Film reviews and more

Month: March 2016

Film Review: Victoria

★★★★★ The one-shot feature has yet to work its way into the cinematic landscape in the same ubiquitous way that the found footage conceit once did. But even if it grows into a popular storytelling tool, it’s doubtful we’ll see as stunning an achievement as what director Sebastian Schipper and his creative team have pulled off with Victoria. Remarkably, […]

Film Review: Ran

★★★★★ During his illustrious career, when asked what he considered to be his best film, Akira Kurosawa would commonly respond “my next one”. After 1985, however, his answer changed to Ran. At once gloriously epic and deeply personal, there are clear parallels to be found between the ageing director – who was 73 when filming started – and his […]

Film Review: Eddie the Eagle

★★★☆☆ Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Eddie the Eagle, British actor Dexter Fletcher’s third directorial outing after Wild Bill and Sunshine on Leith, is a speedy, light-hearted biopic of the remarkable young lad from Cheltenham who took the ski jumping world by storm at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. A film which is both reassuring and […]

Film Review: Black Mountain Poets

★★☆☆☆ The last chapter in his ‘Modern Romance Trilogy’ sees writer-director Jamie Adams and a band of British talent take to the hills in quirky, sardonic comedy Black Mountain Poets. Combining a hippy writers retreat with a shambolic Duke of Edinburgh expedition, it revolves around the uncontrollably mischievous antics of sisters Lisa (Alice Lowe) and Claire (Dolly Wells). Less […]

Film Review: Anguish

★★★★☆ The previous credits of Sonny Mallhi, directing for the first time with Anguish, may not have inspired much confidence. Co-producing the Oldboy remake and exec-producing The House at the End of the Street – the one Jennifer Lawrence film people are prepared to forget – will do that. Thankfully, Anguish is accomplished enough to make you excited for […]

DVD Review: The Great Passions

★★★★☆ British director Ken Russell passed away in 2011 leaving behind a life’s work devoted to filmmaking at its most exuberant and vital. Russell made a number of films in the early part of his career which depicted artists brimming with the same enthusiasm of expression as the director himself. The Great Passions is one of two collections which […]

DVD Review: Horse Money

★★★★☆ Horse Money is one of those films that makes more sense after watching than during. Pedro Costa’s latest feature has no conventional narrative to speak of, but follows ghostly presence Ventura (an immigrant from Cape Verde living in Lisbon playing himself) as he wanders – alone or accompanied by mute, white coated doctors – through dark spaces at […]

Film Review: Speed Sisters

★★★☆☆ The young ladies of Amber Fares’ Speed Sisters are very much doing it for themselves. Tyres squeal, engines roar, rubber bullets are fired and tear gas canisters thrown in a documentary which charts the pioneering activities of the first and only all-female Palestinian motor racing team against the backdrop of a perennial conflict. Hailing from a region of […]

Film Review: Mojave

★☆☆☆☆ Pablo Picasso once said that good artists copy but greatest artists steal. Mojave‘s opening moments see noted filmmaker Thomas (Garrett Hedlund) sit in the squared off aspect ratio of an interview. Comparisons are made to Lord Byron and fame from the age of nineteen is bemoaned. Highly pretentious beginnings capture the entirety of writer-director William Monahan’s sophomore attempt […]

Film Review: Iona

★★☆☆☆ Scottish director Scott Graham follows up his impressive, underseen debut Shell with Iona, a similarly sombre tale of isolation and familial relations. A film inspired as much by the dark sophistication of Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Ordet as the spiritual clash of cultures in Peter Weir’s Witness, Graham’s rural study of guilt, faith and redemption is swaddled in an […]

Film Review: Disorder

★★☆☆☆ Belgian studmuffin Matthias Schoenaerts is often called upon to bring charismatic, steely-eyed intensity to tough men who possess a principled, protective interior. Well known from Rust & Bone and The Drop, the actor was a natural choice for French director Alice Winocour’s latest feature, Disorder, in which he plays a troubled soldier on his return from Afghanistan. A […]

Film Review: The Club

★★★★★ Behind the closed doors of the house on the hill lie many secrets. Enveloped in heavy fog, perched above a raging sea, the past sins of four men remain shrouded in mystery. In The Club, Pablo Larraín dives headlong into an evil that Catholicism has long attempted to sweep under the carpet. A physical and emotional assault on […]