• Dementia

    Dementia

    ★★★½

    Love the final pan out here to a crowded cityscape of lit windows: everyone living their own personal horror. Expressionist vibes abound in a sometimes-strained noir horror that's at its best rendering this neon LA no city for young women. Inventive and more than a little eerie.

  • The Human Voice

    The Human Voice

    ★★½

    Far too self-consciously clever for its own good; hearing Swinton and Almdóvar intellectualise their choices in the interview released alongside the film—and pretty cheekily used to justify charging full-price for a short—was far more interesting than actually watching the result. It is, at least, a pristine synthesis of their modes; may they soon find a shared project worth the whole €15.

  • Dear Comrades!

    Dear Comrades!

    ★★½

    Just terribly worthy, I thought, the kind of art house effort that feels so self-consciously arty I can't but fall asleep. Konchalovsky's direction leaves much to be desired, his early direction of the mob a major mishandling and several scenes framed in frankly clueless ways. Worse is the script's simplifying of loyalties for dramatic convenience in a way that just never feels sensible. An absolute slog.

  • Supernova

    Supernova

    ★★★

    Inescapably held back here by how little I believed Firth and Tucci were together: maybe it's just my own disbelief unsuspended, but these stars' profile just got in the way of buying into their intimacy. It hardly helps that the film is so relentlessly chaste in its physicality, all heads-on-shoulders and hand-in-hand as if to imply mainstream cinema can get along with gay stories just as long as there isn't any hint of gay sex. Still, both do standout work…

  • Another Round

    Another Round

    ★★★½

    Felt innately Danish to me, an odd thing to say given general cultural ignorance. Vinterberg isn't shy about invoking national iconography and attitudes, though, so it seems implausible he isn't here speaking to a particular national drinking dynamic. As an Irishman, how couldn't I but relate? For all the telegraphed plotting of this one, all its lazily narrow characterisation, it gets something very and movingly right about just how good getting pissed can feel—even when it feels terrible.

  • Intimate Stranger

    Intimate Stranger

    ★★★½

    Gets much from Berliner's wry edits; he has a certain ability to upend the comfortable modes of documentary form with a well-deployed audio cut that questions the assumptions of veracity we tend to project. It's used to less immediate effect here than in Nobody's Business, but it's no less entertaining in unravelling the contradictory reminiscences of family.

  • Crumbs

    Crumbs

    ★★★

    A messy splurge of lo-fi sci-fi ideas, this. Good on the secular worships of modern culture, less so on hanging together all its interesting takes in an engaging cohesive structure. Much to suggest here that Llansó may have something properly special in him.

  • The Last Angel of History

    The Last Angel of History

    ★★★½

    Dense, dynamic, very often quite dizzying: this breakneck docu-drama tour of black culture past and projected feels like Afrofuturism by way of ethnography. Enigmatically inventive in imagining the unconceived; I couldn't have hoped to take it all in from just one viewing.

  • Christmas in July

    Christmas in July

    ★★★½

    Excellent script from Sturges lets loose on class and capitalism; rarely is an inevitable narrative trajectory nonetheless delivered with such capacity to surprise. Dick Powell is an excellent vehicle for all this, his boyish face tweaking the mood with the slightest change of the cheeks. Lavishly entertaining.

  • Nobody's Business

    Nobody's Business

    ★★★★½

    Adored every instant of this, a constant to-and-fro of a film between a subject utterly resistant to profile and a creative insistent his life is worthy of record. That integral tension, and its touching on ideas of impermanence and immortality, would be fascinating enough as an ideological anchor for a film, but it's in the chaotic comedy of this one it reaches something really special. Berliner fils, in directing his father, tunes the film immediately and effectively to just the…

  • Illusions

    Illusions

    ★★★½

    Slight stuffiness can't much diminish the underlying ingenuity of this playful work from Julie Dash, which smartly emulates '40s Hollywood production values—indeed producers' values—en route to undermining them. Sharp, smart stuff here on representation and erasure.

  • Taffin

    Taffin

    ★½

    Somehow made it through all these years on Irish Twitter without seeing the clip for which this one's so infamous. Imagine my delight when Pierce flares up for a meme-making moment I never saw coming. Just dizzyingly bad stuff, can't recommend it highly enough.