Film reviews and more

Month: March 2018

DVD Review: Score: A Film Music Documentary

★★★☆☆ Whether roaring fanfares, scything murderous strings or tear-jerking themes, film music is explored in Matt Schrader’s new documentary Score, boasting a wealth of contemporary interviews with jobbing composers as well as a history of Hollywood film music. The movies were never silent. From the first experiments of the Lumiere brothers in 1895 and the Nickelodeons that sprouted up […]

Film Review: The Island and the Whales

★★★★☆ Documenting the lives of the inhabitants of the Faroe Islands and a way of life which is under threat from rising pollution levels, Mike Day’s The Island and the Whales offers an honest and uncompromising look at a community struggling to survive in some of the harshest conditions known to man, while also trying to cope with the disappearance […]

Film Review: Midnight Sun

★★☆☆☆ Starring Bella Thorne and Patrick Schwarzenegger as star-crossed teen lovers, Scott Speer’s ‘Sick Lit’ inspired film Midnight Sun presents a rather weak, convoluted and, to be quite frank, a rather silly story about a girl afflicted with a rare disease which could kill her at any moment. The film which is based on the Japanese film Taiyô no […]

Film Review: Journeyman

★★★★☆ Paddy Considine gets back behind the camera – with what could be the final time according to the director’s own social media – for Journeyman, a boxing drama that combats its commonplace narrative with genuine emotion and first-rate casting. It’s been six years since Considine’s challenging debut Tyrannosaur: an uncompromising, traumatic experience that has lived on in memory […]

Criterion Review: Yi Yi

★★★★★ Following a year in the life of a middle-class Taiwanese family, the late Edward Yang’s Yi Yi – his final feature – is a profoundly intimate expression of finding beauty in the everyday and meaning in the mundane. Without showy visuals or contrived narrative incident, Yi Yi delicately reminds us of cinema’s everyday vitality. On the surface, nothing much happens in Yi Yi. Family man […]

Film Review: A Wrinkle in Time

★★★★☆ On the surface, A Wrinkle in Time seems standard Disney fare: a family film with a predictable happy ending. But director Ava DuVernay has done much more with the source material, and the result is a beautiful work full of hope and aspirations. Based on the 1962 novel of the same name, by Madeline L’Engle, and scripted by […]

Film Review: Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House

★★★☆☆ Peter Landesman’s Nixon era drama is a rather dark and solemn affair, which despite suffering greatly from being far too expositional, still manages to somehow get under your skin and is likely to stay with you long after the credits have rolled. In Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House, Landesman offers us the chance […]

Film Review: The Third Murder

★★★★☆ As Misumi (Kôji Yakusho) awaits trial for a murder, his legal team desperately try to build a defence. It seems an open and shut case – he has two prior murder convictions, and he has openly confessed his guilt. Yet as his lawyer Shigemori (Masaharu Fukuyama) digs into the case, its clarity grows increasingly murky. Less of a […]

Film Review: Pacific Rim: Uprising

★★★★☆ With action films, you get what you pay for: exciting adventures, suspense, and lots of explosions on a big screen. Pacific Rim: Uprising does not disappoint: it does what it says on the tin. And boy, does this sequel deliver. Fans of the 2013 original will, no doubt, enjoy this; it’s bigger, badder, and bolder, and is under […]

Film Review: Tomb Raider

★★★☆☆ Positioned as a prequel to the films from the early 2000s, and similarly based on the hugely popular video game, Roar Uthaug’s Tomb Raider is an attempt to explain the origins of Lara Croft. Overall, it’s an enjoyable watch, but the weak script inevitably lets it down, and what could have been high-camp fun instead results in a […]

Film Review: Ready Player One

★★★☆☆ There are few directors other than Steven Spielberg that could direct a film like Ready Player One. Based on the novel by Ernest Cline, it’s a story that rides the current slipstream of nostalgia for 1980s pop culture as well as picking up on the recent shift towards a world in which geek is chic and knowledge is paramount. […]

DVD Review: Legend of the Mountain

★★★★★ The scholar Ho Qinqyun (Chun Shih) is sent to General Han (Yueh Sun) to copy the Mundra Sutra, a powerful magic text. However, on arriving at Han’s apparently abandoned fortress, Ho meets Madam Wang (Rainbow Hsu) and her beautiful daughter Melody (Feng Hsu), who harbours a preternatural interest in the Mundra Sutra. Chinese director King Hu was best […]