Film reviews and more

Christopher Machell

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Blu-ray Review: ‘Wake Up and Kill’

★★★★☆ Following hot on the heels of the Blu-ray release of Requiescant (1967) comes director Carlo Lizzani’s Wake Up and Kill (1966), based on the true story of infamous jewel thief Luciano Lutring. Dripping in late-1960s […]

Blu-ray Review: ‘Blood Rage’

★★★☆☆ John Grissmer’s teen slasher Blood Rage (1987), newly released on Blu-ray, is at once utterly dreadful and irresistibly brilliant. Arrow Video has gone all out with this release, offering three distinct versions – the theatrical […]

Blu-ray Review: ‘Requiescant’

★★★★☆ The Spaghetti Western, as exemplified by The Good, The Bad, and Ugly (1966), Once Upon a Time in The West (1968), and Django (1966), is defined by its heightened visual style, its brutality, and its […]

DVD Review: ‘Slow West’

★★★★☆ There are two types of western: those that build up the myth of the Old West – Rio Bravo (1959), The Searchers (1956), Shane (1953) – and those that break it – The Good, The […]

Blu-ray Review: ‘Poe’s Black Cats’

★★★★☆ Edgar Allan Poe’s famous short story The Black Cat has been adapted in almost every era of cinema, from Universal’s two classic offerings ‘suggested’ by Poe’s tale to Roger Corman’s Tales of Terror (1962) and […]

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 […]

Blu-ray Review: ‘Otto Preminger Noir Collection’

★★★★★ Alongside Billy Wilder, Howard Hawks, and John Huston, Otto Preminger was one of the most influential film noir directors in Hollywood in the 1940s and 1950s. This new collection by the BFI gives us three […]

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 […]