Film reviews and more

Month: September 2020

Film Review: Monsoon

★★★★☆ Monsoon is the elegant, delicately-paced second feature from director Hong Khaou, starring Henry Golding as Kit, a British Vietnamese man returning to Ho Chi Minh for the first time in more than 30 years to scatter his parents’ ashes. Tracing ambivalent pasts and ambiguous […]

Interview: Hong Khaou, dir. Monsoon

This sophomore effort from Hong Khaou stars Henry Golding as Kit, a British Vietnamese man returning to his birthland for the first time to scatter his parents’ ashes. Monsoon sketches the geographical and emotional contours of such a journey, steering between the cacophonous traffic of […]

Film Review: Barking Dogs Never Bite, Memories of Murder

★★★★★ Following his dual Oscar wins for Parasite – unprecedented for a foreign language feature – way back in February, South Korean director Bong Joon-Ho is perhaps this year’s most important director, not least because his films – rooted as they are in class politics […]

What makes a great sports movie?

From Rocky to Moneyball, sports movies are one of Hollywood’s most cherished genres and can often be a hit with both awards bodies and mass audiences alike. By its very nature, sport is often dramatic and unpredictable, populated by charismatic characters and fantastic arcs. The […]

Film Review: Goodfellas

★★★★★ Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas, now celebrating its 30th anniversary, is the rock ‘n’ roll counterpoint to the grand operatic tragedy of Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather saga. There are no auburn-tinted scenes of old men dying in fruit orchards or golden Sicilian sojourns here. Goodfellas is […]

Film Review: Rocks

★★★★★ With her fourth feature, director Sarah Gavron offers up one of the year’s best British films. Developed and written organically in collaboration with its young cast, Rocks is a faultlessly authentic study of contemporary young life in the inner city. After Shola ‘Rocks’ (Bukky […]

Film Review: White Riot

★★★★☆ Building on her previous documentary short of the same name, Rubika Shah’s White Riot is an engaging and important study of Rock Against Racism, a movement formed in 1976 in response to the rising racism of the British political and social landscapes. In febrile […]

Film Review: Real

★★★☆☆ British actor Aki Omoshaybi directs his first feature Real, a tale of beleaguered young love. Crafting an intimate, impressionistic story Omoshaybi is also impressive in the lead as lovelorn Kyle, while Pippa Bennett Warner is affecting as the object of his affections, single mother […]

Film Review: Max Richter’s Sleep

★★★★☆ In 2015, German-British composer Max Richter and creative partner Yulia Mahr released his most ambitious work to date, an eight and a half hour composition designed to be listened to while sleeping. Natalie Johns’ documentary on the piece is an appropriately languorous, dreamy exploration […]

Film Review: Space Dogs

★★★☆☆ We’ve already had First Man and Apollo 11, but the renewed interest in the space race prompted by the lunar landings anniversary gets its weirdest entry yet with Elsa Kresmer and Levin Peter’s impressionistic documentary Space Dogs. There is a legend, Alexey Serebryakov’s voice […]

Film Review: The Painted Bird

★★★★☆ Premiering in competition at last year’s Venice Film Festival, Václav Marhoul’s adaptation of Jerzy Kosińsk’s 1965 novel The Painted Bird is a gruelling odyssey through the bloody fields of Europe in the middle of the 20th century. Sometimes there are films that you feel […]

Film Review: La Haine

★★★★★ It’s a quarter of a century since La Haine‘s original release, its win for Best Director at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival and its stunning worldwide acclaim. Mathieu Kassovitz’s account of police brutality is as ferocious a punch in the stomach as it was twenty-five years ago, and retains […]