Film reviews and more

Month: July 2015

Film Review: ‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’

★★☆☆☆ Tom Cruise reprises his role as spy Ethan Hunt in Rogue Nation (2015), the fifth instalment of the Mission: Impossible franchise, this time helmed by screenwriter-turned-director Christopher McQuarrie. While it may deliver on the expected hi-octane thrills and spills […]

Film Review: ‘Man with a Movie Camera’

★★★★☆ Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera (1929) still shines, even as an octogenarian. The film remains a testaments to the early days of filmmaking and the commitment to innovation and exploitation of the then-new medium. It has now […]

Film Review: ‘Beyond the Reach’

★★☆☆☆ With a homicidal big game hunter as its chief antagonist, Jean-Baptiste Léonetti’s Beyond the Reach (2014) has a ripped from the headlines topicality, but unfortunately this plodding thriller consistently fails to engage. Michael Douglas plays John Madec, a high-flying […]

DVD Review: ‘While We’re Young’

★★★☆☆ For his sixth feature as writer-director, Noah Baumbach continues a newly prolific streak with While We’re Young (2014), which furthers his approach to infusing his cinema with his own thoughts, feelings and verdicts on specific areas of contemporary culture. […]

DVD Review: ‘War and Peace’

★★★★☆ Anand Patwardhan’s War and Peace was released in 2002, and its presentation of escalating nationalist posturing – aka the arms race between India and Pakistan – was incredibly apposite. Over a decade later, WMDs in Iraq may not be […]

DVD Review: ‘Suite Française’

★★★☆☆ Given that its source material is a beloved book with a potent history, the film adaptation of Suite Française (2014) is a sincere disappointment. Its a middling exercise in schmaltz, often overflowing with heavily wrought dialogue and oft-deployed melodramatic […]

Blu-ray Review: ‘Rossellini & Bergman Collection’

★★★★☆ On his 40th birthday the Italian director Roberto Rossellini received a surprise gift. It was a letter from the Hollywood star Ingrid Bergman: enchanted by his Rome, Open City (1945), she offered to come and make a film with […]

Blu-ray Review: ‘Listen Up Philip’

★★★☆☆ Alex Ross Perry’s Listen Up Philip (2014) follows a self-absorbed writer (Jason Schwartzman) who scuppers his fledgling career through sheer arrogance and misanthropy. It;s both an engaging and a frustrating watch. From the very first scene, Philip is being […]

Interview: Sheila Vand on vampirism and revolutions

“I don’t like when things are – I can’t believe I’m saying this – so black and white,” laughs Sheila Vand, the doe-eyed star of Ana Lily Amirapour’s stylish and darkly devious feature debut, A Girl Walks Home Alone at […]

DVD Review: ‘Clouds of Sils Maria’

★★★★☆ Youth, beauty and mortality are potent themes in Olivier Assayas’ latest feature Clouds of Sils Maria (2014), starring Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart. Binoche plays Maria Enders, a middle-aged actress who remains at the top of her game but […]

DVD Review: ‘A Girl Walks Home Alone’

★★★★☆ It’s easy to mistake Ana Lily Armirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) as purely a mash-up of spaghetti western, horror and neo-noir – until a sign appears in Farsi, accompanied by a pile of dead bodies […]

Film Review: Ruth & Alex

★★☆☆☆ Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton play Alex and Ruth Carver in Ruth & Alex (2014), a wistfully bland property-based dramedy that comes off as a cross between Location, Location, Location and On Golden Pond (1981). Alex is a struggling […]

Film Review: ‘Eden’

★★★☆☆ French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve isn’t exactly known for emotional subjectivity and visual bombast, so when a young raver tripping out in a field sees an animated bird swooping through the sky in her latest film, Eden (2014), it potentially […]

Blu-ray Review: ‘Third Man’

★★★★★ No cinematic genre can capture the inky morality of pernicious scavengers feeding on the carcass of post-war Europe like film noir. And no other noir manages it with quite the pervasive world-weariness and melancholy of The Third Man (1949). Beautifully […]

DVD Review: ‘Mommy’

★★★★☆ The fifth feature from worryingly prolific mid-twenties Quebecoise filmmaker Xavier Dolan, Mommy (2014) sees him returning to the themes that have fuelled his impressive quartet of features thus far, only here they are so tightly woven together to form […]

DVD Review: ‘The Human Centipede 3’

★★☆☆☆ Tom Six’s The Human Centipede 3: (Final Sequence) represents something of a challenge to the star-ratings system. Give it one star or give it five. Heck, give it none! The most notorious film series in recent memory is bulletproof […]

DVD Review: ‘The Face of an Angel’

★★★☆☆ Michael Winterbottom’s latest feature, The Face of an Angel (2014), explores the intersection of beauty, youth, sex and violent crime. Inspired by Amanda Knox’s alleged murder of British student Meredith Kercher in Italy, Winterbottom offers a perceptive, but at […]

DVD Review: ‘The Gunman’

★★☆☆☆ With The Gunman (2015), Sean Penn becomes the latest inductee into that club slowly being filled by older gentlemen with a particular set of skills. Pierre Morel was a key figure in the meteoric rise of the ‘geriaction’ genre […]