Review: THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI, Laughing at Darkness and Despair

In Bruges director Martin McDonagh has laid down a winning hand with Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The Englishman's latest script is just about everything you could ask for in a screenplay. It's certainly not as out-and-out a comedy as the...

Venice Review 2017: MEKTOUB, MY LOVE: CANTO UNO, We Need To Talk About Kechiche

I think it's about time we all sit down and have a frank chat about Abdellatif Kechiche, because he's made me pretty cranky with his latest feature, Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno. By now it's well documented that his last film,...

Venice 2017 Review: MOTHER!, A Masterpiece Straight From Hell

Director Darren Aronofsky has set the 47th Biennale Main Competition alight with an infernal psychological thriller that definitely burns with the fire of his past films Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream. It's perhaps not surprising that mother! is...

Venice 2017 Review: FOXTROT, An Unexpected Israeli Gem

It's no secret that I am a big fan of the Eurimages funding scheme and the projects it backs, and Foxtrot is no exception. This dark, multi-tonal Israeli, French, German and Swiss co-production carries all the hallmarks of a good...

Venice 2017 Review: Martin McDonagh Triumphs Again With THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

In Bruges director Martin McDonagh has laid down what could be the first real winning hand at the 74th Biennale with Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and whilst there's definitely still time for someone else to clinch this year's Golden Lion,...

Venice 2017 Review: LEAN ON PETE, The Greatest Tragedy Of The Biennale So Far

If you’re a big fan of dramas like myself, then a review with the words “Andrew Haigh” plus “greatest tragedy” might well make you think that you’re onto a winner. Unfortunately, Lean on Pete isn’t the Andrew Haigh entry into...

Venice 2017 Review: HUMAN FLOW Produces Powerful Ripples For Ai Weiwei

It seems appropriate that this year’s lead artwork for the 74th Venice Biennale should reference Singing in the Rain, given that Italy’s entire expected summer rainfall seems to have descended in the last few days. Nevertheless, whilst the effects of...

Venice 2017 Review: SUBURBICON Floats Between Brilliant and Underbaked

The opening sequences of George Clooney's Suburbicon unfold in front of us like an animated book straight from a Cold War infomercial. Set in late 1940s America, these scenes are accompanied by a narrator who cooingly tells us the benefits...

Review: THE BAD BATCH, Left Behind by the American Dream

Real credit where it’s due, Ana Lily Amirpour’s self-confessed "Iranian Vampire Spaghetti Western" A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night must have been a hell of a tough act to follow, so props to Amirpour for pulling it off in...

Berlinale 2017 Review: DREAM BOAT Gives Cruising A Whole New Meaning

When you think of luxury cruises, you probably picture old couples and families setting off into the sunset - a sort of world tour that never has to forego the comforts of home. Well, Tristan Ferland Milewski's Dream Boat isn't that at...

Berlinale 2017 Review: Liu Jian Triumphs With HAVE A NICE DAY

Animated movies for adults are painfully undervalued, both at a festival level and as an art form, but Liu Jian's Have A Nice Day is a title that could smash through those barriers. Certainly one of the more interesting features...

Berlinale 2017 Review: BERLIN SYNDROME, Cate Shortland's Skin-Crawling Thriller

From Jutin Kurzel's Snowtown in 2011 to Ben Young's recent Hounds of Love at last year's Venice Biennale, Australia has developed a real knack for messed up cinema, and Cate Shortland's recent Screen Australia and Film Victoria supported skin-crawler is...

Berlinale 2017 Review: A FANTASTIC WOMAN, Sebastián Lelio's Masterpiece of Micro-Aggressions

Last year, Álex Anwandter's Chilean LGBT drama You'll Never Be Alone was one of the films that lit up Berlinale's programme from the heart of Panorama (read the review). And since then, Pablo Larraín has cemented his respected standing with...

Berlinale 2017 Review: WILD MOUSE, Unfortunately Tame Comedy

Josef Hader, the writer, director and lead actor of new Austrian comedy Wild Mouse, definitely has comedic pedigree. He's won best actor awards at Locarno Film Festival and written and starred in adaptations of his acclaimed play Indien back in...

Berlinale 2017 Review: ON BODY AND SOUL, One Of Those Films That Makes You See Afresh

Whether White God or Son of Saul, there are some seriously good films coming out of Hungary at the moment, and Ildikó Enyedi's On Body and Soul is no exception. Sitting in the 67th Berlinale's Main Competition, this often almost...

ŻubrOFFka 2016 Review: BLACK, Award-winning Japanese Animation From Poland

There is something remarkably spellbinding about Tomasz Popakul's Polish-Japanese co-production Black, which won the award for Best Animation at this year's ŻubrOFFka Film Festival. It's unmistakably Japanese in style, and clearly a really passionate homage to the manga art so...

ŻubrOFFka 2016 Review: A NIGHT IN TOKORIKI Is Like Mixing QUADROPHENIA with BORAT

There's been a handful of shorts at ŻubrOFFka that have opened by filming horses, like a symbolic statement of intent about the pace they intend to continue at. Few do it quite as well as Roxana Stroe's A Night in...

ŻubrOFFka 2016 Review: In DEBUT, Katarzyna Kijek Makes Procrasturbation an Artistic Joy

Amidst the growing excitement surrounding Klara Kochańska’s Tenants, now seems an exciting time for female Polish filmmakers, and Katarzyna Kijek is no exception with her gorgeously surreal animation Debut, located in ŻubrOFFka’s Independent Competition selection. What a film it is...

ŻubrOFFka 2016 Review: In BALCONY, Toby Fell-Holden Puts His Finger on the Pulse of Brexit

Small film festivals really are the best, both in terms of vibe and the sense of inclusion they give. Short film festivals are particularly cool too, either because they're having to fight so damn hard for attention or simply because...

Black Nights 2016 Review: Steven Cantor's DANCER Dazzles, But Risks Falling Short

Director Steven Cantor turns his attention to ballet prodigy Sergei Polunin in his latest documentary, Dancer. Having already taken the stage at the 60th BFI London Film Festival, and now returning for an encore at Tallinn's Doc@POFF strand, this feature-length...