Awards Season, Reviews / 18.02.2022

Despite all the inroads of studios like Pixar, Disney, and Sony Pictures, feature-length animated films are still mostly considered a genre of cinema made for children. It's a moderately fair generalisation for a style of film that began as pure family entertainment. That's why it's always such a thrill to see a filmmaker utilise animation in a decidedly adult manner. A brilliant fusion of documentary filmmaking and striking animation to uniquely deliver a compelling true story, Flee is simply extraordinary. It's not just an exceptional documentary or an...

Awards Season, Reviews / 12.02.2022

A film that runs for three hours can be a test of endurance, especially if it's doing little to validate the need for such an extensive running time. In most cases, it's a textbook example of a director failing to grasp the concept of editing. Less can sometimes be more. Then a filmmaker like Ryûsuke Hamaguchi comes along and somehow three hours float by without one even noticing. Such is the case with Hamaguchi's Drive My Car. A perfectly paced and exquisitely crafted masterpiece, this is an astonishing...

Awards Season, Reviews / 03.02.2022

When a film becomes the early frontrunner for Best Picture, the mudslinging inevitably begins. Kenneth Branagh's Belfast saw glowing reactions after screening at the Telluride Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival. At the latter, it won the People's Choice Award - a trophy three of the last five Best Picture winners all scored. But if you peruse the tweets of the vocal members of Film Twitter, its possible victory in late March would be a travesty not seen since the much-maligned Green Book won in 2018. I completely...

Awards Season, Reviews / 27.12.2021

Absolute power corrupts absolutely and there are few texts in literary history that finer exemplify this statement than William Shakespeare's Macbeth. From Orson Welles and Roman Polanski to Geoffrey Wright and Justin Kurzel, Shakespeare's epic tale of ambition, fate, and witchcraft has seen its fair share of cinematic adaptations over the years. In 2021, we are gifted perhaps the finest interpretation yet. In his solo directorial debut, writer-director Joel Coen strips back Shakespeare's "Scottish play" to focus on the text's darker elements to create one of the most breathtaking...

Awards Season, Reviews / 25.12.2021

Every so often, a film comes along that appears to follow the same well-worn tropes of many films that preceded it, particularly those in the romantic comedy/drama genre with a lost twentysomething protagonist. The trials and tribulations of young adults bumbling their way through life is rarely the most original of narratives. Then something like The Worst Person in the World shatters all expectations and reaffirms your faith cinema can still subvert those clichés and deliver something entirely new and refreshing. Hilarious, heartbreaking, insightful, and sensitive, this film is...

Awards Season, Featured, Reviews / 22.12.2021

A film that won ten Academy Awards (the outright second-highest tally in history) including Best Picture is hardly something you would think requires a remake. Remember how well that 2016 update of Ben-Hur went? To be fair, Steven Spielberg's take on West Side Story is officially an adaptation of Jerome Robbins' 1957 stage musical and not a reimagining of Robert Wise and Robbins' 1961 Oscar-winning classic. Regardless, comparisons will inevitably be drawn. Lucky for us, Spielberg has crafted a gorgeous new interpretation that practically leaps off the screen....

Awards Season, Reviews / 19.12.2021

The films of writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson typically feature a dark streak bubbling beneath the surface. From the seedy underbelly of the world of pornography in Boogie Nights to the twisted romance of Phantom Thread, Anderson is a filmmaker who isn't afraid of life's nastier elements. Perhaps given the miserable events of the last two years, Anderson has decided to take a refreshingly different route with Licorice Pizza; a film so effervescently joyous that it will likely leave you floating out of the cinema. A wistfully nostalgic portrait of Los...

Awards Season, Reviews / 10.12.2021

The days of millions of Americans tuning in to watch the same episode of television at the same time are long gone. But, once upon a time in the 1950s, one woman had the ability to draw a television crowd like no one else in the business. After a languid movie career where she became known as "Queen of the Bs" for her affinity for B-movie roles, Lucille Ball finally found her footing in TV as the star of her own wildly successful sitcom, I Love Lucy. It's...

Awards Season, Reviews / 08.11.2021

In the 28 years since Jane Campion became only the second female filmmaker in history to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Director, the writer-director has made just four films. Much like her careful filmmaking and storytelling style, Campion is a director who prefers to take her time. The results are always worth the wait. With her latest effort, Campion may have delivered her greatest work to date and one of the very best films of the year. A slow-burn character study that's as captivating as it is...

Awards Season, Reviews / 06.11.2021

Attempting to capture a figure's entire life in one film is a task doomed to fail. It's an issue we saw just a few months ago with the earnest but conventionally shallow Respect. The best historical biopics understand this and instead choose to limit the focus to one key period of time. It's just one of the elements that make Pablo Larraín's harrowing portrait of a tragic princess such a spectacular success. Another is an actor at the absolute top of their game in one of the finest...