James White is a compelling study of Millennial lostness

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

 

James White, the film, is the directorial debut of James Mond, third member of the Borderline Collective (he worked as producer on Sean Durkin’s Martha Marcy May Marlene and Antonio Campos’ Simon Killer).

James White, the character, stunningly captured by Chris Abbott, is a twenty-something washout whose look recalls both Josh Hartnett and Kit Harrington.…

The Tribe envelops you in a world of silence

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

What makes a film “brave”? Is it telling a type of story that hasn’t been told before? Is it doing something innovative technically? By either definition, The Tribe is brave film-making.

The feature debut of Ukrainian writer-director Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, it takes place in a time and place where sound is, by and large, irrelevant, and features “No translation, no subtitles, no voice-over”, only sign language.…

It Follows is a brilliant, terrifying paean to the Carpenter tradition

5 Stars (5 / 5)

 

Is there any genre that has defined a decade as much as horror defined the ‘80s – and visa versa, of course

From The Thing to Day of the Dead, they brought psychological insight to a form otherwise defined by B-movie schlock.…

Whiplash might be my film of the decade

5 Stars (5 / 5)

 

A tense, astonishing drama about precision, obsession, and determination, Whiplash seizes you from its opening moment – a snare drum, like a quickening heartbeat, over black – to the final crash of cymbals.

Miles Teller stars as Andrew Neyman, an awkward drumming prodigy who finds himself thrown in at the deep end when he’s invited to join a band led by conductor Miles Fletcher.…

Foxcatcher is a frigid masterpiece about the pursuit of championship

5 Stars (5 / 5)

 

Of all the things to confront in life, failure is perhaps the hardest.

How it reflects on us, and we on it, and our desperation to avoid it are universal facts of human existence. Foxcatcher is the second title to feature at this year’s London Film Festival that can be aptly summarized as a “psychotic coach drama” – the first being Whiplash; though the two films are in many ways polar opposites.…

Yakuza Apocalypse is a reheated V-Cinema shambles

1.5 Stars (1.5 / 5)

 

What’s worse than a simply bad film? A film that utterly squanders its potential.

Director Takashi Miike’s filmography is far ranging — from the sadistic Ichi the Killer to vivid family comedy Ninja Kids!!!. With close to 100 credits to his name, a supernatural gangster film seems right up Miike’s street.…

’71 is a Greengrassian blast from the past

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

The sound of boxing over black – the thuds, the grunts, the heavy breathing – sounds very much like war.

When ’71 opens, however, our young squaddie, Gary Hook (Starred Up’s Jack O’Connell) has not been deployed to Northern Ireland, but is participating in an officially mandated bout.…

Saving Mr. Banks is self-serving nostalgia from the House of Mouse… It’s also great, hugely feelgood fun

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

 

Try to think of an occasion on which you’ve seen the celebrated Mr. Walt Disney portrayed in film.

Simply put, you can’t: the Disney corporation has fiercely guarded the image of their founder, almost as fiercely as their iconic mascot.…

12 Years a Slave is a stunning and necessary reminder of the insidious evils of slavery

5 Stars (5 / 5)

 

12 Years a Slave is the tale of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejifor), a free black man and professional violinist in the mid 19th Century northeastern United States who, in 1841, was kidnapped and sold into slavery.

The third film of Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave feels, from the off, like a more mature approach to “the problem” of slavery than either of its two most immediate predecessors.…

Inside Llewyn Davis: an arsehole’s eclectic journey through the Greenwich Village scene

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

The Coen Brothers might have delved into spiritual music before in O Brother, Where Art Thou, their myth-inspired take on the Depression-era American Deep South, but Inside Llewyn Davis is a far more focused piece of cinema, if never quite as colorful as its predecessor.