Review: Stardust

Director: Gabriel Range Stars: Johnny Flynn, Jena Malone, Marc Maron Here's a list of things you probably need in order to pull-off a successful music biopic. 1) Since the critic-proof success of Bohemian Rhapsody, one thing you don't need, apparently, is to try. But you should try. Those box office numbers have meant that an often creatively-bankrupt movie subgenre … Continue reading Review: Stardust

Review: David Byrne’s American Utopia

Director: Spike Lee Stars: David Byrne, Tendayi Kuumba, Chris Giamo In the second half of the 1983 'Stop Making Sense' tour, Talking Heads frontman David Byrne would disappear off-stage briefly only to re-emerge in an over-sized suit. The famous 'big suit' and its associated moves were a mockery of a certain Wall Street mentality that … Continue reading Review: David Byrne’s American Utopia

Review: This is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection

Director: Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese Stars: Mary Twala, Jerry Mofokeng, Makhaola Ndebele Lesotho sits in the midst of South Africa; a landlocked island on a continent whose cinema seldom makes it to our shores. A vast area of filmmaking effectively silenced by poor distribution and widespread apathy to what it has to say. This makes any … Continue reading Review: This is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection

Review: Pieces of a Woman

Director: Kornél MundruczóStars: Vanessa Kirby, Shia LaBeouf, Iliza Shlesinger It's so difficult, sometimes, to separate the artist from the art. Recent revelations about Shia LaBeouf's despicable behaviour toward FKAtwigs has put an immediate pall over his work. I love American Honey but I feel conflicted about revisiting it. I've added The Peanut Butter Falcon to … Continue reading Review: Pieces of a Woman

Why I Love… #124: Resident Evil: Retribution

Year: 2012 Director: Paul WS Anderson Stars: Milla Jovovich, Li Bingbing, Sienna Guillory Okay, stick with me on this. Paul WS Anderson - a largely derided or simply dismissed director - is a man preoccupied. His career can be looked at like someone obsessively playing a video game over and over. His first feature, Mortal Kombat, … Continue reading Why I Love… #124: Resident Evil: Retribution

Why I Love… #123: A Touch of Zen

Year: 1970 Director: King Hu Stars: Shi Jun, Xu Feng, Bai Ying Journeying back and forth along the timeline of cinema you can end up with some surprising contrasts. The last film to feature in this series was Tsai Ming-liang's Goodbye, Dragon Inn; as perfect an example of modern 'slow cinema' as one could identify. … Continue reading Why I Love… #123: A Touch of Zen

Minutiae: The Beginning of Post Tenebras Lux

It's easy to feel crushingly demotivated as 2021 begins, especially here in the UK, where COVID cases are at an all-time high, most of us are in a kind of faulty lockdown and the actualisation of Brexit feels like the beginning of a years-long winter, Westeros-style. Happy New Year indeed. To try and reignite a … Continue reading Minutiae: The Beginning of Post Tenebras Lux

Minutiae: The Positive Approach to Disability in Cronenberg’s Crash

This week saw the long overdue physical re-issue of David Cronenberg's seminal 1996 film Crash via an extraordinarily lavish Arrow Video release. Replete with hours of extras, it will surely be the definitive release of the film. One of the hallmarks of a true cinematic great is it's ability to reveal new things to you … Continue reading Minutiae: The Positive Approach to Disability in Cronenberg’s Crash

Review: The Woman Who Ran

Director: Hong Sang-soo Stars: Kim Min-hee, Song Seon-mi, Seo Young-hwa South Korean director Hong Sang-soo often feels to me like a modern day Éric Rohmer. His films are similarly small in scale, focusing on miniature comedies and dramas within small social microclimates. He's also similarly prolific, churning out multiple efforts a year sometimes. His are … Continue reading Review: The Woman Who Ran

Review: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Director: George C Wolfe Stars: Chadwick Boseman, Viola Davis, Glynn Turman On 28th August this year the world stopped at the news Chadwick Boseman had died. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom arrives now on Netflix labored with the weight of containing the last performance of this firebrand young actor, taken from us just as he was … Continue reading Review: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Review: Education

Director: Steve McQueen Stars: Kenyah Sandy, Sharlene Whyte, Naomi Ackie Steve McQueen's Small Axe series of films comes to a bittersweet close with what appears to be his most personal tale - and possibly the most personally motivated piece of work in his career thus far. Throughout the strand, McQueen has spotlighted institutions that have failed … Continue reading Review: Education

Review: Liberté

Director: Albert Serra Stars: Iliana Zabeth, Helmut Berger, Marc Susini Consisting in the main of a furtive, debauched orgy in the moonlit French woods toward the end of Louis XVI's reign - conducted by libertines expelled from his court - Albert Serra's Liberté was largely rejected at Cannes in 2019 but has recently surfaced for … Continue reading Review: Liberté

The Best of 2020

The top ten Portrait of a Lady on FireNever Rarely Sometimes AlwaysEmaBeanpoleA Hidden LifeLovers RockOverseasDick Johnson is DeadRelicAn Easy Girl     Film Of The YearPortrait of a Lady on Fire Céline Sciamma's fourth directorial effort is some kind of masterpiece. The initially diffident, then slow-thawing relationship between painter, Marianne (Noémie Merlant), and subject, Héloïse … Continue reading The Best of 2020

Review: Alex Wheatle

Director: Steve McQueen Stars: Sheyi Cole, Jonathan Jules, Robbie Gee One of the points I wanted to cover (but skipped for the sake of relative brevity) in my review of Red, White and Blue was how important music remained to the storytelling; as vital an element as any in Steve McQueen's milestone Small Axe series. In last … Continue reading Review: Alex Wheatle

Review: Swallow

Director: Carlo Mirabella-Davis Stars: Haley Bennet, Denis O'Hare, Elizabeth Marvel Around the turn of the last century, a popular 'exhibit' at a touring freakshow would be the 'geek'; a person willing to eat anything at all - living, inanimate - to the delight and revulsion of incredulous spectators. The shock of this disturbing impulse - … Continue reading Review: Swallow