Monday, 5 December 2016

The Black Hen by Min Bahadur Bham - Review

Nepal seems to be having something of a moment on the big screen, with Hollywood blockbusters like Everest (2015) and Doctor Strange (2016) setting scenes in the Himalayan nation as a novel new arena for adventure and spiritual self-discovery. But that’s for tourists. Here’s the real deal. The debut feature from director Min Bahadur Bham won Best Film during Critics Week at last year’s Venice Film Festival and proves to be an accomplished meditation on its creator’s childhood growing up amidst the Maoist Insurgency, a conflict tat saw the country drawn into a bloody civil war between 1996 and 2006.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Certain Women by Kelly Reichardt - Review

The opening image of director Kelly Reichardt’s new film is mountains looming over the barren landscape of Montana and then the sound and light of a train enters frame to slowly take command of the screen. It signals an entrance, or rather, an intrusion into a quiet and forgotten world. 

Certain Women is about observing the most intimate, and insignificantly significant moments in the mundane everyday. The audience is an intruding voyeur as Reichardt shows us a window into three lonely and belittled Montana women’s lives that aren't seen or heard by anyone else.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Moonlight by Barry Jenkins - Review

The most critically acclaimed film of the year is a triptych tale about a black boy who grows up in Miami. Writer-director Barry Jenkins sets his coming of age tale in a dangerous world with fragility overwhelmed by the threats of a poisoned environment. The result is a film of sensitivity that feels suppressed by hate and gives a sense that our lead character, Chiron, is missing his life. We see his world in brief chapters as a young boy (Alex Hibbert), a teenager (Ashton Sanders), and a man (Trevante Rhodes). As a kid and teen he grapples with being gay in an environment of hyper masculinity.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Nocturnal Animals by Tom Ford - Review

Adapted from Austin Wright 1993 novel Tony and Susan, Nocturnal Animals marks the return of Tom Ford in his directorial guise after a seven year absence. Ford’s second foray into directing sees him taking on an oeuvre which at times seems almost unfilmable. The film is a dense piece with a triple stranded narrative, which owes as much to Hitchcock as it does to the 1950s melodramas of Douglas Sirk. It is a visually stunning tale of getting your own back, and doing so with class and without any regrets.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Shin Godzilla by Hideaki Anno & Shinji Higuchi

Japan’s latest Godzilla entry is a reboot much like Gareth Edwards' near great 2014 blockbuster. While that film evoked Spielberg creature features like Jaws and Jurassic Park, Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi's interpretation is in line with Japan's original vision of an all-powerful god-like monster. Toho Studios have answered the call of the west with "actualllllly, this is Godzilla" and they've put the "God" back in Godzilla. Shin Godzilla, which translates to “True Godzilla,” has the style, scale, and creature effects that recall the best films in Toho Studios kaiju collection.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Doctor Strange by Scott Derrickson

In Doctor Strange, a gifted and wealthy surgeon, Stephen Strange finds his life turned upside down after a terrible car accident that leaves him badly injured and with his career ruined in the process. Upon hearing about a guru who might be able to help him, he travels to Nepal only to be thrusted into a world of magic in which he has to somehow reluctantly takes centre stage, again those who wants to unleash the forces of darkness on Earth.

Monday, 17 October 2016

London Film Festival 2016: Taekwondo by Marco Berger & Martín Farina

Marco Berger has a been a little hit and miss with his output, achieving acclaim with Plan B (2009) the and particularly the dream-like, Hitchockian Absent (2011). However his previous film Hawaii (2015) was rather forgettable . He is back with Taekwondo, which he co-directed with Martín Farina.

In Taekwondo, Fernando (Lucas Papa) invites a new acquaintance from his Taekwondo's class, Germán (Gabriel Epstein) to a lad's holidays in a villa with all his male friends he has known for years. Germán is gay and he is careful to keep it hidden from all the boisterous and laddish guests, while wondering about Fernando's true intentions because of the mixed signals he is receiving from him.