Matter

Soft Matter (2018)

Soft Matter first published by SciFiNow From the opening image of tea being brewed on a bunsen burner, Jim Hickcox’s feature debut openly advertises its DIY status. With its hand-puppet flashbacks to ancient undersea battles, and its basic creature design that, in one notable case, amounts to little more than garbage bags and gaffer tape, Soft Matter offers low-to-no-budget sci-fi…

Kin

Kin (2018)

Kin first published by Sight & Sound, Jan/Feb 2019 Review: Jonathan and Josh Baker’s Kin, adapted and considerably expanded (by writer Daniel Casey) from their short film Bag Man (2014), opens with an exterior shot of a bleakly derelict factory under a grey sky. Alongside this ruined vision of contemporary apocalypse – in present-day Detroit – there lies a ‘One Way’ road…

Mega

Mega Time Squad (2018)

Mega Time Squad first published by SciFiNow “This is Johnny,” says local self-appointed gangster Shelton (Jonny Brugh), introducing his sister Kelly (Hetty Gaskell-Hahn) to one of his underling ‘boys’. “He’s bloody dynamic.” Orphaned John (Anton Tennet) really is dynamic. He may just be a small-time criminal in a small town – Thames, New Zealand, to be…

Whispering

The Whispering Star (Hiso hiso boshi) (2015)

The Whispering Star first published by SciFiNow A title reads ‘Saturday’, and we see a tap on a kitchen sink dripping. ‘Sunday’, reads a new caption, and the tap is still dripping. From early on, it is clear that Sion Sono’s The Whispering Star (Hiso hiso boshi, 2015) is going to be concerned with time. As…

Endless

The Endless (2017)

The Endless first published by Sight & Sound, July 2018 Review: Bound as it is by its linear shape as a feature film, The Endless comes with a beginning and an ending, which it marks formally with introductory text and closing credits. Yet from the outset the film conjures its central idea of endlessness by plunging us…

Mute

Mute (2018)

Mute first published by VODzilla.co Mute is set in the same universe as Duncan Jones’ feature debut Moon (2009), and its events take place shortly after that film’s events. We know this, because Moon‘s protagonist Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), now returned to Earth, is seen on television sets and moving posters in the background of Mute,…

Gate

Devil’s Gate (2017)

Devil’s Gate first published by SciFiNow Strange, immediately after hearing the news of Tobe Hooper’s death, to begin the day at FrightFest with a film whose opening pays full and glorious homage to Hooper’s most famous and influential film, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974). For the prologue to writer/director Clay Staub’s feature debut Devil’s Gate…

Titan

The Titan (2018)

The Titan first published by Sight & Sound, May 2018 Review: “We did it!” declares Professor Collingwood (Tom Wilkinson) near the end of Lennart Ruff’s feature debut The Titan. “We stole fire from the gods!”   Collingwood’s words evoke the Greek myth of Prometheus, the Titan who indeed stole divine fire, gifting it to humanity as an…

Rupture

Rupture (2016)

Rupture first published by Sight & Sound, December 2016 Review: “Don’t be scared,” says an unseen Margot down the phone to her work colleague Renee (Noomi Rapace). They are meeting later that weekend, hoping to confront their fears and have a transformative experience on a skydiving trip. In fact, Renee – an independent, resourceful divorcee bringing up…

Darko

Donnie Darko (2001)

First published by Daily Info It is October 2000. In a month George Bush will take office, and Richard Kelly is completing his debut feature Donnie Darko. The film premières at Sundance to great acclaim, securing for itself a general US release in October 2001. Then the film disappears down a wormhole (recalling the question “Where is…

Told

God Told Me To (1976)

God Told Me To first published by FilmLand Empire “I grew up at a Catholic Boys’ School at the Bronx. Graduated to DeWitt Clinton High School. A year at Fordham University before I joined the force. Where did you go to high school, Harold?” The speaker is Detective Lieutenant Peter Nicholas (Tony Lo Bianco), but at…