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, was among the most sensational and unexpected events of the Jazz Age. Valentino was arguably the biggest movie star […]

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 paraded as Fellini’s heir for his exuberant style, but there is more an echo of Andrzej Wajda’s Wedding in […]

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 celebrated piece, she was more concerned with mild formal experimentation and the potential of cinéma vérité. In Ceiling, her […]

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 Revenant. Predictable wins for Brie Larson (Best Actress) and Alicia Vikander (Best Supporting Actress) preceded it, leaving Spotlight’s stunning […]

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 anxiety in equal measure. Last year, threats were made against cinemas intended to screen Seth Rogen and James Franco’s […]

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 why. Kicking the tyres of a familiar teenage coming-of-age tale, Thompson’s strikingly assured and unflinching debut pumps new life […]

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 this debut feature after Lionsgate opted to chop and change the whole project, scared as they were of the […]

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 narrative threads, none of which offer any real satisfaction and most of which fall somewhere on a scale from […]

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 to his directorial follow up, Kikujiro, a comedy that is as similar to Hana-bi in style and structure as […]

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 the two Pier Paolo Pasolini films released on Blu-ray this week as part of Eureka’s Masters of Cinema series. […]

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 numerous genre features and godfathering several first-time projects from fledgling filmmakers. He certainly hasn’t idled his time away but […]

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 Came from the Sea, and The Premonition.Christopher Speeth’s Maltesta’s Carnival of Blood, concerns a family surreptitiously searching for their […]