Film reviews and more

Month: February 2020

Film Review: Portrait of a Lady on Fire

★★★★☆ The lives of painters tend to be told with broad strokes. Famous artists are portrayed as tortured and romantic or else their work hangs over the story, weighing it down with a set of cultural expectations which are hard to shake off. With Portrait […]

Film Review: The Invisible Man

★★★★☆ Moonlit waves crash against coastal rocks, the darkness punctured only by an amber light coming from the windows of a mansion sat atop the cliff above. It’s a neo-Gothic scene wholly worthy of the classic studio chillers, while the film’s title fades in a […]

Film Review: Colour Out of Space

★★★☆☆ An adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s short story The Colour Out of Space, filmmaker Richard Stanley’s latest is a richly textured, if not entirely coherent, descent into madness, body horror and technological anxiety. After a meteorite crashes in the Gardner family farm their well is […]

Film Review: Greed

★★★☆☆ Michael Winterbottom brings together a who’s who of British comic talent for his fast fashion satire Greed. Conceived as a biting commentary on inequality, sweatshop labour and…well, greed, the film lacks fluency and laughs, rarely managing to lands its many upward punches. High street […]

Film Review: Midnight Family

★★★★☆ An acutely observed and frequently heartbreaking documentary, Luke Lorentzen’s Midnight Family chronicles one family’s privately run ambulance, saving lives and attempting to break-even during wee hours in Mexico City. What do you do when the ambulance chasers are other ambulances? This is the question […]

Film Review: Little Joe

★★★★☆ In her sixth feature, Austrian director Jessica Hausner brings an intense, minimalistic creepiness to this science fiction tale of floral manipulation. Read as a loose adaptation of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Little Joe is a gripping and visually striking satire of essentialist maternal […]

Adaptations: Post-war anxiety in Hitchcock’s The Birds

Daphne du Maurier’s short story The Birds was published in 1952 in her collection The Apple Tree. Telling the story of a Cornish village besieged by marauding birds, it would be adapted several times for TV, film and radio, most famously in Alfred Hitchcock’s film […]

Film Review: Emma.

★★★☆☆ Autumn de Wilde’s debut feature – and the fourth big-screen version of Jane Austen’s novel Emma – is a handsome and witty if slightly uninspiring adaptation buoyed by a surfeit of game British acting talent and a quite delightful turn from rising star Anya […]

Film Review: First Love

★★★☆☆ Japanese horror maestro Takashi Miike is back with this dive into comic book-style, hyper-violent crime noodling. First Love is not among the director’s best work – not by a long shot. Nevertheless, there’s enough of Miike’s trademark bonkers sensibilities to recommend this pulpy tale of […]

Oscars 2020: Best Picture winner Parasite makes Oscars history

Parasite’s Korean director Bong Joon-ho upset the odds to win both Best Picture and Best Director at this year’s Academy Awards on a night of mixed feelings over the Academy’s perceived lack of diversity. Sam Mendes’ First World War epic 1917 flagged somewhat after its […]

Film Review: Birds of Prey

★★★★☆ Margot Robbie stars as Harley Quinn in Cathy Yan’s spin-off to 2016’s Suicide Squad. But where its predecessor was a mirthless, incoherent mess, Birds of Prey is a chaotic, violent multi-coloured joy; easily the best of DC’s extended universe films to date and the […]

Oscars 2020: Our final predictions

It may be early February but – thanks to a compressed awards season – the 92nd Academy Awards are almost upon us. Once again, concerns over diversity and representation have dominated the discourse, with only one non-white nominee across the four acting categories in the […]