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.…

Edgar Wright Presents Car Car Land @ The BFI

What is it about the image of a lone professional sat behind the wheel of a car that’s so damn cool?

Laconic, self-sufficient, in control. The timeless masculine elegance of a classic American muscle car certainly doesn’t hurt none.

Of course, they’re not always alone.…

REVIEW: Baby Driver is a stylish but forgettable remix of the classic getaway movie

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)
Meet Baby (Ansel Elgort).

He’s not quite your average wheelman.

He looks like the lovechild of Ferris Bueller and a young, slightly goofier Harrison Ford (right down to the Han Solo waistcoat), and always has a pair of sunglasses at the ready.…

BFI & Radio Times Festival: a write-up

Is TV as we knew it dying?

What was once a communal experience – households across the nation gathered before the glow of the cathode ray tube – has now become a more private experience.

It seems not to matter how you consume the latest episode of must-watch telly, be it Broadchurch or Bake Off, alone or in company, live or via catch-up, so long as you’re able to take part in the water-cooler discussion come Monday.…

Remainder is an open-ended tale of obsession and recreation

3 Stars (3 / 5)

 

A pale, distracted young man (Tom Sturridge) limps across a busy road, leaving a wheelie case behind him.

No sooner has he crossed, however, than there’s a shower of glass from a nearby skyscraper. A moment later he’s creamed by a plummeting mass of wires and plastic — his blood pools around him.…

Victoria: a one-take thrill ride through night-time Berlin

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

 

One take, 138 minutes. From a strobe-lit club to a pale Berlin dawn, Sebastian Schipper’s Victoria plays out in real time over the course of a single eventful night.

Twenty-something Spanish barista Victoria (Laia Costa), drinking alone at a bar, hooks up with a gang of happy-go-lucky chancers, including punch-drunk Brando-alike Sonne (Frederick Lau).…

Green Room is gut-wrenching, sometimes literally

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

 

Blue Ruin, Green Room. 

Writer-director Jeremy Saulnier is certainly not a director afraid to deal in primal colors: the bright green woodlands of Oregon into which down-on-their-luck punk band The Ain’t Rights stray, playing an impromptu gig to an audience of neo-Nazis; the visceral red of the horrific gore that results when band member Pat (an endearingly mumbly Anton Yelchin) stumbles upon a murder.…

Son of Saul recasts the Holocaust as Bruegelian nightmare

5 Stars (5 / 5)

 

In Son of Saul, first-time director László Nemes gets us right up in the face of Saul Ausländer (poet-turned-actor Géza Röhrig).

Saul’s powerful features and dark eyes give him a sharp, watchful look. As a Hungarian Jew, and member of a Sonderkommando work unit at Auschwitz, it pays to be watchful.…

Youth captures some of the mixed magnificence of life

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

One of the few statements you can make about life as a whole is that it’s much of a muchness— and that it ends.

The counter-intuitively titled Youth sees two older gentlemen, a retired composer and Stravinsky pupil, Frank (Michael Caine), and still-working director (Harvey Keitel), Mick, both coming to terms with this while on holiday at a Swiss spa; a spa inhabited by red-robed Buddhist monks, a Middle Eastern woman in a hijab, a morbidly obese celebrity with a Karl Marx back tattoo and Maradona hair.…

The Lobster is a blackly heartfelt chimera of a romcom

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

 

You wait for one comedy about men being transformed into animals then two come along at once — a non-mating pair, if you will.

But where Kevin Smith’s Tusk was about a vicious comic forcibly losing his humanity due to a mad experiment, Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster is altogether more social and universal.…