Film reviews and more

Month: August 2015

Blu-ray Review: ‘Medium Cool’

★★★☆☆ Fact and fiction intertwine in Medium Cool (1969), the combustible feature debut of celebrated cinematographer Haskell Wexler. This impeccable, director-approved transfer really helps underscore the rawness and urgency of a flawed but dynamic piece of politically-charged vérité. A loose narrative is framed within the […]

DVD Review: ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’

★★★★☆ Thomas Hardy gets a hearty update in the newest adaptation of Far from the Madding Crowd (2015). A faithful adaptation of Hardy’s most notable work, this is a film built on realism, bringing the farmlands and estates of Dorset to life in the richest […]

DVD Review: ‘The Decline of Western Civilization’

★★★★★ “I’ve been through one too many youth movements” quips one fanzine writer in part one of this seminal documentary trilogy, but the sentiment could well have come from director Penelope Spheeris herself. Bruised from the Hollywood system having tasted mainstream success with Wayne’s World […]

FrightFest 2015: ‘Tales of Halloween’ review

★★★★☆ Tales of Halloween (2015) is the latest stab by well-regarded horror directors at the anthology format. Created by Axelle Carolyn, the intent is to replace the V/H/S series as a showcase for filmmakers whose names will be very familiar to genre fans. Avoiding found-footage […]

FrightFest 2015: ‘Sun Choke’ review

★★★★★ Ben Cresciman’s intense psychological horror film Sun Choke (2015) is the story of a woman staring into the abyss of nothingness and liking what she sees: absolute nothing, a retreat from the chaos of the light. It’s been likened to grand auteurs such as […]

FrightFest 2015: ‘Pod’ review

★★★☆☆ In the varied annals of horror cinema history, attics and basements operate as spaces ripe for psychoanalysis. When not serving as metaphors for ills of the human mind, they function as focal points for demonic manifestations, and sometimes portals to other dimensions. Kitchens aren’t […]

FrightFest 2015: ‘Nina Forever’ review

★★★★★ It’s as rare as rocking horse excrement for horror movies to exhibit emotional depths not related to the visceral thrills of the jump scare and the insidious, bone- chilling fright. So invested in the art of the slay and sending the audience into paroxysms […]

FrightFest 2015: Landmine Goes Click review

★★★★☆ Levan Bakhia’s Landmine Goes Click (2015) is the kind of genre flick that comes along sometimes – where a director’s intentions can be misinterpreted. The brutalisation of three female characters is horrific, but it would be a presumptuous leap to suggest the film itself […]

FrightFest 2015: ‘Emelie’ review

★★★★☆ Despite a third act change of tone, that plays out like a hybrid of Home Alone (1990) and The Shining (1980), there is still plenty to admire in Michael Thelin’s debut movie. For much of its brisk eighty-two minutes running time, Emelie (2015) is […]

FrightFest 2015: ‘Deathgasm’ review

★★★★☆ With What We Do in the Shadows, Housebound and now Deathgasm (2015), New Zealand is fast becoming the go-to place for crowd-pleasing horror comedies. Jason Lei Howden’s directorial debut is primed for unalloyed genre thrills, making you laugh until your sides hurt and subverting […]

FrightFest 2015: ‘Cherry Tree’ review

★☆☆☆☆ David Keating’s silly and unsuccessful folklore horror film, Cherry Tree (2015), suffers from a list of ailments no old crone in a woodland cottage, with her library of esoteric books, magic spells and potions, could ever save or transform into a superior version. She’d […]

Film Review: ‘Straight Outta Compton’

★★★★☆ This visceral hip-hop biopic documenting NWA’s meteoric rise to fame at times struggles to avoid stumbling into Hollywood cliché. Still, Straight Outta Compton (2015) proves as infectiously entertaining as it is educational thanks to F. Gary Gray’s richly textured direction and a thumping soundtrack […]