Film Review

Feature, Film Review

Cinderella (2015)

Courage and kindness, I think we can all agree, are valuable attributes. But do we need to be reminded of this obvious truism every few minutes? Disney’s new adaptation of Cinderella certainly believes so, sparing no tangential opportunity to slip it into conversation. Avoiding anything that might require a moment’s […]

Film Review

Gone with the Bullets (2014)

When Let the Bullets Fly first appeared in 2010 it felt like a breath of fresh air. Lighting up the box office and drawing a decent response from critics, Jiang Wen’s (director, writer and star) fast-paced dark comedy flew through China’s recent past in a whirlwind of crass entertainment. The […]

Film Review

Sworn Virgin (2015)

Life in the Albanian mountains offers up two choices. You’re either a man, or you obey one. For anyone who, through the misfortune of birth, fails to qualify for the first option, yet is unwilling to comply with the second, that’s just tough. With one exception. If a woman is […]

Feature, Film Review

13 Minutes (2015)

It’s been a tough old time for Oliver Hirschbiegel in recent years. His last film, the dreadful Diana (2013) saw everyone wade into the slaughter. It was a far cry from the international acclaim that greeted Downfall, his 2004 account of the last days in the Fuhrer bunker. In an […]

Film Review

Every Thing Will Be Fine (2015)

The highlight in Wim Wenders’ soapy international co-production comes early on. An accident and the chilling realisation that follows sets a standard not matched again. Instead, we get a stale melodrama that spends two hours coming to terms with the tragedy in an increasingly unconvincing fashion. James Franco, channelling a […]

Feature, Film Review

Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)

Ever since the film adaptation of E.L. James’ phenomenon was announced, two vocal camps have been chomping at the bit to get sight of it. On one side sit the fanatics, laying into any decision that doesn’t align with their reading of the novel. Opposite are the cynics waiting eagerly […]

Feature, Film Review

The Club (2015)

After concluding his Pinochet trilogy with No, Chilean director Pablo Larraín has moved onto a new target. Disarming humour and a gentle build up pave the way for a devastating critique of the Catholic Church. The Club might not have the exuberant energy of his last film, but the attack […]

Film Review

Tell Spring Not to Come This Year (2015)

Mission accomplished. NATO troops have pacified the country, trained up the local army to continue their good work, and left victoriously. The British even packed up their memorial to fallen soldiers. If you listen to western politicians, that’s the situation in Afghanistan. The reality on the ground is something entirely […]

Film Review

Are You Here (2013)

Comedy drama rarely seems to work. For every Alexander Payne, there are a thousand voyages of self-discovery sinking shortly out of port. I assume the plan is for the comedy to cover the lack of depth and the drama to make up for a humour shortage. Or more charitably, for […]

Feature, Film Review

Woman in Gold (2015)

Screening at the Berlin Film Festival in a city that wears the scars of World War II in every rebuilt street and solemn memorial comes Woman in Gold, a reminder that there’s some way to go yet to recover from that terrible period. A glossy Hollywood drama, part legal procedural, […]