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Father’s Day: Family, Masculinity and Ant Timpson’s Come to Daddy (Fantastic Fest)

By Alexandra Heller-Nicholas. There’s a scene in Ant Timpson’s debut feature Come to Daddy where Elijah Wood’s character, Norval Greenwood, is being verbally abused with such an extraordinarily blend of both cruelty and swear words that by the time actual physical violence rears its head, it’s almost a relief. Cringefully pretentious and overtly insecure, with […]

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Juvenile Offender: Nicholas Winding Refn’s Too Old To Die Young

By James Slaymaker. It’s been less than a decade since the momentous critical and commercial success of Drive catapulted Nicolas Winding Refn from niche provocateur to international household name, yet the idea that the director was once poised to take the film industry by storm already seems patently ridiculous. Refn toiled for years on the […]

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Tangled Webs: Minos Nikolakakis’s Entwined (Toronto International Film Festival)

By Alexandra Heller-Nicholas. With its world premiere in the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival’s Discovery program, stalwart short film director Minos Nikolakakis turns to his feature debut with the extraordinary neo fairy tale Entwined, weaving the folkloric textures of the old into a contemporary scenario with profound results. After the death of his father, despite […]

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Blackwood Politicized – William McGregor’s Gwen

By Tony Williams. Gwen (2019) is one of those rare surprises in contemporary film reviewing. Rather than fall into the usual mindless patterning of most generic films constantly regurgitating and exhausting past formulas in the usual “repetition-compulsion” of most studio productions, it excitingly offers something different. Produced by a number of film companies such as […]

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Forest for the Sleaze: The Prey (Arrow Video)

By Rod Lott. One of the first lines uttered in 1983’s The Prey is “Good chow,” a simple statement that could double for this obscure slasher film: far from gourmet, assuredly not healthy, but hitting the spot for the time being. In 1948, portions of the Rocky Mountains’ Keen Wild Forest were decimated by a […]

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The Spiral and the Fugue – This Thing of Darkness: Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible in Stalin’s Russia by Joan Neuberger

A Book Review by Thomas Puhr. Joan Neuberger’s This Thing of Darkness (Cornell University Press, 2019) illustrates, perhaps more than any other cinema studies text I’ve read, the staggering attention to detail some filmmakers bring to their work. Subtitled Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible in Stalin’s Russia, it chronicles the inception, troubled (to put it mildly) production, […]

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An Artist’s Obsession: Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles (2018)

By Yun-hua Chen. Salvodor Simó, the layout artist for Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017), The Jungle Book (2016) and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010), collaborated with the scriptwriter Eligio R. Montero and adapted Fermín Solís’ graphic novel on the true story of how Luis Buñuel made his third film, Las […]

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Divided: Son – Mother

By Ali Moosavi. The majority of films occupying the cinema screens in Iran belong to either of two genres: social dramas and comedies. The Iran-Czech Republic joint production, Son – Mother (Pesar – Madar, 2019) which premiered at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, at first appears to be a typical social drama. Leila (Raha […]

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The Magic Bullet that Is Jim Allison: Breakthrough

By Elias Savada. Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson, please step aside…at least for 91 minutes…and allow the world to shine a light on a man unknown to most of us, but who wholeheartedly deserves our attention and admiration. He’s not your big name science guy and probably doesn’t contemplate the vast interstellar universe, but […]

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Redemption through Chaos: Takashi Miike’s First Love (2019)

By Matthew Fullerton. First Love (Hatsukoi), prolific Japanese director Takashi Miike’s sixtieth film in twenty-four years according to last count, is a wild and fun night-time ride through an urban war between Japanese and Chinese gangsters. Although First Love marks a full-fledged return for Miike to the Asian mafia genre, which he first explored in […]

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