Film reviews and more

Month: October 2016

DVD Review: The World of Kanako

★★☆☆☆ Punctuated with kind of casual bursts of grim violence which will be familiar to anyone versed in Asian extreme cinema, The World of Kanako is a mixed bag of cinematic influences and styles. With opening titles that wouldn’t look […]

DVD Review: The Neon Demon

★★★★☆ The opening shot of Nicolas Winding Refn’s dreamlike tenth feature The Neon Demon sees Elle Fanning as rosy-cheeked model Jesse draped in macabre glory on a sofa, her throat apparently slit. Blood spools onto the floor as a photographer […]

DVD Review: Kate Plays Christine

★★★★☆ “Nobody sees anyone as she is, let alone an actress playing a troubled young woman 40 years after her death. They see a whole – they see all sorts of things – they see themselves.” This is a flagrant […]

DVD Review: Dekalog and Other TV Works

★★★★★ Before the French revolutionary values of liberty, equality and fraternity provided the basis for Polish writer-director Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Three Colours trilogy – the height of his international fame – the Ten Commandments were the starting point for 1988’s Dekalog. […]

Film Review: Train to Busan

★★★★☆ If you want to see the beautiful and highly improbable spectacle of your nearest and dearest in floods of tears at the end of a zombie film, Train to Busan is your ticket. While Sang-ho Yeon’s film doesn’t do […]

Film Review: Into the Inferno

★★★☆☆ There’s something deeply unsettling about the unstoppable, magma-like flow of Werner Herzog’s Into the Inferno. Imperceptibly bubbling away in time with the veteran filmmaker’s monotone delivery, and left-field, impenetrable musings on mankind’s interaction with the natural world, this documentary […]

Film Review: Doctor Strange

★★★★☆ The Marvel Cinematic Universe is an expansive and nebulous place, the riches of which the movies have only really begun to discover. After the scientific and Earth-bound exploits of the Avengers, 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy voyaged to the […]

Film Review: Burn Burn Burn

★★★☆☆ “Try not to fuck it up, but don’t worry if you do.” Full of late twenties anguish and uncertainty, this rather tongue in cheek mantra could be applied to many aspects of Chanya Button’s Burn Burn Burn, a film […]

Film Review: Boyz n the Hood

★★★★☆ “Either they don’t know, don’t show, or don’t care about what’s going on in the hood.” These are the now iconic, and still deeply relevant, words uttered by Ice-Cube’s Doughboy in John Singleton’s timeless drama Boyz n the Hood […]

Film Review: After Love

★★★★☆ Joachim Lafosse’s Our Children explored the desperation and unhappiness that can drive a mother to physically harm her own children. Now Lafosse is back with another – marginally lighter – drama about domestic dysfunction, this time featuring Bérénice Bejo […]

Film Africa 2016: Our picks from the programme

Set for its launch with an opening night gala showing of Mandla Dube’s Apartheid-era biopic, Kalushi: The Story of Solomon Mahlungu, Film Africa 2016 is the Royal African Society’s 6th annual celebration of cinema from right across the continent. Narrative […]

DVD Review: Paris Blues

★★★★☆ Much like the multitude of heady jazz numbers that flow throughout the film, Paris Blues is a cool, breezy and laid-back character-led romantic drama with strong turns by the four likable leads, not least the late, great Paul Newman, […]

DVD Review: Odds Against Tomorrow

★★★★☆ Now available on DVD and Blu-ray, Odds Against Tomorrow is also another welcome addition to the BFI’s Black Star slate. One of the most striking things upon viewing this admirably dark and gritty crime yarn is the realisation that […]

DVD Review: Kids Return

★★★★☆ Proving himself once again a master of comic timing and pathos, Takeshi Kitano’s 1996 feature Kids Return represents something of a thematic medley for the director, playing in equal parts as a high school comedy, gangster film and boxing […]

Criterion Review: Day for Night

★★★★☆ Widely regarded as François Truffaut’s greatest masterpiece, Day for Night also signalled the end of the French New Wave and caused a life-long rift between the director and his friend and fellow Nouvelle Vague auteur Jean-Luc Godard. Truffaut was […]

The future of Bourne

The name’s Bourne, Jason Bourne. The initials may be the same, but that’s pretty much where most comparisons to James Bond end. The Bourne character was created by Robert Ludlum, who wrote three novels around the CIA assassin who suffers […]

Film Review: Sonita

★★★☆☆ There are two concurrent and intertwining stories playing out in Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami’s irresistible, crowd-pleasing documentary Sonita. The main event is the tale of the eponymous teenager, an Afghan immigrant in Tehran with dreams of being the next Rihanna. […]

Film Review: Queen of Katwe

★★★★☆ Even those with a limited knowledge of the game of chess will know that the queen rules the roost. Making an astonishing acting debut, the strongest piece of Mira Nair’s joyous Queen of Katwe is Madina Nalwanga. Playing Ugandan […]