Donmar

Berberian Sound Studio at the Donmar Warehouse (2019)

Berberian Sound Studio at the Donmar Warehouse first published by Little White Lies Peter Strickland’s Berberian Sound Studio (2012) is as cinematic – metacinematic, even – as films come. It depends on a particularised grammar of pure cinema (disorienting edits, the collapsing of different spatiotemporal interiors, even dubbing and subtitles) to communicate its mannered story about…

Unholy

The Unholy (1988)

The Unholy first published by Little White Lies, as the 76th entry in my Cinema Psychotronicum column Burt Reynolds used to tell an anecdote about how his initial disappointment at failing to win the part of Dr David Bowman in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) soon turned to gratification as he learned that Stanley Kubrick…

Private

Private Fears In Public Places (Cœurs) (2006)

Private Fears In Public Places (Cœurs) first published by Film4 Synopsis: In this cold-hearted comedy, loneliness sets up its winter camp in the city of love. Master auteur Alain Resnais (Hiroshima Mon Amour, Last Year In Marienbad) directs, in his second Alain Ayckbourn adaptation since Smoking/No Smoking. Review: Paris – the city of light, the city of…

Nightingale

The Nightingale (2018)

Rape-revenge is a powerful mythic structure. Through its apparently elegant binary simplicity any number of messy polarities (although most typically those of gender inequality) can be both framed and complicated. Part of what muddies these waters is the viewer’s awareness of the twinned, if not quite symmetrical, wrongness of both sides of the equation: rape…

Comes

Annabelle Comes Home (2019)

Annabelle Comes Home first published by Little White Lies When Annabelle first showed up in the opening scene of James Wan’s 1971-set The Conjuring (2013), it was a way of introducing us to the casework of Ed and Lorraine Warren, the real-life husband-and-wife team of demonologists – or, if you prefer, media-embracing charlatans – here…

Birthday

Birthday (Saeng-il) (2019)

Text of my onstage introduction to Birthday (Saeng-il), which screened at the London Korean Film Festival 2019 On the morning of 16 April, 2014, an 18-year-old, overladen ferry named the MV Sewol was travelling from Incheon to Jeju, when it listed heavily while making a course adjustment and started rapidly taking on water as it…

Sale

The Odd Family: Zombie On Sale (2019)

Text of an onstage introduction to The Odd Family: Zombie On Sale which I gave at the London Korean Film Festival 2019 These days, zombies are everywhere, and films about them have, like the creatures themselves, proliferated virally, overwhelming through their sheer numbers.  It wasn’t always like this. In the Thirties, Forties and Fifties, their…

Idol

Idol (Woosang) (2019)

This is (more or less) the text from my onstage introduction to a screening of Idol (Woosang) at the London Korean Film Festival 2019 When it comes to spoilers, there’s an unwritten code that anything which happens in a film’s first third is fair game for advance disclosure and discussion – but that anything which…

Find

A Good Woman Is Hard To Find (2019)

A Good Woman Is Hard To Find cements director Abner Pastoll’s already secure reputation as a sure hand with character-driven genre cinema, following his Franco-English psychochiller Road Games (Fausse Route, 2014) and twisty chase short Getaway Driver (2017). This time around, working from a screenplay by Ronan Blaney, Pastoll merges the social realism of Ken…

Dicks

Dead Dicks (2019)

It’s not every film that is prefaced with text showing a legitimate toll-free number to call (in Canada) “if you or someone you know might be at risk of self-harm or self-injury” – but then, Dead Dicks opens with a graphic depiction of suicide, as Richie (Heston Horwin, Rock Steady Row), alone among the fractured…

Sexy

Sexy Killer (Sexykiller, morirás por ella) (2008)

Sexy Killer (Sexykiller, morirás por ella) first published by VODzilla.co In a university locker room, as female undergraduates in various states of undress gossip maliciously about one another’s sex lives, a figure in mask and black robes watches and waits for his opportunity. With machete in hand, he finds each shower cubicle frustratingly empty, until…