DVD Review: ‘Inside Out’

★★★★☆ Pixar have knocked it out of the park with new film Inside Out (2015), which premièred at Cannes earlier this year. Directors Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen have crafted a cerebral comedy, loaded with smart, witty humour and a great deal of meta-emotional intelligence. The story opens with the birth of Riley. At…

Film Review: Sicario

★★★★☆ Denis Villeneuve, the Canadian director behind Prisoners (2013) and Enemy (2014), returns with Sicario (2015), a bleak, powerful and beautifully realised trip to hell. It’s a significant film – a French Connection (1971) for the drug-fuelled Mexico-US border war – full of pessimism, moral ambiguity and tension. With a ponytail and dressed-down intensity, Emily…

Film Review: Mad Max: Fury Road

★★★★☆ Chaos reigns in George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), his long-awaited return to the world of his post-apocalyptic Ozplotiation franchise after a thirty-year absence. The budget and the actors may have changed, but this is clearly the evolution of the filmmaker’s crazed vision, arguably reaching the petrol-soaked Valhalla that he’s been striving for…

Film Review: ‘Macbeth’

★★★★☆ By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes – namely Snowtown director Justin Kurzel’s visually inventive take on the Scottish play Macbeth (2015), starring Michael Fassbender as the murderous Thane and Marion Cotillard as his Lady. Scotland is in the grip of civil war and the survival of King Duncan’s (David…

Film Review: ‘Mia Madre’

★★★☆☆ “La mamma è sempre la mamma” the Italian expression goes: mum is always mum. And yet mothers die. Director Nanni Moretti’s new film Mia Madre (2015), which first premièred at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, is a meditation on imminent grief and the loss of a mother. Margherita (Margherita Buy) is a stressed modern…

Film Review: ‘Amy’

★★★★☆ Bafta-winning British director Asif Kapadia made his name with his brilliant 2012 biographic documentary Senna, which told the story of the young Brazilian race driver whose early death in a crash in the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix made him into a tragic icon. With Amy (2015) – which premieried at Cannes and is…

Cannes 2015: ‘The Wakhan Front’ review

★★★☆☆ A black dog lopes through an apparently empty camp amidst a lifeless landscape. This eerie intro to Clément Cogitore’s fascinatingly spooky The Wakhan Front (2015) recalls a dustier, low-key version of John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982). Playing in the Cannes Critics’ Week sidebar, The Wakhan Front tells the tale of a platoon of French…

Cannes 2015: ‘The Treasure’ review

★★★☆☆ Romanian director Corneliu Porumboiu won the Un Certain Regard prize back in 2009 with his black comedy Police, Adjective. This year he entered the competition and picked up the Un Certain Talent prize with The Treasure (2015), a similarly wryly comic fable set in modern day Bucharest. Mild-mannered civil servant Costi (Cuzin Toma) is…

Cannes 2015: ‘Rams’ review

★★★★☆ A story of filial rivalry in a remote valley in Iceland, Grímur Hákonarson’s second narrative feature Rams (Hrútar, 2015) begins as an oddball comedy about sheep farming and grows slowly into a tale of elemental and moving power, deservingly winning the Un Certain Regard sidebar at Cannes. The film focuses, and initially sides with,…

Cannes 2015: Jacques Audiard’s ‘Dheepan’ wins Palme d’Or

The results are in. The closing ceremony of the 68th edition of the Cannes film festival began more like the Oscars than the glamorous, abrupt ceremonies of old; with John C. Reilly scat-singing and a sense of anticipation with a field which was more open than previous years. Son of Saul was the Palme d’Or…

Cannes 2015: ‘Dheepan’ review

★★★☆☆  Following the impressive The Beat That My Heart Skipped (2005), the excellent A Prophet (2010) and the melodramatic Rust and Bone (2012), Jacques Audiard returns to Cannes with Dheepan (2015), a mix of Loachian social realism and Death Wish-style violent fantasy. This outsider in Paris tale begins with a Tamil freedom fighter burning the…

Film Review: Son of Saul

★★★★★ Hungarian director László Nemes’ debut film Son of Saul (2015) is a stunning and aptly horrifying close-up view of the Holocaust and must be a favourite to pick up a prize at the 68th Cannes Film Festival. Géza Röhrig plays Saul, a Sonderkommando: a Jewish prisoner tasked with the dirty job of the death…