Film reviews and more

Month: February 2017

DVD Review: The Spring River Flows East

★★★☆☆ “How much sorrow can one man bear? As much as a river of spring water flowing east.” This quotation from Li Yu’s 10th century poem bookends and provides the title for Cai Chusheng and Zheng Junli’s Chinese melodrama The […]

Film Review: Mildred Pierce

★★★★★ The classic film noirs – The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, The Big Sleep – are not always known for their complex or sympathetic female characters, so often characterised as dissembling sirens or maidenly ideals. Not so with Michael Curtiz’s Mildred […]

DVD Review: Cul-de-sac

★★★☆☆ It’s difficult to remain objective in assessing the films of Roman Polanski, whose accomplishments in cinema have been rightly overshadowed by the fact that he drugged and raped a child in 1977 before fleeing to Europe, continuing to work […]

Oscars 2017: Moonlight wins surprise Best Picture

Damien Chazelle’s La La Land was ousted by Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight right at the death last night as the latter claimed Best Picture in controversial circumstances due to an error on the cards. Chazelle has previously won Best Director, adding […]

The Oscars: Just a Hollywood meat parade?

Of all the Oscar protests – from Sacheen Littlefeather and Marlon Brando in 1973, to #OscarsSoWhite last year, Michael Moore castigating George W. Bush and Richard Gere pleading for a free Tibet – a key one remains that of George […]

Film Review: Patriots Day

★★★☆☆ It’s some time since any degree of positivity has come out of a bitterly divided, and divisive, US of A. Peter Berg’s Patriots Day – a vivid, evocative and unflinching retelling of the April 2013 Boston marathon bombings and […]

Film Review: It’s Only the End of the World

★★☆☆☆ Xavier Dolan has adapted theatrical works before. 2013’s Tom at the Farm was a divisive feature but rendered Michael Marc Bouchard’s play in a widescreen cinematic landscape. It’s Only the End of the World sees Dolan adapt Jean-Luc Lagarce’s […]

Film Review: The Fits

★★★★☆ Just a week after Moonlight graced UK cinema screens in all its feverish beauty we’re treated to another hard-hitting US indie release that places black characters front and centre. However, though there are certainly parallels to be drawn between […]

Film Review: A Cure for Wellness

★★★★☆ Gore Verbinski’s new film A Cure for Wellness returns the gothic genre to its roots in melodrama. A grand tale of love and death set in a creepy old castle, it’s primed with the irrational, the repressed, the uncanny […]

DVD Review: Memories of Underdevelopment

★★★★☆ Regularly heralded as the greatest Cuban film of all time, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s Memories of Underdevelopment is a ranging, challenging work. A cine-essay blend of fictional narrative and documentary observation, it stands out even in the febrile atmosphere of […]

DVD Review: The Crying Game

★★★★★ The Crying Game has come to be defined by its twist. More than something like Psycho‘s shower scene, it’s treated as such a good secret that it can’t even be casually discussed and it’s a shame that it became […]

DVD Review: A Man for All Seasons

★★★★★ Just over fifty years after A Man for All Seasons won six Oscars including Best Picture and Best Actor for Paul Scofield, Fred Zinnemann’s adaptation of Robert Bolt’s stage play has found unique points of modern relevance. It is […]

Berlin 2017: On Body and Soul review

★★★☆☆ Opening on a woodland as two deer search through the snow for food, it’s clear from the start On Body and Soul isn’t a conventional love story. Their eyes meet and the stag wanders over to the doe, laying […]

Berlin 2017: Ana, Mon Amour review

★★★☆☆ Child’s Pose director and Golden Bear-winner Cãlin Peter Netzer returns to the Berlinale with Ana, Mon Amour, a tale of love, addiction and the memories of failed romances that linger and won’t be chased away. When we first meet, […]

Berlin 2017: Adriana’s Pact review

★★★★☆ “Every family has their secrets,” claims Chilean director Lissette Orozco whilst introducing her debut film Adriana’s Pact – but what happens when these secrets get out? A deeply personal documentary about guilt and culpability, we see what happens when the […]

Film Review: Tanna

★★★★☆ “Life is sweet living below the volcano,” says Dain, one of the star-crossed lovers of the South Pacific island of Tanna which gives its name to the Oscar-nominated feature directed by documentary filmmakers Bentley Dean and Martin Butler. Here, […]

Film Review: Multiple Maniacs

★★★☆☆ It’s testament to John Waters’ determination to push the boundaries of perceived decency that his 1970 sophomore feature, Multiple Maniacs, remains shocking to this day. On its initial release it played at grimy midnight cinemas – completely fitting for […]

Interview: Barry Jenkins, dir. Moonlight

In light of last year’s Oscars So White controversy, the eight Academy Award nominations bestowed on Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight could have felt like a reactionary attempt to rectify the ceremony’s lack of diversity. However, unlike other films that attempt to […]