Film reviews and more

Month: November 2016

Film Review: The Dreamed Ones

★★★★☆ A few years after the end of the Second World War, a man whose parents perished in a concentration camp and a woman whose father was a Nazi party member met and fell deeply in love. The man’s name […]

Film Review: The Coming War on China

★★★☆☆ Since Donald Trump won the US Presidential election there’s been a whole smorgasbord of geo-political anxieties to keep you awake at night. Oliver Stone’s Snowden was a timely reminder of the massive repressive state apparatus of para-legal or illegal […]

Film Review: Chi-Raq

★★★★☆ From School Daze, Do the Right Thing and Malcolm X onwards, fans of Spike Lee have come to expect a certain well-articulated intelligence and socio-political engagement to the Atlanta-born director’s bold and unflinching brand of cinema. The last decade […]

Film Review: Bleed For This

★★★☆☆ How many times has the line “Give me another shot” been uttered in a boxing movie? What is it about these fiercely stubborn, bloodied and bruised fighters that means they just don’t know when to throw in the towel? […]

DVD Review: Tickled

★★★☆☆ It’s unlikely you’re going to come across too many documentaries this year with a yarn to spin as tangled and twisted as Tickled. Following the investigations of New Zealand pop culture journalist David Farrier, it is essentially an expose […]

DVD Review: Jason Bourne

★★★☆☆ When The Bourne Ultimatum was released in 2007, star Matt Damon felt that the story of his amnesiac-assassin protagonist had been told. “The story of this guy’s search for his identity is over” he said, before stating that only […]

DVD Review: Finding Dory

★★★★☆ Taking a swim down memory lane is a tricky business when you forget things and repeat yourself every few seconds. Finding Dory is as entertaining, soul enriching and bittersweet as any Pixar production to date. Once again striking just […]

Interview: Golshifteh Farahani, Paterson

Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani rose to international fame alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe in Ridley Scott’s 2008 film, Body of Lies. She’s been busy, and constantly on the move, since then though her most memorable role for many cinephiles […]

Film Review: The Wailing

★★★★★ Na Hong-jin’s The Wailing hits such a spectacular home run that the ball will never be recovered from its landing spot. Not only is the film a compellingly told tale of suspense and terror, but it’s crafted with such […]

Film Review: A United Kingdom

★★★☆☆ November 2016. A member of the Royal family is forced to defend his chosen partner in the face of an unscrupulous right-wing press, with the suggestion in some commentaries of negative racial undertones. It’s hard to fathom, and deeply […]

Film Review: Starless Dreams

★★★★★ “Here the pain drips from the walls,” says Somayeh, an inmate of a juvenile female detention centre on the outskirts of Tehran. Somayeh is one of the subjects of Mehrdad Oskouei’s remarkable documentary Starless Dreams. She’s one of the […]

Film Review: Paterson

★★★★☆ Paterson teaches us that there is beauty to be found in all things. Poetry, meaning and further dimensions to even the most mundane trivialities of everyday existence. In Jim Jarmusch’s latest, which takes place in contemporary New Jersey, Adam […]

Film Review: Magnus

★★★☆☆ “The Mozart of chess” isn’t the most hip of nicknames but it goes some way to expressing the inexplicable, impossible genius of Magnus Carlsen. The 25-year-old Norwegian Grandmaster is the focus of Benjamin Ree’s Magnus, an intimate documentary that […]

DVD Review: Roxanne

★★★☆☆ Cast your mind back to a time when Steve Martin assumed the mantle of comedic king of the box office, sharing the title with the likes of Chevy Chase, John Candy and Eddie Murphy. Amongst the more inherently zany, […]

Criterion Review: Punch-Drunk Love

★★★★★ On first viewing, 2002’s Punch-Drunk Love stands as an outlier against Paul Thomas Anderson’s other more seriously-minded work, starring, as it does, Adam Sandler as the lead in a quirky romantic comedy. But on closer inspection, Anderson’s trademark themes […]

DVD Review: Napoleon

★★★★☆ An enormous film deserves an enormous preservation effort. Film historian Kevin Brownlow spent more than thirty years tracking down film sources across the world to make up the five-and-a-half hour cut of Abel Gance’s Napoleon, completed with the BFI […]

DVD Review: Lowlife Love

★★★★☆ Acclaimed director of 2013’s The Greatful Dead, Eiji Uchida returns with Lowlife Life, an often hilarious, charming and fitfully uncomfortable look into the world of low-budget Japanese filmmaking. Indie director Tetsuo (Kyohiko Shibukawa) is an initially charming Linklater-esque slacker, […]

Criterion Review: Dreams

★★★★★ Rarely in cinema has the raw personal and symbolic power of dreaming been so effectively captured as in the Akira Kurosawa’s 1990 feature Dreams. A series of vignettes connected through theme and mood rather than narrative, Kurosawa’s late film […]