Film reviews and more

Month: March 2017

Film Review: Free Fire

★★★☆☆ A field. A tower block. And now a disused warehouse. Over his last three films, Ben Wheatley has been perfecting the knack of a single-location drama. In the case of his new film Free Fire, Wheatley and co-writer Amy […]

Film Review: Tickling Giants

★★★★☆ The timing could not have been better for Sara Taksler’s new documentary Tickling Giants. Or worse if you think about it. Hosni Mubarak has returned home and the promise of the Arab Spring and the revolution which swept from […]

Film Review: Graduation

★★★★★ The Romania of director Cristian Mungiu’s terse, difficult Graduation is one weighed down by endemic corruption, systemic unfairness and economic defeat. Romeo (Adrian Titieni) dreams of a better life for his daughter, Eliza (Maria-Victoria Dragus), who has been awarded […]

Film Review: Fear Eats the Soul

★★★★★ It’s surely the sheer, unvarnished humanity on display in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s celebrated Ali: Fear Eats the Soul that’s the film’s greatest success. When the eponymous Ali (El Hedi ben Salem), a Moroccan immigrant in his late thirties, meets […]

Film Review: The Autopsy of Jane Doe

★★★☆☆ André Øvredal burst onto the scene with the irresistibly enjoyable Trollhunter in 2010, a mockumentary road trip humorously poking around under Norway’s less-travelled bridges and its folklore. For his follow-up he’s once again giving a novel twist to recognisable […]

DVD Review: Pieces

★★★☆☆ The audacious tagline for Pieces‘ grisly poster – “It’s exactly what you think it is” – isn’t kidding: Juan Piquer Simon’s 1982 splatterfest is precisely what one would expect from the director of gross-out creature feature Slugs. The constituent […]

Criterion Review: Lone Wolf and Cub

★★★★☆ Adapted from the long-running successful Manga series, the Lone Wolf and Cub films represent the very best in the chanbara genre. This Criterion set includes all six films, gorgeously remastered, as well as Shogun Assassin, the Americanised re-edit of […]

Film Review: The Lost City of Z

★★★★☆ There aren’t many directors working today with the same ambition and exquisite craftsmanship of James Gray. Despite being renowned for his complex, emotional storytelling, he continues to work within the fringes of the industry. His latest offering The Lost […]

Film Review: The Eyes of My Mother

★★★★★ It’s exceedingly rare for a filmmaker to present a deeply disturbed individual on the big screen, one who partakes in all sorts of grotesqueness, whose mind is one of deranged abandon and necrophile-longing, and somehow manages to portray not […]

Film Review: Aquarius

★★★★☆ Kleber Mendonça Filho’s debut feature Neighbouring Sounds was a taut social thriller about the paranoia of Brazil’s urban middle-class. One of the results of that paranoia was a proliferation of high-rise apartment blocks to house wealthy citizens and the […]

Film Review: The Age of Shadows

★★★★☆ “People shouldn’t live among rats.” So says resistance fighter Jang-ok (Park Hee-soon) at the climax of a blistering, terrifically choreographed prologue in Kim Jee-woon’s mercurial, labyrinthine historical thriller The Age of Shadows. Here is a film where allegiances, ulterior […]

Criterion Review: Multiple Maniacs

★★★☆☆ Depravity and bad taste are the watchwords of director John Waters’ unique oeuvre, none more so than his unhinged 1970 effort Multiple Maniacs – even if its shock value is perhaps not as finely sharpened as his bad taste […]

DVD Review: Property Is No Longer a Theft

★★★★☆ How is the ownership of one object assigned to one person or another, and what does the nature of ownership say about the owner? In Elio Petri’s hallucinogenic black comedy Property Is No Longer a Theft, Total (Flavio Bucci) […]

Ten live-action films Brits want to see animated

With the much-anticipated, Emma Watson-starring Beauty and the Beast in cinemas this week, live-action remakes are a hot topic. After the success of The Jungle Book and The BFG in 2016, the trend is set to continue over the next […]

Kinoteka 2017: Afterimage

★★★☆☆ They say never meet your idols, and it might also be advisable not to make films about them but Andrzej Wajda always defied such cliches. Some of his early masterpieces – Man of Iron and Man of Marble – […]

Film Review: The Olive Tree

★★☆☆☆ Icíar Bollaín’s The Olive Tree is a familial drama whose meandering tone and rather glib message mean that it never truly takes root. Set predominantly in rural Spain, the Madrid-born director’s latest offering is a fable that relates to […]

Film Review: Get Out

★★★★☆ Relatively cheap and quick to shoot, horror is often the favoured genre of young directors. Luminaries like Sam Raimi and Steven Spielberg both famously cut their teeth on horror cinema. Few could have predicted, however, that writer-director Jordan Peele […]

Film Review: The Salesman

★★★★☆ In his 2012 film A Separation, Asghar Farhadi created a gripping and deeply affecting study of how a family unit can disintegrate within Iran’s socially conservative culture. It won great acclaim for the realism and sensitivity it brought to […]