Antrum

Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made (2019)

The allegory of the cave in Plato’s Republic figures the unenlightened as prisoners in a dark cave who imagine that the shadows they see artificially projected on the wall before them are reality, while in fact the only reality is in the sunlit world outside and beyond their perception. Unsurprisingly, this philosophical parable has in…

Scary

Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark (2019)

Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark first published by Sight & Sound, October 2019 Review: The frightening tales promised in the title of Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark are told and retold, reconstituted, rewritten (in blood) and recycled. It has been adapted from some of the creepy contes (Harold, The Big Toe,…

Ready

Ready Or Not (2019)

Ready Or Not first published by Sight & Sound, October 2019 Review: As founding members of filmmaking collective Radio Silence, Matt Bettinelli-Olpen and Tyler Gillett have previously helmed the segment 10/31/98 from V/H/S (2012), the frame story from Southbound (2016) and all of Devil’s Due (2014). Their latest, Ready Or Not, is a darkly funny…

Nomis

Night Hunter (aka Nomis) (2018)

Night Hunter (aka Nomis) first published by Sight & Sound, October 2019 Review: A young woman, dressed in her underwear, runs through the snowy woods at night. Cornered by her pursuer, she prefers to fall to her death than be recaptured. Her state of relative undress and her willingness to die are signifiers, in this…

Adoration

Adoration (2019)

Following Calvaire (2004) and Alléluia (2014), Adoration is the third and final film in Fabrice du Welz‘s so-called Ardennes Trilogy, loosely unified by their Belgian backwoods setting, the religious associations of their titles, the presence of actor Laurent Lucas, and a shared theme of amour fou, Here the infatuated party is 12-year-old Paul (Thomas Gioria),…

Deerskin

Deerskin (Le Daim) (2019)

Deerskin (Le Daim) was originally written as a capsule for a piece on the 2019 London Film Festival’s Cult strand for Sight & Sound, but for reasons beyond my control (and entirely unrelated to the quality of the film), did not make it into the final cut. So here it is. Although beginning with frustrated dreamer Georges (Jean…

Synchronic

Synchronic (2019)

Synchronic was originally written as a capsule for a piece on the 2019 London Film Festival’s Cult strand for Sight & Sound, but for reasons beyond my control (and entirely unrelated to the quality of the film), did not make it into the final cut. So here it is. Set in New Orleans, Justin Benson…

Joker

Joker (2019)

A man sits before a dressing-room mirror, applying clown makeup and forcing his face into a grotesque, contorted smile. This is Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), who like Pierrot (or perhaps Chaplin’s Little Tramp), barely conceals the deep sadness beneath his jolly get-up. He is at HaHa’s, a rent-a-clown business in downtown Gotham, preparing for a…

T'Aime

Je T’Aime Moi Non Plus (1976)

Je T’Aime Moi Non Plus first published by Film4 Summary: Serge Gainsbourg’s cinematic debut is an anal-oriented love story set in an America of broken dreams. Review: Like Edith Piaf before him, the French singer Serge Gainsbourg would become famous amongst anglophone audiences really only for a single song. Je T’Aime (Moi Non Plus) was originally…

Home

Home (2008)

Home first published by Film4 Summary: Ursula Meier’s feature debut is a surreal drama depicting a family frozen to the spot by the oncoming headlights of progress.  Review: The open highway stretches to the horizon in both directions, promising all the freedom, and all the narrative mobility, of a road movie. Yet with her big-screen feature debut…

Bettie

The Notorious Bettie Page (2006)

The Notorious Bettie Page first published (in a slightly different version) by musicOMH Times Square, 1955. A shifty looking fellow casts his eye over shelves of ‘glamour’ magazines before working up the courage to ask the shopkeeper if beneath the counter there is something a little different, “with unusual material that shows restraint”. No sooner…