Dunkirk Review

Dunkirk

Very few other filmmakers working today are as intrigued by time and its workings as Christopher Nolan, and none are as good at integrating this fascination with the sort of bombastic excitement that he so consistently delivers. With his war epic, Dunkirk, Nolan strikes the perfect balance between his typically clever treatment of time’s relationship with stories and a heart on sleeve disaster film, paying tribute to the heroes and survivors of the Miracle of Dunkirk. It’s his shortest film since his 1998 debut, Following, and his first non-sci-fi film in over a decade but no less ambitious for it, entering the canon as possibly Nolan’s best film and one of the greatest examples of the World War 2 genre.  Continue reading

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Review

Valerian City Planets

As an inspiration for Star Wars and countless other sci-fi franchises ever since its 1967 publication, the French comic Valerian by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres has in many ways already been adapted into a variety of different movies. Which is why it’s so impressive that Luc Besson’s take on this universe feels so wildly original. It’s bright, gorgeous, and every step takes you somewhere that you’ve never quite seen the like of. Brilliant visuals, imaginative set-pieces, and design that feels like Besson mashing up Star Wars, Star Trek, and Firefly, Valerian seems like it should be a sure fire hit.  Continue reading

The Big Sick Review

Big Sick

2017 has, thus far, not been a great year for big screen comedies. Obviously, films like Get Out, Baby Driver, and the two MCU entries so far have been funny, but in terms of high-profile, straight-up comedy, we’ve had Lego Batman (good), The House (bad), and Baywatch (atrocious). So it’s understandable that the release of The Big Sick was greeted with such excited fanfare. It’s sweet, warmly funny, and tells an interesting story from an uncommon perspective. Yet, unfortunately, it is not the game-changing comedy that it was hyped up as, very likable indeed, but lacking in the consistent laughs that made films like Sing Street and The Nice Guys last year such unadulterated joys.  Continue reading

A Ghost Story Review

Ghost Story

What comes after death? What is the purpose of life? Is there more to time than we can perceive? These are some of the grandest questions of the human condition, and to even tackle them in a film shows incredible ambition. To pose them, and provide emotionally resonant answers in the space of just 90 minutes, is evidence of a filmmaker working at the highest level, which is exactly the space David Lowery occupies with the mesmerising A Ghost Story. Reuniting with his Ain’t Them Bodies Saints stars Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara, Lowery’s work here eclipses the entirety of his back catalogue, as well the vast majority of the other films of 2017.  Continue reading

The Beguiled Review

The Beguiled

Of all the films for Sofia Coppola to follow up The Bling Ring with, a remake of a Civil War-set Clint Eastwood vehicle from the ‘70s might not seem the most obvious choice. Yet, by paring back the misogyny and explicitness of Don Siegel’s 1971 adaptation of Thomas Cullinan’s The Beguiled, Coppola becomes a perfect match for this story of isolated women on the edge, in a grand house driven mad with suspicion and sexual hysteria. She became only the second-ever woman to win Best Director at Cannes with this film, and it’s easy to see why the jury chose it; it’s sumptuous, tense, and completely entertaining.  Continue reading

The Death Of Louis XIV Review

Death Louis 14

Albert Serra’s new film, The Death of Louis XIV, has one of the most ‘does what it says on the tin’ titles of any film in recent memory. From the very first scene in which the ailing, aged monarch (played by French New Wave poster boy Jean-Pierre Leaud) ineffectually opens his mouth to either gasp for air or search for words that now escape him, he may as well already be dead. In fact, if there were any kindness in the world, he would just be left to expire, but in the hands of fearful doctors, his existence is protracted for day after agonising day, as the king himself shrinks into death.  Continue reading

Song To Song Review

ASongtoSong

Actors in Terence Malick films have always had to be prepared to have their roles excised from his final edit. His masterful Thin Red Line completely cut out Mickey Rourke and left George Clooney on screen for all of two minutes, and he’s only got more ruthless with his cast in his modern output. Yet, where Malick’s wandering eye once produced gorgeous and profound mediations on nature and man’s place in it, his post-Tree of Life work has found him stuck in a self-indulgent rut, creating films that are nothing more than disconnected tone poems about the alluring emptiness found in wealth and beauty. With Song to Song, it finally feels like Malick has become everything his critics have always accused him of – slow, uninterested in character, and maybe even pretentious. Continue reading