20 years ago this week, David Lynch's atypical road movie The Straight Story debuted. It seemed like an outlier in his career (at least on the surface). That trademark 'Lynchian' craziness was tempered for the most part. The narrative fitted its title. A Disney financed U certificate film, it charts the true-life exploits of 73-year-old … Continue reading The Straight Story and Slowing Down
Mean Girls hardly invented the high school movie, but in 2004 it came damned close to perfecting it. That certainly seemed to be the consensus at the time and immediately after. Tina Fey's savvy script took the 'Buffyisms' of Sunnydale and accentuated them; saw the jagged edges of Jawbreaker and smoothed them. Based on a … Continue reading How Fetch: Mean Girls at 15
Stray dogs roam the Californian beaches. Among them strays Bonnie (Candice Rialson); a beautiful blonde, on the run from her domineering, violent and resentful brother. Raphael Nussbaum's 1973 grindhouse classic Pets will follow her through a triptych of sexually charged situations, as the film at large explores themes of possession. Spoilers ahead... Newly reissued in the … Continue reading The Sleazoid Life of Pets
This isn't a contrary piece arguing in favour of Jaws 2 being anywhere near comparable to Steven Spielberg's original blockbuster. It's quite in vogue for certain publications to float such edgelord opinions. These articles make for juicy clickbait, but often serve little purpose beyond that. No, Jeannot Szwarc's obligatory 1978 sequel to the monster smash … Continue reading How Jaws 2 Addresses The Vietnam War
Director: Olivier Assayas Stars: Connie Nielsen, Chloë Sevigny, Gina Gershon Having been wooed by Olivier Assayas' recent output (Personal Shopper and particularly Clouds Of Sils Maria) its been gratifying to find the UK's independent labels responding to a desire to work back through his catalogue. Earlier works have been made available on physical media thanks to … Continue reading Time Capsule: Demonlover
HBO's phenomenal miniseries Chernobyl has recently come to a close. A five-part television drama that has garnered universal acclaim from critics and viewers alike, the show rigorously reconstructed the events that caused the 1986 nuclear reactor explosion and the dramatic and costly clean-up operation. It is, simply, essential viewing. It's 9.7 score on imdb (at … Continue reading The Line Between TV And Film Is Disappearing
This will be an unashamedly personal post. I hope you forgive the indulgence. This week I saw Hirokazu Kore-Eda's After Life in the cinema. This was a semi-big deal for me. Ever since catching Kore-Eda's adorable 2015 feature Our Little Sister on streaming service MUBI some years ago, I have been catching up on the … Continue reading After Life: What Would You Choose?
There are certain things too rich or strong, too full-bodied or intense, to fully appreciate on first approach. We all have these shock encounters in our childhoods, be it our first exposure to whisky, red wine or a blue cheese, as examples. They are at odds with the palette range we were accustomed to, and … Continue reading 180: The Dour Strength of Bastards
Year: 1969 Director: Teruo Ishii Stars: Asao Koike, Masumi Tachibana, Mitsuko Aoi Last week the esteemed independent distributor Arrow Video added Orgies Of Edo to its far-reaching range of curious titles. And while this release has gone without fanfare, it is one worthy of your investigation, especially if you have an interest in cult Japanese … Continue reading The Compelling Contradictions of Orgies Of Edo
Year: 1957 Director: Jacques Tourneur Stars: Dana Andrews, Peggy Cummins, Niall MacGinnis With Halloween fast approaching I, like many others, have upped the horror quota in my viewing habits, revisiting prominent titles as well as exploring far-flung classics. It's taken too long for me to reach back to Jacques Tourneur's Night Of The Demon (aka Curse Of … Continue reading The Improbable Opening of Night Of The Demon
Year: 1974 Director: Tobe Hooper Stars: Marilyn Burns, Gunnar Hansen, Paul A. Partian A boy walks into a house. It's not his house. He's intruding. But its an intrusion out of both curiosity and necessity. The house looks wrong. Just plain wrong. Dark, dank and grimly decorated. A set of dark stairs press on the … Continue reading The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Me
Spurred by the release of Francis Lawrence's tone-deaf spy thriller Red Sparrow, which numbly deploys sexual abuse and exploitation as just-another-plot-mechanic, it felt like time to revisit one of last year's more divisive titles, one I increasingly feel I didn't give a fair shake. A little under six months ago I gave mother! a dismissive two star … Continue reading 180: The Tenacity of mother!
I feel a mix of things writing this, predominantly fear that I am acting prematurely, attempting to organise thoughts that have yet to settle and find coherence. Yet I'm also emboldened by the kind of obsessive enthusiasm that comes with discovery; that sense of having 'found' something that seems culturally vital but that also speaks directly … Continue reading Out 1: A Personal Cinematic Landmark
"Now its dark," Frank Booth sinisterly intones more than once in Blue Velvet as his evil deeds transfix both Jeffrey Beaumount and the audience watching. It's a line of dialogue that - The Straight Story and possibly Dune aside - could act as generic tagline to most of David Lynch's feature work. But for Lynch this takes on … Continue reading Some Kind Of Dream Place: Mulholland Drive In The Cinema
Each summer there's usually a sleeper hit; a mid-to-big budgeted contender for cinematic supremacy that breaks free of the pack and becomes the event of the season. Hollywood invests millions of dollars in increasingly hedged bets to secure their audience's fickle attention. But this year, as the silly summer season draws close to its end, … Continue reading Why Has Nostalgia Become Such Big Business?