Dory

Finding Dory (2016)

First published by Little White Lies “Hi, I’m Dory. I suffer from short-term memory loss.” The words that open Finding Dory may sound like the introduction to an AA meeting, and may neatly recap for us the two most pertinent facts about the identity of the film’s heroine (voiced again by Ellen DeGeneres) – but…

Trek

Star Trek Beyond (2016)

First published by Little White Lies Star Trek Beyond begins with a diplomatic mission gone comically wrong. Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) appears bearing a gift – a relic of an ancient weapon – in a chamber full of aliens, but his hosts misunderstand the Federation’s gesture. Why a weapon? they wonder. If it’s…

Horror Stories

Horror Stories (2012)

This is, more or less, the text of my introduction to the screening of Horror Stories (9 March 2017) as part of Colette Balmain’s series of overlooked K-horror for the Korean Cultural Centre UK.Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this evening’s screening of Horror Stories, the fourth film in Chills and Thrills programme of overlooked genre titles…

Blockbusters

The Dark Knight (2008)

First published by Little White Lies as part of a series on the best blockbusters of the 21st Century In Chris Nolan’s deadly serious Caped Crusader reboot Batman Begins (2005), Batman may ultimately defeat the League of Shadows and their campaign of (chemically-induced) panic waged against a Gotham clawing its way out of corruption, but…

falling

As He Lay Falling (2014)

First published by EyeforFilm “I decide here – who comes and who goes. This is my croft. William can’t stand it, he’s an incomer.” Bronte (Simone Lahbib) is speaking to Georgios (Christopher Greco), a Greek immigrant who, in his desperate search for work, has left behind his wife and son and finished up at the…

Jackrabbit

Jackrabbit (2015)

First published by VODzilla.co “You two seem like an unlikely pair. How did you meet?”, asks Grace (Joslyn Jensen). Simon (Josh Caras) and Max (Ian Christopher Noel) do indeed make an odd couple – the former with his conservative haircut, his collared shirt and tie, his clean-shaven cheeks, and his aspiration to be very much…

Toshiaki

Toshiaki Toyoda: The Early Years

First published by Sight & Sound, March 2017 “What’s the use of losing?” reads text in Toshiaki Toyoda’s documentary Unchain (2000). “There is none.” An Osakan child prodigy at Japanese chess who suddenly quit at 17, Toyoda’s early directing career celebrated Japan’s marginalised male losers. Typical is ‘Unchain’ Kaji, a likably punkish real-life boxer from…

Prevenge

Prevenge (2016)

First published by Sight & Sound, March 2017 Review: Prevenge begins and ends, literally, on a cliff’s edge. This is also the primal scene, where Matt was killed in a climbing incident on the very same day that his wife Ruth (played by the film’s writer/director Alice Lowe) discovered she was pregnant. Now in her third…

Heart

Heart of a Dog (2015)

First published by VODzilla.co “This is my dream body,” declares a cartoon sketch of performance artist Laurie Anderson, before launching into an animated account of a dream that she had: as she lies in a hospital bed, a doctor presents her with her newborn baby, which is in fact her pet dog Lolabelle swaddled in…

Tulpa (2012)

First published by VODzilla.co Lisa Boeri (Claudia Gerini) leads a double life. Bilingual and bisexual, by day she is a highly efficient executive in the cutthroat world of energy commodities. By night she frequents a private members’ club (named Tulpa) where, under the influence of hallucinogens, she indulges her desires with a like-minded set of…

Tide

Hard Tide (2016)

First published by RealCrime Magazine “Based on real events”, states text at the beginning of Robert Osman and Nathanael Wiseman’s feature debut Hard Tide. This requires some unpacking. After Wiseman starred in Osman’s Met Film School graduation short My Hero (2014), the two decided to collaborate on an expanded version of this (entirely invented) story…