of a new day. The camera pans to the left and we see our artist at work, magnificently silhouetted against the horizon in a quietly euphoric panorama. This […]

Film Review: ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’

★★★★★ Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) is a talismanic work of art, a piece of cinema that reaches through the ages to comment on present needs, wants and perceived existential threats. Even though it has been remade three times (by Philip Kaufman in 1978, Abel Ferrara again in 1993 and finally, for now, Oliver Hirschbiegel in 2007) with […]

Film Review: ‘Horns’

★★★☆☆ Daniel Radcliffe takes another unexpected step in his capricious metamorphosis, transforming from iconic boy-wizard Harry Potter, to a man-turned-devil in Alexandre Aja’s uneven adaptation of Joe Hill’s fantasy novel Horns (2013). Falsely accused of raping and murdering his childhood sweetheart Merrin (Juno Temple), Ig (Radcliffe) is outlawed by his friends and family, sinking into a hazy slumber. After […]

Film Review: ‘Ghostbusters’

★★★★☆ Whether young or old, the 1984 classic Ghostbusters – directed by Ivan Reitman and starring Bill Murray (seemingly confirmed for the upcoming Ghostbusters 3 on IMDb), Sigourney Weaver and Dan Aykroyd – will always be enjoyable viewing. Rereleased in cinemas across the country this Halloween weekend, countless kids of the 80s will be able to relive their childhood […]

Blu-ray Review: ‘Youth of the Beast’

★★★★☆ There’s a great deal to admire about Seijun Suzuki’s idiosyncratic, jazz-infused gangster thriller Youth of the Beast (1963). Released shortly after the return of the director’s hallucinatory Branded to Kill (1967) to UK screens, this sui generis Yakuza caper arrives courtesy of Eureka’s excellent Masters of Cinema Collection. Even in charge of what is ostensibly straightforward genre fare […]

DVD Review: ‘Mystery Road’

★★★☆☆ The wilds of Australia play home to Ivan Sen’s latest in both a physical and metaphorical sense. The oppression of indigenous peoples was a topic explored in his previous film, Toomelah (2009), and it glints as a rich vein of this new genre nugget, Mystery Road (2013). Determined to steer clear of anticipated escalations in narrative thrust, it […]

Blu-ray Review: ‘I Clowns’

★★★☆☆ “Clown acts have to be short and make people laugh in ten minutes – give it some rhythm!” These are the words of wisdom bestowed during the first interview Federico Fellini conducts in his made-for-television pseudo-documentary, I Clowns (1970). This advice is taken to heart throughout much of the film’s mischievous structure as (with the exception of the […]

DVD Review: ‘Gomorrah’

★★★★★ Narrative is the base from which elemental passages are forced upon our gaze. In recent years the very idea of watching narratives unfold over 8-12 hours had been the preserve of formalist cinema and its adherents, whether that be the likes of Béla Tarr (Sátántangó (1994), 7h12m) or Lav Diaz (Evolution of a Filipino Family (2004), 10h47m). Now […]

DVD Review: ‘Godzilla’

★★★★☆ It was sixty years ago that a gigantic and terrifying lizard first lumbered out of the Pacific Ocean and proceeded to leave its indelible footprint on cinematic history. Since Ishiro Honda’s Gojira (1954), the scaly titan has been repurposed on the silver screen dozens of times – often having to battle critics as ferociously as its need to […]

DVD Review: ‘God Help the Girl’

★★★☆☆ The filmmaking debut of Stuart Murdoch, frontman of indie pop band Belle and Sebastian, God Help the Girl (2014) is a wistful modern-day musical structured around tracks from the band’s album of the same name. Starring rising Australian actress Emily Browning, Murdoch’s film is an interesting passion project infused by the musician’s own brand of upbeat and lyrical […]