Film reviews and more

Christopher Machell

#Christopher Machell

Criterion Review: Tootsie

★★★★☆ In a tearful and candid interview, Dustin Hoffman once explained his impetus to make Tootsie: expecting himself to be a beautiful woman in make-up test, he was shocked not only to discover that he wasn’t, but also realised that if he met the woman staring back at him in the mirror, he […]

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Criterion Review: It Happened One Night

★★★★★ Up there with It’s a Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night is one of the preeminent director’s most beloved and finest works. It’s also anomalous – the film is romantic of course, but there’s little of the director’s famous sentimentality and certainly none of […]

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Criterion Review: Grey Gardens

★★★★★ Albert and David Maysles’ cult documentary Grey Gardens evokes horror, humour, disgust and pathos, often all in the same moment. It finds its subjects, former high society ladies and would-be stars Edie Bouvier Beale and daughter ‘Little’ Edie (aunt and first cousin to none other than Jackie Kennedy), living in squalour in […]

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DVD Review: ‘The Gift’

★★★★☆ Directed by and starring Joel Edgerton, The Gift’s (2015) set-up is simple but effective: Simon (Jason Bateman) and wife Robyn (Rebecca Hall) bump into old school friend Gordon (Edgerton), exchange numbers and are soon sharing dinner and stilted conversation. Before long, Gordon is turning up unannounced and bearing unwanted gifts. It’s a […]

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DVD Review: ‘Ant-Man’

★★★★☆ Following this year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Ant-Man sees the ubiquitous Marvel Studios getting back to basics and back on form. Where the overall flavour of Marvel’s Phase Two has arguably been one of expanded-universe brand management, Ant-Man feels like a return to the simplicity of the early Marvel films: not since […]

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Film Review: ‘The Nightmare’

★★☆☆☆ Sleep paralysis – a condition whereby sufferers wake in the night to find themselves helplessly paralysed, overwhelmed with an impression of a nearby malign force – is both a terrifying experience for its victims, and a recurring concept in art, literature and culture. It’s a shame then that Rodney Ascher’s The Nightmare […]

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DVD Review: ‘Big Game’

★★★☆☆ “This is not a good idea.” Uttered around the halfway mark by Samuel L. Jackson’s nonplussed President William Moore, this neatly summarises the thesis of Jalmari Helander’s Big Game (2014), an imperfect but enjoyable mixture of McTiernan-esque violence, Bruckheimer-esque silliness and 1980s-vintage Spielberg kids’ adventure. Indeed, Big Game’s veering tone often threatens […]