Reviews / 17.11.2020

With his terrific 2018 debut feature film Searching, former Google employee turned film director Aneesh Chaganty deftly announced the arrival of an exciting young talent to keep an eye on. His equally impressive sophomore effort, Run, further strengthens Chaganty's standing as a filmmaker capable of crafting tension-driven thrillers brimming with a palpable helping of anxiety and suspense. A taut little thriller that would make Alfred Hitchcock proud, Run plays like a wicked cross between Misery and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? with its twist-filled cat-and-mouse game that consistently keeps...

Awards Season, Reviews / 16.11.2020

From Woodward and Bernstein exposing the Watergate scandal in All the President's Men to The Boston Globe's damning investigation into systemic child sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests in Spotlight, narrative cinema loves to adapt a true story centred on investigative journalism any chance it gets. While these films give audiences an intimate look at the exhaustive work undertaken by journalists to uncover a headline-grabbing story, they can't hold a candle to the raw power of a documentary seeking to do the same. Such is the case with Alexander...

Reviews / 15.11.2020

From Freaky Friday to The Hot Chick, the body-swap conceit has been an occasional favourite of the comedy genre for decades now. But what if the concept of two people magically switching bodies happened to occur in the midst of an 80s slasher film? That's the refreshing premise of Freaky, the latest Blumhouse experimental film that blends a body-swap comedy and a gory slasher horror to create one of the year's most deliciously good times. While the concept is far from the most original, director/co-writer Christopher Landon delivers equal...

Awards Season, Reviews / 14.11.2020

In recent years, the term "Oscar-bait" has become a dirty word amongst awards season pundits. And for good reason. Around this time each year, we're served up several pieces of cinema brazenly designed to attract the gaze of Academy voters. As the unprecedented Best Picture victory of an anti-Oscar-bait film like Parasite proved, the Academy isn't quite what it used to be. However, this is still the Academy who fawned over Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody just one year earlier, so it's anyone's guess how they'll respond to this...

Awards Season, Reviews / 12.11.2020

The animated genre has been dominated by the work of Pixar and Disney for years now. All you have to do is look at the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature where these two juggernaut studios have only lost this award five times in 18 years. For just over a decade, independent Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon has quietly delivered three spectacular 2D traditional animated treasures that have each deservedly received a nomination by the Academy. With their latest offering, they just might finally snatch that elusive Oscar...

Reviews / 09.11.2020

Living with repressed trauma is an unfortunate fact of life for many gay men. Whether that trauma results from experiencing homophobia, dealing with the difficult journey of accepting one’s sexuality, or, at worst, suffering sexual abuse at a young age, it’s something many queer filmmakers have frequently cathartically injected into their work. Such is the case with Matthew Fifer‘s quietly powerful feature film debut Cicada, which draws from his own experiences to craft one of the year’s finest films. On its deceptively simple surface, Cicada feels reminiscent of your...

Reviews / 03.11.2020

The Dark and the Wicked A terrifying psychological nightmare with a gut-punch of an ending that will leave you breathless, The Dark and the Wicked is one of the year's best horror films. With a palpable sense of dread hovering over practically every frame, writer/director Bryan Bertino delivers a nihilistic rollercoaster of genuine terror in a rural setting drowning in utter misery. Elevated by excellent performances from Marin Ireland and Michael Abbott Jr. and Tristan Nyby’s atmospheric cinematography, it's a brutal, yet somehow exhilarating experience you won't soon forget. The...

Awards Season, Reviews / 30.10.2020

After 10 long years, the radiant legend that is Sophia Loren is finally back on our screens. At the age of 86, Loren ably proves time hasn't diminished her star quality one bit, as she effortlessly delivers one of the year's best leading female performances. Directed and co-written (with Ugo Chiti) by her son, Edoardo Ponti, the captivating The Life Ahead stands as the perfect vehicle for Loren's long-awaited return. As a fiercely independent woman with a heart of absolute gold, Loren dazzles like only she can, reminding...

Awards Season, Reviews / 29.10.2020

When an esteemed actor's five-decade-long career includes one Academy Award from five nominations, three BAFTA Awards from eight nominations, and two Emmys from five nominations, you hardly expect to see them deliver their finest performance in the twilight of their career. But Anthony Hopkins' astonishing performance in The Father may just be the greatest he's ever delivered, and that's truly saying something. Is the race for Best Actor over before it's even really begun? Together with a typically magnificent turn from Olivia Colman, Hopkins delivers a career-defining performance that...

Reviews / 28.10.2020

Dear Comrades! At the tender age of 83, veteran Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky returns to his homeland to deliver a meticulous recreation of a brutal moment in Russia's history that's mostly been erased from memory. Shot beautifully in Academy ratio black-and-white and centred on a narrative that burns with immediate pertinency, Dear Comrades! is wisely injected with occasionally satirical stabs to balance out its overall bleakness. Set over the course of three days in June 1962, Dear Comrades! is told through Novocherkassk resident Lyuda (Julia Vysotskaya), a privileged official to...