• Fair Play

    Fair Play

    ★★★★

    Fair Play is an examination of competition within a relationship. Focusing on a couple working in the same office, it becomes about gender dynamics both at work and in life. Office politics is all a game, yet it creates stresses which are entirely unnecessary. Fair Play captures the intensity of that strain, placing it also within a world of misogyny and bitterness. The film slowly builds and then rapidly escalates. It gets ridiculous and over-the-top very suddenly. Yet that feels…

  • Magazine Dreams

    Magazine Dreams

    ★★★½

    Magazine Dreams is a fascinating character study about a flawed man. He's unwell and angry, but trying to work to improve himself. Yet what Magazine Dreams descends into is a kind of self-destruction. It plays like a Schrader tragedy, focusing on masculinity falling to delusion and obsession. Yet Magazine Dreams is very sympathetic to the lead and unwilling to be too cruel. It doesn't commit to its darkest ideas, which in a way is boring, though it does allow Magazine…

  • Lost River

    Lost River

    ★★★½

    Lost River is an American fantasy, a visual poem set in a cruel, unfair world. It exists in an odd netherworld, where there is a place and time lost, memories left behind in an underwater town. In the real world Lost River depicts an impoverished, crumbling neighbourhood, but such destruction feels cursed and unnatural. Every character is just referred to by a mononym, creating a world where everyone is partially an unknown. The film exists as a fairy tale, which…

  • Birth/Rebirth

    Birth/Rebirth

    ★★★

    Birth/Rebirth is a genre-bending medical horror that plays with intense drama, offbeat comedy, and a mix of the supernatural and scientific. The premise is interesting, taking some established ideas and placing them in an original combination. The film plays with dark ideas about motherhood and pregnancy, questioning just how far a mother would go to save her child. Similarly Birth/Rebirth is about the ethics of how we can advance science. These two strands come through the motivations of the two…

  • Eileen

    Eileen

    ★★★★

    Eileen is not what you may expect it to be. Set in the 1960s it examines a rough world full of sick and twisted people. It's a film of bad fathers and unhappy households, with abuse and revenge lingering. Yet Eileen presents a way out from that, finding something intimate and warm between two women in a repressed time. Though Eileen is not a love story, it is a film of longing. It's about loneliness and wanting to escape that,…

  • Infinity Pool

    Infinity Pool

    ★★★★

    You're a different person when you're on holiday. Infinity Pool is raw and uncompromised, extreme cinema at its most conceptual and intriguing. It's twisted, but in a way which is both beautiful and cold. Existing in a cryptic foreign land, Infinity Pool is about the selfish desires of Western tourists. It's about criminal hedonism and the fetishisation of other cultures. The lead character is guided by a seductive woman until he begins to question his identity and desires. Infinity Pool

  • Sometimes I Think About Dying

    Sometimes I Think About Dying

    ★★★½

    Sometimes I Think About Dying is a very typical US indie movie in a lot of ways. It's simple and small, focusing on its characters over spectacle. The lead is quiet and socially isolated, navigating the world without knowing quite how to relate to others. She keeps her feelings and thoughts private. For many, myself included, there's something very relatable here. The film also captures the boredom of office work and the repetition of life. It manages to feel very…

  • Little Richard: I Am Everything

    Little Richard: I Am Everything

    ★★★½

    Little Richard: I Am Everything is a solid and thorough documentary. It covers the entire career of Little Richard, though it never has the time to focus on anything in too much detail, which is fine for a film not aiming to unearth new truths. It exists mostly as a series of talking heads, going over the artists who influenced Little Richard and artists he subsequently inspired. There's a big focus on race and sexuality, contextualising his life amidst wider…

  • Babylon

    Babylon

    ★★★★

    Babylon is a big fucking mess. There are so many bad and clumsy edits. The cinematography, with its frequently out-of-focus backgrounds, is garish and irritating. The opening five minutes has an elephant shit on the lens and the ending is a corny montage filled with questionable choices. But my god I fucking loved the experience of watching Babylon. Its three-hour, hyperactive sprawl is so much fun. Every frame of this behemoth is alive and energised. Montage after montage, accompanied by…

  • Empire of Light

    Empire of Light

    ★★

    Empire of Light is a bit of a chore really. It's emotionally inert and devoid of life. Sam Mendes usually directs solid films, but Empire of Light feels like an assembly of talent have turned up without a movie to work on. There's nothing here. The story lurches from one subplot to another, without any cohesion. The writing attempts to be topical and progressive, but that stuff is just a bunch of half-baked tropes rather than anything with value. Mendes…

  • M3GAN

    M3GAN

    ★★½

    M3gan is fine. It's derivative and unoriginal, but completely watchable as a solid horror flick aimed at teenagers. The first hour is pretty dull and there's a lot of corny moments and unconvincing dialogue. Of course, to an extent M3gan is trying to be a bit campy and satirical. But it isn't executed in an interesting way, so it just becomes a formally bland movie unable to make its clichés seem witty or amusing. The satire on modern day parenting…

  • TÁR

    TÁR

    ★★★★

    Todd Field's Tár is an inventive and detailed drama. What I admired about it was its unique and original sensibilities. It feels very connected to the world we live in right now, even though it centres on a world of tradition and classical music. The film's various ambiguities just drops us into scenes without context, collecting the story together through slight references and implied ideas. As a character study it is the classic narrative of the downfall of the successful.…