Identity

Identity (2003)

Identity first published by Daily Info A doctor reviews his files on a psychiatric patient, Malcolm Rivers (Pruitt Taylor Vince). Rivers is about to be executed for murdering six people even though he suffers from dissociative identity disorder and has no memory of the event, and the doctor is hoping to win him an eleventh…

Mad Detective

Mad Detective (San Taam) (2007)

Mad Detective first published by Little White Lies “The gun plays a significant part”, says Bun (Lau Ching-wan), the former police detective called in by regional investigating officer Ho (Andy On) to help determine what has happened to policeman Wong and to his service revolver, both missing in action for the last 18 months –…

Spotless

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind first published by Movie Gazette As a screenwriter, Charlie Kaufman is nothing if not consistent. His Being John Malkovich (1999) spins an absurdly logical yarn from a portal which enables people temporarily to enter Malkovich’s mind; Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002) is based on Chuck Barris’ half-fictionalised ‘memoirs’…

Adaptation

Adaptation (2002)

Adaptation first published by Daily Info At one point in Adaptation, orchid hunter John Laroche (Chris Cooper) explains to New York Times journalist Susan Orlean (Meryl Streep) how each type of orchid has a symbiotic relationship with its own specially adapted insect – its ‘double’ or ‘soulmate’. “Neither”, says Laroche, “will ever know the significance of…

Alone

Alone (2020) at Fantasia

Alone (2020) at Fantasia In Alone, Jessica (Jules Willcox) is on the run.  This is not just because of the man (Marc Menchaca) who first plays road games with her, and who then follows her creepily from stop to stop making repeated ‘friendly’ attempts at contact despite Jessica’s clear indications that his presence is not…

Unearth

Unearth (2020) at Fantasia

Unearth had its World Première at Fantasia “If you make a tree good, its fruit will be good. You make a tree bad, its fruit’s gonna be bad.” These words, with their simple paratactic structure, and their use of a homespun figure taken from nature, sound like a moral from a parable – and while…

Fever

Sea Fever (2019)

Sea Fever first published by SciFiNow Strap: This fishermen’s yarn from Neasa Hardiman is part Lovecraft, part The Thing  Sea Fever opens with a spectacular shot under the ocean’s surface, sunlight radiating through the wash above, before something plunges into the water: a fully dressed woman who opens her mouth to gasp for breath before…

Pale

The Pale Door (2020)

Sometimes, to understand the great American horror story, you need to go back to the source. Aaron B. Koontz’s The Pale Door begins with a quote from Edgar Allen Poe (which supplies the origin of the film’s title), and with that most familiar of the genre’s formative primal scenes: a little boy in bed, frightened…

Climate

Climate of the Hunter (2019) at Fantasia

Climate of the Hunter at Fantasia Climate of the Hunter opens not with a voiceover (those will come later) nor with an authorised textual quotation, but with a yellow manila folder  being opened to reveal a doctor’s report on the patient Alma Summers, and her “delusional disorder – somatic type – preceding a psychotic episode”….

Drag

Drag Me To Hell (2009)

Drag Me To Hell first published by Film4 Summary: Sam Raimi returns to his roots in this hyperbolic horror comedy where a banker for once gets just deserts. Review: With its resurrected corpses, revenant ghosts, skeletons in the closet, and endless remakes and sequels, horror is arguably the most nostalgic of genres,  always looking back even as…

Swimming

Swimming Pool (2003)

Swimming Pool first published (in a slightly different version) by Movie Gazette, Sept 8, 2003 Why is it that films about writer’s block, despite featuring characters who have run out of ideas, turn out themselves to be so full of them? Barton Fink and Adaptation practically define involuted inventiveness, and now François Ozon’s Swimming Pool,…