• Italian Studies

    Italian Studies

    ★½

    Italian Studies is a dense, fruitless blend of better and more notable films. 

    This is barely 70 minutes long and won’t last much longer than 70 minutes in your memory. Director Adam Leon tries to create a confusing, barren representation of New York City as he creates a platform to confront the character of Alina and her disassociation with the world around her. What culminates is a film that feels entirely empty whether it was intended to or not. The…

  • Here Are the Young Men

    Here Are the Young Men

    ★½

    Here Are the Young Men is a messy, angst-filled coming of age film. 

    This almost entirely misses the mark, Macken has some interesting ideas here but his ambitions don’t translate well on screen. The film follows teenagers Matthew, Rez and Kearney and explores their quick introduction into adulthood. The film entirely depends on the characters being believable and understandable, and they aren’t. Matthew is a messy character, lacking in substance with too much going on, Kearney is used as a…

  • Airplane Mode

    Airplane Mode

    A dreadfully unfunny and insufferable look at “influencer” culture. Airplane Mode fails as a comedy and as a piece of melodrama. 

    It’s not unusual for Netflix to feature young protagonists with a heightened entitlement to explore themes of generational balance and difference. Airplane Mode is a particularly bad example of this, the protagonist is one of the most obnoxious, entitled and unlikeable characters in the history of Netflix, which is really saying something. There isn’t a single character or plot…

  • Sugar Daddy

    Sugar Daddy

    ★★★½

    Kelly McCormack’s excellently profound performance as the disoriented but earnest Darren allows for Sugar Daddy’s aloofness to be grounded in understanding. 

    This is a small film with big intentions and a lot to say. It’s a film about ambition, lost ambition and reclusive desire, while fronting an enigmatic character study and blurring the line between artistic expression and mundane life. It’s a deeply uncomfortable watch, director Wendy Morgan crafts an enchanting, disturbing atmosphere that facilitates convincing relationships, interesting thematic discussions…

  • See for Me

    See for Me

    ★★½

    See for me has the makings of an inventive, exciting and original thriller, but unfortunately proves to be pedestrian. 

    The concept here is interesting, it’s essentially a home invasion thriller with a consequential twist. Sophie’s blindness and her need for guidance from Kelly is a fresh and effective idea, and should offer the well established thriller genre some healthy aversion and new tricks. However, the twist runs out of steam fairly quickly and the story proves to be uneventful and…

  • Munich: The Edge of War

    Munich: The Edge of War

    ★★★

    Munich: The Edge of War is an intelligent, immersive and convincing espionage film that manages to engross despite the story’s foreseeable and articulate nature. 

    Boasting an impressive ensemble cast with household names such as George Mackay and Jeremy Irons, ‘Munich’ has a lot going for it. From a historical standpoint the film is clear and professional, and the production value is admirable. There are a few extremely thrilling scenes in which the film and the narrative possibilities presented start to…

  • Belfast

    Belfast

    ★★½

    Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast is a deeply personal film observed through the innocence of his avatar played by Jude Hill. Right from the opening sequence of modern day Belfast the films intentions become clear, this is a blinkered love letter to the memory of a city, and nothing more. 

    Belfast is tonally inconsistent in its best moments as Branagh wrestles with his memories of childhood. The film isn’t without merit, we’re treated with some impressive visuals throughout and the contrasting use…

  • WarHunt

    WarHunt

    ★★

    Warhunt is a cluttered hybrid of DTV action set pieces, mythic horror and war time drama. While there are individual moments of class, nothing comes together effectively. 

    Not only does the hybrid not come together well but the exploration of genre is weak on all fronts. The action is sporadic and not very memorable, the horror isn’t built up well and isn’t particularly frightening and the war time setting can feel like a misused gimmick. Mickey Rourke has the type…

  • Stalker

    Stalker

    ★★½

    Stalker has many faults but had me engaged up until it’s final twist at which point the film fell apart. 

    I was unexpectedly having a good time with this, it managed to subvert my expectations continuously and it was consistently tense despite the films flaws. It’s one that almost presents itself as predictable in order to subvert expectation, and up until the final act the story progression was working. The film’s lead Vincent Van Horn gives a solid performance and…

  • Nomadland

    Nomadland

    ★★★★

    After finally getting around to last years best picture winner I’m pleased to say my experience with Nomadland seems fairly universal. 

    On many levels Nomadland is a universal experience, a commanding, ubiquitous and ardent effort from Chloe Zhao. The mix of seasoned actors and authentic nomads proves entirely conceivable and pure. The critical acclaim and award success for the cinematography is entirely deserved, the film beautifully captures the stunning, desolate landscape of the US. Also deserved is the acclaim of…

  • The Card Counter

    The Card Counter

    ★★½

    The Card Counter is familiar territory for Paul Schrader, and unfortunately on this occasion his refined thematic work failed to captivate me. 

    This doesn’t have an awful lot to offer to the focused filmography of Paul Schrader. William Tell is the typical austere Schrader night wanderer showing very little change from the lone protagonists we’ve seen since Taxi Driver. It’s not like Schrader can’t revisit his well established themes in effective ways anymore, as a character study this isn’t dissimilar…

  • Old

    Old

    ★½

    M Night’s follow up to finishing the Unbreakable Trilogy is a disorderly deluge of ideas, providing some true inadvertent Shyamalan fun. 

    This is exactly what I wanted from M Night, a complete mess with a lot of entertainment value. I was excited to see M Night’s return to shooting on film and visually the film does not disappoint, it’s nice to look at even if the things you’re looking at make no sense whatsoever. There is such a plethora of…