La Civil

La Civil (2021)

La Civil had its UK première at Glasgow Film Festival 2022. Review first published by VODzilla.co “I love you too, see you later,” Laura (Denisse Azpilcueta) tells her mother Cielo (Arcelia Ramírez), as the teenager heads off on a date with her boyfriend Lisandro (Manuel Villegas). Husband Gustavo (Álvaro Guerrero) has long since left Cielo…

Rambo

Rambo: Last Blood (2019)

Rambo: Last Blood first published by Little White Lies It might seem strange that a franchise whose middle section associated it entirely with amped-up, musclebound masculinity should have been bookended by titles (1982’s First Blood, and now Last Blood) that alluded respectively to menarche and menopause, but then, Sylvester Stallone’s John J. Rambo is a…

Llorona

The Curse of La Llorona (2019)

The Mexican myth of La Llorona, or the ‘Weeping Woman’, is a story told to children to deter them from staying out alone at night. When her husband strayed, in an act of Medea-like vengeance she drowned their two children, and then herself – and now she comes for other children, her presence announced by…

Tigers

Tigers Are Not Afraid (Vuelven) (2017)

Tigers Are Not Afraid first published by SciFiNow “There’s no wishes. Don’t be stupid.” “I wish that your scar disappears.” This exchange between hardheaded, traumatised Shine (Juan Ramós López) and idealistic, quixotic Estrella (Paola Lara) captures a dialectic that is ongoing in Issa López’s Tigers Are Not Afraid (aka Vuelven, literally ‘return’), a film that constantly…

Flesh

We Are The Flesh (2016)

First published by Sight & Sound, December 2016 Review:  “Solitude”, declares Mariano (Noé Hernández), “drags you, forces you to come face to face with your darkest fantasies – and when nothing happens, you stop being afraid of your most grotesque thoughts.” Normally this bearded 47-year-old hermit enjoys complete solitude. In a dilapidated building, Mariano’s only…

Flesh

We Are The Flesh (2016)

When we go to the cinema, we are returning to the womb. There we sit waiting in the cavernous dark, awash in sensory stimuli and mythic archetypes – and even if there are others, either located alongside us or flickering on the screen, nonetheless we remain essentially alone, relating to them only through the internal…

Sicario

Sicario (2015)

First published by Real Crime As text explains at the beginning of Denis Villeneuve’s latest film, the word ‘sicario’ is now used in Mexico to denote a ‘hitman’, but comes originally from the zealots of Jerusalem, murderously opposed to the “Romans who invaded their homeland.” Accordingly, Sicario opens with a different homeland under invasion, as…

Lucifer

Lucifer (2014)

“Every judgment is meaningless” declares a voice at the beginning of Belgian director Gust van den Berghe’s Lucifer, before launching into a mythic account of the perfect knowledge attained by ancient peoples, and of the eventual “downward path” (with which the speaker expressly identifies himself) that came with humanity’s developing awareness of the difference between good and…

Mariachi Gringo (2012)

Review first published by Sight & Sound, July 2014 Synopsis: Greenville, Kansas. Sad, single, recently unemployed 29-year-old Edward still lives with his conservative Christian parents, and with a pill addiction from childhood. He has largely given up on both his guitar and his childhood dream of running away with a band. His only refuge from…