Have Hold Take

Have Hold Take (2022)

The prologue to Have Hold Take is a disorienting montage. First we see three doors marooned alongside one another in a smoky void. Then there is a luxurious house –  a real space but also, thanks to the bold whites, blacks and reds of its classically decorated interiors, suggestive of a Lynchian limbo. A fourth door –…

All Or Nothing

All Or Nothing (2002)

All Or Nothing first published by Little White Lies, as entry 141 in my Cinema Psychotronicum column (yeah, I am aware how utterly incongruous this particular film is for the column’s remit) Written and directed by Mike Leigh, All Or Nothing is an ensemble film about three households living on the same London council estate,…

The Taste Of Tea

The Taste of Tea (Cha no aji) (2004)

The Taste of Tea (Cha no aji) first published by Little White Lies, as part 113 of my Cinema Psychotronicum column Schoolboy Hajime (Takahiro Sato) runs panting across a rice field, but misses the train carrying away forever the girl from his class whom he loves but whom he has never had the courage even…


Yes (2004)

Yes first published by Movie Gazette, 27 June, 2005 Whether it is Mike Nichols’ tight focus on lovers’ first advances and final splits in Closer (2004), or John Curran’s exclusive concentration on the awkward middle years in We Don’t Live Here Anymore (2005), whether it is François Ozon’s use of five reverse-order episodes to deconstruct a lengthy marriage in 5×2 (2004),…

Bly Manor

The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)

The Haunting of Bly Manor first published by Sight & Sound, November 2020 In Australia and New Zealand, there is a non-alcoholic beverage named Claytons, bottled and coloured to resemble a spirit, so that abstainers can have it without standing out from fellow drinkers. A popular advertising campaign for Claytons that ran in the Seventies…


Dolls (2002)

Dolls first published by Movie Gazette, in 2003. Takeshi ‘Beat’ Kitano is best known in his native Japan as a television comic – but to the West, he is celebrated for the yakuza films which he writes and directs and in which he stars – films like Sonatine, Violent Cop, Hana-Bi and Brother, whose spare visual…


Oasis (2002)

Oasis first published by Little White Lies “You have to be responsible for your actions. You have to fit in with society, be aware of how others see you.” Or so Jong-du (Sol Kyung-gu) is told near the start of Oasis, and it seems, at least to begin with, that his older brother has a point….