Film reviews and more

Month: September 2016

Film Review: Urban Hymn

★★★★☆ Debuting at this year’s Glasgow Film Festival, British crime drama Urban Hymn is an impressively rounded character study set against the London riots of 2011, in which people far and wide acted out in protest […]

Film Review: Under the Shadow

★★★★★ Director Babak Anvari’s Under the Shadow uses the haunted house setup and classical filmmaking techniques expressly for political purposes. Former radical leftist Shedih (Narges Rashidi) is re-educated by the theocratic state in post-revolution Iran. The […]

Film Review: Swiss Army Man

★★★☆☆ How far can a fart joke get you? That’s the question posed by Sundance offering Swiss Army Man. The answer is surprisingly far, but ultimately it’s going to start to go stale at some point. […]

Film Review: Southside with You

★★★☆☆ Southside with You is the film equivalent of a comfortable pair of familiar shoes, the feeling of sitting down into a cosy chair, or the first sip of a cup of tea – it’s ‘nice’. […]

Film Review: Free State of Jones

★★★☆☆ Much has been made of the prominence of a ‘white saviour’ in biographical historical epic Free State of Jones. Is this a film about slavery? Yes. Is it led by a white character? Yes. But […]

Film Review: The Fencer

★☆☆☆☆ At first glance The Fencer has a lot going for it. Set in Soviet occupied Estonia, it is the oddball tale – partly based on true events – of a renowned fencer (Märt Avandi, known […]

Film Review: Amanda Knox

★★★☆☆ “Either I’m a psychopath in sheep’s clothing, or I am you.” Delivered by the principal subject of Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn’s Netflix Original documentary, the chilling ambiguity of this opening gambit is the knife-edge […]

DVD Review: Love & Friendship

★★★★☆ It’s hardly surprising that the wit of Jane Austen’s writing is often overlooked when it’s transposed onto the screen. It’s not so much that adaptations actively avoid it as much as neglect to emphasise the […]

Criterion Review: Cat People

★★★★★ Hollywood producer Val Lewton was known for taking B-grade movie concepts handed to him by studio executives and elevating them to become more than the sum of their parts. Being both a taut psychological melodrama […]

DVD Review: Slugs

★★★☆☆ While Juan Piqeur Simón’s 1988 infestation horror Slugs can hardly stand up to the broad appeal of the similarly-themed Arachnophobia, Critters or Tremors, its doubling down on the splatter factor ensures the film’s place in […]

Interview: Rachel Lang, dir. Baden Baden

Strasbourg native Rachel Lang makes her feature debut with Baden Baden, a Franco-Belgian co-production that takes place in the director’s Alsatian borderlands hometown. A quest for meaning and sense of self as well as place, it […]

Film Review: The Magnificent Seven

★★☆☆☆ There are a few moments at the beginning of Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven when it seems to make a case for its own existence. The trailers may have done their darnedest to make it […]

Film Review: The Lovers and the Despot

★★★☆☆ Two subjects one would never expect to encounter in the same film; North Korea and cinephilia. They come together – bizarrely and fascinatingly – in Robert Cannan and Ross Adam’s documentary The Lovers and the […]

Film Review: Little Men

★★★★☆ The final film in a trilogy focusing on New York City, Ira Sachs’ latest feature Little Men, starring Jennifer Ehle and Greg Kinnear, follows the rites of passage of two thirteen-year-old boys, Jake (Theo Taplitz) […]