Film reviews and more

Month: October 2015

Film Review: ‘Under Milk Wood’

★☆☆☆☆ In his childhood town, in his beloved Wales, Dylan Thomas is spinning in his grave. In what may be one of the most perverse and unusual approaches to unfurling a poetic work across the big screen, Under Milk Wood […]

Film Review: ‘Taxi Tehran’

★★★★☆ By the very nature of its existence, Jafar Panahi’s latest film Taxi Tehran (2015) is a bold act of defiance. It’s his third such exploit since he was convicted by the Iranian government five years ago and banned from […]

Film Review: ‘Spectre’

★★☆☆☆ “The dead are alive,” we’re informed at the start of Sam Mendes’ second Bond outing Spectre (2015), and there’s a definite sense that this 24th entry into the franchise is attempting to resurrect ghosts from the past. Sadly, it […]

Film Review: ‘Fresh Dressed’

★★★☆☆ Director Sacha Jenkins’ Fresh Dressed (2015) harks back to the early 1990s, the nascent days of hip-hop and the change in fashion engendered by an entirely new musical form. Beneath the bold, multi-coloured graffiti-inspired designs, baggy pants and bling […]

Film Review ‘Do I Sound Gay’

★★★☆☆ The ‘gay voice’ is a superficial character trait that can have serious implications for the men who possess it. Do I Sound Gay? (2014) director David Thorpe believes this personally. His speech patterns include the sibilant ‘esses’ and elongated […]

Film Review: ‘Black Souls’

★★★☆☆ Francesco Munzi’s Black Souls (2014) is a grimly serious family tragedy centred around the feuds within the Calabrian equivalent of the mafia, the ‘Ndrangheta. The drama begins in Amsterdam where a business deal is going down between mob boss […]

DVD Review: ‘Theeb’

★★★★☆ “Only two kinds of creature get fun in the desert. Bedouins and gods”, the exquisitely cynical diplomat Mr. Dryden (Claude Rains) tells T.E. Lawrence (Peter O’Toole) in David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia (1962), “and you’re neither.” He could have […]

Blu-ray Review: ‘Seconds’

★★★★☆ Although described as a sci-fi thriller in most quarters, both of these labels seem a little too disingenuous when it comes to identifying the twisted beauty of Seconds (1966). The film’s opening credits courtesy of the great Saul Bass […]

DVD Review: ‘Pasolini’

★★★★☆ For a love-letter between one great disruptor of Italian cinema to another, Pasolini (2014) is remarkably restrained. Cult director Abel Ferrara never once allows his clear admiration of his subject to unsteady his hand, defying the grandiose, narrative conventions […]

DVD Review: ‘Mr. Holmes’

★★★★☆ At the heart of Mr. Holmes (2015) lies that old John Ford maxim about printing the legend. Bill Condon’s film is an investigation into the trouble caused by creative licence and bending the truth. Sherlock Holmes is a fictional […]

Blu-ray Review: ‘Hellraiser: Scarlet Box’

★★★★★ Clive Barker’s S&M Gothic fantasia has been poorly served (tainted even) by a string of DTV sequels. The Liverpool-born horror visionary’s Cenobites and Lament Configuration are without a shadow of a doubt among the most compelling creations in all […]

DVD Review: ‘Cartel Land’

★★★★☆ The Mexican drug trade and its impact on the US has been documented in several films and shows from Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic (2000) and Ridley Scott’s The Counsellor (2013) to Breaking Bad and most recently Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario (2015). The […]

Film Review: ‘Paper Planes’

★★★☆☆ In the underdog story that was Dodgeball (2004), the teams of Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller went head-to-head in Las Vegas, the spectacle broadcast around the world on ESPN8. Another almost-sport worthy of ‘The Ocho’ would be the World […]

Film Review: ‘Mississippi Grind’

★★★★☆ With its loose road movie vibe and appealingly downtrodden turns from the two tremendous leads, Mississippi Grind (2015) certainly fits into the ‘they don’t make ’em like that anymore’ cinematic category. Writer/director duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, no […]

Film Review: ‘The Black Panthers’

★★★☆☆ “The strength of the Black Panther Party was its youth, its idealism and its enthusiasm,” says an aging member towards the close of Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (2015). “The weakness of the Black Panther Party was its […]

DVD Review: ‘We Are Still Here’

★★★★☆ Ted Geoghegan’s We Are Still Here (2015) is an aptly gruesome tribute to the halcyon days of 1980s splatter movies and the cosmic horror mythos of H.P. Lovecraft. It specifically channels and mimics the visual palette and tones of […]

DVD Review: ‘Turbo Kid’

★★★★☆ Like it or not, we seem to be in the midst of a mini eighties revival which has seen the decade paid homage to in slick thrillers (Cold in July, The Guest) and more obvious Troma-like, B-movie exploitation fests […]

DVD Review: ‘Love Is All’

★★★★☆ Over the decades montage has been used to offer knowledge to an audience rather than to make them feel. Clearly, nobody explained this to Kim Longinotto who traverses a century of British archival footage to craft the swooning and […]