Month: August 2016

  • 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 science fiction premise. A meteor has landed, a mysterious visitation of some kind, and the now forbidden Zone surrounding…

    DVD Review: Stalker
  • DVD Review: The Bloodstained Butterfly

    2 minutes



    ★★★★☆ 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 twisting time through a combination of superb editing and the judicious withholding of crucial information, The Bloodstained Butterfly creates…

    DVD Review: The Bloodstained Butterfly
  • 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 lurking within it, have provided the foundations for many a horror film, but rarely has it been employed as…

    Film Review: Lights Out
  • 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 Road to justify the project, even if it falls considerably short of the ensemble excellence that made The Office…

    Film Review: David Brent: Life on the Road
  • Film Review: The Childhood of a Leader

    3 minutes



    ★★★☆☆ 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 something similar? Brady Corbet’s debut feature The Childhood of a Leader, shoots for this target with all the subtlety…

    Film Review: The Childhood of a Leader
  • 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 urban area has become synonymous with ISIS and Europe’s struggle with terrorism. There is no allusion to fundamentalism here…

    Film Review: Black
  • Film Review: Almost Holy

    ★★★★☆ How do we respond to tragedy and suffering when we encounter them? When our societal institutions are strong, we tend to see it as the state’s role to right wrongs and promote justice. Though altruism and charity are welcome, it is the police, public healthcare and the welfare system that are expected to deal…

    Film Review: Almost Holy
  • DVD Review: The Shop on the High Street

    3 minutes



    ★★★★★ The creeping grip of fascism has been a regular source of inspiration for filmmakers for decades, both in explicit reference to the Second World War and in more nuanced portrayals of corruptive ideology. It could be argued that the current political climate, across Europe and in the USA, illustrates with alarming perspicuity the continued…

    DVD Review: The Shop on the High Street

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