Lucky Chan-sil

Lucky Chan-sil (2019)

Below is the text of my introduction to a screening of Luck Chan-sil at the London Korean Film Festival 2020 Welcome to this screening of Lucky Chan-sil, which is one of the films that I have programmed for the Cinema Now Strand of the London Korean Film Festival.  Lucky Chan-sil is the feature debut of…

Censor

Censor (2021)

A film examiner with the British Board of Film Classification in the mid-Eighties, Enid Baines (Niamh Algar) embodies the censorious conservatism of her times. Both literally and metaphorically buttoned-up, with her severely tied-back hair and her Mary Whitehouse-style winged spectacles, she is known (behind her back) to colleagues as “Little Miss Perfect” for her painstaking…

There's No Such Thing

There’s No Such Thing As Vampires (2020)

There’s No Such Thing As Vampires first published by Through the Trees  Sometimes titles are antiphrastic. Think Don Coscarelli’s John Dies at the End (2012), Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb’s This Is Not a Film (2011), or Ryuhei Kitamura’s No One Lives (2012), all promising one thing and delivering, well, not quite that thing. To…

Little More Flesh

A Little More Flesh II (2021)

It opens with Sam Ashurst, director of Frankenstein’s Creature (2018) and A Little More Flesh (2020), on a Zoom call pitching the sequel A Little More Flesh II to the original film’s star and producer, Elf Lyons. “After the way you treated me,” she replies curtly, “no – you can absolutely fuck off!”  There is…

In Action

In Action (2020)

In Action opens in medias res with Sean and Eric waking up, semi-naked and tied to chairs in a dark basement hellhole, and unsure where exactly they are, how they got there or why it smells like ‘poop’.  “It’s like an interrogation room,” observes Eric, “something you see out of a movie” – to which…

Black Bear

Black Bear (2020)

“Do you remember what it was like in the beginning, before all of this?”, Allison (Aubrey Plaza, Life After Beth) will ask near the end of Black Bear written and directed by Lawrence Michael Levine whose previous feature, Wild Canaries (2014), also boasted a bestial title. “We were so happy,” Allison continues, “I just want…

Chop

Cut and Chop (2020)

Writer/director/producer Drew Hale’s feature debut Cut and Chop opens with Tom (played by Hale) sitting on the sofa reading Robert Lewis’ Method – or Madness? (1958), his girlfriend Esmerelda (Kari Alison Hodge) lying asleep beside him with her legs stretched over his lap. The title of this book, collecting Lewis’ famous series of lectures on…

Grudge 2

Ju-On: The Grudge 2 (2003)

Ju-On: The Grudge 2 first published by musicOMH Sequels sprout from the horror genre as inevitably as long black hair grows from Asia’s female ghosts; and movies in the ghost story/haunted house format are particularly sequel-friendly, since from the start they are themselves sequels of sorts, revisiting the scenes of crimes from the past that…

Little

A Little More Flesh (2020)

Consenting to watch horror cinema is like entering a Faustian pact where you do not always get what you bargain for. Go into A Little More Flesh, for example, the latest low-budget feature to be written, directed, shot, edited and produced by critic Sam Ashurst, and you might be surprised to find yourself instead watching God’s Lonely…

Motors

Holy Motors (2012)

Holy Motors first published by Film4 Film summary: Writer/director Leos Carax (Les amants de pont neuf, Pola X) returns with a melancholic reflection on the dreamhouse of cinema. Review: A man (writer/director Leos Carax) wakes to find, hidden behind the forest wallpaper of his hotel room, a door leading to a packed nocturnal cinema. What follows, whether…

Rubber

Rubber (2010)

Rubber first published by Little White Lies Towards the end of Rubber, when Lieutenant Chad (Stephen Spinella) attempts an illegal move on a chessboard, his opponent declares, “You can’t do that,” adding sheepishly, “Well, you can if you want, but it’s against the rules.” “So what?” replies the confused Chad, “Can I, or can’t I?”…