Film Reviews

The Immigrant (2013)
Film Reviews

The Immigrant (2013)

Long slow vicissitudes James Gray, grandson of Russian Jewish immigrants to New York, has made a film about a Polish Catholic woman in the early Prohibition era who runs afoul of an exploiter who saves her from being deported at Ellis Island in exchange for becoming a prostitute. It’s like […]

Blue is the Warmest Color (2013)
Film Reviews

Blue is the Warmest Color (2013)

Graphic first love story With the French title, La Vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 et 2, this film won the Palme d’Or at Cannes after receiving an overwhelmingly positive response from the festival audience and jury. Likewise on its French theatrical release it got raves, Allociné press rating 4.7 (out of […]

Bastards (2013)
Film Reviews

Bastards (2013)

Pleasing mystification not so good when it comes clear? This is one of Denis’ puzzlers, like The Intruder, except it’s not that pleasurably mysterious, and lacks its vigorous, tonic physicality, unless you call moments of sex and violence that. Many of the usual players are there, with Vincent Lindon of Friday Night in […]

12 Years a Slave (2013)
Film Reviews

12 Years a Slave (2013)

The ordeal of the ancestors 12 Years a Slave, adapted from the true account by Soloman Northrup, a free black man resident in New York who was kidnapped into slavery from 1841 to 1853 in the South, is British artist Steve McQueen’s third feature film, after his powerful debut Hunger (NYFF 2008, […]

All is Lost (2013)
Film Reviews

All is Lost (2013)

A sacrament of survival The only appropriate thing to say about J.C. Chandor’s highly original and brilliantly executed second feature is nothing, because it is wordless, or nearly so. It follows someone for days in a life and death struggle who hardly speaks at all. Our Man (Robert Redford) has […]

Behind The Camera: Why Mr. E Went To Hollywood (2013)
Film Reviews

Behind The Camera: Why Mr. E Went To Hollywood (2013)

Blurring the lines between documentary and fiction, director Je-yong Lee’s Behind The Camera is best described as the Korean version of Tom DiCillo’s Living In Oblivion (1995), his brilliantly witty account of the perils of filmmaking and, better yet, the subjectivity of shared experience. Here is the premise, as far as I […]

About Time (2013)
Film Reviews

About Time (2013)

Second chances Richard Curtis writes his own screenplays, and well he might, since he got a First in English at Oxford. Oxford notwithstanding, he is a pop writer, a Brit from New Zealand originally who turns out English equivalents of Nora Ephron. And no harm in that. If Notting Hill wasn’t so […]

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
Feature / Film Reviews

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

The dreaded sequel to a first instalment is the make-or-break point in any film franchise.  Most have a tendency to be inferior to the original film, but then once in a while, you get a sequel that exceeds all expectations or even better yet, surprise you. The Hunger Games: Catching […]

Her (2013)
Feature / Film Reviews

Her (2013)

A mechanized rom-com that goes soft Her takes us to a futuristic LA deftly constructed using exteriors shot in Shanghai. It’s a pretty, pastel world. But there’s small fun in it because its inhabitants, made up chiefly of thirty-somethings, can’t relate. The protagonist, Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) is a neutral, moustachioed sad […]

Boomerang Family (2013)
Feature / Film Reviews

Boomerang Family (2013)

There are families with black sheep, and then there are black sheep families. The dysfunctional kindred of Hae-sung Song’s fantastically obsidian comedy are like a low-class, anti-intellectual, economically ruined Royal Tenenbaums: the oldest, a college graduate who never realised his potential and now considers suicide (Hae-il Park); the schlubby, braggadocios […]