• Dheepan

    Dheepan

    ★★★

    Audiard's film on the plight of Sri Lankan refugees is an interesting and thoughtful piece on immigration and integration (with some very fine performances). Well, at least for its first three quarters; until it reaches its completely wacky finale, that feels ripped from a Statham movie. Clearly, tonally inappropriate!

  • The American Friend

    The American Friend

    ★★★½

    Ostensibly a suspenseful mood piece, charting the crossing of paths and unlikely friendship between Hopper and Ganz. Both of whom are at the top of their game here. However, it's a little slow to get going and its purposefully subtle plot doesn't exactly help illuminate proceedings.

  • Maps to the Stars

    Maps to the Stars

    ★★½

    Cronenberg's fly on the wall Hollywood therapy 101 is certainly a dark, dysfunctional and generally unpleasant experience. I don't believe I've ever see-sawed as much between moments of hate to moments of admiration; of which, Julieanne Moore's performance is fully deserving of.

  • The Elephant Man

    The Elephant Man

    ★★★★½

    "My life is full because I know I am loved." - what a beautiful phrase. Lynch's The Elephant Man is a profoundly emotional experience, that, ultimately, is the story of humanity - to love and be loved. Whilst not afraid to delve into the dark and ugly recesses of the soul (albeit with some artistic licence). Elevated by Lynch's direction, the aesthetic black and white stylings, the convincing prosthetics and Hurt's stunningly empathetic portrayal as Merrick.

  • Only Lovers Left Alive

    Only Lovers Left Alive

    ★★★

    Jarmusch's atmospheric hangout love story cleverly transposes its vampires as rockstars; out of time and place, suffering from existential despair. Bemoaning creativity and human zombies, drugged out and waiting for the next fix. And, for the most part, it's successful; gently floating along, getting by on its philosophical meanderings and wonderful style. However, it eventually reaches maximum self absorption; and, much like the vampiric lifespan, outstays its welcome.

  • Plan 9 from Outer Space

    Plan 9 from Outer Space

    Given its reputation at the pinnacle of trashy sci-fi horror, it's a major disappointment it's a complete snoozefest. While the underlying message is decent and the ropey effects and wonky sets display a charm, in all other aspects (particularly dialogue and acting) it's just plain ol' so bad it's bad!

  • Kikujiro

    Kikujiro

    ★★★½

    For the most part, this is a gently uplifting, absurdist comedy summer road trip, in the company of a cantankerous old man (Kitano) and young boy. However, it's a little too long and there's one particularly dark part that leaves a bad taste and is completely unnecessary.

  • Fireworks

    Fireworks

    ★★★

    An overly contemplative mood piece on depression, internalisation of grief and existential reflection; punctuated by moments of violence and comedy that briefly lift the melancholic proceedings.

  • Kids Return

    Kids Return

    ★★★

    A slice of life tale that follows the differing paths of two teenage friends, as they try to navigate their way out of a misspent youth into the big and scary real world. While the central message, to make the most of your life, is certainly commendable, it's all a rather low key (re: borderline dull), straightforward affair.

  • The Chess Players

    The Chess Players

    ★★½

    The idle rich's impotency and inadequacy is laid bare through the chess players, more concerned by their game of chess, as the British machinations to topple their kingdom plays out. However, although intellectually and historically interesting, the overly ponderous and expository, dry narrative makes it a laborious watch.

  • The Wild Goose Lake

    The Wild Goose Lake

    ★★★½

    This neo-noir about a badass gangster with a good heart (set in an impoverished Wuhan), may have a pretty simplistic and slightly prolonged chase narrative, but the stylistic, neon-soaked cinematography with masterful shadow play, elevates and captivates completely.

  • Tigerland

    Tigerland

    ★★★

    A lot of this has been seen before in better films *cough* Full Metal Jacket *cough*; but, a clutch of decent performances from now household names retains interest in its grittily shot, economized story.