Precarious

Precarious (2020)

Precarious is a film of tight spots. When we first meet its hero Henry (Andrey Pfening), he is injured, unconscious and handcuffed, in a small bedroom crammed with police officers watching closely over his bed. Thereafter his mysterious escapades will take him from secret crawlspace to locked supply room to phone booth to mobile library…

Infection

Infection (Infección) (2019)

A novel strain of bat-derived rabies spreads rapidly, transforming its victims into ravenous, bite-happy zombies, and leading a small band of survivors to struggle for their very lives against increasingly overwhelming odds. We have been here before: after all, the only thing that proliferates faster than a contagious disease is the sheer number of films…

Entangled

Entangled (2019)

Entangled sets out its stall early, with a voiceover from Loretta (Paloma Kwiatkowski) about the multiverse which we have all heard about from sci-fi and comic books, and the likelihood that if someone in one universe is attempting to make contact with another, someone else in a parallel, near-identical universe will inevitably be trying to…

Name

Blood On Her Name (2019)

“Some things just can’t be undone,” says Leigh Tiller (Bethany Anne Lind), towards the end of Matthew Pope’s Blood On Her Name. She is talking about her particular, present predicament, but the problems in which she has become woefully entangled in fact began before – in some cases, long before – the start of the…

Grounded

Should I stay or should I go?: existential quests & grounded escapes at Sci-Fi-London 2019

Should I stay or should I go?: existential quests & grounded escapes at Sci-Fi-London 2019 first published by Sight & Sound Three picks from Sci-Fi-London 2019, 15-22 May: The Final Land; After We Leave; Fonotune: An Electric Fairytale Among the 17 features (including five world premières and two documentaries) that are screening at this year’s…

Blue

Blue Spring (Aoi haru) (2001)

Blue Spring (Aoi haru) first published by Little White Lies, as the 80th entry in my Cinema Psychotronicum column In the opening sequence of Blue Spring (Aoi haru), with a Graduation Ceremony audible in the background, teenagers Kujo (Ryuhei Matsuda) and Aoki (Hirofumi Arai) pick a lock to the roof area of the single-sex Asashi…

Baby

Baby Blood (1990)

Baby Blood first published by VODzilla.co The events of Alain Robak’s Baby Blood may gestate mostly over nine months in late-Eighties France, but it has a much broader spatiotemporal canvas. For it begins with “the beginning of the world”, in an African swamp that is also the cradle of life – and its implied ending…

Styx

Styx (2018)

Styx first published by Little White Lies Nothing quite isolates the human condition like a vessel in the middle of a vast ocean. So it is that films like Kon Ichikawa’s Alone Across the Pacific (1963), Ang Lee’s Life of Pi (2012) and J.C. Chandor’s All Is Lost (2013) pit boatmen solo against the elements…

Overwhelm

Overwhelm The Sky (2018)

Overwhelm The Sky begins in desert, with a sole figure limping desperately towards the road to flag down help from a passing pickup truck, as the stabbing strings on Costas Dafnis’ score evoke Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960). By the time we have got back to this desert scene, well over two hours of the film…

Business

Trouble Is My Business (2018)

Trouble Is My Business takes its name from a 1950 collection of four short stories written by Raymond Chandler about the private eye Philip Marlowe. This is to say that, from the outset, the film advertises its status as hard-boiled detective pulp fiction, which, in its cinematic versions, means film noir: movies featuring Marlowe like…

Whistleblower

The Whistleblower (Chui shao ren) (2019)

The Whistleblower first published by Sight & Sound, February 2020 Review: After a one-night stand with old flame Siliang (Tang Wei) – whose hotel bedroom is festooned with paintings of Salome and Medusa as (unheeded) warnings that this femme is very much of the fatale kind – Melbourne-based company PR and family man Mark (Lei…