Lowlife

Lowlife Love (2016)

Lowlife Love first published by Little White Lies, as part 20 of my Cinema Psychotronicum column Tetsuo (Kiyohiko Shibukawa) wakes up beside a would-be starlet, vainly attempts to have sex with her again, and then, after she leaves, proceeds to masturbate to the CV that she has left with him. In Lowlife Love (Gesu no ai, 2016),…

Egomaniac

Egomaniac (2016)

“This film is based on a true story…” declares text at the beginning of Egomaniac, about a female, independent filmmaker driven murderously crazy by her own cottage industry. The suspension points coming after that quote represent punctuation’s equivalent of a nod and a wink – a sly acknowledgement by writer/director Kate Shenton that initial claims…

High-Rise (2015)

First published (in a shorter version) by Little White Lies “Sometimes he found it difficult to believe in a future that had not already taken place.” In Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise, this line appears as a prefatory voice-over from protagonist Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston), who, three months after he has moved into the titular tower block,…

Week-end

Week-end (1967)

Review of Week-end I wrote æons ago for Movie Gazette – in fact so ancient, it’s back when I was still using the unconscionable p-word… After his extraordinary directorial debut in 1960 with Breathless (À Bout de Souffle), film critic Jean-Luc Godard became one of the leading figures of the French New Wave movement, reinventing the rules of…

AAAAAAAAH!

Aaaaaaaah! (2015)

First published in Sight & Sound, February 2016 Review: At the dawn of cinema, when it was not yet possible to record synchronised sound, characters articulated their thoughts and feelings in silence, merely through facial expression, physical gesture or intertitle. Steve Oram’s feature debut Aaaaaaaah! is not, strictly speaking, a silent film. Nor does it, like…

Parents

Parents (1989)

First published by FilmLand Empire The black-and-white still of a boy’s face. Carefree kids playing with a skipping rope on the sidewalk of a utopian suburbia (to the brash, brassy tune of a Perez Prado mambo). A pink-lettered title appearing across the fender of a pristine, pale blue Oldsmobile. Bob Balaban’s feature debut Parents (1989)…

The Toxic Avenger

The Toxic Avenger (1984)

The Toxic Avenger first published by FilmLand Empire Published in 1949, George Orwell’s dystopian allegory 1984 imagined that by the time of the titular year, the whole world would have become a totalitarian system constantly at war with itself. In fact, what the real 1984 brought us was The Toxic Avenger, the first foray of indie production…

Society

Society (1989)

Society first published by FilmLand Empire “The rich have always sucked off low-class shit like you.” This line, coming late in Brian Yuzna’s Society, effectively summarises the film’s dog-eat-dog – or more precisely pedigree-eat-mongrel – theme. For here, five years after Martin Brest’s Beverly Hills Cop (1984) and three after Paul Mazursky’s Down and Out in Beverly Hills…

Repo Man (1984)

Repo Man first published by Little White Lies Alex Cox is famous, amongst other things, for his love of westerns – and so it seems apt that his debut feature should open with a lone traveler heading west, humming “Oh My Darling Clementine” to himself. Yet J Frank Parnell (Fox Harris) is a mad nuclear scientist driving…

Pervert

Female Pervert (2014)

“It’s not weird,” says Phoebe (Jennifer Kim) in the opening scene of Jiyoung Lee’s Female Pervert. “It’ll be really fun.” After playing her theremin for a male guest (Skizz Cyzyk) in her home, Phoebe gets on her knees before him, and encourages him, to his increasing discomfort, to play the instrument first with his finger,…

Zombieland

Zombieland (2009)

Review first published by Little White Lies The year 2009 introduces a new law of cinema: if a film stars Jesse Eisenberg and features the word ‘land’ in the end of its title, it will infinitely surpass your expectations. The trailer for Adventureland promised dumbed-down gross-out antics – but delivered a tender comedy of coming-of-age awkwardness filled…