LFF Day 7: The Birth of a Nation, Dog Eat Dog, & I Am Not A Serial Killer

The Birth of a Nation

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Reclaiming the title of D.W. Griffith’s feverishly racist silent epic, this ardent biography of conciliatory preacher turned revolutionary firebrand Nat Turner — written, directed by, and starring Nate Parker — makes a case for bloody retribution as the necessary, even inevitable, response to institutionalized evil.…

LFF Day 3: La La Land & Manchester By The Sea

Rhapsodic Hollywood dreaming and glacial Massachusetts misery on London Film Festival Day 3.

 

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone soar in Damien Chazelle’s radiant love letter to the Golden Age of Hollywood musicals and those who dare to follow their dreams in the City of Angels.

LFF Day 2: A Monster Calls & The Handmaiden

Fantastical trauma counseling and opulent Gothic fetishism on London Film Festival Day 2.

 

4 Stars (4 / 5)

The Orphanage‘s J.A. Bayona began his career as an acolyte of Guillermo Del Toro and in A Monster Calls he finds his own Pan’s Labyrinth but one where the monsters make house calls.

LFF Day 1: A United Kingdom

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

In these turbulent and divisive times, what more apposite title could be found to open the London Film Festival than Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom?

However, the film is not an oh-so prescient rebuttal to present-day parochialism, but rather a polished period drama about colonial misdeeds past that nevertheless feels vaguely “state of the nation”.…

Arrival is a Möbius strip movie that home-schools Interstellar

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Oh for the days of Close Encounters when we dreamed that first contact would be as elegant as five simple notes.

Arrival, the latest film from Sicario director Denis Villeneuve1, looks at the complexities of communicating with an alien race.1 When twelve mysterious craft appear at sites around the globe, linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is drafted in to help start a dialogue with their occupants before China and Russia set off an inter-species war.2 Where do you begin, though, when you know nothing about their language or customs?…

My 2016 LFF gets off to a five-star start with the utterly captivating Moonlight

5 Stars (5 / 5)

A silent boy with accusatory eyes. A shy long-limbed teen picked on at school. A musclebound man looking for a connection. All the same person, all lost; all trying to make sense of the world and their place in it.

London Film Festival 2016: 10 films to get excited about

Well, it’s that time of the year again.

It’s a well-known but little commented upon phenomenon that each year Christmas comes to London roughly three months early – at least for capital-based cinema buffs – as, each October, the BFI hosts the London Film Festival.…

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.…