Film reviews and more

Month: February 2015

Glasgow 2015: Ann Hui on new film ‘The Golden Era’

Ann Hui’s voice is an uncommon one in world cinema. Probably the most acclaimed of the Hong Kong New Wave directors, Hui began her career in the late 1970s in a film industry then dominated by kung fu movies. She continued to make films in Hong Kong for over thirty years, striking an almost impossible balance between art, politics […]

Glasgow 2015: ‘The Golden Era’ review

★★☆☆☆ Biographic films are always difficult beasts to tame. Filmmakers can often be torn between integrity and dramatic licence in bringing a real life to the big screen. Ann Hui’s The Golden Era (2014) is no different; a lavish, lengthy period piece depicting the life of revered Chinese writer Xiao Hong. On one hand it strives for an impressionistic […]

Glasgow 2015: Dispatch #1

One of the most interesting things about picking out a viewing schedule at a film festival is the emergence of unexpected trends. Something that was easily apparent on the first two days of our trip to this year’s Glasgow Film Festival was the array of quality independent cinema on show by female directors. Gender imbalance is quite rightly a […]

Glasgow 2015: ‘My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn’

★★★☆☆ Liv Corfixen’s My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (2014) starts from the unfortunate position of being wide open to comparison with another behind-the-scenes peek, Eleanor Coppola’s Heart of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse (1991). Where that film followed the incredible disasters that befell Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979) shoot, this documents the far less eventful making of […]

Glasgow 2015: ‘The Falling’ review

★★★★☆ Carol Morley’s follow-up to the lauded Dreams of a Life (2011) shares a thematic through line with its predecessor. That documentary investigated the story and circumstances of a young woman who was found dead and alone in a North London flat in 2006. Morley’s new film once again mines a central mystery, this time a fictional one based […]

Film Review: ‘White God’

★★★★☆ It’s entirely fitting that Kornél Mundruczó begins his latest film with a dedication to the late Miklos Jancsó. Not only would the famed Hungarian auteur have had an enormous impact on his compatriot, but the latter’s White God (2014) wears those influences proudly on its collar. Jancsó’s preoccupations with the abuse of power are clear to see in […]

Film Review: ‘The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’

★★★☆☆ As the sequel to a film that hinted at a follow-up in the first outing’s final scenes, John Madden’s The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015) offers just as much joy, heart and chuckles as its hugely successful predecessor. With director John Madden once again at the helm, the core cast is back to once again wend their […]

Film Review: ‘Hinterland’

★★★★☆ Harry Macqueen’s impressive directorial debut, Hinterland (2014), which he also scripts and stars in together with folk singer Lori Campbell follows two childhood friends who reconnect in their late twenties and go on a road trip to Cornwall. Lola (Campbell) is back in London after working for some years in America as a singer- musician. Harvey (Macqueen) picks […]

Film Review: ‘Focus’

★★☆☆☆ Heist movies are meant to be sexy and slick, where the underdog comes out on top thanks to their cunning and skill. Immediately we think of the sparkling smile of Robert Redford in 1973’s The Sting, the undeniable charm of Clooney’s Danny Ocean or the tenacity of De Niro’s Neil McCauley. However, with Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s […]

Film Review: ‘A Dark Reflection’

★★☆☆☆ When it comes to passion projects and coherent filmmaking, there are sometimes odd disparities. There are pitfalls when a director or writer becomes so entrenched in the material that they fail to create a concise or cohesive work. For Tristan Loraine’s A Dark Reflection (2015) the passion that comes through from his credits as writer, director and producer […]