REVIEW: Detroit – anger on the streets, horror at the Algiers Motel

4 Stars (4 / 5)
Returning from a five-year hiatus, director Kathryn Bigelow seems likely to trouble Academy again with a film that, unlike the ambiguously pro-torture Zero Dark Thirty, shows the real factors at play behind “enhanced interrogation”.

A hard-hitting depiction of racial animus in America, Detroit opens with an animated prologue that uses vivid, mural-style artwork – like the wall of some grand municipal station brought to life – to lay out the plight of African-Americans in the lead up to 1967.…

PODCAST: Dunkirk, Valerian, WftPotA, & Baby Driver [Electric Shadows]

In Episode 27 of the Electric Shadows Podcast, myself & Rob Daniel take a deep dive into Christopher Nolan’s latest, the extraordinary Dunkirk – what makes it the best film of the year (for at least one of the Robs), why the different timelines work so well, why R&R both wholeheartedly recommend seeing it in IMAX, and a whole lot more.…

REVIEW: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets makes imagination boring

1.5 Stars (1.5 / 5)
The space opera is well on its way to becoming my least favourite genre; romcoms included.

Embracing a gaudily frenetic aesthetic may make for a great splash panel in a comic book but it rarely leads to satisfying cinema.…

REVIEW: The Big Sick – a relationship comedy where one party is out for the count

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)
It’s been said that comedy is a natural response to tragedy; indeed, humour is proven to speed recovery.[none]Patch Adams can still fuck off, though.[/note]

Even so, taking perhaps the worst period of your life and turning it into a romcom, that most disposable of genres, is certainly a bold move.…

REVIEW: Dunkirk; or my thoughts on time & tide in Nolan’s masterpiece of immediacy and magnitude

5 Stars (5 / 5)
Christopher Nolan is arguably the foremost British director of his generation, certainly when it comes to visionary blockbusters.

As such, it seems strange that he should follow the – literal – universality of 2014’s Interstellar with a film that seems, on the face of it, so self-contained; parochial even.…

PODCAST: Spider-Man: Homecoming [Electric Shadows]

Episode 26 of The Electric Shadows Podcast is a chat of two halves.

First up, Rob Daniel & myself discuss Spider-Man: Homecoming, everyone’s favourite webslinger’s first full feature in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Overall, we’re impressed, though there are a couple of sticky moments with the film, and we’re not just talking about Spidey’s web…

Next up, our intrepid ramblers in movies discuss the best films of 2017… so far.…

REVIEW: War for The Planet of the Apes is a hugely ambitious genre-jumping blockbuster

4 Stars (4 / 5)
Is there anything more perfectly, absurdly cinematic than an ape riding on horseback through the snow?

“If man evolved from a monkey then why are there still monkey?” Reportedly a favoured argument of creationists, the answer to this question is relatively simple in layman’s terms: we went one way; they went another.…

RETROSPECTIVE: The Battle of Algiers, or The Revolution Will Not Be Simplified (Christopher Nolan Presents @ BFI)

The Battle of Algiers is perhaps the timeliest film about terrorism ever produced – from half a century ago.

When it was first released back in 1966, Gillo Pontecorvo’s depiction of the eponymous conflict was both praised and condemned for its scrupulously balanced presentation of terrorist and government atrocities during the French occupation of Algiers.…

REVIEW: Scribe is a well-made but slightly rote conspiracy thriller

Scribe (French: The Eavesdropper) is a classic conspiracy thriller in ambition if not in atmosphere.

François Cluzet plays Duval, a conscientious, middle-aged office worker who suffers a drink-exacerbated breakdown.

Out of work for two years and abandoned by his wife, he seeks not only an income but a framework to his life.…

REVIEW: The Beguiled (2017) replaces melodrama with subtle, sultry power play

4 Stars (4 / 5)
We open on black, as we know all important films must.1

When we fade in, it’s on a little girl in a checked skirt, wandering beneath the hanging moss of a long dark tunnel of oak trees.…