Film Reviews

Winter Sleep

November 22, 2014
Melisa Sözen in 'Winter Sleep' (2014)

For a film that goes for 3 hours and 16 minutes, Winter Sleep was a surprisingly popular winner of the Palme D’Or at Cannes this year. Although the story gets anchored in intense conversations that may run for 15-20 minutes, it has a undeniable touch of greatness. After watching his previous effort, Once Upon a … More


Interstellar

November 22, 2014
Matthew McConaughey in 'Interstella' (2014)

After the intense, inward-looking focus of a film such as Winter Sleep, it’s almost disconcerting to turn to Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, a genre-scrambling science fiction blockbuster that poses the usual big questions about the future of our planet and the species. It is also an old-fashioned Hollywood drama about a hero torn between the love … More


Finding Vivian Maier

November 15, 2014
Vivian Maier, Self Portrait, Highland Park, 1960s

Previously unknown until a few years ago, street photographer, Vivian Maier (1926-2009), is almost in danger of over-exposure. Having never exhibited a picture during her lifetime, over the past few years Maier has been the subject of non-stop shows in many parts of the world. Last month her work was shown for the first time … More


My Old Lady

November 15, 2014
Maggie Smith in 'My Old Lady' (2014)

Some films betray their stage origins too easily, some employ an all-star cast to paper over the cracks in a script or a story. My Old Lady might be found guilty on both counts. As the directorial debut of well-known playwright and occasional screenwriter, Israel Horovitz, it suggests the transition from theatre to cinema can … More


Two Days, One Night

November 8, 2014
Marion Cotillard in 'Two Days, One Night' (2014)

Two Days, One Night by Belgian filmmakers, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardennes took out the major prize at this year’s Sydney Film Festival. It’s an indication of the socially conscious tastes of the jury that they should have preferred this slab of uncompromising realism to the unique experiment of Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, or the irresistible charm … More


The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet

November 8, 2014
Kyle Catlett in 'The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet' (2013)

Jean-Pierre Jeunet belongs to the other extreme of Francophone cinema to the Dardennes. His films are modern fairy tales with characters that are impossibly charming or grotesque. One of his favourite actors, Dominique Pinon, who has a small role in The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet, manages to be both charming and grotesque. Jeunet’s films … More


Whiplash

November 1, 2014
J.K Simmons & Miles Teller in 'Whiplash' (2014)

A movie about a young man studying to be a jazz drummer may sound like an entirely resistible proposition, but Whiplash is no lame musical comedy. Rookie writer-director, Damien Chazelle, has said he wanted to make a film about music that was more like a horror or gangster movie. Without including a single ghoul or … More


Kill the Messenger

November 1, 2014
Jeremy Renner in 'Kill The Messenger' (2014)

One might assume the public is willing to believe anything bad about the CIA, which has become a byword for clandestine criminality in the modern world, but Kill the Messenger suggests otherwise. It tells the true story of Gary Webb, an investigative reporter on the San Jose Mercury News, who breaks a once-in-a-lifetime scoop about … More


Living is Easy with Eyes Closed

October 25, 2014
Javier Cámara in 'Living is Easy With Eyes Closed' (2013)

Since the end of the Franco era Spanish filmmakers have made many attempts to engage with that time of backwardness and isolation. The Movida that began in the late 1970s, best exemplified by the anarchic sex comedies of Pedro Almodóvar, was an explosive reaction to the greyness of the preceding decades. When the shock waves … More


A Walk Among the Tombstones

October 25, 2014
Liam Neeson in 'A Walk Among the Tombstones' (2014)

Lawrence Block is a crime writer whose style seems made for the movies. Flat descriptive passages are punctuated by bursts of terse, witty dialogue. After a few pages the film is already rolling in your head. Add Liam Neeson as Block’s ex-alco, ex-NYPD, private dick, Matthew Scudder, and the package seems close to perfect. All … More


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