Film reviews and more

Month: January 2015

IFFR 2015: Stinking Heaven review

★★★★☆ Writer and director Nathan Silver again seeks to explore the dynamics of communal living just as he did in Exit Elena (2012) to Uncertain Terms (2014). In the latter film, pregnant teens take refuge in the home of Carla […]

Film Review: ‘Trash’

★★★★☆ Stephen Daldry‘s latest feature film, set among the garbage heaps of Rio de Janeiro, belongs to its youthful, non-professional cast. Trash (2014) opens with Jose Angelo (Wagner Moura) hurriedly packing. As he attempts to flee his apartment he is […]

Film Review: ‘Tales of the Grim Sleeper’

★★★★☆ The opening moments of Nick Broomfield’s Oscar long-listed documentary, Tales of the Grim Sleeper (2014), call to mind the narrative inspiration for recent podcast, Serial. Pitching up in South Central L.A. in search of the story behind the eponymous […]

Film Review: ‘Son of a Gun’

★★☆☆☆ Julius Avery’s debut feature Son of a Gun (2014) starts promisingly in a maximum security prison where young JR (rising star Brenton Thwaites) has been sentenced to six months for some petty offence or another. The jail looks like […]

Film Review: ‘Pelo Malo’

★★★☆☆ Winner of multiple awards on the 2013 festival circuit including the Golden Seashell in San Sebastian, Mariana Rondón’s Pelo Malo (2013) distorts your typical coming-of-ager about gender confusion into a well-observed Polaroid snapshot of contemporary anxieties in Venezuela, as […]

Film Review: ‘I Am Yours’

★★★☆☆ Expectations and desires are not coming together very easily in Iram Haq’s feature-length debut film, I Am Yours (2013). It is Haq’s second outing as director and writer but continues on themes she has already presented in her short […]

Film Review: ‘Big Hero 6’

★★★☆☆ Comic book adaptations are fast becoming a staple element in the diet of blockbuster cinemagoers and, despite already owning Marvel, Disney have now decided to get in on the action themselves. Their first foray into the superhero universe comes […]

Film Review: Au Revoir Les Enfants

  ★★★★★ William Faulkner once made the sage point that “the past is never dead. It’s not even past.” Louis Malle’s Golden Lion winner Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987) is a Second World War-set film very much guided in spirit by […]

DVD Review: ‘Wish I Was Here’

★★★☆☆ Zach Braff’s second feature, Wish I Was Here (2014), was famously – or perhaps infamously – financed partially through the crowdfunding website Kickstarter. Braff’s reasoning for this was to spare his project from the compromises that would come with […]

DVD Review: ‘What We Did on Our Holiday’

★★★★☆ The debut feature from BBC veterans Andy Hamilton and Guy Jerkin, What We Did on Our Holiday is one of 2014’s most big-hearted, surprising and thoroughly likable films. While in many ways essentially the big screen version of an […]

Blu-ray Review: ‘Thief’

★★★★☆ Fuelled by a pulsing synth soundtrack by Tangerine Dream, and rife with colourful dialogue and Chicago locals, Michael Man’s masterful thriller Thief (1981) convincingly pursues its eponymous antihero to the desperate limits of his talent. “Raised by the state,” […]

DVD Review: ‘Stage Fright’

★★★★☆ There’s an eerily effective collision of genres happening in Stage Fright (2014). Horror, comedy and musical are all at play and, under the masterful hand of writer and director Jerome Sable, make for deliciously gory fun. While it hearkens […]

Blu-ray Review: ‘Shoah’

★★★★★ Claude Lanzmann’s monumental Holocaust documentary Shoah (1985) took 12 years to make. Compiling over 350 hours of footage, including interviews with individuals in 14 countries, the final cut – released anew on Blu-ray for Eureka’s Masters of Cinema Collection […]

DVD Review: ‘Kinetta’

★★★☆☆ The search for meaning can be a futile task in a world obsessed with imagined realities; especially when the line between fact and fiction is distorted and ill-defined. The innate quest for purpose is the core of Yorgos Lanthimos’ […]

DVD Review: ‘Jimi: All Is by My Side’

★★★☆☆ Breaking the mould and making fresh material out of things that have been around for decades is, arguably, one of Jimi Hendrix’s most enduring traits. Reshaping the jazz, blues and rock music of his peers, he spent much of […]

DVD Review: ‘Honeymoon’

★★☆☆☆ First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes your wife’s possession by something rather insidious during your honeymoon at a secluded cabin in the woods. Romantic, right? Honeymoon (2014) is a lo-fi horror flick that builds on its familiar […]

DVD Review: ‘Greatful Dead’

★★★☆☆ Eiji Uchida’s Greatful Dead (2013) combines several genres with an extremely compelling outcome. Black humour and mild farce combine to provide the tone and make it more than just an intriguing watch. Nami (Kumi Takiuchi) has been disillusioned with […]

Blu-ray Review: ‘Ganja & Hess’

★★★☆☆ The inspiration for Spike Lee’s upcoming Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014), Bill Gunn’s 1973 vampire-but-not-quite film Ganja & Hess is being re-released by Eureka! on DVD and Blu-ray. It is a strange creature of the night; jumping back […]