• Rebecca

    Rebecca

    ★★

    Huge bbc boxing day production energy, and can't get over the absolute comedy of Ben Wheatley making a film about the horror of living in the shadow of your predecessor that was doomed to live in the shadow of its 1940 predecessor. Existing in the same world as Hitchcock's version and Phantom Thread - as good a refashioning of Rebecca as we're going to get - this was such an awful idea in the first place, and Wheatley was never going to do anything interesting with it. Still kind of fun in parts though, especially when Kristin Scott Thomas is on the scene.

  • Hillbilly Elegy

    Hillbilly Elegy

    ★½

    During and in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, venture capitalist J.D. Vance’s best-selling memoir Hillbilly Elegy, about his rural Appalachian upbringing, was seized upon by critics across the political spectrum as supposedly valuable insight into the white working class and its role in the rise of Donald Trump. A lot has changed in four years, but that’s how long it’s taken the film industry to pump out the mandatory adaptation, with Ron Howard on directorial duty.

    Vance’s book…

  • Donnie Darko

    Donnie Darko

    ★★★½

    Even as I could feel myself falling slightly out of love on this watch - a lot of the screenplay grates in its obviousness - there's still something genius about the film as a whole. The director’s cut is so useless because it implies that Donnie Darko is a puzzle box to be solved (and then solves it for us) rather than a shapeshifting crisis of adolescence (cultural, sexual, spiritual, psychological, ethical) that needs to be felt to be understood,…

  • Jurassic Park

    Jurassic Park

    ★★★

    A film about an evil capitalist’s attempt to master and commodify nature being foiled by dino fury… except it’s not really that, because Spielberg has so much sympathy for h̶i̶m̶s̶e̶l̶f̶ Richard Attenborough’s character that he can’t bring himself to be seriously critical, and instead directs all his thematic interest towards the dull (borderline insane) arc where Sam Neil learns to love kids. On the other hand, Spielberg does direct the shit out of the scarier scenes, and the animatronics are still incredible. I wonder what Martin ‘Theme Parks’ Scorsese thinks of this movie.

  • Elegy to the Visitor from the Revolution

    Elegy to the Visitor from the Revolution

    ★★★

    Had such a great time prepping for my film class' session on slow cinema last week, especially thinking on the topic of boredom. I realise this sounds like a hilariously backhanded compliment to slap onto a review of a Lav Diaz film, but I really do feel like I've come to terms with a certain guilt that I was somehow a Bad Film Person for finding elements of slow cinema boring. Slow obviously ≠ boring, but I think there's a…

  • Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

    Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

    ★★½

    Running anxiety of comedians in the trump era is (was?) that we’re living in a world beyond satire, that nothing could possibly match up to the ridiculousness of our political reality. I’m gonna call bullshit on that, because I’ve seen some brilliant satire come out of the states in the last four years. But it’s certainly true you can no longer just punch down at the most obvious targets and slap the satire sticker on it. For the most part,…

  • The Adventures of Tintin

    The Adventures of Tintin

    ★★★½

    Not particularly faithful to the spirit of Hergé's comics - which is fine, because they're really not all that cinematic - but a great excuse for Spielberg to do a very hyper Indiana Jones. The script provides some great comic moments, and I adored the whole Bagghar sequence, which is Spielberg at his kinetic best. Shame it rushes the ending so badly tho.

  • One Man and His Shoes

    One Man and His Shoes

    ★★★½

    The approach this doc takes is brilliant: bait the audience in with a Netflix-esque history of the Air Jordan phenomenon, and then (without a loud 'gotcha!' moment) turn it into a smart, tragic case study of consumerism run rampant. I think it leaves the shift too late; the first hour or so is solid but has too many voices repeating the same thing. And I also think it ends just as it's on the cusp of asking some really interesting…

  • Time

    Time

    ★★★★½

    “What I remember more than anything was not wanting to fail, and we had become desperate. Desperate people do desperate things. It’s as simple as that.”

    “What I clearly understood is that our prison system is nothing more than slavery. And I see myself as an abolitionist.”

    Not much to say that the film (or rather, its subject Fox Rich) doesn't already put so eloquently. The editing is masterful, managing to make 80 minutes feel like a lifetime of waiting, without ever dragging.

  • Delia Derbyshire: The Myths And Legendary Tapes

    Delia Derbyshire: The Myths And Legendary Tapes

    An interesting approach to a fascinating subject: talking-head interviews + a dramatised account of Derbyshire's time with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop + Cosey Fanni Tutti (!) experimenting with some of Derbyshire's (recently discovered) tapes. But the balance isn't right, and so its difficult to get either factual information *or* dramatic weight *or* anything worthwhile from Tutti. Caroline Catz is great as Derbyshire though.

  • End of Summer

    End of Summer

    Genuinely really nice to fall asleep to

  • Possessor

    Possessor

    ★★★

    With its graphic body horror and interest in the psychological consequences of unholy interactions between technology and flesh, Possessor could have sprung from the mind of David Cronenberg. Actually, this film’s writer-director credit goes to his son, Brandon Cronenberg. The family filmmaking resemblance is so strong, it’s almost as though David has transplanted himself into a younger body…

    Possessor begins with a young woman (Gabrielle Graham) jamming some sort of device into her skull, entering a fancy private function and…