• American Honey

    American Honey

    ★★★★★

    Ahhhh, my body is still feeling the phantom pull of the groovy credits song (wasn't that just perfect? if the movie a kind of make-shift musical where the songs are personal selections by characters to fuel them, encourage them, soothe them on their sprawling journey the immediate nondiagesis of this cut feels like a definite signal of the end and its 70s throwback smoothness and play on the simple pop sentiments of the time while being totally earnest is just…

  • La Dolce Vita

    La Dolce Vita

    ★★★★★

    *brings quivering lips up to ravaged finger tips, kisses them, and sobs painfully* b-b-bellisimo..

  • The Piano Teacher

    The Piano Teacher

    ★★★★½

    Michael Haneke provokes in me a very beautiful and hilarious mixture of terror, bewildered laughter and resignation (possibly in that order) which is like – in my head – the sound of me sighing accompanied by a slide whistle, punctuated by the title card: MORE THAN YOU BARGAINED FOR. That applies to the audience and the characters, but most of all the latter, the poor sods; in this case Isabelle Huppert a severely sexually repressed, or more accurately SUPPRESSED piano…

  • Walkabout

    Walkabout

    ★★★★½

    desert walks turn into slow heavy tedious funeral marches but Australian Outback maintains this hallucinogenic fever pitch which is down to Nic Roeg, obviously, his environments take on a dubious physical quality and landscapes become psychicscapes and in the desert the heat shimmer only makes it all the more tenuous: his camera is like a satellite turning them into pitifully creatures; it’s documentarian, roving for fine details; it’s like the eye in a dream capturing something elusive; his infamous editing…

  • Swimming with Sharks

    Swimming with Sharks

    ★★

    Tepid waters with sharks incapable of biting, sharks in fact who are rubber, and the water is of the stale cooling bath variety. Really, there is no bite to this film, and I think the fact that Kevin Spacey is can’t conduct himself with any menace or brutality or sadism or anything that would make this film alive is indicative of just out airless this film is – it’s like an actor’s workshop playing out a scenario for the first…

  • The Two Faces of January

    The Two Faces of January

    ★★★

    The Patricia Highsmith trademark: sexy people doing not very sexy things. The essence of that though is that the moral ambiguity in the sexual drama, psychological space where desire has left behind society.
    Oscar Issac, Viggo Mortenson and Kirsten Dunst
    theyre perfectly sexy, in fact they all possess this a mystique, in which they all seem indispiutably attractive (though nothing is)) yet not conventionally so, particularly the two guys, but here any strangeness crucial to the dubious quality Highsmith should…

  • Breaking the Waves

    Breaking the Waves

    ★★★★½

    No it's not art's job to be comforting or to let you understand its intentions with certainty but damn this is a spiritually confounding film, because it has the audacity to make God a possible presence, the possibility of intervention not the undisguised act of the director and thereby calling into question the necessity of everything that happens to Emily Watson's character; who by the way is played marvellously; and as imbalanced as Von Trier makes you feel, she secures…

  • Phenomena

    Phenomena

    ★★½

    This film is disaster of narrative incoherence of a 'fuckitlet'sjustmurderthesegoddamnchicksand
    fuckpeopleupwithourfuckedupsecrets' variety but when actually getting around to murder being totally half-hearted and when finally getting around to the secrets being worthless because why are we supposed to care? but the film is not entirely irredeemable, on two counts:

    1) Amid Goblin's throwing-paint-at-walls score is a glimpse at the Dead Man soundtrack, a brief grind and fuzz that echoes the (future) lament of Neil Young's guitar

    and

    2) driving my…

  • Barry Lyndon

    Barry Lyndon

    ★★★★

    Perhaps one of the most gorgeous films ever, a sequence of paintings animated and come to life, breathing, eating, flirting, fucking, duelling, squandering, gambling, POSING (but not shitting, in period films of a more intimate detail i always want to see, or for the film to at least acknowledge the uncomfortable anatomical stuff) but part of that is the problem, the film exists in such stately observation that it doesn't seem to be as alive as it could have been,…

  • The Fisher King

    The Fisher King

    ★★★★★

    Look, it's a film that ends joyously and lovingly with fireworks crackling over a neon-rainbow-windowed 2D-storybook NY Cityscape, 'the end' emblazoned colourfully in the sky; and getting to that point it's never anything less than true. It's a mythical Arthurian heroic narrative colliding with the metallic monstrous metropolis of late 80s/early 90s yuppie New York that becomes the setting for glorious hopeless romanticism and grimy filthy loneliness, shot with Gilliam sweaty paranoid wide-angles and herky jerk motions replete with both…

  • Blue Velvet

    Blue Velvet

    ★★★★★

    We all know the relationship David Lynch has with Dreams; they're his place; the place that is the underground to our waking white picket lives, the place we catch glimpses and hear rumours of but can't seem to ever find...but he does and puts you in them. And then has Dean Stockwell, dappered up, haunted yet haughty face, mime to you Roy Orbison's Dreams in some strange welcome party to this bizarre dimension of human experience; it's one of the…

  • Midnight Special

    Midnight Special

    ★★★

    Jeff Nichols is a deeply immersed in the local Americana kinda guy, so Midnight Special is disappointing when it takes those environs and just turns them into postcard backdrops for an ambient mood-piece take on the ol (sigh, yes) Spielbergian cross-country family-and-the-greater-forces-that-beset-them narrative.

    There are 2 things obviously wrong there.

    1) the americana that was tangible in Nichols’ previous works is now just flavour
    2) ambient Spielberg doesn’t work because he knew who his characters were and why they were…