REVIEW: The Shape of Water & Brawl in Cell Block 99 (LFF Day 6)

Okay, so I may have skipped a few days, but both of these films were fresh in my mind and my thoughts on them actually seem to have made it onto the page in semi-presentable form.

 

The Shape of Water

5 Stars (5 / 5)

With The Shape of Water, Guillermo Del Toro has delivered a film that is at once a luminous love letter to ‘50s sci-fi and a pricking commentary on prejudice.

FEMINIST GRAB-BAG: The Love Witch & Elle

The Love Witch

4 Stars (4 / 5)
Love is a many-splendoured thing. It can also be deadly, especially when magick’s involved.

Such is the takeaway from The Love Witch, a flawless ’70s-style melodrama from writer-director/musician/editor/set-art-costume-production-designer Anna Biller.

An obvious “passion project”, in more ways than one, the film is a delicious slice of feminist theory masquerading as Technicolour confection.…

CINEMATIC GRAB-BAG: A Cure For Wellness & Patriots Day

A Cure For Wellness
1.5 Stars (1.5 / 5)

A Cure For Wellness is a film I wish was better.

A psychological horror with grandiose ambitions, it stars Dane DeHaan as Lockhart, a callow young stockbroker with ice-chip eyes dispatched to retrieve his company’s CEO from a remote “wellness center” in the Swiss Alps.…

The Infiltrator doesn’t go deep enough

3 Stars (3 / 5)

Bryan Cranston goes Donnie Brasco in this 80s-set crime thriller.

Bob Mazur (Cranston) is an unassuming U.S. Customs agent with wife Evelyn (Juliet Aubrey) and two kids. He’s also undercover as Bob Musella, a flash, ingratiating money launderer for the Columbian mob.…

Morgan is a generic sci-fi thriller straight off the assembly line

3 Stars (3 / 5)

A man stands in front of a glass cell, ready to question its occupant; a woman who is not truly a woman. If she fails the test, she will likely be terminated.

Where that scenario provided the focal point of last year’s Ex Machina – a restrained study of trans-humanism and toxic masculinity – in Morgan it is part of a much more generic effort.…

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.…

The Purge: Election Year has some great visuals but a rickety social platform

2 Stars (2 / 5)

The Purge: Election Year is a film that’s more intriguing as a product of its time than as a work of cinema.

Setting its usual flurry of vigilantism against the backdrop of a Presidential election is an inspired choice – especially one as incendiary as this – but, other than which, it’s just business as usual for the franchise.…

The Shallows is a lean, mean tale of survival

3 Stars (3 / 5)

 

Just when you thought you were safe from shark movies being genuinely scary…

Forty years after since Steven Spielberg first chummed the waters, those feeding grounds are now mostly patrolled by bottom-feeders, like the made-to-be-so-bad-it’s-good Sharknado franchise.…

Jason Bourne AKA The Bourne Variations AKA Bourne… Again?

3 Stars (3 / 5)

 

After almost a decade off the grid, Jason Bourne has returned in a film titled, somewhat unimaginatively, Jason Bourne.

No identities, supremacies, ultimatums, or legacies; just the man himself, played once again by Matt Damon. With Paul Greengrass back directing, too, it’s almost like he never went away.…

Nerve: a flashy but risk-averse techno-thriller for the Pokemon Go crowd

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

 

With most of the world dividing its time between Pokemon Go and sharing viral videos on Facebook, there’s never been a better time for a film like Nerve.

Based on a book by Jeanne Ryan, adapted by Jessica Sharzer of American Horror Story, and directed by Catfish’s Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman, the film quickly establishes its technological mojo.…