An all-star cast that brings genuinely superb performances to the table doesn’t elevate this film enough to the level it could have achieved. Spanning generations, years, and two rural states; building on the aftereffects of World War 2 and feeling the tense beginnings of the Vietnam War; doused in a thick coating of hyper-religious attitudes … Continue reading The Devil All the Time (Antonio Campos, 2020) – a confused fizzle rather than a slow burn.
Young, naïve, and jumping at any opportunity to add some punch to her life before it ends leads the wig-wearing schoolgirl Milla (Eliza Scanlen) into the arms of a chaotic twenty-three year old drug-user named Moses (Toby Wallace). Teenage defiance and a lust for life doesn’t stop the fact that Milla still has one of … Continue reading Babyteeth (Shannon Murphy, 2019) – the falls, failures, and faults of human mortality.
November navigates the lives of poor Estonian villagers through the harsh landscape of a cold winter, stealing and thieving their way through survival. Folklore and traditions dictate their questionable behaviour, offering their blood to the Devil in exchange for a soul to inhabit their Kratt (a man-made and often crudely-constructed thing that aids the villagers … Continue reading November (Rainer Sarnet, 2017)
From first-time feature film director Melina Matsoukas, Queen & Slim stars well-known versatile actor Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) and newcomer Jodie-Turner Smith as the titular characters. The trailer was an empowering Milk (Gus Van Sant, 2008)-esque vision of a fight against prejudice, hyping me up for what Kaluuya was going to bring to the table … Continue reading Queen & Slim (Melina Matsoukas, 2019)
Written by Shia LaBeouf during his time in rehab, Honey Boy is a semi-autobiographical film in which Shia plays his own father. Upon discovering his alcoholism is connected to PTSD from his upbringing, twenty-two year old Otis (Lucas Hedges, Lady Bird & Manchester by the Sea) works through his memories within the rehab programme. These … Continue reading Honey Boy (Alma Har’el, 2019)
This film could be set in a political, educational, religious, or any other setting that is built upon a hierarchal ladder; the environment doesn’t matter, as the story’s message is still the same. Based upon the true events from the 2019 conviction of Cardinal Phillipe Barbarin of Lyon for hiding the crimes of Father Bernard … Continue reading By the Grace of God (François Ozon, 2018)
Lynne Ramsay’s 2017 film You Were Never Really Here premiered 6 years after her masterpiece We Need to Talk About Kevin, one of my favourite and most-watched films of all time, so it’s surprising how long it’s taken to get around to watching it. The fairly short – 1hr30m – film is a violent-but-not-graphic, intense-but-not-explicit … Continue reading You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2017): a director’s recurring visual voice for disturbed characters
Buñuel’s masterpiece Belle de Jour (1968) has certainly aged well; the film’s reflection on the hypocrisy of sexuality and eroticism in gender is always a pertinent discussion to be had, even in 2019. The double-standards of sexual exploration and expression are subtly criticised throughout the story of the bored housewife Séverine (Catherine Deneuve) as her … Continue reading Belle de Jour (Luis Buñuel, 1968)
Japanese title 'Shoplifters' overlayed opening shots in supermarket. One of the best films I’ve seen in a long time, Shoplifters conveys a precise and significant message through no one particular specific viewpoint. I’m surprised I didn’t cry, but the story was far too sagacious for that. It planted an idea in my brain from the … Continue reading Shoplifters (Hirokazu Koreeda, 2018)
Set in 1920s Los Angeles, paralysed stuntman Roy (Lee Pace) grieves in his hospital bed over a failed stunt on-set which caused his legs to become immobile. Depressed and alone, he passes the time by telling stories to another patient, the avidly curious child Alexandra (Catinca Untaru). The stories are drawn from both Roy and … Continue reading The Fall (Tarsem Singh, 2006)