Film reviews and more

Month: August 2016

Venice 2016: The Light Between Oceans review

★★☆☆☆ “I want to marry a lighthouse keeper. / And live by the side of the sea.” sang Erika Eigan, but according to The Light Between Oceans, the new film from Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance, the advice would be: don’t. […]

Film Review: Things to Come

★★★☆☆ Mia Hansen-Løve’s fifth feature, Things to Come, is an introspective exploration of a woman losing her moorings and facing up to old age. Isabelle Huppert plays Nathalie, a high school philosophy teacher. When Heinz (André Marcon), her husband of […]

Film Review: Equity

★★★☆☆ Equity claims to be the first film about Wall Street from a female perspective, and it certainly delivers on that promise by putting women – and the specific challenges they face in finance – front and centre. These include […]

Film Review: Café Society

★★★☆☆ Picked up by Amazon Studios following its world premiere at Cannes, Woody Allen’s new comedy Café Society is a polished, amber-coloured sonnet to the Hollywood Golden Age of the 1930s. Jesse Eisenberg plays Bobby, a young New Yorker who […]

Film Review: The 9th Life of Louis Drax

★★★☆☆ Perhaps the most uniquely disheartening cinema-going experience is when you enjoy the film you’ve watched (there’s a good story, a good cast and so forth), but you can see all the exciting directions it could have explored, yet failed […]

FrightFest 2016: The Similars review

★★★★☆ Like an episode of The Twilight Zone guest-directed by Luis Buñuel, The Similars is richly absurd in premise but also founded on a bedrock of social and political issues. One vital historical reference is the Tlatelolco massacre of 1968, […]

FrightFest 2016: Shelley review

★★★★☆ Ali Abbasi’s striking debut Shelley is a Gothic horror that uses degeneration of the body to explore the exploitation of migrant workers and the individualist ideology that accompanies society’s growing obsession with ‘organic’ living. A young Romanian woman, Elena […]

FrightFest 2016: Red Christmas review

★★★☆☆ On the colour wheel, Craig Anderson’s Red Christmas is more Bob Clark’s Black Christmas than Michael Curtiz’s White Christmas. While it’s tempting to bring them together as a Yuletide triptych, a ‘Three Colours Christmas’ triple-bill (Krzysztof Kieślowski missed a […]

FrightFest 2016: The Love Witch review

★★★★☆ Anna Biller’s The Love Witch is a movie aesthetes of kitsch will embrace with open arms. Not that the film’s distinct look is mere window-dressing or getting by on camp charm alone. A political work of true authorship if […]

FrightFest 2016: My Father, Die review

★★★★☆ Revenge is a dish best served over several courses in Sean Brosnan’s brutal redneck noir tale My Father, Die. Full of Old Testament values and punishing degradation, it pits a father and son against each other in skirmishes that […]

FrightFest 2016: Another Evil review

★★★★☆ Ghosts from Our Past: Both Figuratively and Literally, the title of a controversial book co-authored by Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) and Abbey Yates (Melissa McCarthy), in Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters,  serves as a handy description of Carson Mell’s superb horror […]

FrightFest 2016: Abattoir review

★★★☆☆ Home is where the Abattoir is, in Darren Lynn Bousman’s film noir chiller. Swapping torture porn frolics – he helmed several sequels in the Saw franchise – for a more subdued approach, his latest work, arguably his strongest yet, […]

FrightFest 2016: Programme highlights

FrightFest 2016, the UK’s premier horror film festival, runs over the forthcoming August Bank Holiday weekend. With over sixty movies set to screen, plus their short films showcase, Andy Nyman’s very popular quiz and several industry-related talks and events, FrightFest […]

Film Review: War Dogs

★★☆☆☆ Raucous entertainment and early promise inevitably succumbs to drab predictability in Todd Phillips’ War Dogs. Based on the true story of David Packouz (Miles Teller) and Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill), two twentysomething friends who bluffed their way into a […]

Film Review: The Purge: Election Year

★★☆☆☆ The New Founding Fathers of America have decreed that every year on 12 March for the space of twelve hours all criminal law will be suspended. If you want to attack someone you can, assault and murder are not […]

Film Review: Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

★★☆☆☆ Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is one of those films where you can hear the pitch while you’re watching the movie. “It’ll be This is Spinal Tap for the millennials, for the Beliebers,” is probably how it went. And […]

Film Review: Julieta

★★★★☆ Few contemporary filmmakers are able to use colour with such painterly, masterful splendour as Pedro Almodóvar. The opening frame of Julieta is a vivid close up of the folds of a scarlet dress, billowing ever so slowly. Visually alluring, […]

Film Review: Gary Numan: Android in La La Land

★★★☆☆ Coming out of the punk explosion of the 1970s, Gary Numan had a series of hits such as Are “Friends” Electric? and Cars, which saw him hit international fame, quickly become a millionaire and inspire a devoted following. Critically […]