• The Beatles: Get Back

    The Beatles: Get Back

    ★★★★½

    The doc is a reminder of the smoky haze that lingered everywhere you went in London until the late 80s – everyone used to smoke a lot of bloody fags. Although, The Beatles and their crew did at least rest them down in some pretty inventive places. This is probably an hour or two too long (somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd episode could do with trimming) but at the same time it’s a nice hang out doc that works…

  • Memoria

    Memoria

    ★★★★★

    Nobody does that still frame, slow pan, ethereal, ghostly, magical, transcendent, spiritual, other dimensional shit quite like Weerasethakul. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a director that can translate the natural mystics onto film in quite the same way. The quietness of his films raise the noise of the past, present and future that linger around us. I absolutely get why this has to be seen on a big screen in the first instance. These past 12 months I’ve seen…

  • A Hero

    A Hero

    ★★★

    Real ‘guy in his late 40s makes film about the perils of social media’ vibes about this one. Farhadi isn’t that much older than myself, although to be fair, he probably leads a far more intellectually stimulating life and doesn’t waste half his day scrolling through the brain feed of hundreds of randoms online. Plus, the dynamics of social media probably play out very differently in Iran. His last film was really clumsy and it’s the same problem here -…

  • The Velvet Underground

    The Velvet Underground

    ★★★½

    Zero mention of how jazz influenced and underpinned much of the avant-garde movement in the 60s - especially as Reed has spoken many times before about its influence on him. The likes of Coleman, Coltrane and Sun-ra were light years ahead in terms of challenging form, sound and structure. Without free jazz, white guitar music probably wouldn’t have taken the direction it did until much later. Still, it’s visually and narratively engaging and would like to see Haynes delve into some more docs.

  • Arsène Wenger: Invincible

    Arsène Wenger: Invincible

    ★★★★

    Looking back, the decline makes more sense. When you’ve reached the top of the mountain, and as Wenger says “Achieved my dream,” where is there left to go? It might have been Rooney’s dive that finally broke the spell the following season after 49 games unbeaten, but it could’ve of come at any time. Wenger sums it up as “Highbury: My soul. The Emirates: My suffering” and that capsulises the divide in his time at Arsenal. He stayed for too…

  • No Sudden Move

    No Sudden Move

    ★★★½

    Fun for the most part, but again, could easily lose 20 minutes. Del Toro and Cheadle are good fun. Lot of themes crammed into the final act that appear out of the blue and should’ve been introduced a lot earlier. Soderbergh seems to have developed a guilty conscience in recent years too, which is interesting.

  • The Card Counter

    The Card Counter

    ★★★½

    Schrader is really in his self flagellation phase huh? Nice accompaniment to First Reformed, but a touch too long. Isaac as good as ever, although Haddish is quite a bland dramatic actor and didn’t really work in the role. The whole USA/poker player metaphor is pretty on the nose too. But well directed and nicely paced in the main.

  • Lamb

    Lamb

    ★★★

    What in the stuart existential crisis little?

  • Finch

    Finch

    ★★★½

    It’s only been a couple of years since his last golden statue but Hanks is really going for it by teaming up with a cute little dog - and a parker-wearing robot that speaks like Borat (whoever thought of Caleb Landry Jones as the friendly family robot?). The set-up imagines what if there was a human also living in the same world as Wall-E. Like his western last year, it’s also a road trip, this time set in a post…

  • The Disciple

    The Disciple

    ★★★★

    While specially about a tanpura player and classical singer, the theme is very much about the struggle creatives everywhere experience in one form or another. The high aspirations, low self esteem, ridiculous purism, bitterness towards others succeeding with ‘less’ talent, stupid lifestyle choices and the many wasted years. All of this is amplified further for the main character Sharad under the tutelage of a local guru whose shadow always looms large. Added to by the fact that he is trying…

  • You Will Die at Twenty

    You Will Die at Twenty

    ★★★½

    A good debut from Amjad Abu Alala. For the most part the fable-style set-up does a good job of balancing a lot of narrative threads, although it’s bringing them all to a satisfying conclusion that escapes him in the end. There’s Muzamil’s dynamic with his mother, his absent father, how is mum is coping raising him alone, a burgeoning love story and an eye-opening relationship with a village outsider. It’s a lot, and the focus on Muzamil’s plight suffers because…

  • Sicario: Day of the Soldado

    Sicario: Day of the Soldado

    Does a stellar job of maintaining a raft of racist stereotypes from start to finish. White government ‘good guys’ go around abusing and killing Black and brown people (so called ‘terrorists’) to make the world a better place, so the US can spread its violence around the world instead. I wonder if Emily Blunt saw the script for this and ran a mile.