Film reviews and more

Month: February 2016

DVD Review: Valentino

★★★★☆ Bold casting, high production values, glitzy cinematography and over-the-top direction. It can only mean one thing: Ken Russell filming the life story of Rudolph Valentino, doomed Latin lover of the silent movie era. His death in 1926, aged 31, […]

DVD Review: Underground

★★★★☆ “A war is no war until brother kills brother.” This is just one of the devastating conclusions of Emir Kusturica’s bold and brilliant Underground; his lurid, comically absurd, and deeply divisive parable about the death of Yugoslavia. Kusturica was […]

DVD Review: Bagful of Fleas, Something Different

★★★☆☆ There was little that could prepare the world for the release of Věra Chytilová’s incredible Daisies in 1966, even looking at her own prior output would have been largely in vain. Prior to the philosophical anarchy of her most […]

Oscars 2016: DiCaprio wins first Oscar

Diversity may have been the word on everyone’s lips at this year’s Academy Awards but there was only one headline by the end of the night: Leonardo DiCaprio winning his first Oscar for his role in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The […]

Film Review: Propaganda Game

★★★☆☆ The Hermit Kingdom is a nickname inspired by North Korea’s secrecy and withdrawal from the wider world. The last remaining stronghold of Communism, it is a country reviled and lampooned in the West, where its mystery inspires ridicule and […]

Film Review: King Jack

★★★★☆ The name Felix Thompson is to be added to lists of up-and-coming directors to keep an eye on. His first feature, King Jack took home the audience award at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival and it’s easy to see […]

Film Review: Exposed

★☆☆☆☆ Standing on a sinking ship, Keanu Reeves watches as his latest big screen endeavour, ill-fated long before its theatrical release, sinks to the ignominious depths of the so-bad-it’s-just-plain-bad. First time writer-director Gee Malik Lindon had his name removed from […]

Film Review: The Benefactor

★★☆☆☆ At the heart of Andrew Renzi’s directorial debut The Benefactor is a kernel of an intriguing character study about the price of love and forgiveness and the desire to buy both. Surrounding it is a tangled mass of loose […]

DVD Review: Kikujiro

★★★★★ The mind of ‘Beat’ Takeshi Kitano is surely a singular and unique one. Last month saw the blu-ray release of his acclaimed crime melodrama Hana-bi, a compelling fable of violence, grief and nihilistic defiance. This month we are treated […]

DVD Review: Hawks and Sparrows, Pigsty

★★★☆☆ It’s a dog eat dog world out there. Or is that a hawk eat sparrow world? Or pig eat man? Or perhaps man eat man? Our insatiable proclivity towards to devouring one another is manifested in various ways through […]

DVD Review: Green Inferno

★☆☆☆☆ It seems hard to believe that The Green Inferno is the first big screen directorial outing from Eli Roth since his 2007 sequel to Hostel, largely because he’s turned himself into something of a one-man industry and brand, producing […]

DVD Review: American Horror Project Vol. 1

★★★★☆ In the first volume of a new collection, Arrow Video remind us of the hidden gems of horror which are now all but forgotten. The first box set of this series comprises Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood, The Witch Who […]

Glasgow 2016: Zootropolis review

★★★★☆ The latest feature from Disney Animations Studios, whose recent revitalisation has brought us such hits as Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen, Zootropolis (or Zootopia in the US) is rollicking entertainment with a side of ripe social commentary. Ever since she […]

Glasgow 2016: Labyrinth of Lies review

★★★☆☆ Labyrinth of Lies – Germany’s official Academy Award submission – takes place in the late 1950s, around ten years after the end of World War II, with Germany is in a state of repair and most of the population […]

Film Review: Orthodox

★★☆☆☆ Orthodox is a slow-burning British drama that never truly catches fire. It’s a pity that the story crafted by writer and director David Leon for his first feature, which certainly had the potential to be incendiary, has been transferred […]

Film Review: Only the Dead

★★★☆☆ Michael Ware is a brave – if slightly insane – individual. That much is clear as you watch him shadow militants and run headlong into fire fights, with nothing but his camera to hand. He exudes the brand of […]

Film Review: Mavis!

★★★☆☆ Music journalists must have a hard time describing the voice of an artist as exceptional and influential as Mavis Staples. From bassy depths soars a finely calibrated howitzer of sorrowful joy, erupting between mellow moments of syrupy-smooth soul. Perhaps […]

Film Review: Finest Hours

★★★☆☆ Brace yourselves: it’s 1951 and the towering waves whipped up by a monumental nor’easter off the coast of Massachusetts are about to batter you into submission. Craig Gillespie’s The Finest Hours is a rip-roaring disaster epic from Disney based […]