Review: Happening

Director: Audrey Diwan Stars: Anamaria Vartolomei, Luàna Bajrami, Fabrizio Rongione  In Audrey Diwan's essential drama Happening (a.k.a. L'Événement), it's protagonist's world is the centre of everything. The fulcrum of every scene. Diwan uses handheld camerawork and deep focus to keep us within the realms of Anne's (Anamaria Vartolomei) persistent mind. Whenever she's at her most …

Review: Agnes

Director: Mickey Reece Stars: Molly C. Quinn, Jake Horowitz, Ben Hall ***Warning, this review contains spoilers, and I would recommend viewing the film with as little foreknowledge as possible*** Sick of the tropes and predictability of cheapo exorcism flicks? So is Mickey Reece. One of the rising stars of the American indie scene, Reece has …

Review: The Northman

Director: Robert Eggers Stars: Alexander Skarsgård, Anya Taylor-Joy, Claes Bang The cinema of Robert Eggers is hard and earthen. An arena of of myth and madness fashioned from wood, stone and mud. Three for three he has brought us visions of the past cloaked in moods of dark mysticism entwined with the most exacting period …

Review: Benedetta

Director: Paul Verhoeven Stars: Charlotte Rampling, Virginie Efira, Louise Chevillotte There are notable collisions within Paul Verhoeven's inevitably scandalous Benedetta. In the spirit of Pier Paolo Pasolini, Walerian Borowczyk and a veritable army of others, Verhoeven resurrects the beleaguered spirit of the '70s Euro nunsploitation picture. The sacred and profane assault one another. But there are …

Review: Great Freedom

Director: Sebastian Meise Stars: Franz Rogowski, Georg Friedrich, Anton von Lucke The box. The hole. Movies and TV have given us many iterations of the darkest depths of solitary confinement in prisons, from Andy Dufresne blinking up into the warden's callous eyes in The Shawshank Redemption to the salacious torture chamber shared by Pam Grier …

Review: The Novice

Director: Lauren Hadaway Stars: Isabelle Fuhrman, Dilano, Jonathan Cherry Alex Dall (Isabelle Fuhrman) is in a hurry. A freshman at university with more than a touch of competitiveness about her, she joins the campus' novice rowing team at the start of the school year and quickly falls into a pattern of increasingly intense and obsessive …

Review: The Worst Person in the World

Director: Joachim Trier Stars: Renate Reinsve, Anders Danielsen Lie, Herbert Nordrum Julie (Renae Reinsve) is a flake. Careering toward thirty, she's flitted from medical school to studying psychology, with an aside taking courses in photography. Nothing has stuck. This sense of flight exists, similarly, in her romantic aspirations. She's prone to breaking things off before …

Review: Fresh

Director: Mimi Cave Stars: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Sebastian Stan, Andrea Bang Steve (Sebastian Stan) is a prosperous doctor with a nice house. Chic wall art. Stylish design flourishes (he has doors that make rooms look like paddocks). He can cook. He's handsome and charming (in an American way, at least). But he has little in the …

Review: A Banquet

Director: Ruth Paxton Stars: Sienna Guillory, Jessica Alexander, Lindsay Duncan There is, both ironically and fittingly, a lot to digest when it comes to Ruth Paxton's spiky debut feature A Banquet. In it's strenuous cold open, we're presented a brief portrait of long-term care. Holly (Sienna Guillory) has been looking after her terminally sick husband …

Review: Red Rocket

Director: Sean Baker Stars: Simon Rex, Suzanna Son, Ethan Darbone Houston. Dallas. Austin. These are the world-famous cities of Texas. Whatever happened, then, to Texas City? The titular metropolis of one of the most iconic states in America (for better or worse) has been subsumed by it's more prosperous brethren. Presented here in Sean Baker's …

Review: Kimi

Director: Steven Soderbergh Stars: Zoë Kravitz, Byron Bowers, Devin Ratray Pandemic or not, the work of Steven Soderbergh continues apace, whether his efforts achieve high profile distribution or not. Few even know that he put out a slick little caper flick starring Benecio del Toro and Don Cheadle last year. Where other auteurs lament or …

Review: Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy

Director: Ryusuke Hamaguchi Stars: Kotone Furukawa, Katsuki Mori, Aoba Kawai Hot on the (w)heels of Ryusuku Hamguchi's crossover international success Drive My Car, the rising star of Japanese cinema presents a more modest but no less rich triptych. Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy is an anthology piece, comprising of three tales of love, misunderstanding and happenstance, all …

Review: Flee

Director: Jonas Poher Rasmussen While not quite revolutionary in it's amalgamation of animation and documentary (we live in a world in which 2008's Waltz with Bashir - among others - exist), nevertheless, Jonas Poher Rasmussen's empathetic shout from the fringes rings as a necessary and beautifully crafted experiment with the possibilities of the form. The …

Review: Parallel Mothers

Director: Pedro Almodóvar Stars: Penélope Cruz, Milena Smit, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón Having played a supporting role in Almodóvar's last film - the well-received Pain & Glory - Penélope Cruz takes centre stage for Parallel Mothers, giving her best performance since Volver some 15 years ago. Cruz plays photographer Janis, who falls pregnant following an affair with an archaeologist …