Film reviews and more

Month: March 2015

Film Review: ‘Kidnapping Freddy Heineken’

★★☆☆☆ Take care to not place too much hope into the misery-inducing yet somehow star-studded caper Kidnapping Freddy Heineken (2015). It’s a head-scratcher of a flick if only for the fact that viewers will spend the duration of the film wondering what precisely caused Anthony Hopkins to sign on as the titular character. Based on actual events, this incarnation […]

Film Review: ‘I Used to Live Here’

★★★☆☆ There’s often an unfortunate tug-of-war going on beneath the surface of films made primarily with a social agenda in mind and by those who care deeply about the subject. Taking 2013’s No Fixed Abode as an example, its cause – highlighting issues surrounding homelessness – was an admirable one, but poor execution and fundamental narrative shortcomings hampered its […]

Film Review: ‘The Decent One’

★★★☆☆ Even for a Nazi, Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was a monumentally unattractive person. With his pencil neck, his weak watery eyes, his Touché Turtle expression of prissy blandness, a less convincing example of Hitler’s theories of racial superiority would be difficult to find. That this apparently feeble specimen could wreak such obscene and widespread damage, causing the death of […]

Film Review: ‘The Dark Horse’

★★★★☆ There’s a precipice that lies just out of frame throughout James Napier Robertson’s absorbing drama, The Dark Horse (2014). It represents different things to different characters, but they are all skirting its edge precariously, lending an air of danger to what is ostensibly a conventional underdog/mentorship story. Inspired by the real life of speed-chess player Genesis Potini, the […]

Film Review: ‘Blade Runner’

★★★★★ Ridley Scott’s seminal sci-fi Blade Runner (1982) begins with a dazzling yet hellish vision of a metropolis shrouded in smog so thick that the sun has disappeared from the sky. Is it day or is it night? Giant towers of industry belch fire and pyramid-like structures sit like thrones over an urban landscape of monstrous magnitude. It is […]

Film Review: ‘Altman’

★★★☆☆ The central victory of Ron Mann’s fond portrait of the maverick American filmmaker Robert Altman is how personal he manages to make it. For a documentary about a director with such a strong authorial voice, it seems only fitting that Altman (2014) is largely narrated by the man himself through various interviews and recordings. In concert with these […]

Blu-ray Review: ‘Wooden Crosses’

★★★★☆ Upon its initial release in 1932, Raymond Bernard’s early-sound war film, Wooden Crosses was hailed as one of the masterpieces of cinema. Since then, it has largely been overlooked in wider discussion of the genre which is a shame, and hopefully something that a new blu-ray release as part of Eureka’s continually interesting Masters of Cinema Collection can […]

DVD Review: ‘Interstellar’

★★★☆☆ Christopher Nolan continues to demand viewers to stretch their minds as well as their attention spans in his recent addition to an already impressive oeuvre with Interstellar (2014). It is a film that poses to its viewers the simple question, “how do you survive in a world that demands your eradication?” What appears as a deceptively simple quest […]

DVD Review: ‘Darling’

★★★☆☆ John Schlesinger’s Darling (1965), reissued this week for 50th anniversary celebrations, is at once a time capsule piece and an oddly prescient fable about vacuous, ephemeral celebrity which remains tartly relevant in 2015. It is perhaps best remembered as the film that crowned the imperial phase of Julie Christie’s career with an Oscar, part of a golden run […]

Film Review: ‘Wild Tales’

★★★☆☆ Damián Szifron’s Wild Tales (2014) is a ferociously dark, hilarious ride that doesn’t just mock the corruption and social injustices of modern day Argentina, but also deeply relishes the resort to vigilante violence. His six vignettes’ over-the-top bursts of bloodthirsty mayhem, quirky characters and O. Henry-like twists of fate in a cheerfully colourful palette, feel familiar; and no […]

Film Review: ‘The SpongeBob Movie’

★★★☆☆ Over a decade on from its first big screen outing, enduringly popular cartoon character Spongebob SquarePants returns to cinemas. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (2015) is a prequel to the previous film and sees SpongeBob (Tom Kenny) and his friends on the trail of the person behind the theft of their Krabby Patty secret formula, somehow […]

Film Review: ‘Sixteen’

★★★★☆ Rob Brown’s Sixteen (2013) is a beautifully realised debut that breathes new life into British cinema’s obsession with urban thrillers, fashioning a refreshingly gentle tale of redemption in a city frequently painted as the last refuge of the lost and the destitute. Tribal drums punctuate the film’s inner-city veneer like an echo of Jumah’s (Roger Jean Nsengiyumva) violent […]