DVD Review: ‘The Cut’

★★★☆☆ Medz Yeghern is the synonym Armenians gave to the brutal extermination of their people by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to the end of First World War, which also gave a new word to the English language – ‘genocide’, coined by Raphael Lemkin. Also known as the Armenian Holocaust, the state-sponsored murders were widely…

DVD Review: ‘P’tit Quinquin’

★★★★☆ French filmmaker Bruno Dumont is a director strongly associated with serious, spiritual, and metaphysical European arthouse. What a surprise it was, then, when his latest project was announced as not only being a first foray into the world of long-form television, but a comedy to boot. The result is the four part mini-series, P’tit…

Film Review: Listen Up Philip

★★★★☆ There have been several films over the past few years that have sought to engage with the subject of creativity and the pursuit of artistic success. Few have been quite so razor-sharp as Alex Ross Perry’s acerbic third feature, Listen Up Philip (2014), which skewers the misanthropic pretensions of a ‘notable’ young New York…

DVD Review: ‘Altman’

★★★☆☆ With 39 features to his name, each as unique and innovative as the next, there are few American directors who come close to matching the prolific career of Robert Altman. Ron Mann would go one step further, describing Altman’s films as distinctively “Altmanesque”, a term he spends 95 minutes attempting to define in his…

Film Review: ‘A Little Chaos’

★★★☆☆ For his second feature as director – following on from the Emma Thompson-starring The Winter Guest (1997) – Alan Rickman brings audiences the period folly A Little Chaos (2014), a film as mildly diverting and inoffensive as its title suggests. Based on a true story and adapted from ex-Casualty star Alison Deegan’s debut screenplay,…

Film Review: ‘Mommy’

★★★★★ Prodigious Canadian director Xavier Dolan returned to Cannes last year with his most accomplished film to date, the marvellously cinematic spectacle Mommy (2014), which now arrives on British screens. Set in Canada in 2015, where laws have been changed to make it easier for parents to institutionalise their problem children, Steve (Antoine-Olivier Pilon) is…

Film Review: It Follows

★★★★★ With It Follows (2014), director David Robert Mitchell has delivered one of the best horror films of the decade so far. A beautifully rendered vision of the teenage psyche in the 21st century, it’s a stylish, intelligent and densely textured masterpiece. While there are traditional scares and a familiar antagonistic force, the fear at…

Glasgow 2015: ‘Phoenix’ review

★★★★☆ In Hiroshi Teshigahara’s mysterious and metaphysical The Face of Another (1966), notions of identity both personal and national are explored through the story of man whose face is irrevocably scarred in a terrible accident. The indelible image of his bandaged head is brought to mind in the opening reel of Christian Petzold’s latest offering,…

Glasgow 2015: ‘Wild Tales’ review

★★★☆☆ One of this year’s Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award hopefuls, Argentinian director Damián Szifron’s Wild Tales (2014) is an exuberant, obsidian-black comedy of violence and vengeance. Divided into a series of isolated sketches, each one tells a short story about how quickly madness can rip through the vestiges of civilisation with the appropriate…

Glasgow 2015: ‘New Girlfriend’ review

★★★☆☆ Another year, another film from prolific French director and festival regular François Ozon. After the (intentional) inscrutability of the lead in Jeune et Jolie (2013), his latest film The New Girlfriend (2014) is thankfully a far deeper exploration of its two equally complex central characters. Based on a Ruth Rendell story – though inflected…

Glasgow 2015: ‘Catch Me Daddy’ review

★★★☆☆ If Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant (2013) was a fairytale set in ‘It’s grim up north’ territory, this year’s Glasgow Film Festival offers up a Yorkshire western in Daniel Wolfe’s bleak, windswept thriller Catch Me Daddy (2014), which unexpectedly broods over the multicultural integration of northern Britain. British-Pakistani Laila, played with conviction by non-professional…

Glasgow 2015: ‘Black Coal, Thin Ice’ review

★★★☆☆ Cowardice, treachery and bloody murder coalesce in director Diao Yinan’s Golden Bear-winning Black Coal, Thin Ice (2014), a tonally erratic noir that blends the aesthetics and absurd comicality of Johnnie To with a mainstream cop procedural. The apathy and social malaise of Northern China’s contemporary heartbeat provides the rhythm for Yinan’s ostentatious detective drama – a…