Film reviews and more

Month: August 2016

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Film Review: Cell

★★★☆☆ John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson should make a thing of appearing in Stephen King adaptations together. This, their second rodeo, isn’t in the same league as 2007’s underrated 1408, but it gives the tired […]

Film Review: Ambulance

★★★★☆ “Allah is sufficient for us and he is our guardian.” Amid the collapsed buildings, mountains of rubble and devastating atrocities seen in Ambulance, Mohamed Jabaly’s first-hand account of the 2014 Israeli bombardment of Gaza City, […]

Interview: Patricio Guzmán, dir. The Pearl Button

There’s a metamorphosis during Patricio Guzmán’s breathtaking documentary The Pearl Button that somewhat echoes the one that has occurred in his recent career. He started out in cinema vérité he tells me when we meet to […]

Interview: Miguel Gomes, dir. Arabian Nights

Following the widespread acclaim of his monochrome 2012 feature Tabu, Miguel Gomes ups the stakes with six-hour three volume epic Arabian Nights. An extraordinarily ambitious and eclectic work, it combines the mythology of Scheherazade’s tales with […]

Feature: Buster Keaton 1917-1923

“This fellow Keaton seems to be the whole show.” So says Buster on a visit to the titular playhouse in a 1921 short where the stony-faced actor-director appears simultaneously as spectator, conductor, performer and musician on […]

DVD Review: Weiner

★★★★☆ “Why did you let us film this?” Josh Kriegman asks Anthony Weiner towards the end of Weiner, which Kriegman directed alongside Elyse Steinberg. It’s a question that a documentarian should never ask. It goes against […]

DVD Review: Stalker

★★★★★ Stalker is, without a doubt, Russian auteur Andrei Tarkovsky’s masterpiece. Based on the short novel Roadside Picnic by brothers Boris and Arkady Strugatsky (who also wrote the screenplay), the story offers a basic almost clichéd […]

DVD Review: The Bloodstained Butterfly

★★★★☆ Duccio Tessari’s 1971 film The Bloodstained Butterfly opens with scrolling text that paraphrases Kuki Shūzō’s A Philosopher’s Poetry and Poetics, stating that the present only exists in the shadow of the past and future. By […]

Film Review: Lights Out

★★★☆☆ The fear of the dark is a common phobia that stems from a fear of the unknown; those unexplainable bumps in the night and the monsters hiding under the bed. The darkness, and the ghouls […]

Film Review: David Brent: Life on the Road

★★★☆☆ It may not come as too much of a surprise to learn that David Brent can’t quite carry an entire feature film all on his own – but there’s humour enough in Life on the […]

Film Review: The Childhood of a Leader

★★★☆☆ We all wonder how momentous individuals came to be: what Hitler or Stalin were like as children; what happened to them. Did we know anyone like that? How far were any of us from becoming […]

Film Review: Black

★★★☆☆ The now infamous Brussels municipality of Molenbeek provides the polemical backdrop to Black, a brutal modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet by directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. A place name tragically familiar, the […]