Review: Cha Cha Real Smooth

Director: Cooper Raiff Stars: Dakota Johnson, Cooper Raiff, Vanessa Burghardt I wasn't going to review this one. Watching it, I made the decision; no. There's enough hate and snark and negativity on the internet, and when people get impassioned about how much they dislike something, how unnecessarily angry it made them, they lose all sense …

Review: Pleasure

Director: Ninja Thyberg Stars: Sofia Kappel, Revika Reustle, Chris Cock A teenage anti-porn activist, Ninja Thyberg's clean, confident debut feature Pleasure intends to demystify one of LA's foremost economies. Less a didactic essay against porn than a fair exposure of humdrum dramas and business transactions, it balances positive and negative attributes of an industry built on …

Review: Earwig

Director: Lucile Hadžihalilović Stars: Paul Hilton, Romane Hemelaers, Romola Garai Mid 20th century (approximately 1960), somewhere in Europe. Behind the shuttered windows and locked doors of a bleak apartment building, a young girl, Mia (Romane Hemelaers), is sequestered with her guardian/dentist Albert Scellinc (Paul Hilton). Few words pass between them. Albert collects saliva from Mia via …

Review: Swan Song

Director: Todd Stephens Stars: Udo Kier, Jennifer Coolidge, Linda Evans From his early Euro heartthrob days, through those incendiary Andy Warhol exploitation flicks, Argento's Suspiria and beyond, Udo Kier has always been an icon. With well over 200 film credits to his name, these days he's most bankable for archly memorable supporting performances, adding a unique …

Review: Offseason

Director: Mickey Keating Stars: Jocelin Donahue, Joe Swanberg, Melora Walters The regional horror scene in America in the 1970s - independent B-pictures that played select areas and drive-ins without the cache for a countrywide release - was largely dismissed at the time, thought of as crummy or half-baked, victims of their own meagre circumstance. It's …

Review: Dashcam

Director: Rob Savage Stars: Angela Enahoro, Amar Chadha-Patel, Annie Hardy In Yoshimitsu Banno's superb 1971 kaiju movie Godzilla vs. Hedorah, our goliath reptilian overlord does battle with a cutely designed alien monster comprised of animated garbage, sludge, slim, smog and toxic waste. If you compressed Hedorah down into human form, it might resemble Annie (Annie …

Review: Men

Director: Alex Garland Stars: Jessie Buckley, Rory Kinnear, Paapa Essiedu With exceedingly lamentable timing, Alex Garland's Men lands the same week as the culmination of a certain world-famous trial, the verdict of which will set back women's agency with domestic abuse claims by decades. The effect, one assumes, will be to make Garland's staggering faceplant of …

Review: Bergman Island

Director: Mia Hansen-Løve Stars: Vicky Krieps, Mia Wasikowska, Tim Roth  Creativity abounds in Mia Hansen-Løve's English language debut, which finally reaches UK cinemas a year after debuting at Cannes. This is the quenching of a particular thirst, seeing as her last feature, Maya, didn't even receive a release in this country. For British Hansen-Løve heads, …

Review: Vortex

Director: Gaspar Noé Stars: Dario Argento, Françoise Lebrun, Alex Lutz As highlighted by Mark Cousins in his labyrinthine The Story of Film, Michael Haneke's 2000 film Code Unknown is made up of a series of long takes that never touch. Where traditional editing techniques juxtapose scenes directly to engender a sense of natural flow, Haneke divides …

Review: Benediction

Director: Terence Davies Stars: Jack Lowden, Matthew Tennyson, Tom Blyth The musings of WWI poet Siegfried Sassoon seem to have inspired a sense of visual poetry in British stalwart Terence Davies, whose stately biopic turns in some gratifying surprises in it's early sections. Disinclined to present the harrowing warfare of the Somme as anything approaching …