Spectre summons up the ghosts of the Bond franchise to diminishing returns

3 Stars (3 / 5)

The evocatively titled Spectre, 24th installment of the Bond franchise, is a film steeped in continuity but light on originality.

While capitalizing on the back-story laid down for Daniel Craig’s super-spy in Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and Skyfall – the first incarnation of the character to have much by the way of continuity – it finds the time, over the course of 138 minutes – which also makes Spectre the longest film in the franchise – to riff on nearly every previous episode from the series’ 53 year history.…

Rubble Kings: a Bronx story of hope amid blood and strife

3 Stars (3 / 5)

 

“Warriors, come out to play-yay.”

You’ve know David Patrick Kelly’s sing-song mockery, even if you’ve never seen the film it’s in. With its gritty, lurid depiction of costumed gang warfare in ‘70s New York, The Warriors seems like a film born for cult stardom.…

Mr. Holmes puts the “To bee” in the legendary detective’s last gasp

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

 

Based on Mitch Cullin’s A Slight Trick of the Mind, the title of this adaptation suggests its immediate desire for respectability.

After all Mr. Holmes was part financed by BBC Films and stars no less august a figure than Sir Ian McKellen.…

Cooties is a indie zombie flick that won’t give you the lurgy

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

 

There are many opportunities for dread offered by the zombie genre. The shambling, increasingly putrefying undead. The threat of losing one’s own humanity. Cooties introduces in a new one: chickens.

A new horror comedy from first-time directors Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion, Cooties the gruesome passage from battery farming to school meal via flies, maggots, and pink sludge.…

Crimson Peak: the height of Gothic thrills and chills?

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

With Crimson Peak, beloved horror director Guillermo Del Toro sets about creating another period ghost story.

While his previous work of course includes The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth, both of which are set in and around the Spanish Civil War, this entry on his filmography takes its cues more from classic Gothic melodrama.…

Office is a lavish but dull workplace musical

1.5 Stars (1.5 / 5)

 

They’re the places that, for better or worse, occupy (or rather we occupy for) most of our waking hours.

It’s perhaps surprising then that the common-or-garden workplace doesn’t feature more prominently in cinema. Sure, there’s the bureaucracy-bound comedy of Office Space, the coked-up sexcapades of Wolf of Wall Street, or the Kafkaesque delirium of Brazil — but they’re rarely characterised as productive working environments.…

Desierto is an arid slice of indie thriller

2 Stars (2 / 5)

 

When you come from a Hollywood directing dynasty how do you established yourself as an independent filmmaker in your own right?

Not having a critic mention it in the first line of their review probably helps, but it’s a point that bears reflecting on.…

Carol is a transcendent plea for kindness and beauty

With sapphic romantic drama Carol, Todd Haynes confirms himself as a master of forbidden love.

In 2002’s Far From Heaven, stylized as a Sirkian ‘50s melodrama, he doubled down on issues of race and sexuality. Here, however, it all comes down to a single relationship between black-bobbed shop-girl Therese (Rooney Mara) and reluctant socialite Carol (Cate Blanchett), whose eyes meet across a crowded store one busy December morning.…

The Wave (2015) starts as a tsunami and turns into a washout

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

 

You may remember Dennis Gansel’s The Wave (Die Welle), a fictionalised take on The Third Wave, which saw a group of high school students established their own fascist dictatorship as part of a social experiment.

Is this the (Brothers) Quay to Nolan’s whole oeuvre?

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

As arguably the foremost director of high-brow cinematic entertainment on the planet, it seems reasonable that Christopher Nolan might want to take a breather between blockbusters.

After the $165 million universe-spanning epic that was Interstellar you can’t get much more palette cleanser-y than an eight-minute behind-the-scenes of the magical junk shop-workshop of a pair of stop-motion animators.…