Film reviews and more

Month: November 2015

DVD Review: ‘Listen to Me Marlon’

★★★★☆ “You’ve got to stop the movement from the popcorn to the mouth,” Marlon Brando says, speaking of the peak of movie acting. “You’ve got to get them to stop chewing.” At his best, Brando could do that. He was […]

DVD Review: ‘By Our Selves’

★★★☆☆ At the age of just 44, English poet John Clare began to suffer from a severe mental illness which ultimately resulted in him being institutionalised under private care for the rest of his life. He managed, however, one short […]

DVD Review: ‘Ant-Man’

★★★★☆ Following this year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Ant-Man sees the ubiquitous Marvel Studios getting back to basics and back on form. Where the overall flavour of Marvel’s Phase Two has arguably been one of expanded-universe brand management, Ant-Man feels […]

Film Review: My Skinny Sister

★★★★☆ Swedish writer-director Sanna Lenken’s notable debut My Skinny Sister (2015) about a young teenager’s eating disorder is a simple tale given added poignancy by powerful performances from the two leads. Katja (Amy Deasismont) is a promising young figure skater […]

Film Review: ‘The Good Dinosaur’

★★★★★ From first-time feature director Peter Sohn, Disney Pixar’s latest The Good Dinosaur is a crowning triumph, blending jaw-dropping photorealistic animation with a heart-wrenchingly beautiful tale of friendship against the odds. When Inside Out was released earlier in the year, […]

Film Review: ‘Doctor Zhivago’

★★★★☆ As part of their ongoing Love season and to celebrate 50 years since the film’s release, the BFI have undergone a 4K digital restoration of David Lean’s Doctor Zhivago (1965) – a romance told in the grandest terms, where […]

Film Review: ‘Bridge of Spies’

★★★★★ Cold War espionage-thriller Bridge of Spies (2015) is ‘inspired by true events’, which allows legendary Hollywood director Steven Spielberg a welcome and well-used degree of artistic license. In an eerily quiet opening sequence a quarter worth far more than […]

Film Review: ‘Black Mass’

★★★☆☆ Scott Cooper’s real-life crime drama Black Mass (2015) is constantly trying to escape the looming shadow of past gangster cinema triumphs. It all too readily falls into the comfortable tropes of the genre whilst failing to provide a comprehensive […]

Blu-ray Review: ‘Wake Up and Kill’

★★★★☆ Following hot on the heels of the Blu-ray release of Requiescant (1967) comes director Carlo Lizzani’s Wake Up and Kill (1966), based on the true story of infamous jewel thief Luciano Lutring. Dripping in late-1960s Italian cool, Wake Up […]

DVD Review: ‘Southpaw’

★★☆☆☆ When the first image for Antoine Fuqua’s Southpaw (2015) was released online of a muscle-bound Jake Gyllenhaal audiences became very excited. The anticipation was in part due to the Gyllenhaal’s remarkable performance as the ghoulish Louis Bloom in Dan […]

DVD Review: ‘Inside Out’

★★★★☆ Pixar have knocked it out of the park with new film Inside Out (2015), which premièred at Cannes earlier this year. Directors Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen have crafted a cerebral comedy, loaded with smart, witty humour and […]

Blu-ray Review: ‘Blood Rage’

★★★☆☆ John Grissmer’s teen slasher Blood Rage (1987), newly released on Blu-ray, is at once utterly dreadful and irresistibly brilliant. Arrow Video has gone all out with this release, offering three distinct versions – the theatrical release, renamed as Nightmare […]

DVD Review: All My Good Countrymen

★★★★☆ It was the early 1950s when Vojtěch Jasný began penning the screenplay for the his most celebrated work, though it seemed unlikely to see the light of day due to its provocative politics. The corruption and failure that slowly […]

DVD Review: ‘3½ Minutes, Ten Bullets’

★★★★☆ A day after Thanksgiving 2012, now known to many as Black Friday, four teenagers stopped at the Gate Gas Station in Jacksonville, Florida to buy some cigarettes and gum. They were playing their music loudly and looking forward to […]

Film Review: ‘True Romance’

★★★★★ Cupid takes aim at the heart of London for the BFI’s Love season, which is showcasing a number of classic cinematic romances. A handful of these titles are also receiving a limited run in cinemas nationwide, including True Romance […]

Film Review: ‘Star Men’

★★★☆☆ In Clint Eastwood’s Space Cowboys (2000), the chisel-jawed actor-director and fellow geriatric pals Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland and James Garner realise their life’s dream, blasting into space to rescue a falling satellite. Keeping their feet on terra firma […]

Film Review: ‘The Russian Woodpecker’

 ★★★★★ Chad Gracia’s superb doc The Russian Woodpecker (2015) premièred at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and rode out of town with the Grand Jury Prize. A chilling account of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, it ties together the lead up […]