• The Iron Lady

    The Iron Lady

    Mawkish, simplistic, triumphalist, sycophantic, meandering, disjointed, misleading and historically inaccurate.

    I judged The Iron Lady, as much as I was able, on its own merits rather than my personal political views. Wherever you stand on the political spectrum, it's hard to deny that Margaret Thatcher's world was anything less than interesting. For Phyllida Lloyd to have made a dull film about a towering figure of 20th century politics, both in Britain and internationally, is a big achievement. The tragic thing…

  • Dancing in Dulais

    Dancing in Dulais

    ★★★

    Echoing the one other review for this, Dancing in Dulais is less an actual film and more a short documentation of a brief time in British social history that was (until recently, anyway) mostly forgotten. I find it hard to be critical of a film's lack of finesse or technical accomplishment when the person behind the camera seemingly had neither as their goal. It's also interesting to see the real people behind many of Pride's characters creating lasting bonds which…

  • The Shout

    The Shout

    ★★★★½

    The titular shout, mercifully employed only once during The Shout ("merciful" because any overuse would have lessened its impact) is perhaps the most horrific noise will you ever hear. A sound so un-human and ear-shatteringly intense that you'll jump out of your skin the second it rises up and bellows from Mr. Crossley's lungs.

    With or without the concept of a sound horrific enough to kill all those within earshot, The Shout makes for uncomfortable viewing. Who wouldn't feel unsettled…

  • Around China with a Movie Camera

    Around China with a Movie Camera

    ★★★★

    I expected Around China with a Movie Camera to be interesting, but I didn't expect it to be moving. Perhaps it was the effect of viewing moving images of a far-off time and place, of people who have undoubtedly long since died, combined with a score of ethereally beautiful classical Chinese music, or perhaps it was sadness at the loss of the world on display here, with its abundance of ancient ways of life, architecture and landscapes now lost to…

  • Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

    Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

    Celebrities, drunkenness, product placement, fashion and general inanity. Hilarious. Follows in the footsteps of Sex and the City and Mamma Mia in appealing to, shall we say, a certain demographic.

  • Frank

    Frank

    ★★★

    Highly watchable and quite heartfelt yet quirky for the sake of being quirky and completely safe. A mainstream, corporate, Pitchfork-cum-Mumford and Sons idea of what outsider culture and alternative music is all about, replete with hashtags and a visit to SXSW.

  • Don't Go in the House

    Don't Go in the House

    ★★★

    Don't do what Donny Don't does!

    Chaining up naked ladies in your metal-encased basement is an unacceptable pastime (although playing your disco records loudly while jumping on the furniture is a little more benign).

    It's a strange world: despite the braying of cultural conservatives that "moral standards" have slipped inexorably in depictions of both sex and violence in the last few decades, this is only a half-truth. In reality, while depictions of generalised violence are undoubtedly more visceral and intense,…

  • The Valley

    The Valley

    ★★★½

    I watched this film not out of an obsessive love for Pink Floyd as many seem to have (I've never been a fan), but out of a fascination with the island of New Guinea. The fact that this vast island, with its impenetrable jungles, swamps, gorges, hidden rivers and unconquered peaks floating above fecund cloud forest, has remained largely unexplored is a miracle in these modern times (although the loggers are rapidly moving in), and that is what makes it…

  • High-Rise

    High-Rise

    Ballardian atmosphere + Ben Wheatley are surely the things that celluloid dreams are made of. He's yet to make a film that isn't frighteningly dark, confoundingly experimental or uniquely British (ie. not some clichéd, stuffy nonsense featuring Hugh Grant or Colin Firth). Based on the plot, and simply because of the modernist, lofty environment and 70s-futuristic concept, the first film that came to mind by way of comparison is David Cronenberg's Shivers, although perhaps High-Rise will feature fewer raging nymphomaniacs. Perhaps.

  • The Dictator

    The Dictator

    ½

    Excruciating, insufferable, execrable, shit.

  • The Borderlands

    The Borderlands

    ★★★★

    From the hokey poster, reminiscent of a plethora of religion-based horror yarns of the last decade, to the promise of another "found footage" horror film, I couldn't help but raise an eyebrow when I first came across The Borderlands and its many good reviews.

    The plot is agreeable, and the nagging question of "why didn't they stop filming and leave immediately?" that plagues other found footage films like the hounds of hell is given a plausible answer here. What really…