Film reviews and more

Month: April 2015

Film Review: ‘Samba’

★★★☆☆ Trying to capture lightning in a bottle for a second time is always an unenviable task. That was the challenge laid out to directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano as they seek to follow-up on the massive critical and […]

Film Review: ‘Elsa & Fred’

★★★☆☆ Over the past few years, the film industry’s realisation that profits lie with a swathe of older viewers – the coined term is ‘the grey pound’ – has led to a plethora of films aimed squarely in their direction. […]

Film Review: ‘Born of War’

★★☆☆☆ Quote: “You can stand up for a principle and you can die, or you can walk away and live.” This somewhat awkward line from a new low-budget British thriller, Born of War (2013), illustrates the tension at the heart […]

Kinoteka 2015: ‘Jump’ review

★★★☆☆ Surreality dons a cool sixties swagger in Polish novelist Tadeusz Konwicki’s intriguing and vaguely baffling Jump (1965). Abandoning the social realism with which many of his cinematic compatriots approached the medium in the aftermath of the war – and […]

Hot Docs 2015: ‘Thought Crimes’ review

★★★★☆ Thought Crimes (2015) will be remembered over the next few years for sparking grand scale debate on where one’s right to freedom and privacy ends online, and where the need for law enforcement intervention and criminal prosecution begins. Directed […]

Hot Docs 2015: ‘Deep Web’ review

★★☆☆☆ Deep Web (2015) could have been a documentary about the drug trafficking online retail establishment equivalent of a local Costco outlet. Deep Web could have been an insightful foray into the as yet unexplored field of the direct effect […]

DVD Review: ‘Zulu’

★★☆☆☆ Bizarrely selected as closing film of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, French director Jérôme Salle’s ultra-generic South African cop thriller Zulu (2013) – starring Forest Whitaker, Orlando Bloom and over one hundred grating clichés – finds its way onto […]

Blu-ray Review: ‘Satyricon’

★★★☆☆ If you’ve ever felt any uncertainty about precisely what the term ‘Fellini-esque’ means, then Satyricon (1969) is a definitive, two hour, larger than life, example. Denoting a particular variety of vacuous revelry, the director’s most celebrated works contain fleeting […]

DVD Review: ‘The House at the End of Time’

★★☆☆☆ You know the drill. A family moves into a large house. It seems perfect. Things are good, for a while. Kids start to complain about strange noises. Parents are spooked. Then it all ends in brutal bloody murder. It […]

DVD Review: ‘The Duke of Burgundy’

★★★★☆ Hot on the heels of his lyrical horror flick Berberian Sound Studio (2012), Peter Strickland returns in fine form with his most tender picture, The Duke of Burgundy (2014). With an all-female cast, sex politics and the limits of […]

DVD Review: ‘Dreamcatcher’

★★★★☆ The lives of women in prostitution trying to survive in Chicago and young girls at risk of taking the same path, is revealed with compelling sensitivity in Kim Longinotto’s latest documentary, Dreamcatcher (2015). The film follows co-founder and executive […]

DVD Review: ‘Cobain: Montage of Heck’

★★★★☆ Everything that surrounds Kurt Cobain – the lexicon, the iconography, the mystery – has up until this point come to be nearly apocryphal. Since his death in 1994, Cobain has become more of a pop culture icon than he […]

Kinoteka 2015: ‘The Saragossa Manuscript’ review

★★★★☆ There’s a conversation in Wojciech Jerzy Has’ hallucinatory picaresque epic, The Saragossa Manuscript (1965), in which a character utters the following words, “if I don’t understand but I can write it down, I approach poetry.” This could well be […]

Kinoteka 2015: ‘The Hourglass Sanatorium’ review

★★★★★ Wojciech Jerzy Has took great relish in toying with narrative convention in the nestled labyrinthine pages of The Saragossa Manuscript (1965). He dispenses with it entirely in The Hourglass Sanatorium (1973), an oneiric odyssey through the cob-webbed recesses of […]

Film Review: ‘Stonehearst Asylum’

★★☆☆☆ “Believe nothing you hear and one half of what you see”, is a line lifted from Edgar Alan Poe’s The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether that is uttered by a plummy-toned Brendan Gleeson at the opening of Brad […]

Film Review: ‘The Good Lie’

★★★☆☆ It’s not often that an actor who is arguably the fourth lead in a film gets top billing, an unfortunate but necessary marketing tactic for The Good Lie (2014), which uses Reese Witherspoon‘s face prominently in all advertising despite […]

Film Review: ‘The Falling’

★★★☆☆ In August 2011, fourteen students from Le Roy High School in upstate New York inexplicable began exhibiting perplexing medical symptoms including, but not limit to, verbal outbursts and seizures. Doctors were baffled, describing the incident as an outbreak of […]

Film Review: ‘Exit’

★★★★☆ Celebrated Taiwanese cinematographer Chienn Hsiang’s debut feature Exit (2014) is a tactile and strikingly vivid expression of isolation which alludes to wider national anxieties. Bristling with sexual repression Exit‘s familiar tale of generational disparity and middle-aged melancholy is elevated […]