Why I Love… #132: Ghost World

Year: 2001 Director: Terry Zwigoff Stars: Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, Steve Buscemi I grew up in the rural South West of England, in Devon. Hardly the anonymous middle-America of Daniel Clowes' scabrous graphic novel Ghost World but, also, not totally divorced from that milieu either. I could certainly relate to it. The sense of emptiness … Continue reading Why I Love… #132: Ghost World

Review: Antebellum

Directors: Gerard Bush, Christopher Renz Stars: Janelle Monáe, Gabourey Sidibe, Kiersey Clemons At the beginning of 2020, Antebellum was poised for a spring release, but then the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world, shuttering theatres here, there and everywhere. The business went into hibernation, in a sense, but VOD releases - particularly of indies and foreign … Continue reading Review: Antebellum

Review: Godzilla vs. Kong

Director: Adam Wingard Stars: Millie Bobby Brown, Demián Bichir, Brian Tyree Henry As far back as a candid 2014 interview with The Dissolve, Adam Wingard expressed his ambitions. Having garnered attention for two of the decade's most purely enjoyable genre flicks (You're Next and The Guest), Wingard openly admitted he didn't want to remain at the … Continue reading Review: Godzilla vs. Kong

Review: Minari

Director: Lee Isaac Chung Stars: Steven Yeun, Alan S Kim, Han Ye-ri Conflicts of the head and the heart perpetuate throughout Lee Isaac Chung's rural American drama Minari. Korean immigrant Jacob (Steven Yeun) has moved his family from urban California out to the verdant fields of Arkansas to start-up a farm. On arriving he dismisses the … Continue reading Review: Minari

Why I Love… #131: Special Effects

Year: 1984 Director: Larry Cohen Stars: Zoë Lund, Eric Bogosian, Brad Rijn Larry Cohen made cheap, dirty, gritty films. Not the kind that got a lot of respect on release (or, in most cases, later on for that matter). They were often genre pictures that belayed a scabrous social critique. His most popular and irreverent … Continue reading Why I Love… #131: Special Effects

Review: Violation

Director: Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Dusty Mancinelli Stars: Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Jesse LaVercombe, Anna Maguire The rape-revenge sub-genre has been a troublesome thorn in the side of cinema for some decades. Grueling, exploitative, gratuitous... but maybe also cathartic, bold and necessary. Its some of the toughest territory to willingly wade into. Lately, however, a crop of vivid female voices … Continue reading Review: Violation

Why I Love… #130: Destry Rides Again

Year: 1939 Director: George Marshall Stars: Marlene Dietrich, James Stewart, Brian Donlevy When it comes to Westerns, I'm a picky sod. I'm not fond of John Wayne (even allowing for the changing of the times I find him priggish and his roles often steeped in misogyny and racism). I'll enjoy a romping adventure but it'll … Continue reading Why I Love… #130: Destry Rides Again

Review: I Was at Home, But…

Director: Angela Schanelec Stars: Maren Eggert, Clara Moeller, Jakob Lassalle Abderrahmane Sissako's superb 2014 film Timbuktu opens and closes with imagery of a dashing springbok. In that film, the animal acts as a kind of totem for the irrepressible spirit of the Mauritanian people and their desire to escape Jihadi impingement. A fitting visual metaphor … Continue reading Review: I Was at Home, But…

Review: Deadly Illusions

Director: Anna Elizabeth James Stars: Kristin Davis, Greer Grammer, Dermot Mulroney In 1988 and long before her Sex & the City stardom, Krstin Davis 'starred' as one of a handful of colourful teenage victims in campy slasher gem Doom Asylum. Given her success since, its safe to assume that this kooky credit isn't among Davis' … Continue reading Review: Deadly Illusions

Review: Locked Down

Director: Doug Liman Stars: Anne Hathaway, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lucy Boynton Comfortably rich and locked down due to COVID-19, catastrophic narcissist Paxton (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and his former partner Linda (Anne Hathaway) are imprisoned together in their beautiful London townhouse. Paxton enjoys binge-drinking, pretending to off himself and shouting poetry at his poor, suffering neighbours. Linda (the … Continue reading Review: Locked Down

Review: Judas and the Black Messiah

Director: Shaka King Stars: Lakeith Stanfield, Daniel Kaluuya, Dominique Fishback Released from prison after a BS stint for stealing ice cream, charismatic orator and Black Panther Party Chairman Frank Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) steps into the recently burned Chicago HQ to find newly painted walls and freshly carpeted floors. He's astonished. How? The answer is the … Continue reading Review: Judas and the Black Messiah

Review: Notturno

Director: Gianfranco Rosi If the world is getting smaller thanks to the freer access to information and ideas, then borders have become the natural pressure points at which differing cultures and sets of values intersect. These geographical lines - which can seem somewhat arbitrary to those looking from afar - are fractal lines of tension … Continue reading Review: Notturno

Review: The Dark and the Wicked

Director: Bryan Bertino Stars: Xander Berkeley, Marin Ireland, Michael Abbot, Jr. Louise (Marin Ireland) and Michael Straker (Michael Abbot, Jr.) are siblings, reunited when they return to the rural Texan homestead to look after their parents. Their father (Michael Zagst) is comatose, and their mother (Julie Oliver-Thouchstone) has taken her own downturn due to the … Continue reading Review: The Dark and the Wicked

Why I Love… #129: Niagara

Year: 1953 Director: Henry Hathaway Stars: Marilyn Monroe, Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters Marilyn Monroe's screen presence and charisma are undeniable, it's been reiterated ad nauseam for decades. These qualities made her a star, but they didn't grant her a free pass when it came to dramatic roles. Monroe wasn't a great actor, and the tales … Continue reading Why I Love… #129: Niagara

Review: Fire Will Come

Director: Oliver Laxe Stars: Amador Arias, Benedicta Sanchez, Elena Mar Fernández The opening of Oliver Laxe's Fire Will Come is some of the most haunting, arresting imagery I've seen in film of any form for quite some time. We're in a dimly lit forest at night. In the gloom the stark spines of the trees are … Continue reading Review: Fire Will Come