Film Reviews

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The Florida Project

December 15, 2017

Jean Baudrillard – not long ago the most fashionable French philosopher in the English-speaking world – once suggested that the purpose of Disneyland was to make Americans believe the rest of the United States was not Disneyland. He phrased it a little differently, but the gist of his argument was that life in America had … More


Wonder Wheel

December 8, 2017

“Oh God!” says Kate Winslet, towards the end of Wonder Wheel, “Spare me the bad drama!” Alas, by then it’s too late. We’ve just endured one hour and 40 minutes of dialogue so wooden and scenes so hopelessly stagey, no actor could survive such a catastrophe. It’s been a long time since I went into … More


The Disaster Artist

December 2, 2017

Tommy Wiseau was not your standard Hollywood male lead. With long black hair, an accent that sounded like Count Dracula, and about six studded belts, he looked like an aging refugee from a heavy metal band. In his mind, however, Tommy was right up there with Brad Pitt and Leo DiCaprio. He was horrified to … More


Goodbye Christopher Robin & The Teacher

November 24, 2017

Two films released this week look at the damage that may be inflicted on children by parents and teacher. Goodbye Christopher Robin shows us how A.A.Milne virtually destroyed his son’s life by making him the hero of the best-selling Winnie the Pooh stories. The Teacher, set in Bratislawa in 1983, is a much darker affair, … More


Lucky

November 17, 2017

If films were pieces of music the standard Hollywood blockbuster would be a symphony of the most bombastic persuasion. Lucky is a sonata for harmonica. The film is the directorial debut for character actor, John Carroll Lynch, familiar from movies such as Fargo (1996) and The Founder (2016). He’s chosen to begin with something small … More


Detroit

November 10, 2017

If ever a film were poised on the edge of the great divide that exists in the United States today, it’s Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit. Like Ava DuVernay’s Selma (2015) it draws on the turbulent history of American race relations to make a not-so-subtle point about the present. After almost two-and-a-half hours, one leaves the cinema … More


Loving Vincent

November 2, 2017

Loving Vincent is one of those films that leans heavily on its novelty value. Alan Crosland’s The Jazz Singer was the first talkie; Alexander Sokurov’s The Russian Ark was the first feature to be shot in a single take; Thor:Ragnarok is the world’s first Kiwi superhero comedy; Loving Vincent is the world’s first fully painted … More


Russian Resurrection Film Festival 2017

October 27, 2017

Why Russian Resurrection Film Festival? Is it a reference to Tolstoy’s famous novel, or to the revival of the Russian film industry in the post-Soviet era? A bit of both, I imagine, as the 14th RRFF is preocuppied with history and the literary classics. This year’s festival features a retrospective of films by Andrei Konchalovsky … More


Thor: Ragnarok & The Snowman

October 20, 2017

At the beginning of this week I was looking forward to The Snowman, based on a gripping crime novel by Norway’s Jo Nesbø. I had fewer expectations for another Scandinavian saga – Thor:Ragnarok, the third installment of the popular Marvel superhero franchise. By the end of the week my expectations had been trashed so effectively … More


Blade Runner 2049

October 13, 2017

Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) is the epitome of a cult classic. It didn’t set the box office on fire at first appearance, but with every year its grimy vision of the future reappears in one film after another. If Scott had kept possession of the original sets he could be running a useful little … More


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